The transit lounge is the archetypal transit space, the point where the hyper-global + hyper-local coincide; a location which blurs traditional conceptions of geo-political boundaries, creating pockets of international space within the borders of individual nation-states. An in-between space, it exists relative to a fixed departure and arrival point, not to the area that surrounds it.

The Transit Lounge is a series of overlapping residencies for Australian and German artists and architects in Berlin. It is also a blog where themes relating to the project will develop, collaborations will be initiated and sustained, and observations on the city collected. The Transit Lounge invites you to participate in these transnational conversations by commenting on the blog.

For more information email us: transit [AT] transitlounge [DOT] org

The transit lounge is supported by Culturia and the DAZ

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

hello berlin

I'm listening to a Lee Hazelwood song 'nothing' on 2SER, a duet half in german, and only understanding one word in ten. Better get those four language courses I borrowed from the library onto the CD player now. Hope that immersion will bring back some of the forgotten deutsche from high school. It was great having a chance to meet some of the transit loungers in newtown before they headed off to various places on the way to berlin, and I'm looking forward to receiving the image/text/video/sound from our exquisite corpse to play with when I arrive.

Thinking a lot about the nature of connection, how ephemeral or lasting that moment can be, and becoming intrigued by the missed connections section of craigslist. Such incredible yearning and poetry expressed for someone glimpsed on the subway, usually a moment of eye contact taking place, but neither person having the courage to step forward and speak, or a short conversation but no further details to meet or reconnect. So the dreams and hopes are posted in this anonymous forum, where they become a hymn to longing (and hotties).

Wondering, in a life of constant transit, when do you decide to stay?
When is the pull of gravity or desire or stability stronger than the pull of adventure, the unknown... and desire? Where have you traveled to for a kiss? asked a friend in Slovakia last year 'hmmmm; Glasgow, Helsinki, New York'.
Happy Valentines Day!

I took myself on a lovely sonic adventure courtesy of soundtransit, taking me from a stormy night in sydney to bubbling mud in karosta via Tibetan roof thatching, old factories along the canals of montreal, crows in cuba, and woodcutters in latvia who kept our friends warm during their stay. Completely fantastic, design your own itinerary and book a flight around the world through the sonographic contributions of an international community of sound artists.

Maybe I'm jaded and weary, but I'd like to talk to friends in the same place and time zone. Preferably the same room.
I've developed an insatiable craving for embodied interaction rather than virtual.

This is what I'd like to explore during my time in berlin at the transit lounge.

An open invitation to conversation. Who knows where it will lead, or what we might uncover or discover? People tell you all kinds of things, if you just listen. And keep asking questions.

Unlike the wonderful dropping knowledge project in berlin last year, I won't be talking to experts or seeking answers to important questions. I'll just be talking to people - on the streets, in the gallery, in bars, cafes, bookshops, grocery stores - listening to their experiences, ideas, take on life, moments of transition and change where they willingly leapt into the unknown; and sharing some of their favourite music. (copyright issues depending)

People often ask me: why bridges? And I think it's largely the simple reason that they are points of connection and departure. Not in one place or another.

They offer the possibility of change, and then there's always the river, flowing away beneath you, to and from somewhere else. I have a pathological fear of being stuck or trapped, I like to be near an open window or the aisle seat so I can always get out quickly if necessary. The bridge between one place and another lets you leave, and it lets you arrive/return.

I've noticed in the course of my adjunct career as a gonzo radio journalist making out-there cultural features, that when you talk to someone with a microphone in hand, it creates another level of intimacy and purpose to the conversation. Often allowing you to go deeper, somehow people just open up to you and often you can ask pretty much anything and get an honest answer. I was always frustrated having to edit these long conversations into false brevity, keeping only two or three sentences and cutting the rest.

So now I've decided to take control, I'm not editing anything in or out; they can be heard in all their rambling, messy, meandering, incoherent glory of a freeform verbal dance - no time limit or structure, it was going to be fifteen minutes but I decided against imposing an artificial structure or limit. Although maybe I will. Maybe fifteen minutes of fame is the right amount. Or see what happens naturally.

Conversations with three friends simulataneously adrift in the world, one in london (then melbourne via st petersberg and berlin); another in Delhi (choosing between helsinki, sydney and delhi for the next few years), and another one trying to leave helsinki but not sure where he's going next. Apparently you need at least three conversations a day to avoid isolation and insanity. The conversations I crave take place over time zones and electronic pulses.

Philosopher Michael Oakshot describes good conversation as "an unrehearsed intellectual adventure," and "a boundless sea with no destination."

I'm looking forward to exploring the way different places have different conversational styles.
Berlin, New York, Helsinki, Glasgow, Sydney - as Lou Reed said, just a New York conversation.


Katie Hepworth said...

sitting in grey, rainy and not so wintery berlin. the city that feels more like home than 'home'. wherever that is now. have been bouncing around the world and living from suitcases 2 years now. from here back to sydney, and then back over to milan, and then...

I have friends that meet in random cities in the world. we stop and catch up for a few days when our paths cross, and then disappear until the next time we are within a few hundred kms of each other.

you're right jodi, i prefer these fleeting meetings to trying to make sense when one of you is just awake and the other is going to bed. trying to cross-time differences and explain unimaginable circumstances.

(and in answer to your question: for a kiss i got stuck in budapest for 3 days and berlin for 4, i've been followed to sydney for one and then travelled to darwin and rome to break-up.)

jodi said...

hey katie,

yes, it keeps me sane to know that i will meet up with familiar people in various strange cities - and that others stay in one place where their lives are fixed. it seems like a choice I keep making to stay mobile, defying gravity - I wonder though does it pull us all to ground somewhere in the end?

here is a sample of the replies to my recent project update - the glasgow circus started with a helsinki kiss... oh my am I being indiscreet now!!

loved your answer to the question, it seems that some kisses are harder to leave behind than others...

* often i am reminded of your 'acoustic nomad' title, i very often think i am one of those too, constantly on the move, in an airplane to somewhere new. i often have to think an extra minute to remember where i'll be going next.

in march i'll not be in berlin, but nothing less than in venice, new york, washington, belgium and holland. BUT in fact i will come to berlin between the 18th and 22nd of april! will you still be around then? i'll be doing something at TESLA.

* Talk to you soon, I am almost off to London, just 4 hours of sleep ahead.

* i'm still down in the small town of christchurch, havent left nz since billy and I came to oz.

* Won't be in oz, berlin or finland this year but goin' to Colombia for the old Pixelache phase2:

then joining the circus for the summer:

departure tomorrow night- got to dash...

when are we seeing you back in Glasgow?

Katie Hepworth said...

hey jodi,

on crossing paths: why is it that certain cities become nodes on everyones travels. London, berlin, singapore. these places that we come together in, no matter which way we are heading.

am enjoying the movement at the moment and the anonimity it brings, but...

i can't be a tourist anymore. I've discovered that i don't want to be anywhere unless i have a reason to. unless i'm living there, visiting someone there, unless there is some connection to place. maybe in moving so much i want everywhere i go to instantaneously feel like home??