This month marks 30 years since the end of Communist rule in Europe. Berlin Wall, that unmistakable symbol of the East/West divide, fell on the 9th November 1989. While scrolling on Twitter on the day of the anniversary, I came across this article by Ken Sweeney, where he calls Trabant cars “chariots of freedom”. What has a car got to do with the collapse of autocratic regime?
Well this. Trabants were manufactured in East Germany; I remember there were plenty of them in former Czechoslovakia. They were quite awful, a subject of ridicule and to this day bring back memories of those times. But, as Ken notes, they were also the vehicles that transported people from East Germany through the newly open border to the West. Thus, chariots of freedom.
Surprisingly, I happen to have some pics of them too.
This is from 2013 when I was visiting my family back home. Taken on a motorway, obviously, near or just out of Bratislava. Brother and me went on a short trip when we spotted it in front of us. Of course I had to take a pic. Looks like someone is a fan!
I never take pictures of cars, I never learnt to drive and I’m not interested in them but I never miss an opportunity for a good random or weird shot. Even long before I conceived the idea of Random and Weird Phone Shots.
There is also a model of Trabant displayed in Imperial War Museum in Salford Quays.
I just love how something so awful can decades later be thought of in any positive terms at all. I like a good redemption story.
They say a car needs to get you from A to B. For East Germans, that A and B were more than just places on a map.
Last Friday (3rd May), Piccadilly Gardens, an area in Manchester city centre, got evacuated due to a suspicious package. The police and bomb disposal squad were called, did their thing, the device was not viable, nothing bad happened and the culprit was arrested. So what has this got to do with pigeons?
I went out on my lunch break to see what Piccadilly Gardens looked like when it was empty. It was empty of people, but not of all living creatures, as you can see on these shots.
This wasn’t more than half an hour after the evacuation. It’s amazing how fast they took over once people were gone. But that is more of a topic for my Gloomscapes series.
It wasn’t meant to end like this. The Council announced the project five years ago. This area had been abandoned for so long; nowhere else in the city needed this more than us. We will be working with the local community, they said. Park and lots of greenery, beneficial to people and wildlife, they said. A corridor to the heart of the city, they said. Future developments will lead to links to with north and east quarter, they said. It was more than a million they were investing… then nothing happened. Where did all that money go? They forgot about us… again.
More brutalistic architecture today; this time a canteen of an office building. I was thinking of the canteen in George Orwell’s Ministry of Truth in 1984, though that one was underground.
The lunch queue jerked slowly forward. The room was already very full and deafeningly noisy. From the grille at the counter the steam of stew came pouring forth, with a sour metallic smell which did not quite overcome the fumes of Victory Gin.
This was also the place where Winston and Julia arranged their first date, over spoonfuls of stew.
It’s the weekly Gloomscapes entry, number twenty-two. And it’s another graffiti tag shot.
The three dots remind me of drops of blood. Maybe that was the artist’s (writer’s?) intention. I purposely didn’t crop out the CCTV sign. Because, you know, they are watching us…
I’m thinking of posting up to 25 and then take a break. New material is needed.
I’m just wondering, anyone out there who is a fan of dystopia/post-apocalypse and likes to take pictures too, how would you depict your favourite fiction in photographs? Have you ever tried it? Let me know in the comments.
Today, I’m pleased to present number Twenty in my Gloomscapes series.
To mark this occasion, I have decided for something less gloomy, maybe even a bit fun–and a dialogue from my favourite YA dystopian series.
“Think about it. People used to ride that thing. For fun,” says Will, shaking his head.
“They must have been Dauntless,” I say.
“Yeah, but a lame version of Dauntless. “Christina laughs. “A Dauntless Ferris wheel wouldn’t have cars. You would just hang on tight with your hands, and good luck to you.”
We walk down the side of the pier. All the buildings on my left are empty, their signs torn down and their windows closed, but it is a clean kind of emptiness. Whoever left these places left them by choice and at their leisure. Some places in the city are not like that.
~Veronica Roth, Divergent
The world in the Divergent series is a city divided into five factions. The above mentioned Dauntless are one them. They’re the brave ones; Abnegation are the selfless, Candor the honest, Erudite the ones that value knowledge and Amity are the hippies. Then there are the factionless, who don’t fit into any faction and live on the fringes of the society. I’m a definite Erudite myself, though I think the Dauntless are the coolest ones.