I am back in the country, after about 36 hours stuck in Vienna, Austria hanging out in an international airport. But I am home and I have never been so happy to see English writing in my entire life. The trip was insane. Europe is brilliant, but I’m sure you already knew that. I think I am going to write about this in a Brett Easton Ellis Rules of Attraction (inspired by character passage by Victor Johnson )kind of way since I haven’t really had time to process this experience, so enjoy this word vomit summarization of my experience in Berlin and Bratislava, here we go:
Go to the airport at 5 o’clock. Check in. Find the airport bar, use my last 40 bucks Canadian to drink by myself an analyze everyone in the room while also surfing Tumblr. There’s a cute guy in a really tacky suite, but he doesn’t matter. Get on the plane, which is taking me to Brussels where I will get my connecting flight to Berlin. I watch too many movies and can’t sleep. While drinking free booze and ignoring the fact the flight attendant is getting annoyed every time I order a double gin and tonic (which apparently was to frequent). I get to Brussels. It is about 730 in the morning and there are already people at the airport pub throwing back pints. I resist the urge to join them, get on my next plane for one hour to Berlin and go through the airport. Find Dominic, the person who I am staying with who attends the art school in Berlin INTAC is working with. Go to his apartment and immediately fall asleep for about 5 hours. Get up and Dominic took me too meet up with some people and look at the berlin wall in the dark. We walked around the wall while drinking beer and consuming cigarettes. After about 3 hours of socializing outside the group of 5 of us went to various bars where I discovered that bathrooms, specific girls bathrooms, are amazing in Europe and are equipped with a disco ball and couches. Some even had a table for chemical consumption. Went to three more bars and woke up the next morning with a bit of a headache. We ate bread and some weird salad thing that reminded me of my Russian friends. We mapped out some galleries and went on a crazy 5 hour walk discovering art shows and my eyes overstimulated, taking in the new environment which was mesmerizing. Some of the shows I really liked that day were Johny Dar at the House of Dar Art Gallery and concept store , and Exhibition with Michel Meyer “Asche, Krümel, Parmesan at De Freo Gallery . Traveling alone is weird though. You don’t always feel alone like you would think you would. Everything is new and different, and you can be who ever you’d like. I walked a lot and got lost after roaming through a cemetery. Next day made my way to the Bauhaus Archive Museum
which was remarkable. The building and the content in the museum were so awesome to see in real life as opposed to textbooks. My favorite pieces would include the Scent Poetry book and Moholy Nagy’s Photograms. Walked around awhile, went to see the WW II memorial to victims of the holocaust. Berlin is really interesting and honest about their past and I really appreciate their self awareness and monuments to tragedy. My last night I spent with Soren, a friend I met through INTAC who attends BTK, I also worked with on the project being shown in Slovakia. Unfortunately he couldn’t make it to Bratislava, so instead we went to a hole in the wall bar and chatted for a little bit before he had to run off to bed so he could be in class early the next morning. I also went to bed getting ready for a lengthy 9 hour train ride from Berlin to Bratislava, Slovakia. I successfully found the train station and bought some really good Turkish food while I waited. Met a fellow artist on the train who was making her way to Prague. Dresden was gorgeous, full of little quant cottages juxtaposed with beautiful lush green scenery, large rocks and chalets (I saw a hotel that looked exactly like Wes Anderson’s The Budapest Hotel, pretty amazing). Prague is phenomenal with castles and old architecture scattered everywhere. Get to Slovakia finally, try to find my bus but no one speaks English and no one wants to. Found the only English speaking person and got on my bus at 11 at night in a deserted Bratislava. I got lost trying to find my hostel, and the only think I could think of was the film by Eli Roth entitled Hostel. I start crying in the middle of the city (whatever, I have no shame in my game) cause I cant find my hostel and I don’t want to die at the hands of obnoxious rich people through unfathomable ways (Which is the completely opposite way it really is; safe and lovely). I got found by a sweet lady who brought my to my hostel where Ned, another student from BTK, is waiting for me and the clerk of the hostel hands me a beer with a smile and says, “Welcome to Slovakia”. I get settled and go to the hostel bar and do some shots with Canadians. The next day Ned and I go to the space where our exhibition for Off Festival Slovakia is going to be held, which coincidentally is an amazing palace.
We try to begin setting up but cant get through the main door because the key isn’t working (which ends up working later), we head to a café where we try to order breakfast and an Americano, but instead are served a sliver of cake and a 3 shot espresso with a shot of cold water. Go back start setting up and work on that for a few hours. That night go to bed wake up early and try to finish curating. Walk around the palace and meet fellow artists and students working on theirs. Later that evening we go to a Chinese restaurant after more students from BTK arrive and help set up, the Chinese restaurant was surprisingly really good, then we head to an extremely Slovak bar based on the history of the town. Weird (and somewhat awful, yet endearing) paintings of medieval heros litter the walls and there was an absurdly large wooden cross located in the middle of the bar. Go to bed early and wake up the next day to finish setting up everything with a lot of free time. Attend some openings (most were mediocre some were great) and drink free wine and go to bed early again. My last day we head to a castle that is perched higher than all buildings on the edge of a cliff, eat some weird Slovak food and get ready for our exhibition opening night. The opening was for the month long photography festival they have in Europe, and this was a festival called Off Festival and it was insaine.
So many people, great turn out, and I got some really good reception on my photos. After the opening the group of students I was working with and I head to a wine bar and I drink two beers before heading to the bus that will take me to Vienna. Now, the airport is a whole other story I wont get into now since it just reminds me of how stressful and annoying airports can be but I got home safe to Toronto and now I’m writing this blog.
Moral of the story, traveling alone is awesome. It really gives you perspective on yourself and what you sincerely want to achieve in life ( existential crisis #6782904 resolved). The fact I even got everywhere I needed to be was an accomplishment in itself. I suggest everyone go to Europe and find themselves at least once. Also the reason i got to be apart of this awesome festival was due to INTAC a course offered at OCADU which enables you to work with schools around the work. you get to collaborate and curate shows internationally, it is a really get experience if you can hack all the work.
You can see a bunch of photos I took on instagram of my trip which helped me validate my own existence, check it out if you want !
Next week I will resume posting about art shows, talks and etc !
Before I sign off I hope everyone is being cautious these days. There have been some really unfortunate violent attacks happening in Toronto. Be aware of your surroundings and be safe ! Milk Glass Gallery is going to be offering some self defence classes if you are feeling uneasy!
~ Sending love and posi vibes ~
Jazmine V. K. Carr