Create. Berlin.March 3, 2011
WRIT 2400 / MEDC 1050 / PHOTO 2000/4000 field trip to Berlin with Professor Roland Stelter, Spring I 2011
Student contributions edited by Camilo Breddels, Fabienne Kronenburg, Alexander Mend, Valerie Zwart.
An Overview of the Berlin Trip
By Valerie Zwart
During the class excursion to Berlin, we visited a number of institutions and venues which typified various aspects of Media – communications, photography and design, to name a few. We traveled from Amsterdam on Sunday afternoon and arrived in Berlin in time to enjoy dinner at an old city mainstay, the Hackescher Hof, which was designed with the clear influence of the Parisian grand café. After dinner, a part of the group took in Berlin by night, receiving a guided tour of the city’s main avenues, buildings, and historically significant sights from Mr Stelter.
After a restful night, glass shower experience and bountiful breakfast at our vibrantly designed hotel, we set off by train to the NS-Zwangsarbeit Memorial museum. We spent time walking somberly through a barracks used to lodge forced labour workers during the war, imagining their life as prisoners of war in the middle of a typical Berlin neighborhood. Another of the barracks on the compound has been transformed into a gallery and seminar space. Currently on display in the gallery is a photo documentary taken last year by Mr Stelter. The photos poignantly depict a former forced labour worker, Mrs. Zhuk, at home in the Ukraine, as well as document her relationship with her granddaughter, who helped bring her story into the light.
Later that afternoon, we were welcomed into the creatively-designed office space of Zenon Concept, an interior and architectural design firm. The founders of Zenon took time to discuss with us everything from their design aesthetic to their decentralized leadership hierarchy and teamwork to the logistics of realizing their concepts under intense time pressure. We left in awe of the high-quality, highly creative projects they have produced in their 20 years of existence.
That evening, we walked through the fascinating Mitte district to Café Haliflor, a bar created and run by Andi Knauer, a creative under-40 entrepreneur. When asked about his design strategy, he denied having any concrete strategy besides the vision to create a place that he himself genuinely liked. “I just wanted it to be…true,” he added. We were joined later in the bar by Barçin Uluisik, a young, high-energy activist who works as a researcher for Powerbase (a project of the UK-based NGO SpinWatch), an information database dedicated to profiling government members’ links to outside organizations. She encouraged aspiring activists to volunteer for a cause and see where it takes them.
We spent our last morning in Berlin at Kicken Berlin, a gallery specializing in 19th and 20th-century photography. Since its foundation the gallery has explored the relationship between photography and the other arts in over 220 exhibitions. After lunch at Pasternak, a Russian Jewish restaurant named in honor of the famed author of Dr. Zhivago, we were escorted to the airport by Mr Stelter, where we said our goodbyes to Berlin, and stepped on the plane to return to Amsterdam.
Slogans for the Trip
Berlin – find the artist within.
BERLIN. Let your walls fall down.
Stay contemporary – stay in Berlin.
History in the present – the present history.
Berlin – you choose how to discover the city we’re in.
3 days, 2 nights, and 1 glass shower – The Ber-Leiden Trip.
A trip to remember – what not to forget … Berlin.
Experience beauty, experience Berlin.
Never have I ever been to Berlin.
Be cool. Burr–lin.
Photo courtesy of Emily Manker
By Charlie Braswell
Go and discover
Organizational Structures Reflected in Architecture and Design
By Juanita Garcia
Organizational structures were each unique to the spaces we visited in Berlin. At Zenon Concepts’ office, a visitor can see the team environment in their circular office design. Kicken Berlin’s gallery emphasized the art. While at Haliflor, there was a clear leader and hierarchy in a space that calls to mind a recent past and Barack 13 brings to mind a dark chapter of Berlin’s history. These organizational structures are reflected in the design and function of their spaces.
Zenon Concepts’ office was arranged in a circular layout with glass walls between teams with specialized tasks. Teams worked together in offices in clusters of desks and computers. The organization is based on collaboration between teams. Each member of the team understands the scope of their work but also the interdependence of how the project relates to the responsibilities of the other team members. Members of the organization are all working on more than one project at different stages. Information is often moving quickly depending on the stage of the project and the number of people involved at that point in the project.
Kicken Berlin’s gallery space focused on the displayed collection of photography. The design of the building is beautiful from the displays of photographs behind glass outside the building and the outdoor bamboo garden adjacent to and visible within the gallery space. The organizational structure was hidden from view. Even the space for the receptionist was almost hidden from view of visitors. The contributions of the individuals of the organization are secondary to the photography. The decisions of the organization are primarily made by the leader of the organization and driven by collectors/and buyers of photography.
Haliflor has a deliberate appearance of interior design to look as if it has been there for decades longer than the 10 years it has been a fixture in Berlin. The owner has been developing the design and appearance of the bar with time. He is the clear leader with a singular vision of the space that is almost intuitive. The decorations on the walls are deliberately sparse with hanging art. The interior blends new elements with existing elements. The flooring was deliberately treated to look as if it had been there for decades. The wrought iron stair railing was created with cut rings of pipe in various diameters. The bar’s organization is unique so that new hires go through an informal two month training process.
Barack 13 at the Dokumentationszentrum NS Zwangsarbeit in Schöneweide has an architecture and organization that reflects that its past as a forced labor camp. The fence and threats kept the inmates inside. Standing in Barack 13, a current visitor can feel the cold that greeted the inmates when they walked into the building. The inmates were housed in smaller rooms with rows of beds. The occupants must not have known all of the other occupants. In many cases, the inmates may not have had a language in common, as they were gathered from all over Europe. The cellar of the building still had writing and scratches on the walls, a reminder of the need to communicate felt by the inmates. In Barack 13’s current state as a museum, the rooms are stripped of any furniture or decoration. They contain only quotes from former forced workers printed on signs arranged so that each room has a theme from sickness to bathing. The cold stark surroundings allow the visitor to imagine the barracks with the words from the previous inmates.
Each organization reflects Berlin’s culture and yet makes a contribution. Zenon Concepts interior design and fair stands recall elements cultivated from cultural icons. Kicken Berlin is influential in the photography collecting market and Haliflor as a cross cultural meeting place. The architecture of Barack 13 reflects the dark past of Berlin. Ludwig Mies van der Rohe in his inaugural address at the Illinois Institute of Technology in 1938 said:
We must be as familiar with the functions of our buildings as with our materials. We must learn what a building can be, what it should be, and also what it must not be… And just as we acquaint ourselves with materials, just as we must understand functions, so we must become familiar with the psychological and spiritual factors of our day. No cultural activity is possible otherwise.
The Berlin Experience
By Alexander Mend
As I entered the EasyJet airplane destined to a city I have never before set foot on, I did not know what to expect of this trip. A city bigger than Amsterdam in every aspect, Berlin had a rich history along with the artistic culture, I know I was stepping into something new. However, my journey had a rough start.
After landing in Berlin, I was making my way out of the building through security. The girls in our class went through without any problem. When Camilo and I came up, they stopped us and asked us for our passports. They looked at my passport and back at me several times before placing the card under light to check its authenticity. After letting me through, I stopped to wait for my friend. Then two men came up to me asking me questions about my nationality in German. As soon as Camilo joined me, we were forcefully guided into a room with an x-ray machine. After we told them we came from Amsterdam, they instructed us to put our bags on the machine. When they obviously saw nothing illegal occurred, they let us go. But that still angered me, because it was the first time I was ever stopped at an airport. I remember thinking that I should have shaved my beard, because of the racial profiling issue. As I left the building I had a feeling this trip was going to be horrible, but the following days will prove otherwise.
My interest in Berlin started on the way to the hotel. I was surprised by the size of the trains in Germany and the technology used everyday life. The major trains are three stories as opposed to the two in the Netherlands. The platform signs at most tram and train stops are digital, instead of the old school, mechanical signs. The hotel itself utilized advanced technology. For example, the hotel key, a card that can be used to access the elevator, unlock your room door, and turn on electricity in the room. Now while that may be available in almost all developed countries, the cheap price of the hotel room (30 euros a night, breakfast included) for the high-tech in the hotel blew my mind.
Another surprise was the price of beer in Berlin. At 1.40 euros for a quarter of a liter, any alcoholic will be happy to live in Berlin. However, I would rather stay in Amsterdam. I find the Dutch people more open than Germans, which will ultimately lead to a nice conversation. After that customs “incident” I see Germans more judgmental. Now that does not mean they don’t throw a nice party on a Monday night, but that is a story reserved for another time.
These Cold, Stone Walls
I have nothing but stone walls,
Tired, starving inmates,
Bugs in my bed,
And weapons in my face.
I hold on to the last ounce of hope I have
And try not to show that I’m frightened.
I am worked and watched, punished and mocked
From the day’s start until the night’s end.
Winter came around
The nights were unbearably cold.
Portions of meals were saved.
For extra clothing, they were sold.
I have no privacy.
I am reaped of my dignity and pride.
And my emotions of fear, sadness, and loneliness…
In a much darker place I must hide
Outside my window I see people
Living free underneath blue skies.
But behind this barbed-wire fence,
They just avert their eyes.
I am a prisoner here.
All I can count on
Is the end of this war.
By Andrea Nerep
She was the kind of girl that bothered me from the first moment I saw her. Whenever she talked she always had that annoying smile on her face that I wished to wipe off. Most of the things that she said in class sounded like mouth diarrhoea to me. When I found out that we were the only two people in the class who did not have anyone to share room with in Berlin, the leftovers, I was not thrilled.
Sharing a hotel room for two nights with someone one thinks less than little of is not a big issue, or at least it shouldn’t be, but for me it is. I am the kind of person who tightens my fists out of frustration when someone annoying is around. I do not share smiles in order to be polite or sympathetic and I do not laugh when jokes are not funny. Having all of these disadvantages makes it really hard to be nice when one does not wish to.
When she approached me at the airport, smiling, of course, I took a deep breath in order to control myself from being rude. Knowing that I had to spend some time with her, I decided to give her a second chance. After all, I am very well aware of that I can be a little bit harsh on judging people up front. My irritation towards some people is usually not based on solid or even valid grounds but oftentimes rather bitterness. I really have no reason to be bitter, it is just a part of my character, and I was born like this.
I thought it would be a good idea to ask her what she did last night. She looked like something the cat had swallowed and spit up so I assumed that she had been partying. She answered my question with a little bit too much of information by telling me that she had been out in a club, that she got really drunk and had puked in the middle of the dance floor. She simply did not know what to be excluded when making conversation.
I let the puke-story pass my mind in order to stay positive. I am not prude in any way; I can easily listen to stories that have a touch of randomness or bizarreness but still I was not the least fond of her story. Getting too drunk and acting out of control is tacky.
She started to ask me a lot of questions, about what I had done, why I came to Webster University and so on, and since it seemed as if she was listening with a genuine interest to what I had to say, I continued to inform her. Whenever I find that someone is genuine my impression of that person is suddenly improved. In my opinion, that is a rare quality in someone. Soon enough I was to find out that she was not that hideous that I had expected her to be. In fact, she was not bad at all.
When we came to the restaurant in Berlin where all students at the field trip were to have dinner I naturally chose to sit next to her. To my disappointment, the four people surrounding me, including my colleague leftover, ordered sodas instead of alcohol. I am Swedish and Swedish people tend to be quite fond of alcohol. I also get a bit uncomfortable drinking alone. After one soda she started to order wine as well and then our conversation became really vivid. I found out that she was passionate about dance and that she was issuing an application to a dance academy this year. When she talked about dance her whole face lightened up and I somehow got touched by her interest. Nowadays, I seldom meet people with one great passion and when I do I really appreciate it to see that one has a desired ambition or objective in mind. I wish I had that.
I wanted to see her dance skills so we decided to go to the only club that was open in Berlin on a Sunday evening. We ended up having a great time, fun conversations and a lot of dancing and undoubtedly she is an excellent dancer.
The next morning we had to go up way to early considering how late we went to sleep. Together we managed the day visiting several interesting venues that Mr Roland Stelter had managed to list on a very tight schedule. My Berlin trip turned out to be very agreeable.
I took some pictures of her and on every picture she smiles with such happiness but yet with a glimpse of seriousness in her eyes. This picture I am especially fond of and now when I look at it, I really don’t understand why I once was so bothered by her very cute smile.
Photo courtesy of Andrea Nerep
By Camilo Breddels
Camilo Breddels, a young adolescent enrolled in Leiden Webster University, was one of 19 students fortunate enough to attend an academic-related trip to Berlin. Camilo explains how at first he felt overwhelmed. It was his first time going to Germany, and the very little knowledge he held were mainly those of his grandparents. His grandparents were both born in Rotterdam, they were both very young when the German bombings took place in 1940. “Of course there are still always some who will say they feel a certain way because of what happened, but the truth is the majority are generally more so filled with sorrow,” he states. “Pointing fingers never really is a solution to any situation,” he exclaims. “After all, my father has been working for a German company my entire life,” he continues. “No friction between him and my grandfather exists, it was never about hatred,” he states, “for my grandparents it was simply about the pain both sides had to go endure.”
“The real tension was right before we landed in Berlin which left me dwelling with all these overpowering emotions inside of right before I stepped outside,” he says. “It is too easy not to try, there is too much to dismiss so foolishly,” he concludes by expressing his great feeling of magnitude, “I thought I would only like their beer, but I ended up liking everything but their beer!”
By Maxime van der Donk
It is cold inside the barrack, and even though we try to sit close to one another, I can barely feel my feet. The girl sitting next to me looks exhausted. She is emaciated and has extremely thin brown hair. I can see her shivering. She is wearing the same clothes as I am. We all wear the same clothes every day. The clothes are tainted in a smelly brown accompanied by whole lot of holes, which carry down to our black-checkered pants. They haven’t been washed since the first day that I came to the barracks. I can still remember that day as it was yesterday. The war against Germany was at full blast, I was still with my whole family at home in The Hague at that time. We always tried to store as much food as possible throughout the year in case we lacked it during the cold winters.
When the winter was finally over and we finished all our food, I was designated to go out and buy some food, it was the 24th of April, and the year was 1943. It was not very busy that day on the streets. When I was almost at my destination, two German men grabbed me by the arms and pulled me into an army trunk. I did not know who they were nor did I know what to do. I screamed as loud as I could, but the streets were empty, nobody could hear me. The trunk kept driving for almost 12 hours. When it stopped, I was in the middle of a neighborhood. I did not have a lot of time to look around, but suddenly I saw a little supermarket called: ‘Berliner Market’. I could not believe my eyes: “Am I really in Berlin? What am I doing here? Do my parents know where I am?”
The two Germans who pulled my hair and dragged me into a cold barrack, it was midnight and the only thing I saw were people…lots of people. They were all wearing the same clothes and slept on very small beds. The smell of sweat was surrounding me the entire time and before I knew it, the German guy handed me the exact same set of clothes. “Put it on! Quickly!” he yelled to me in German.
The girl next to me was still shivering. She had still not talked to me, it seemed like the common thing to do here. They do not like to share their thoughts and feelings. Some write things down on the wall to express themselves, others do it just to count the days. I look at the old and dirty t-shirt of the girl next to me. You can see from her t-shirt that she has been trough a lot. There are a lot of wholes in it and behind it are some clear bruises. On her I see a number. Her number is 467. All of the people in the barracks have their own number. I do not think they even know my real name. The numbers are pinned on to each t-shirt and since I am number 498, the girl must have arrived here a few days before me. I try to make eye contact, but she keeps staring at the ground.
Suddenly she looks at me. She has big brown eyes and looks extremely tired. She is rather quite. Suddenly she asks me in poor English: “What is your name?” I was surprised she talked to me. She had an Italian accent. “I am Maxime, what is your name?” I answered. She ignored my question and continued staring at the ground. “Are you cold?” I ask her, while staring at the ground she says, “Yes, I am always cold during the winter in the barrack, but I like the winters more than summers. The summers are too hot for me.” She is definitely right, the winters in the barracks are extremely cold and summers are way too hot. Since we do not get a lot of food and drinks, it is almost impossible to work during summertime.
“Once I saw an old woman,” the girl says. “It was during the winter of 1943, the woman was probably about 60 years old. We did not have enough food and everybody was hungry. We complained day after day, but they refused to give us more food. As you know, we usually get soup and some bread in the morning. We just eat the soup in the morning and save the bread for the evening. This time, we did not get the bread. We had to work all day long and when we returned to the barracks we did not have any food left. The old woman was able to steal some food from the Germans. She could only find one piece of bread but shared it with all of us.
Suddenly the Germans entered the barrack and one German man yelled: “Who stole bread?” The old women understood German, came forward and admitted to her fault. They kicked her brutally while we watched them pull hair out of her head. She had to stay all outside all night in the back of the barrack. When we woke up the next morning at 4 am to work in the battery factory, we saw her. She was dead. She had froze to death the night before”. The girl cries softly. “I still feel guilty everyday.”
I put my arm around her. “I have experienced something similar,” I said. “I was once outside the barracks. Polish people were begging me for food. A little boy came to me and told me he was hungry. He looked at me with his sad eyes. The ‘P’ on his t-shirt was almost bigger than his own hands. But it was not only the ‘P’ that made it clear that he was Polish. You could notice it from his body, he was extremely thin and you could nearly count all of his ribs. It was terrifying and I really wanted to help the boy, so I gave him my piece of bread. A German Nazi saw this, kicked the boy in his stomach until he bled. I do not know what happened after that. It is a horrible memory, I still have nightmares sometimes about it”. She looks at me with sadness in her eyes.
I told her that it was terrible over here, I cannot wait ‘till the war is over…but maybe this is just a silly dream and we will be prisoners forever”. The girl looks at me and holds my hand. Then she says: “My name is Sandra and you and I, will make it to freedom!”
By Valerie Zwart
Old Prussia to Pop Culture, the spectrum splayed
across the well-shelved walls of two rooms
Love-child of East and West in forty meters squared
Industry and art, function and frivolity co-habiting
in the tight confines of a shoe shop.
Fragmented pairs of data points, leather creases,
Traded-in lives, resoled identities, heels ground down askew
There is a strange unity to the disparate muss of
Colour and texture and story – each pair screams
TIE ME ZIP ME BUTTON ME ON AND REMEMBER
The stiff cognac Oxfords smelling of old money and restraint choose the shabby-suited man who cannot forgive himself for his bottomless porte-monnaie. Even to turn out its well-papered insides would not plaster a way over the wall for the beloved aunt and uncle. They who clothed him when he was small now wither behind stone.
The shapeless felt boots, soft gray look of the stuff belying its wiry sharpness, choose the cold-calloused feet which will shuffle them West across the bridge. No skipping, no joy. There is only a great tiredness suffocated between the layers of densely-spun fuzz.
The neon red patent leather slingbacks are all hard edges and square toes. They choose the power woman who cakes her mouth with the same harsh orange-red lipstick they all wear to make it in the 90s – that hue that insists, I am IT, I am the sexiest man I can be. I am modern, I am jumping in, and I will outbusiness the rest of you pussies.
The whimsical seaglass-green cowboy boots (broken in more aptly on a dusty stage in a Nashville bar) choose instead the dreadlocked girl who traipses them through graffiti-drenched streets and into squatted walk-ups. The buzz comes from art, cheap beer, cheap smokes, the thrill of being young, and the search for relevance. This 150-proof energy keeps the boots polished and the city gritty.
Who can lay rightful claim to it? Berlin is not
catalogued neatly into shelf-life with
the shoes who have walked in its ever-shifting grid, but
these bits of leather felt plastic rubber
have left a tread with a fearsome half-life –
they are the city, the city is them.
Berlin: Where Eyes Grow Old and Hearts Go Bold
By Helena Veum
I came to realize that the media has one voice. The media expresses and proposes before it spurs into a voice conceived in the mind, and therefore there is no space for us to reply to it. The only position it leaves us in, is to consider, be inspired or to make a choice. In Berlin I was shocked at the lack of our universal language, but the lack of English developed into becoming and luxurious and liberating state. I experienced Berlin without the media telling me what to think, where to go and what to do. My eyes were free to see what they saw and think what I thought.
Berlin hasn’t become a victim of its history, nor is the history hidden. I came to Berlin with superstition and sharpened eyes, but the city was energetic, modern and ambitious.
The ruptured structure and brutal beauty was like the shadow of the city and caught my attention the most.
Being in Berlin evoked confusion. The logic was funny because it was random and contradictional like life. Berlin also brought insight. There was a sadness and a negativity covering the city like a big, consistent, grey cloud. But there is equally much depth, value and beauty in negative as in positive. Negative is a matter of space. The streets were strong and urban, but there was something in the air suggesting silence and humbleness.
It was uncomfortable being among so many historical museums. It gave me a rather empty feeling. I was thinking about all the footsteps that have taken place in the museum, thoughts and feelings that were triggered there and all the people that have visited. How long does it take before a museum becomes a museum in itself? A paradox, because I imagine it can’t. When we visited the forced labor memorial museum I concluded that the position or situation from when art is created is very relevant for the amount of respect, attention and value it is given. Because once we know where the motive came from, it can change the whole picture.
I was wondering, who are the German people? I didn’t get to meet and talk to so many people. I think Germans are busy people in general. The graffiti revealed a lot and felt more like insights than statements. I didn’t feel obliged to admire the art and therefore i didn’t judge it. The graffiti was both political and personal, a strong combination.
The rotten, empty, broken houses and railways covered with provocative, humorous, beautiful and colorful graffiti gave Berlin its own timing, balance and life in a sense. It felt like they were sad faces staring at you, but really you were the one looking, giving these buildings a soul.
The Best Job in Berlin
By Fabienne Kronenburg
It had been a year since Ingrid Tupolev began her very first grown up job. Unlike her previous attempts at being gainfully employed, she was now absolutely certain that her work contributed to something fantastic – and that her presence had become a fundamental part of her employers success. The weight of responsibility that she and her coworkers bravely bore on a daily basis had become a part of their very constitution; an awareness so powerful that it was palpable even beyond the pristine walls surrounding them. One could even say that recognizing the importance of oneself is a primary company objective. These days, in her line of work, a day rarely passed without her coming into contact with some of the most impressive citizens of Berlin; the crème de la crème, the fat cats, the movers and shakers, if you will.
In the 365 days since our Ingrid first set foot in the building, she, like her coworkers, had learned the importance of functioning to the best of ones ability and fostering a unified and productive work environment. She often delighted in the idea that they are similar to a well-oiled machine, each performing a task that together make up one of the greatest contributions to society one could ever hope to be a part of. Aside from possessing a mind uniquely capable of conjuring up such creative imagery, Ingrid is acutely aware of the fact that she is amongst the most competent and efficient in her field. Even more so, she is now reasonably certain that eventually her spirit and tenacity would one day lead her to even greater heights. For the first time in many years, she rediscovered a deep-seated awareness that it is very likely that she is special.
Born to Nina Tupolev on October 9th, 1985, our Ingrid spent her formative years in the Marzahn district of Berlin. Mother Nina however did not; her grand arrival on German soil had only occurred 13 months prior to Ingrid’s. Fueled by her appetite for fortune and fame, Nina Tupolev found her way to Berlin following a daring escape from what would have a quiet life as a farmer’s wife in her native Slovakia. At 5ft3 and possessing a rather bovine form of beauty, Nina was considered to be one of the better women in the village. The longing stares of the local men did nothing but feed Nina’s vanity, which ultimately led her to conclude that she was destined for things far greater than the simple life that lay ahead of her. It became increasingly obvious to her that she belonged in a world filled with glamour and beauty; her true home must be Hollywood.
Sadly Nina’s dream of being a Hollywood starlet never came to fruition, though it should come as no surprise that she did find a career in the field of performance art. Each night as she takes the stage she finds herself reflecting on what her life would have been if she had stayed in that village, and wishes to all that is holy that everyone that doubted her could see how many more of those longing stares she gets now. Unfortunately her life in the fast lane did come with a certain amount of risk, the most prominent being that so much male attention could lead to a debilitating illness; a parasitic infestation leaving the carrier permanently damaged with decreased functioning in certain vital organs. Nine months later Nina began her recovery, and unwillingly found herself saddled with the responsibility of motherhood.
Ingrid learned at a very early age that she and her mother were nothing alike. Nina observed that unlike her own deftly defined physique Ingrid was a stocky child, with more masculine features and an impressively large hook nose. Throughout the years Nina attempted to give Ingrid a more feminine appearance, being sure to never let her out the door without her pink lipstick and refusing to cut her hair. Despite her best efforts, by the time Ingrid was four she despairingly conceded to the reality that her own daughter would never match her own beauty, and gave up.
It was at this age that Ingrid discovered the true strengths she possessed. “ Ha! He looks just like you! The best thing you ever did for me was poke a hole in my tummy on the way out with that nose of yours,” her mother slurred at her one night as they watched a rerun of Woody the Woodpecker. “I’m pretty sure it’s the only reason why you’re the only one who ever made it out of there alive” She continued, smiling, impressed by her own humor before promptly passing out. Four year old Ingrid deducted that the greatest moment of joy she shared with her mother was somehow due to her spectacularly developed septum, and that she was very likely part woodpecker.
As her first foray into the field of ornithology, Ingrid studied and mimicked the behavior of the woodpecker. She began gleefully pecking at various objects and at all those around her, thrilled to discover that her new identity garnered a fair amount of attention amongst her peers. Just like her mother, everyone was staring at her and she thoroughly enjoyed how special she now felt. Encouraged by the positive reactions, Ingrid expanded her pecking repertoire to include various forms of motorized vehicles alongside the road, pedestrians she did not personally know, and walls. The latter was chosen by Ingrid specifically because she noticed that all the adults kept talking about how stupid walls are, and considering that with great power comes great responsibility she felt that it was her duty to use her powers to help them get rid of the walls. The more she pecked at the walls, the happier everyone seemed to be about it. She was certain that she had found her true calling, and that she would grow up to be hero. Unfortunately her enthusiasm got the best of her and it wasn’t long before she accidentally broke her beak. Like so many before her who rose too rapidly to positions of power, she became greedy and found that her hunger for more had destroyed her gift and would ultimately become her undoing.
Now, many years later Ingrid once again felt that spark, that certainty that her actions would help make the world a better place. “This time it will be different,” she mumbled to herself as she sat behind the front desk, her desk at Gallery Kicken Berlin. Indeed, this time she had truly found the one place where she fit in perfectly without even really having to try.