Stolpersteine (stumbling stones)

Walking around Berlin if you look down at the cobblestone sidewalks you can discover a lot. One of the first things that was pointed out to me was the tiny brass plate that laid among the cobblestone.

Stumble stones 1

These brass plates sat outside of different buildings but not all of them, or even within sight of each other.  The squares were part of artist GunterDemnig’s  piece was called “Stolpersteine,” or stumbling stones.  These were the markers, a memorial in front of the homes of people who were killed during the Holocaust.  Each holds information of the person who resided in the house: Their name,birth year, date of capture, camp taken to, and death (if found).  In Berlin, about 55,000 people were taken and killed in the Holocaust, there are some 2,800 brass tiles marking the dead in various parts of the city.

In 1996, Demnig placed is his brass plaque illegally in Berlin. What started as an independent art project has now become something of a social movement. Though this idea started in Berlin Demnig has legally installed this stumbling stones in various cities.

“The victims get back a piece of their identity and at the same time, every personal stone is also meant as a symbol for the entirety of all victims…”

“It’s a social sculpture and if you look at it as a whole, it is the biggest art monument in the world.”

As I continue to walk throughout Berlin I find myself trying to spot these small brass plates.

Bass stones 2

Check out this project  and learn more about it


Where it stood

Where it divided

On a walk back from the U-bahn found this on the ground. Bricks and a plaque laid to show where the Berlin Wall stood.


Location, location, location

I arrived in Berlin early saturday and spent the weekend exploring the city blind. Blind in the sense that I was not familiar with the exact historical location of exactly where I was. I knew I was close to where the wall stood, but little did I know how close I was.

On monday, the other participants of the program and I were given a guided tour of the city. On this tour we were show the locations of a few spots we could buy supplies andfabricate some of our work. More so on this walk around the city, we were enlightened to exactly where we were staying. We would stay for the next 6 weeks were within a few yards of the wall. I could have gone out on my balcony and without have to strain my eyes see the wall. Had I been saying here 40 years ago, I would have been in East Berlin. Berlin

We stood on a bridge between what was the diving point for East and West Berlin. Looking toward my left and my right, there was one site that showed the differences between the two locations. It was not loud and had it not been pointed out it would have gone unnoticed possibly forever by me. There was no loud sign, no graffiti demonstrating opposition. Instead the difference between the two sides were shown through the street lights.   The lights of the west were much like the street lights we’ve would more likely see US. A sign of western culture most  likely put in by an american company. The street lights of the East we simple in their design, a box light on top of a pole.

I found it interesting how through the subtle differences of something so simple laid a much more complex story. The more I found out about where I was and the history it held, the more I saw the subtle differences of the opposing sides. This began to make me more curious about the other silents signs of the cities recovery and history I was missing.

West Berlin Streetlight

West Berlin Streetlight

East Berlin street light

East Berlin street light

Final Days in the States

My countdown to leaving for Germany is getting smaller and smaller and I found that similarly so is the countdown to the show: Uncertainty in Stability. This show will present sculptural  installations by Haley Lauw and myself this Friday, at the Working Method Contemporary Gallery in Tallahassee, Florida.

Flyer for July 2013 First Friday Show at the Working Method Contemporary Gallery

Flyer for July 2013 First Friday Show at the Working Method Contemporary Gallery

The Working Method Contemporary Gallery presents, “Uncertainty in stability,” an exhibition of recent works by MFA 2014 candidate Samantha Burns and MFA 2015 candidate Haley Lauw. Displayed within the exhibition are text-based, sculptural installations that investigate intimacy, memory, humor, and visual poetry.

The Working Method Contemporary Gallery will be open to the public Friday, July 5, 2013.
Doors will open at 6:30pm.

I’m happy to say the show is up, lit, and ready to be seen. Although I will not be able to attend, as I will be flying 40,000 ft above the sea, if you have the chance you should check out Lauw’s and my work  at the WMC or later on the Working Method Gallery’s  site.