THE VAST UNIVERSE OF BERLIN


A team of photographers works on the project The World in Berlin.

Interview to Karin Kutter.

“Berlin’s just a kid, Benjamin Button-ing it into an ever eternal future”.

-Aymar Mariño-Maza


Siebzig (seventy)


Can you trace the lines that led you to the art of photography?


I’ve been taking pictures since my uncle offered me his old Contax T2 camera when I was a teenager. But it was not until I took a photography class with Susan Paufler that I started to explore the vast universe of photography.

There are so many angles from which you can look at and learn about photography. Think of the chemical processes in the darkroom, philosophical approaches to photography, the physical operation of the camera, visual composition of an image or the effect of colours. I believe you should never stop learning about the art of photography, there is always something new to discover.



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From your point of view, if every city has a language, which is Berlin’s grammar?

As far back as 1929, the German author Franz Hessel, described Berlin as “a city that’s always on the go, always in the middle of becoming something else”. In his collection of essays entitled “Walking in Berlin: A Flaneur in the Capital”, he explains “That’s why it’s so hard to discover, particularly for someone who lives here…”. I think that this is still true today: Berlin is in a constant process of transformation. The city is full of stories and inspiration. With my camera, I love to capture these fleeting moments and preserve them in time. As the city is in continuous change, the city´s visual perception through the lens of the camera, always stays fragmentary.

Perhaps Berlin should not be taken too seriously, after all or as architect Aymar Mariño-Maza put it in an essay “Berlin’s just a kid, Benjamin Button-ing it into an ever eternal future”.



"Berlin is in a constant process of transformation. The city is full of stories and inspiration".



Was geht, was bleibt (Longing, Belonging)

The aim of our project is to show people living in Berlin from all 195 countries recognised by the United Nations.


Can you explain the project The world in Berlin? Where did the idea come from?


Berlin is a city that attracts creative and open-minded people from all over the world, and its way of changing and transforming is a constant exchange with the people who have decided to live there as a part of it.


The idea for The World in Berlin was born in a photography class with our current project mentor Thomas Kierok. We are ten photographers who have been working together on this project since 2019. Until now, we have portrayed nearly 100 people from over 60 countries, we show their faces and describe their life experiences in the background of the city as a part of them.

The aim of our project is to show people living in Berlin from all 195 countries recognised by the United Nations.



The people portrayed seem to have dared a lot. What is daring for you?

For me the photo project itself is a big adventure. I have never worked as part of a group on a joint photo project before. By sharing tasks and benefiting from the different skills and strengths of each member of the group, we have accomplished a great deal of work. At the same time, as a group, we have to reconcile many different ideas and needs. This means a lot of communication and discussion. I am also learning a lot in this project. How my colleagues approach certain things, how they see the world … I find this is very inspiring and I am looking forward to continuing this journey together.


Stadtansichten (city views)

What is the first advice you would give today to anyone who wants to become a photographer?


When I started taking photos, I thought that it is all about the person who is in front of the camera, until I discovered that it is as much about the subject photographed as it is about me as photographer. It´s about my imagination, about how I see the world, about my personal history, my dreams, my aspirations. Photography for me means being open to myself and to others.


It´s about my imagination, about how I see the world, about my personal history, my dreams, my aspirations.



THE WORLD IN BERLIN SERIES




Sarah, born in Mġarr, Malta


"Berlin is a very vibrant, creative and inspiring city and in this sense very unique".


I love to dance! I have been dancing since I was 3. Growing up on the small island of Malta, I started to feel like a big fish in a small bowl with the limited opportunities Malta offered at the time. Moving to Berlin, almost 9 years ago already, made me feel the complete opposite – there are so many people, places and possibilities. Berlin is a very vibrant, creative and inspiring city and in this sense very unique. With time, you build your own network, you get to know people and you find your own way.




Julián, born in Caracas, Venezuela


"I cherish this freedom that the city gives me, I love the fact that despite our diversity, German is our primary common language. Berlin is home now".

The first time I came to Berlin was in 2001 when I was 16 years old and an exchange student. Berlin changed my life forever. I told to myself I want to live here one day. I never felt that energy in a place before, where everything is possible, past, present and future at the same time. My dream became a reality in 2012. Here in Berlin, I met my husband in 2015. We are married since July 2019. I cherish this freedom that the city gives me – even though sometimes it can be a bit overwhelming: you need to be careful not to get lonely. Currently, it is challenging to visit my family in Venezuela as the crisis is so acute and I do not feel safe to go there. My life here is very international but also very 'German'. I have friends that are like family from all around the world, I love the fact that despite our diversity, German is our primary common language. Berlin is home now.




Rotem, born in Jerusalem, Israel

I came to Berlin four years ago, and one of the first things I've seen was this insanely beautiful concert space that is located in the famous Funkhaus Berlin - Saal 1. When I moved to Berlin, I was studying for a year music production in a school that has its studios also in the Funkhaus, and I always dreamt of playing my music in that beautiful concert space that was just one building next to our studios. This February I was lucky enough to come and play there my own music in front of around 1,000 people which was definitely one of the best experiences I've had in Berlin.




Benoit, born in Washington, USA


"With my interactive loudspeaker sculpture, I bring the Berlin air to oscillate and let the Berlin snout vibrate".


I am a troublemaker in public space. With my interactive loudspeaker sculpture, I bring the Berlin air to oscillate and let the Berlin snout vibrate. The sculpture is fun, fantasy and interaction.

I was born in Washington but have been living in Berlin for almost 40 years. How did that happen? At the end of the seventies I migrated from the USA to Munich. A local friend gave me the key to his Charlottenburg apartment with the words: "Benoit, you have to go to West-Berlin!". Since then, I can no longer imagine myself and my artistic work without the city.





Padraig, born in Navan, Ireland

"It is the music that brought me to Berlin".


It`s the music that brought me to Berlin. I think that I have grown a lot as a musician and person since arriving here in Berlin 18 months ago. Songwriting can be a very cathartic experience, and I often find out what I truly feel about a situation or experience when I take pen to paper and write a song.










Interview by

D.M.

Photos by

Karin Kutter


The world in Berlin Project

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