Thursday, May 22, 2014

Bergmann to Wildenbruch

This morning I biked along Kreuzberg until it turned into Bergmann, after which I veered left onto Hasenheide, left onto Hermann, then right onto Sonnenallee and into Neukölln. The purpose of my trip was to visit Nicole Ondre, who, after some months living in Berlin and travelling to Hamburg for her schooling, opened a studio two weeks ago across the canal on Wildenbruch, where she is making work towards an upcoming exhibition at Diaz Contemporary.

Bergmann is a familiar street to me, and while biking along it I could not help but notice how much it has changed since my first visits to Berlin in the 1980s. Now that the city has completed a number of infrastructural projects it had started years ago, projects that seemed to go on forever, Bergmann, too, has settled into what it was destined to become:  a street of boutiques and restaurants, not unlike Vancouver's Robson Street in the late-1980s, when the mom-and-pop shops gave way to franchises.

This in turn got me thinking about how Vancouver has changed from a city divided into a multiethnic working class eastside and a largely white upper-class westside. Just as Berlin was divided into East and West (albeit more dramatically), East Vancouver is now said to begin not at Main Street but much further east at Boundary Road, the official border between it and the municipality of Burnaby.

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