Futurium (10mm III)

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This cute little building in Berlin houses exhibits that are concerned with — you guessed it — the future. A thematic question on one of the walls brings it to the point: How do we display something that doesn’t exist yet?

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You can find robots and explanations of some cutting edge technologies, but also large scale models that just keep you musing. 

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Much of the interior design is an attempt to appear moderately futuristic.

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This object is the closest I could find to something like a personal oracle. It lights up (or darkens) when you move in front of it.

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The exhibit above seems to be designed for introspection. Which me will pick which door? 

So maybe we have a misconception here. The future doesn’t just arrive. It’s upon us to create it.

Absence (10mm II)

Hisham Matar’s autobiographic book The Return talks about his father’s absence.

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The image above show the Voided Void at the end of the Axis of Holocaust in Daniel Libeskind’s Jewish Museum in Berlin. 

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Matar quotes Aristoteles: The theory that the void exists involves the existence of place: for one would define void as place bereft of body.

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Right now, the museum is being prepared for a new standard exhibition, and hence almost completely void.

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Matar continues to reflect about Aristoteles. He adds: He says nothing of time here, and time is surely part of it all, of how we try to accommodate the absence. […]. Only time can hope to fill the void. The body of my father is gone, but his place is here and occupied by something that cannot just be called memory.

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A second accessible void in the Libeskind building is the Memory Void, containing Menashe Kadishman’s installation Shalekhet (Fallen Leaves).

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Matar concludes this reflection: What is extraordinary is that, given everything that has happened, the natural alignment of the heart remains towards the light.

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Despite (Across VI)

This last in the series of Across posts returns to the Hole-in-the-Wall Rings Trail in the Mojave National Preserve. Today we try a different format:

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This is the reason for the name of the trail. There are holes everywhere.

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There are also gaps. So this could be a post about negative space.

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Instead, this post has a desert-worthy theme: It’s about what is there despite the presence of everything else. We could also call it resistance.

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Besides all the holes and cracks, there is the vegetation, that somehow manages to survive, even after a long and hot summer.DSC 1756

Sometimes it helps to hide, sometimes to be invulnerable. We humans can learn. 

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Sometimes it also helps to pretend to be someone else. Or, could it be sufficient to be just oneself?

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Berlin at 10 mm

These here are my first shots with Samyang’s spectacular 10mm wide angle lens for 35mm cameras.

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The first three pictures are from the government district in Berlin.

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Almost everything becomes extremely compressed in width and pulled apart in depth.

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It is a very satisfying experience to have to step closer when all other people step back to take a picture.

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And the last three pictures are from Berlin Hauptbahnhof, the main train station.

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This extreme lens forces the photographer to compose differently.

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Courage (New Harmony VIII)

Walking a bridge always takes courage.

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This is particularly true if the bridge has been abandoned, become treacherous, or otherwise suspect.

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Why do we do it anyway? Walking across a bridge is the quintessential metaphor (the pattern) for change.

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When done right, it is a slow process, and involves looking at what we are transcending.

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It also involves facing, eventually, the other side.

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And finally, the test: Can we look back and accept where we come from? A bridge is not about abandoning the past, but connecting it with the future.

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Sunrise (New Harmony VII)

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While the absence of light in winter has it’s own appeal, we humans prefer it bright. We would be nowhere without having mastered fire. The pottery studio in New Harmony gives multiple evidence of this.

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For the photographer and everybody else who likes to see, these early hours just before sunrise are the most revealing.

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Everything appears gradually and returns to existence.

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Sky and earth are still in perfect balance.

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We get ready to continue to walk the mazes of the human mind. A new day has been born.

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Silent Night (New Harmony VI)

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Now is a good time to approach darkness: You know that this is it, from now on the days will get longer again.

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It is also a good time to approach silence. New Harmony, at this time of the year and this time of the day, is nearly deserted.

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In the Roofless Church I met James. He was making music, just singing and playing guitar. This is also a form of listening.

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We talked for a bit. He is there sometimes three times a week. He also likes the Athenaeum, and the Bridge, but hasn’t been on top of the Athenaeum or across the Bridge.

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It is also a good time to approach light.

Directions (Across V)

Next to Pogonip, there is scenic Henry Cowell Redwood State Park in Santa Cruz, named after 20th century composer Henry Cowell.

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The picture above gives a decent idea about Redwood trees. The trees to the left show what trees elsewhere look like. Width has an extra dimension here.

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Because the trees are so tall, it sometimes seems that they just continue vertically forever, in either direction.

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The trees themselves become habitats for other, smaller forests, offering also a perspective inside their fractalized world.

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You can also move time-wise, go back into the past or forward into the future.

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Finally, there is a spot without directions, where time stands still. It’s called the Garden of Eden.

Permanence (Across IV)

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On the way across it is worth to pause occasionally and to spend a few hours reminding the legs what they were meant for. The southern route across leads through wonderful Flagstaff, and I recommend to make a slight detour to see the Red Rock Secret Mountain Wilderness. 

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The pictures here are from Brins Mesa Trail which climbs up for scenic views and can be easily completed into a loop, surrounding the hump below. Not all trees grow in pairs here.

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After the monochrome winter landscape of the last two days, this is an explosion of color. While the trees will eventually grow, break, and die, their beauty will stay, if only as a memory.

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Sinkholes remind us that there is also beauty in impermanence.

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This piece of moss must be infinitely content, being able to contemplate all this.

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Pogonip (Across III)

After the slightly dreary Across pictures, it’s time to have a look at the other side of Across. The Pogonip is a wooded area adjacent to the University of Santa Cruz. 

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The word appears to come from a native American language and signifies dense, frozen fog. The pictures  here were taken at an evening walk, after the long drive across. 

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The ground is characteristically covered with Redwood needles. This is not southern Indiana anymore.

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Only the occasional maple leaves remind us of the existence of changing seasons and places.

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Then there are special places, like the Rock Garden, or the Lichen Tree.

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Now the fog can come.