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Friday, January 22, 2010

Graff appreciation

After a long and (relatively) productive week, I've started coming down with a cold. It mostly doesn't matter, since I basically spend the majority of my time looking for a job like it's my job.

Unemployment is a weird thing. Technically, though, I'm not unemployed-unemployed yet. Apparently in the first six months you're just "looking for work". I like the sound of that. It sounds like work just fell out of my pocket while I was sitting on the couch and now it's somewhere deep in the cushions and if I just look hard enough, I'll find it (plus some loose change and maybe, if I'm really lucky, a tic-tac ).

In reality, looking for work is bo-ring. As fück. In the first couple of weeks it's felt kind of like vacation. I slept in, updated the ol' resume, hit up the job portals, etc. But as time goes on, I spend most days writing cover letters or researching companies trying to find job openings. And really the only variety comes in the form of where I choose to do these activities. There's really only four options: on my bed, on my sofa, at my desk or in the kitchen.

So I have to come up with other activities so that my brain doesn't explode and so that I can escape the confines of my apartment every now and then. For some reason this usually ends up with me taking pictures of stuff...even though I'm actually a pretty awful photographer.

For the past week, I've been on an OZ hunt. Last October I translated a book about OZ (the graffiti spayer/phenomenon from Hamburg). It's really interesting stuff (which is why I'm not going to put a whole bunch of pictures up here, because you should check out a real photographer). If you live or have ever lived in Hamburg at some point in the past 30 years, you've probably come across a tag like the one pictured above. There's over 250,000 of them spread through out the city. And around these parts, when you hear the name OZ, then that tag is most likely the first thing that pops in your head. And if someone told you they were publishing a 216-page book about OZ (that's 90% pictures), then you'd probably think "Umm...riiight" At least that's the first thing I thought when I got the offer to do the book.

However, it quickly became clear that the OZ database of symbols contains more than just the one tag and a lot of the other stuff might be pretty familiar to you too. So, here's a couple of pics I took. I was just walking around and snapping and wasn't about to start climbing over fences or anything...but I think you get the idea.

These spirals are also everywhere, also OZ.

Some OZ-ian smileys:

Then there are the slogans (Krieg der Antigraffiti, lit. War of the antigraffiti).
and there's a pink OZ tag underneath

Lastly, there are the pieces. They're usually more colorful, kind of
abstract designs. They're also somewhat hard to find and/or
get to, but you can see a bunch of them on the S-Bahn lines between
Sternschanze and Dammtor and the Hauptbahnhof

Stupid crates were in the way...

I saw this one when I was on my way home from my most recent
job interview. I had just told myself that it was too cold and icy to
be stomping around the city and I looked up and saw it.

There's a lot more variety than you probably would have thought. I'm not really an art person, but if you look at enough of the work, then you really kind of start to get a feel for the OZ style.

Anyway, dinner's ready and Burn Notice is back. So I'll catch y'all around later.

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