Where I’m from, you learn what borders are from an early age. The fence separating my own little world from the neighbors’ garden was a demarcation line toward enemy territory. Neighbors’ disputes were said to be the germ cell of war. And plucking low-hanging fruit from a branch of your neighbor’s apple tree, I was taught, was the one-way entry point to a life of crime. Where I’m from, the petty-bourgeois values of domestic peace, […]
Sometimes you have to cross a line to find true happiness. Sometimes, crossing a line takes you from happiness to hell. If only it were so clear in which direction you are crossing. Life isn’t always signposted that well, and sometimes the signs to happiness and those to hell point in the same direction. Agnes Varda’s film Le Bonheur (1965, English Happiness) gaily depicts such a journey with an ambiguous orientation. Does the film come […]
Meeting up with a couple of people for an easy ride through the city—this would be any cyclist’s dream, if only there weren’t so many cars that prefer to have the streets to themselves. This is precisely the reason why there is Critical Mass. The concept originated in San Francisco, where the first bicycle gathering under this name took place on the last Friday in September 1992. Since then, the idea has spread, and bikers […]
Silk roads, one could argue, are the opposite of borders. While borders pose barriers to the travel of people and goods, silk roads promote exchange between different cultural regions. This is not to imply, though, that the flow of goods and people along old trade routes was ever without hurdles or dangers.
One day in September 2011, Alain Ducasse, one of the world’s most highly decorated chefs, walked into the Blue Hill at Stone Barns restaurant in Hudson Valley, New York. The main purpose of his visit being a photo shoot, he was served the epitome of a frugal meal—bread and butter. And yet, this simple dish featured the pride and joy of the restaurant’s co-owner and chef, Dan Barber. Single-udder butter is created from the cream […]
Lütfi Ö. Akad’s film Law of the Border is a cinematic masterpiece that marked a pivotal point in Turkish cinema when it came out in 1966. Today, it appears as a brilliant reflection on the complexities of borders, unequal opportunities, and other limitations that define modern societies. Borders are ambiguous phenomena. On the one hand, they are intended to be simplifying limitations, attempts at drawing clear lines through reality. On the other hand, they are […]
Here’s the truth: I’ve never been on a roller coaster. I’ve never taken LSD. I’ve never tried to step out of an elevator on the 13th floor. I’ve never been to Austin, Texas. And I’ve never written about music. Hence this is no reportage; I’m not a music journalist. I’m not a historian either—facts are important to me, but at times they seem fleeting. And yet, all of these things fascinate me, especially when they […]
The year is not even half over, and there is no shortage of things I will always remember it for. If I were to give 2020 a title in my personal history book, though, I would call it the year when I learned to cherish and wield the power of habits. Of course, habits have always been an important part of my life. Humans are creatures of habit; that’s a truism, and I’ve been aware […]