Fitting in with the course theme of mobility, I decided to take pictures and short video clips around and outside different U-Bahn stations throughout Berlin for my video blog. In Berlin, this was my primary mode of transportation and the most consistent activity that I took part of everyday while I was in Berlin. I begin my blog at Heinrich Heine Strasse, the closest U-Bahn station by our apartments. Then I put together clips of different stations approximately ordering them by the distance from our apartments. I found Berlin to be a very dynamic city shaped by its history: the division of East and West Berlin as well as the division into different sectors. I chose to record different U-bahn stations in order to capture the differences in demographics and building styles throughout the city that I saw. For example, I tried to contrast the constant activity and crowds of Alexanderplatz and around Friedrichstrasse with the quiet and neighborhood-like atmosphere around Jannowitzbruke.
Friday, August 12, 2011
Before going to Berlin, I began with the idea that Germany would have a very different culture, but being part of Western Europe it would still share enough similarities with the United States that it would still be relatively easy to get around the city and to not stand out. Further, I had expected that there would be a language barrier in Germany, but that residents would know some English or at least enough English that I would be able to communicate and accomplish daily tasks relatively with ease. Generally, this was the case. However, besides the language barrier which was present in any social interaction that I encountered in Germany, such as ordering food at a restaurant or asking for directions on the street, there were small daily issues that came up that made me feel like an outsider: being unable to use their change efficiently or being slow at packing my groceries at the store. I chose a photo of a keyboard at the Central Berlin Public Library as a photo to represent the intersection of reality and fantasy because it represents my experience in Germany as an outsider. Like the German keyboard, I found daily activities in Germany mostly familiar. However, occasionally there would be small issues that came up that made me feel like I did not belong; on the keyboard, I would be typing my query and suddenly find that I was typing z’s instead of y’s or that I could not find the question mark key. As a foreign student in Germany, I feel that I experienced to a lesser extent the feeling of not belonging and the unfamiliar. This image represents to me this memory.