Ramble On

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Anniversary of The Fall of the Berlin Wall - part 3

Adding a few more scans of Berlin Wall photos today. By looking at the dates mixed in with the graffiti on one of the color scans, these date to Fall 1985, while the black and white one has an inscription on the back that dates it to March 1986 - just a few weeks before my departure. I scanned the b&w at a higher density, apologies if the page is a slow load while this is up.

The b&w photo was taken by my friend Brian. I'll have a few more of his timely photos in a few days, but the significance of this one is in the quote that you can read on the Wall section:

"Take a walk on the wild side. And the Commie girls go: rat-at-tat-tat. - Lou Reed"

I'm not sure that this is an accurate attribution but I am also not sure that Lou would mind his song being taken out of context like this.

The next one - "Rambo" - is a fairly typical example of the polyglot graffiti you'd see on the Wall. There's Russian at the top - "Shnoozel loves Shni..." - where the text is cut off in the photo, and there are those drawings of Yuki and Tsutomu at the bottom, where it also says "Come on Tokyo."

Then there is the colorful "Rambo" "burn" that is the centerpiece; and the anti-american (or maybe just anti-commercial) graffiti painted over it. What's lost in this one is the black and purple paintings underneath of Rambo - Yuki and Tsutomu were part of this - but I like that you can still read "bunga bunga" where it was part of the earlier drawing.

The next photo has another anti-commercial message - this body draped over the Wall about to fall into a Coke can. I've always tried to figure out exactly what the point of this photo was - these were the days of New Coke, and the introduction of Cherry Coke - maybe it's about that?

The final one is one of the rare ones where the artist first painted a new base color to block out all the graffiti that had gone before. I think the artwork is actually a demonstration against American militarism and specifically Reagan's "Star Wars" program. Both were hot topics at the time, with nuclear cruise missiles arriving in Europe during the early '80's, and the continued political discussion about re-arming Europe was always in the news.

The artist chose a good spot for this protest, as well - this is clearly a high traffic area, as indicated by the shadows on the ground. There is one of the scaffold overlooks of the Wall here, and on the day this photo was taken, it was pretty crowded.

The color photos were taken by my friend Denise back in the day. She actually had them as Kodakrome slides and I had prints made. She loaned the slides to me back in 1987 - I used these as part of an extra credit presentation I gave in a class I was taking at USF: "Two Germanies."

Funny, almost five years in West Berlin and I was on the verge of failing that class at one point, as I recall!

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