Tuesday, 8 September 2015

Park Life

This is the story of the bush in this photograph taken at the Berlin Tempelhof Freiheit (freedom) Park in July. I like to think that even when the Tempelhof airport was in operation, this bush was lying there under the tarmac waiting for its chance to break through. When the airport closed in 2008 it realised that it could sieze its chance now those pesky planes were gone. But first it had to wait, as there was a fair bit of bureaucratic nonsense to wade through: a people's vote to decide whether the land should be snapped up by developers or made into a park for everyone. "No brainer" it thought, but still it bit its imaginary nails and tried its best at thought transference into the minds of Berlin residents. Then the results in. Its bud shook with glee when it found out that the land would remain a park! Utopia would be built right here bordering Neuk├Âlln and it was at the centre of it, the bellybutton of a new dawn. There would be groovy allotments and windswept runways, where skaters, joggers and cyclists would fly as if on air into the unfathomable distance (386 hectares) to become minute specks. Picnics, barbecues, yoga enthusiasts and acrobats would be accommodated. There would be a bird sanctuary, a nifty moveable classroom made from shipping containers and recycled Bauhaus windows and even a beer garden with excellent hot dogs*. Young dreamers would wake up here arm in arm lying on the taxiways cradling wine bottles, oblivious to the busy traffic of early morning dog walkers. Then there was the stupendous architecture of the airport itself, which if you forgot its its fascist origins as the dream of Albert Speers and Hitler to be the "gateway to Germania" and thought about its role in the Berlin Air Lift, was really kind of cool looking. It was in this ecstatic frame of mind that the plant began its ascent through the concrete, and took, what it felt to be its rightful place, amongst the yellow floor markings and pink upright signs.

 "What will be my meaning?" the bush asked itself when it was fully fledged "now that I stand here, not just as a bush, but as a sign amongst signs". 

It felt proud to be the first organic sign on the Tempelhofer Freiheit Park in Berlin. Others joined it of course, the grasses, the trees but that was later, much later when everyone had lost interest in organic signs.

"What edict will I convey?" 

 It thought long and hard as its tendrils grew and made a shape full of meaning and clarity. Nowadays, people and dogs who pass the bush obey the bush's edict without knowing what it is, for it is a secret. If you go to the Tempelhofer Freiheitpark, and pass this bush or should I say sign, just be aware that is absolutely essential to obey this sign, or if you are the generation of '68, please feel free to deliberately ignore it. 

The sign's edict for me was to take two photographs of more or less the same thing, one with a digital camera where the results appear analogue, and one with an analogue camera where the results looks digital as the scan is extremely crass. 
I cannot say what the sign will tell you to do. 

*this may not be completely accurate about the hot dogs

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