Archive - 2007

Back From Europe

trip to the Bodensee - 7I flew back to Tucson yesterday and got in at about 10:30 last night. Sadly, O was delayed in her own flight that was supposed to be Friday back from NYC, so the expected romantic reunion at the airport was not to be. She comes back tonite at midnight instead. I feel bad because I was off the internet for the last 3 days of my trip, which was unusual compared to the rest of the time, and O was worried. It's so unusual to have someone worry over me. I only realized the extent of her stress when I finally today read her blog entry about it from a couple days ago.

I have a lot of thinking about my trip and sorting of photos (here's a few I just uploaded to Flickr, i'll be doing a few at a time for a while, I think) and other materials collected to do. but here is a nice shot that seems relevant to my thoughts right now, as I wait for O to come back to Tucson and be with me.

One general observation about the last month that I think is interesting is that my trip was bookended by being in 2 different small German cities, one (Rostock) taken over by politics and activism and police (the G8 protests), and one (Kassel) taken over by art (Documenta). Very different motivations, but very similar in feel, I found. Which was odd.

Ok, time to go and feed O's dog.

Last 3 Days in Europe

Today I'm leaving Heilbronn after a fun week (went to the Bodensee, Bad Wimpfen, hung out at a local festival here in Heilbronn, and went to ZKM) in Baden-Wurtemburg with Allan and Jeannette, and heading up to Kassel, to spend a couple days looking at Documenta. Then Saturday it's back to Frankfurt to catch my flight home! I probably won't have time or connectivity to blog before that, so, I'll catch up once I'm back in Tucson.

From Praha to Heilbronn

I'm back in Germany, having travelled by train from Praha 2 days ago to Heilbronn, in the southern "land" of Baden-Wurttemburg (Germany is divided into 16 "lands," like states).Steev Over Prague
My brother and his wife live here and I'm staying with them for a week. Then my last 2 days in Europe will be spent at the huge contemporary art show called Documenta, which happens in Kassel only every 5 years.

This photo is of me up in the really tall, soviet-designed tower that looms over much of Prague. I uploaded it and many more to my Flickr account yesterday and today. And yet these are only a fraction of all the photos i've taken on this trip. To organize and sort them all it will be a big job that will have to wait till I'm back home. But these that are up now will at least be a very basic overview. Enjoy.


Yesterday I travelled via train from Berlin to Praha, Czech Republic (Praha is how they call Prague in Czech, and German for that matter. I'm told that the pronuciation of "h" used to sound like "g" in Czech, that's how the discrepency happened). The train ride was pleasant, the tracks following the course of the Elbe River for much of the way so the view was pretty. The border controls were rather thorough for Europe, I thought, with police on the train looking very carefully at all the stamps in my passport. What were they looking for? Perhaps if I'd ever been to Transniestria or Chechnya they would have taken me to an empty car to interrogate me? hmm.

Anway, I'm a bit culture-shocked. Prague is a very old and busy little capitol city. Lots of things are not "westernized" and "modernized" still here, whereas Berlin feels much more converted over to western, capitalized, american ways and looks (this is not a complaint, just an explanation for why it feels stranger here). The language is also really really different. But I'm staying with my friend, fellow Iowan, and fellow cultural recycler Lloyd Dunn, of The Tape-beatles, and he's orienting me pretty well.

Right now I'm sitting in Skolska 28, a small gallery in central Praha which is going to host a screening of my video work on this coming Monday. I'll be showing a mix of artist and activistic pieces, including excerpts from my Juarez film.

I should go now, get offline and see some more of this city. I think I'll head up to Pra


Here's another video I edited here in Rostock from footage shot at the G8 protests. This one is just sort of an impressionaistic glance at the blockades on Wednesday.

As before you can also download via bittorrent from
Tonight is my last night in Rostock. There's a huge "finissage", a closing party for the Art Goes Heiligendamm exhibit. I've had a tad too much wine and I'm totally high on a video piece co-screenwritten by Geert Lovink called One World. It's basically all animated text with very simple animation graphics all about globalization and modern info-culture. So fucking cool.

Anyway, tommorrow back to the metropolis, Berlin.

Esteban Caliente Reports from G8 Protests

Intrepid video journo-star Esteban Caliente was seen reporting from the road blockades around Heiligendamm yesteday:

You can also download this in ogg theora format via peer-to-peer networks (yeah, I know, what a pain in the ass, but y'know, it's ideologically great, right? like using Linux and clunky open source media tools... suspira...) from

Ok, I'm off now to a big speech by Vandana Shiva, a closing keynote of the Alternative G8 Summit.

A Glorious Sunny Day to Blockade The G8

Well, for the first time in 5 days it's really nice and warm and sunny here by the Baltic Sea, and various groups are by now at blockade points by the thousands around Heiligendamm, trying to stop the symbolic personal representatives of world power from getting to meet each other.
But I slept in, because I was up late encoding and uploading video and hanging out with the Kein TV video volk till very late. Finally my coverage of monday's migration demos are online, both as an mp4 from my site, and an ogg file on, via bittorrent and other peer-to-peer technologies. I was trying all day to upload it, to Indymedia Germany, to YouTube, etc, and both at the IMC here and at Kein.TV's lab there were internet problems and/or congestion which made it impossible.

Anyway, you should watch, I like how it turned out.

Today, who knows what will happen. There were rumors about police banning absolutely everything, all blockades, all further demos, everything, but it appears, according to the indymedia germany news ticker, that stuff is still going down. I hurt my foot yesterday so i don't know if I'll be running around filming a lot like I would like to. We'll see.

We Are Here Because You Destroyed Our Countries

Today is my 7th day in Germany and my 3rd day in Rostock, where the anti-G8 mobilzation is happening all this week.

Things are a lot calmer than the huge crazy protests on Saturday that I missed because I was still in Berlin. There has been constant tension with police, but nothing serious has actually happened, and one has to remember that the mainstream media reports are greatly exaggerated and focused on the violence and the extremes. I'm hoping to counter that in my own coverage, focusing instead on the issues, the real reason we're here.

Yesterday's focus was migration and borders. I spent all day shooting video of 3 dfiferent actions. This post to Indymedia Germany that I posted this morning has a brief description of each and some stills I shot. Then last night I went to a panel discussion on migration. What an exhausting time, and yet inspiring. It has been really good to see, after getting involved via my own proximity to the US-Mexico border, how other struggles over borders and immigration and migration compare and contrast. The commonalities really resonate. One really inspiring thing is the slogan which I used for the title of this blog post. I think this needs to start being used in the US, because it encapsulates the real problem so concisely.

All day so far today I have been editing the footage I shot, sitting here for the last 5 hours at the Indymedia Center in downtown Rostock, next to a window looking out over the harbor and the little yard where activists sit on couches and drink tea. Dozens of other indymedia people from all over the world (well, mostly Europe) come in and out, doing some work, posting some news to their own local IMCs, sending emails.

In a couple of hours is another panel dicussion that is part of the "Alternative Summit," a more moderate, NGO response to the G8 this week - I'm interested in a panel tommorrow though because John Holloway will be there - the author of "Change the World Without Seizing Power," a book whose main ideas I found extrememly inspiring but whose academic tone made it the biggest reading disappointment of 2006 for me. However I still hope he will be interesting to hear speak.

I'm sitting here waiting for my finished video to upload. I'll post again to say where it is. I'm tired of waiting...

Watching and Waiting

My 5th day in Germany and Berlin. Things have gone well other than the usual new-place frustrations from time to time of getting lost or being super tired or hungry and wandering looking for a place to rest or eat that is suitable.
Kein Mensch Ist Illegal - 2

Yesterday I went to a rally and march concerning migration and immigration and borders - against deportations and oppression and borders. "Kein Mensch Ist Illegal" is the German for a slogan I'm quite familiar with from being in in the US-Mexico borderlands: No One Is Illegal. I shot a few stills, some video, and recorded some great audio, including a great trio of german singers at the rally who did this sort of electroindustrial rap music, a few songs worth, which seemed to be relevant to the issues at hand but I couldn't be sure, of course. I made my first post to Germany Indymedia's website with some of the photos.

Today as I made my way around the city picking a few more bits of gear and supplies, the week of G8 protests officially began in Rostock and Schwerin. Police have already started huring people and arresting people. I've been following the Germany IMC news ticker to see the latest news. Julia and I will be driving her mother's car to Rostock tommorrow morning. I intend to spend most of the day just getting oriented and attending border/migration related forums and workshops at one of the convergence centers. Then monday is the big migration demo and march. I plan to stay safe and relatively out of the action, playing my usual role of media activist and documenting, rather than getting in the thick of the action.

Tonight though we'll be at a screening at NGBK, a gallery in the Kreuzberg neighborhood here in Berlin, where they will screen some of Julia's work. Later in the week they plan to screen some videos of mine as well as indymedia videos I've gathered during my stint as indymedia newsreal editor.

Something seems to have broken regarding my Twitter feed, which used to appear on the right column of my blog thanx to some stolen and hacked javascript code... You may want to check my Twitter page if it seems like a long time since I've blogged and you're worried or curious what's going on. I may not get to my blog that often in the coming week, though i'll try, but I can post to Twitter with my phone, so I might do that, even though it costs money, just to keep you avid readers informed...

Ich Bin Ein Gringo

I'm typing this as I sit in the dining car of a high-speed train from Frankfurt to Berlin. I'm not online as I type this, but I thought it would be nice to jot down some thoughts while I'm having them. Or re-jot, as I 've already been jotting in my journal. [I'm editing this, slightly, by the way, as I sit in my friend's apartment in East Berlin 2 days later].

This is train is fast clean and efficient. Germany seems like a very efficient, clean, but wet place, at least today. Germans seems very quiet, proper, well-mannered, and concious of others personal space and boundaries. Maybe I'm just projecting that after hearing the story my friend Jose told me yesterday about his experience years ago in Germany, getting scolded by a train conductor for having his walkman turned up to high. Jose told that story to me over lunch in LA, which I took with him because I had a 7 hour layover on my way to Germany. The experience ended up being extravagantly expensive, mainly because I had to take a shuttle from LAX to Beverly Hills and then a taxi back to LAX. But it was a good prelude to extravagantly expensive Germany ( I just spent about $1.40 to go to the bathroom at the Frankfurt train station, for example).

I'm definitely jetlagged. I'm on hour 26 or so of a 28 hour total transit time from Tucson to Berlin. But I don't feel much worse than if I'd stayed up too late and drunk too much.

no political borders depicted.
Air India was an interesting experience and made me wish I was taking the plane all the way to New Delhi rather than getting off in Frankfurt. There was Indianesque food served for dinner last night, probably the most flavorful airplane food I've had, and cheesy (though with high-production values) Hindi movies playing on the screens, which also frequently reminded the viewer that the map of the plane's route that it displayed showed "physical features only. no political borders depicted."

Ah, it looks like we're pulling into Hannover. Another nice city surrounded by green.

I'm feeling frustrated....