Arrived in Berlin safe and sound yesterday morning, slept, and spent a couple of hours in the late afternoon walking a loop around Prenzlauer Berg from Greifswalder Strasse up to Danzinger Strasse and back on Stredzkistrasse. I collected about 60 stickers in just a few hours, mostly political and a bunch announcing May Day-related strikes and demonstrations. The one below is for an anti-capitalist strike in Wedding on Walpurgisnacht, or Walpurgis Night, with several events listed here. Walpurgis Night is a traditional pagan spring festival celebrated April 30 or May 1, six months from Halloween, in which huge bonfires are lit and witches meet and revel with the gods.
Every sticker has a story, doesn’t it? Walpurgis Night is mentioned in works by Goethe, Thomas Mann, Bram Stoker, and even Edward Albee’s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf. Apparently, Walpurgisnacht also signals the beginning of May Day riots in Berlin in Mauerpark where I walked yesterday. There is a great flea market there on Sundays that Spencer Homick and I went to last fall.
“Mieten Verdrängungen” above translates to “Rent displacements,” and you can see a guy getting kicked out of a house in the picture on the upper right. There was another version of this sticker below that said “Bullen, Repression & Knäste?” or “Bulls, repression, & prisons?” and showing police beating somebody up, though many of these stickers had the illustrations cut out. Not sure why.
One of my goals on this trip is to write every morning (rather than run myself into the ground collecting stickers – ha!). I met some art students who are having a show opening tonight, Long Lonely Swims, at Kominek Gallery right around the corner from where I am staying, so I will check that out. Off now to rent a bike!