I AM BERLIN


This blog post is in English mainly as a courtesy to Mike and Caspar and because our partners kept pestering us about English content.  This is my first English post, so don’t judge me too harshly should you discover more mistakes than usual.

Mike & Caspar in Mauerpark

Mike & Caspar in Mauerpark

The Easter weekend started off innocently enough with two scheduled tours for two out-of-town videographers who were referred to us by the local tourism board, Visit Berlin  It turns out they weren’t some random social media guys out for a free treat, but rather, two of the most professional and fun people I have had the pleasure of showing off Berlin to. What was originally meant to be just regular tours – maybe with a bit of location scouting for future reference – turned into a three-day-ride of filming (and in my case, learning a tonne of stuff about photography; thx guys!).

Preparations

Preparations

Mike & Caspar have been doing travel-photography and video-making for quite some time and about 18 months back, the national tourism board for Germany asked Mike if he would like to produce a series of 25 web videos to show the diverse beauties of our country 25 years after the reunification (October 3rd ‚s the official date by the way). In the end, they settled for 12 videos, including Hamburg, Essen, Rügen, Potsdam, and of course the capital. The hashtag under which these will be filed is #germany25reunified. If you ask me, it could have been something a little less prone to spelling errors, but whatever.

George was our first "customer". Him and his lovely freinds from Spain would have painted the whole afternoon, if we would have let them.

George was our first „customer“. Him and his lovely freinds from Spain would have painted the whole afternoon, if we would have let them.

I AM BERLIN

To illustrate the beautiful diversity of Germany, particularly Berlin, Mike and Caspar conceived the idea of creating a piece of collaborative art with the people they would meet throughout the project, photographing the work progress throughout. (Later on this will be compressed into a time-lapse video). They bought a picture frame and cut out cardboard letters spelling „I AM BERLIN“ (the decided upon emblem for the project), before painting over that in white. We then started our mission at Mauerpark. The aim was to have a series of graffiti artists ubiquitous to the park label the sign with their own graffiti tag. To be honest, this was just supposed to be our first of many stops, but 3 hours later we were still there. We’d only just begun peeling the white letters off the, now graffiti covered, emblem. With every four or five graffiti tags, we’d peel off one letter to eventually expose the emblem, creating a kind of passepartour/negative writing (the white letters prominent against a colourful graffiti montage).   Some people needed to be shown what going crazy means. Mike was happy to provide instructions.

Some people needed to be shown what going crazy means. Mike was happy to provide instructions.

Of course riding from Kulturbrauerei to Mauerpark is nothing you really need a guide for. My pride as a bike-guide was a bit bruised so I asked the guys if they’d like to continue. They agreed, the boss agreed, so we carried on. At one point during the next days I handed them over to a friend and colleague who rides a rikshaw to take care of other stuff, so I didn’t really take part in the whole process. It still bothers me however, that we couldn’t convince a single person wearing a uniform to participate. We asked regular police, military police at the American embassy, valets at big hotels ; nothing. And none of them even answered whether or not they weren’t participating because they didn’t WANT to or if their employer didn’t wish them to be photographed. In the end it didn’t really matter, Mike and Caspar have some 75 Portraits of different people from all over the world, an amazing variety of professions and characters. They also have a lot more beautiful shots of the city and I am sure the finished video will be bloody amazing. 

No instructions needed for our office crew though. Our boss Wollo (right) perfected the art of going crazy and still look utterly relaxed.

No instructions needed for our office crew though. Our boss Wollo (right) perfected the art of going crazy and still look utterly relaxed.

The BEST thing though: in the end the piece of art that was created ended up on the wall of our office where it will continue to keep a place of honour.
So thanks again for a great time and for sharing all the knowledge.
Ride Safe!
Sascha
P.S. If you have an idea for something and need help with translation or scouting (people and locations), feel free to write us an email at: social@berlinonbike.de – There is still a lot of room on our wall.
P.P.S. The other painting is a portrait of our boss, made by the creator of the famous „fraternal kiss“ at the Eastside Gallery, Dmitry Vrubel, one of our neighbours.

2 Responses to “I AM BERLIN”

  1. Sasch

    I can’t wait to see the finished video. Make sure to let us know, when it’s published 😀 . Good luck with your next projects.

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  2. Mike Corey

    Sascha! This article is great. Caspar and I had such a great time riding, shooting, and exploring with you. You were an integral piece in the project and we both thank you so much. Looking forward to meeting up again in the future. It made me smile to see the IAMBERLIN sign up on the wall :)

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