provoke!

provoke!, an exhibition which was recently inaugurated in viennese albertina, is one of the most powerful exhibitions i’ve visited since i moved to vienna. for some reason, it is still in my head.

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provoke was an experimental small press Japanese photography magazine founded by photographers yutaka takanashi and takuma nakhira, critic koji taki and writer takahiko okada in 1968. it was viewed as “a platform for a new photographic expression”. provoke magazine was born around the idea that even though images cannot completely represent an idea as words can, photographs can provoke language and idea. hence provoke’s subtitle “provocative materials for thought”

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only three issues of provoke magazine were published on 1 november 1968, and 10 march and 10 august 1969, each in an edition of 1,000 copies. however, it had a profound effect on photography in japan.

the photographers of provoke magazine captured what cannot be expressed in words, such as massive protest movements active in japan between sixties and seventies, as well as the search for a new japanese identity.

the magazine wanted to be a provocation to japanese society and its photographic culture, european-style photojournalism and straightforward commercial photography. they also sought to awaken and refresh the aesthetics of existing photography and question the increasingly commercial visual language of japanese society.

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exhibition shows around 200 photographs. these images represent both an expression of this political transformation and the renewal of aesthetic norms.

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i guess that the powerful thing which kept me thinking about this exhibition for some time is how little i know about that era in japan. sixties were quite turbulent period on a global level (civil rights, feminism, space race, and so on). ever since i saw these photographs i keep wondering how it was to live there in that turbulent period.

for all of you living in vienna (or if you’re planning to visit in the next months), do not miss this exhibition. it will truly give you an insight in that particular period of japanese (and global) history. the exhibition is open until 8.5.2016.

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end of summer

we can all agree that we had a long and very warm summer.. it was even warmer for us who stayed in the city. i thought that, by moving to vienna, i would no longer experience such warm weather (summers in milan were really unbearable.. just like the weather during an entire year in kuala lumpur). but i was wrong – vienna welcomed me with the warmest summer ever.

however, it came to an end. the weather these days announces the arrival of autumn..
i spent the last day of summer in the garden of palais liechtenstein, its summer palace to be precise, which is quite close to where i live.

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later i had learned that the liechtenstein summer palace is home to one of the most significant and largest private art collections in the world. the collection of the prince of liechtenstein includes treasures from the early renaissance to the high baroque, such as masterpieces by rubens, rembrandt, van dyck and many others. however, the art collection of the palais liechtenstein is visible only at events or booked tours. public tours are offered regularly and their timetable is exposed at the garden entrance.

since there were no tours offered at the time, i decided to stay in the garden (but i wrote down a note to myself to check out the timetable). i found a free bench, opened a book and enjoyed the last day of summer. i was so taken by the book that i forgot where i was. after some time, i looked up and saw a beautiful garden filled with flowers.. i decided to put down the book and take some pictures. i finally started practicing using my camera the way it should be used, so i thought i could give it a go..

..et voilà!

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some photos may need improvement, but it’s a good start.. don’t you think so?

destination vienna 2015

destination vienna 2015 (or destination wien 2015) is the name the exhibition in kunsthalle wien, one of the leading contemporary museums in vienna. the exhibition itself gives the landscape of contemporary art in vienna, presenting selected contributions from artists of different generations, working in various methods and differing in their use of media.

i have visited kunsthalle wien a couple of days ago and i am so glad i did so, since the exhibition ended just yesterday. i got to see many interesting works of the viennese contemporary artists and i will share with you my favorites:

— marina faust, stacks
the idea of the exhibition is to show that the overlay of see-through images does not necessarily offer transparency. rather, the underlying layers become visible. they are like shadows of the above image.

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— sonia leimer, neues land / nowaja semlja / new land
the work of sonia leimer combines historical footage of the nuclear-powered icebreaker lenin in action, as well as the excerpts from soviet propaganda footage of the space program. the video is projected onto an oversized envelope.

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— christian mayer, putting in time
this series presents original photographs taken from american newspaper archives dealing with the burying of time capsules.

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— karin pliem, concursus naturale I / concursus naturale II
the aim of these paintings is to bring together creatures from diverse parts and ecosystems worldwide: flora from the tropics, alpine valleys or the botanical gardens encounter sea animals or transgenic plants cured in the laboratory.

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— hanna putz, 07min02, 2015 / 15min47, 2015 / 12min21, 2015
the exhibited photographs show people waiting, which produces a concise image of passing time. the images’ titles give us a hint of the waiting time frame.

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–ana hoffner, transferred memories – embodied documents, 2014
the work transferred memories – embodied documents shows a conversation of two woman, who describe images of violence and horror in the north-west region of bosnia and herzegovina – prijedor, trnopolje and tomašica, while these images remain invisible.

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— —

note:

in the video, women also talk about the day when citizens of prijedor were forced to mark their houses with white flags or sheets and to wear a white armband if they were to leave their houses, in order to distinct themselves. it was 31st may 1992.

31st may is known as the white armband day – by wearing the white armband we are showing solidarity with victims of prijedor, and also with all of those who were targeted for their race, ethnicity or political beliefs.

— —

sommernachtskonzert / summer night concert

vienna welcomed me pretty well, i would say.

last night we went to a summer night concert (or, in german sommernachtskonzert) – an event organized on a yearly basis, in the gardens of schönbrunn palace and hosted by the vienna philharmonic. with this open-air concert in schönbrunn, the vienna philharmonic wishes to provide all viennese, as well as visitors to the city, with a special musical experience in the beautiful setting of schönbrunn palace and its lovely gardens. and as i heard, the repertoire is different each year.

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this year’s summer night concert featured compositions by northern european composers (such as christian sinding, carl nielsen, etc) whose works are today nearly forgotten, but during their lifetime were very popular and successful.

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“music is magic. what happens in the moment when music is played? people pause, they stand still and no words are needed”  were the opening words of the twelfth summer night concert. and that’s what we did. we stood and enjoyed the great performance in the rather chilly spring night.

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ps. my photos weren’t of high quality, so i took these photos from the kurier’s website.

the book of my lives / my new life

several months ago i read a book which stuck with me until now, and one i think i would be remembering (& referencing) for a long time.. i waited for the right moment to write about this book on my blog, as part of my little book club. it is aleksandar hemon’s memoir “the book of my lives”. critics praised hemon’s writing style, often comparing him to vladimir nabokov, both for their style and the fact that they both started writing in a foreign language rather late in their lives.

since i am no book critic, i will not focus on such particularities; i liked hemon’s work for other reasons. in this post i will focus on three of them and, finally, reflect further on the last one.

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i liked what he wrote about sarajevo, bosnia & the way people used to be before the war started. he describes sarajevo as “the world capital of gossip”, says that people of sarajevo “hated pretentiousness; it was a form of self-hatred” and later confirms what we all know.. that “there’s no word for “privacy” in bosnian”.

aleksandar hemon managed to describe the outbreak of the war as well, even to us – bosnians. as i wrote several times already, i was only seven years old when the war started and i didn’t manage to comprehend the cause of the war and what would be its outcome. years after the war had ended i understood that nobody could tell as much. as hemon wrote “i have spent time trying to comprehend how everything i had known and loved came violently apart..”. as a person who found himself abroad at the beginning of the war, he was maybe in a better position to see where we were going and where the war would lead us:  “if my mind and my city were the same thing then i was losing my mind.” finally, he wrote: “it was all over. the world had arrived and now we were all waiting to see who would live, who would kill, and who would die”. the outbreak of the war in bosnia was a defining moment in hemon’s life. just like many bosnians, he had to start a new episode: “on may 1, I didn’t fly home. on may 2, the roads out of the city were blocked; the last train (with my parents on it) departed; the longest siege in modern history began. in chicago, i submitted my application for political asylum. the rest is the rest of my life.”

my favorite part of the book was hemon’s return to sarajevo for the first time after the war had ended. or even better, his return to chicago afterwards. he wrote something which defines my feelings towards home: “when i came back from my first visit to sarajevo, in the spring of 1997, the chicago i came back to belonged to me. returning from home, i returned home.”

on 20th april i began my new life.

after seven years living in milan, i moved to vienna. meaning: a new city, a new language and a new life.

i had moved a few times already, for the first time when i was fifteen – i left the town i grew up in and moved to sarajevo. four years later, after i had finished high-school, i went to malaysia where i stayed for another four years. even though moving to malaysia might seem like more of a change, i would say that leaving home when i was fifteen was a defining moment in my life. it meant the change of lifestyle. it meant that i would no longer live with my parents, that i would have more freedom, but it also meant that i would be on my own. after graduation, i moved again. this time closer to home, to italy. unlike with the previous episodes, i didn’t have any idea how long the new episode would last, since it did not involve school or uni. as it turned out, it was the longest one – i had been living in italy for seven years before i decided it was time for me to move on.

so, here i am. at the beginning of a new life. i have to say that all my lives taught me what i had to learn, and all of them were very interesting, exciting and sometimes exhausting. each of my lives brought me a new hometown, a new language and many interesting people to meet.

however, my new life will be slightly different from my previous ones. i will have support – my husband, the reason i am here.

autumn the lovely

i am really grateful for this lovely fall we’ve been having. ever since i was a little girl, i loved it. it was my absolutely favorite season; even the start of school couldn’t ruin it.

maybe because i was born in autumn, on november 2nd. my mom told me it was beautiful day when i was born; it was getting cold, but the sun was shining & leaves were as colorful as they can get. days like that are still my favorite.

after all, albert camus said “autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower”. and i agree with him.

i will dedicate this post to several lovely cities in autumn.

zurich 2009
zurich, 2009.

nyc 2010
new york city, 2010.

munich 2011
my sister & i, munich, 2011.

rome 2012
rome, 2012.

vienna 2013
vienna, 2013.

ps. all the photos were taken by tarik&me. i can’t wait for autumn 2014. & new set of photos!

afternoon break at the lovely café hawelka

café hawelka is one of the last remaining examples of the viennese coffee culture and definitely worth a visit. it is sited in the centre of vienna (in its innere stadt) in dorotheergasse 6.

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it was first opened by leopold and josefine hawelka, in the 1939. however, quite soon it had to be closed, due to the outbreak of world war II, and it did not reopen until the fall 1945. soon after its reopening, the café became a meeting point for various viennese writers and critics.

later on it became one of the tourist spots in town, but its charm remained until the present day. as soon as you enter, you will notice its shabby style; old & used furniture, vintage wallpaper, curtains are particularly old-school, and also there is some weird art. on the other hand, as the representative of viennese coffee culture, it is a place where time and space are consumed, but you have to pay only the coffee. the newspaper are equipped with wooden holder sticks, the coffee comes served with the glass of tap water and your coffee table would have a marble tabletop.

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oh, and you shouldn’t ask for the menu! actually, i don’t think it exists to begin with. waiters will tell you the whole story, but if you ask me, it’s quite safe to order the grosser brauner (or large coffee with milk) and the apfelstrudel (or apple strudel). ours was just too good.

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