“Simply the Other Side”

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Review

C/O Berlin shows “Francesca Woodman: On Being an Angel,” the first cross-section through the work of the great American photographer ever presented in Germany.

Right when it opened in March, I had the plan to go see the exhibition “On Being an Angel” at C/O Berlin. Then came the pandemic, and the sudden lockdown thwarted my plan.

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Serendipity and the Art of Tracking Down Stories, Camels, and Outbreaks

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Contemplation
Silk Road Traces

An age-old tale about three princes inspired modern science, the creation of the word serendipity, and a whole tradition of detective fiction. It seems equally inspiring today in the midst of a pandemic and a global crisis of knowledge and information.

While listening to a podcast covering the latest coronavirus news the other day it struck me how much research around the outbreak is informed by veritable detective work. The virus harms and kills people quite randomly, much like a serial offender—to track it down and ideally put a stop to its game, researchers are set to acquire an ever-clearer picture of the phantom they are looking for.

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“…And the Pursuit of Happiness”

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Review
immigrant eyes

A review of Louis Malle’s 1986 documentary about immigration to the USA—an inspiring work of art which has aged very well.

Many eyes are looking at the United States of America these days with their lids wide-open. Some of them are filled with dismay and horror, some with confusion and bafflement, others with optimism and hope. And in some 100,000 eyes, those emotions may even be present all at once. I write this because today, on June 6, 2020, the US State Department announces the 55,000 lucky winners of the Diversity Visa Lottery. Those who’ve been chosen are now entitled to apply for a green card to live and work in the US. And with their eyes wide open they might be wondering what sort of happiness they can actually hope to pursue in “the land of the free and the home of the brave.”

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Cherry Blossom Row

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Contemplation
Cherry Tree

Near where I live, a row of Japanese cherry blossom trees is thriving along the same line where the Wall once used to be. When the Wall came down, the people of Japan got so invested in the events in Europe that they donated hundreds of their favorite trees to the reunited people of Germany. These trees were then planted along the former inner-city border. Today, on a sunny afternoon, the lush life of the metropolis is bustling under them.

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