dailybell: 2/17/08 - 2/24/08

Saturday, February 23, 2008

SUNSET 2/23/08

Leaving the Station

There were so many policemen all around the museum and the train station. When we walked through the tunnel underground to get to our track there were black uniformed men lining both sides of the tunnel. There was even a single policeman standing in front of us at the end of the tunnel. At least a dozen men in all. Above the ground they were everywhere- little green cars all over the place, and we couldn't figure out why. While we were standing on the platform waiting for the train we asked another person who was also waiting is she knew why there were so many police. She looked mildly disgusted and said they were there because of the local soccer game in Wolfsburg. Her disgust was not with the police presence but with the fact that there was a need for them at all. She said she couldn't understand why the fans were so rowdy. Except for the alcohol.

Anyway, when the train came we got on and the three of us rang the tiny bells as the train pulled out of the station and we got underway.

SUNRISE 2/23/08

I just walked around the hotel where we had been staying all week and took pictures of each place I had rung bells. This was one of the few mornings that weren’t completely grey.

Friday, February 22, 2008

SUNSET 2/22/08

Opening at phaeno

PhatasieMechanik Opening

This evening was the opening of the PhantasieMechanik at phaeno, the science museum in Wolfsburg. We found one visitor just hanging around the entrance when it was time to ring the bells and he was happy to participate.
We've been here at phaeno all week setting up for the show. It's a great show. Norman has several pieces in it. There is an incredible collection of small mechanical sculptures from Great Britain called the Cabaret Mechanical Theatre. Arthur Gansonhas selections from his work, and there is a wonderfully romantic and theatrical installation from Russian artists living in Glasgow called Sharmanka Theatre. Sculptor Eduard Bersudsky and theatre maker Tatyana Jakovskaya established Sharmanka in 1988. They were joined by lighting designer and technical director Sergey Jakovsky in 1992.

Anyone near Wolfsburg, Germany between now and the end of June should come to phaeno. It's a great interactive museum and it's right across from the AutoStadt and giant Volkswagen factory.

SUNRISE 2/22/08

Rush Hour With Bells

Mornings and evenings look about the same here in Wolfsburg. Pretty dreary. It’s good to have the bells to break up the day.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

SUNSET 2/21/08

All Around the Town

At 6PM after the evening bell ringing, I was walking down the street and suddenly the air was filled with bells. Big bells. Many bells. It was hard to tell which direction they were coming from. I was surrounded. It was wonderful and I walked for several blocks before they stopped ringing. It was getting dark and the bells were somewhat muted. Perfect.

SUNRISE 2/21/08

Hall and Stairs

I jumped out of bed to another grey morning. This is a very perfunctory greeting to the sunrise. The most exciting part was getting from the 3rd floor of the hotel to the parking lot outside in under one minute.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

SUNSET 2/20/08

We Are Not Hare Krishnas

We are standing on the bridge over the canal that runs between the Volkswagen factory and Autostadt on one side and phaeno science museum on the other. A few of the artists currently setting up their installation as part of the show at phaeno took a break to watch the sunset this evening. We were joined by a family returning from the Autostadt. They said they felt like Hare Krishnas.

Hitler's Sketch

This is a sketch by Adolf Hitler that he presented to Ferdinand Porsche when he met with him in 1933 to discuss Hitler's idea for the volkswagen.

Brief background information from Westminster College Website:
“The idea behind the Volkswagen was to stimulate the German economy into the modern era by putting as many Germans as possible behind the wheels of automobiles on the new Autobahn, something the US didn't get around to until the 1950's. The Volkswagen, originally known as the KDF car (Kraft-Durch-Freude or Strength Through Joy), was designed to be affordable to the average consumer, and so was the financing.

Literally, the word "volkswagen" means "people's car." In Germany, the idea of a people's car wasn't exactly a new one. Before the 1930's, there had been many efforts to create simple cars that everyone could afford, but none met with profound success. Almost all cars before 1930, even if they were designed to be simple enough for the average person, ended up costing more than the average worker's yearly wage.

In 1933, Adolf Hitler met with Ferdinand Porsche to discuss Hitler's idea of a volkswagen. Hitler proposed a people's car that could carry 5 people, cruise up to 62mph, return 33mpg, and cost only 1000 Reich Marks. This was an opportunity for Porsche to push his idea of a small car forward, as was it to help Hitler get a real people's car for the citizens of Germany.”

SUNRISE 2/20/08

Strength Through Joy Car

Sunrise looking at the smokestacks of the Volkswagen Factory in Wolfsburg. This is the factory that has been making Volkswagens since 1939. The car was originally conceived by Adolph Hitler to be an affordable car for the average German. Volkswagen means “people’s car”, but at first it was known as the KDF car “Kraft- Durch- Freude or Strength Through Joy”.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

SUNSET 2/19/08

Volkswagens Born Here

The Volkswagen factory dominates the town of Wolfsburg. Or maybe it is the town. In the time before the Iron Curtain came down, this area was at the edge of West Germany. It took hours to get here and was not a destination for any visitors. Now, because of the Volkswagen factory, people come here. If you buy a Volkswagen, you can come here and pick up your car right from the factory as it comes off the line. It's personal.

Many, many new Volkswagens from long ago

Historic photo

Background of VW- from German Propaganda Archive.
This is an interesting site. It contains photos and drawings pertaining to the Volkswagen. There are also descriptions of the factory town that was planned to grow up around the factory. It's interesting to compare that to present day Wolfsburg which is still dominated by the Volkswagen factory. However, today the Autostadt Museum stands right next to the factory. It is billed as a museum/amusement theme park all about cars. In addition to the one hour tour of the factory itself, there are several pavilions dedicated to other cars as well (i.e. Lamborghini, Audi, Bentley). Ironically, Porshe is currently (2008) attempting to buy Volkswagen.

SUNRISE 2/19/08

Rear Entrance

We took a little walk behind the hotel this morning, past the porta-potty, down the lane and back. Our bell-ringing stroll began and ended at the back door to the hotel. This is the entrance for the workers carrying those heavy buckets while the men in suits enter and leave by the front door. Same old. Same old.

Monday, February 18, 2008


My friend Jamie sent this to me.

SUNSET 2/18/08

Fluffy Gloves

The Glove Got in the Way

The evening looked about the same as the morning- same shade of uniform grey. So I thought "How perfect. I will go out to the same spot and shoot the same images again. Only this time with different bells". It was magical.

Imagine this. This time, there is an infestation of birds and they are just sitting in those trees. The trees are bare and the branches black. The birds are black and silent and large. It is "The Birds". There are hundreds of them motionless in the tops of those trees. Huddling. Songless silhouettes.

Suddenly - the voices of children running in the distance and en masse the birds fly into the air. They fly around overhead in several factions. Soon they are like specks of ash swirling. I was so thrilled. I couldn't believe I was actually filming at that precise moment. It turns out, I wasn't.

SUNRISE 2/18/08

Guten Morgen Wolfsburg Crows

Only grey this morning. Grey sky. Grey air. Cold and wet. Under the general wash of light, it was hard to orient to any direction. So I stepped just outside the back entrance of the hotel and looked around. There must have been some kind of dump nearby, or maybe it was the canal. There were many black birds flying around together and making a lot of noise. I felt right at home. Just the birds and I making noise together. Until the workmen showed up lugging some heavy looking buckets. We performed a nice little concert for them.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

SUNSET 2/17/08

Standing outside of the Hotel Global Inn. Wolfsburg, Germany

Sunrise Stills

Well, it was more difficult to tell when the sun was rising at 35, 000 ft. than it was to tell when it was setting. So I took lots of still pictures thinking that it was the right time only to wait a few minutes and figure out that the sun had not if fact made an appearance. It was a little tricky snapping pictures through the window with the best view of the sun activity from my seat. The window was located by the head of the man sleeping in the seat in front of me. I slipped the camera between the seat and the window and very quietly depressed the button on the camera that was very close to his ear. He never woke up and I took a bunch of still photos and several movies before during and after we rang the bells in the row behind him. It was a long flight.

So now, here’s a little problem. Can anyone figure out what time it was when the sun came up and over what part of the earth was the plane located? All of the information I have comes from the screen at the front of the airplane. It showed our location and trajectory and the time at our destination. The problem is it only showed this information about an hour before the sunrise and 1/2 hour after. Is this a fun problem? Anyone want to try and figure out where we were and what time it was when the sun came up?
We were an hour past Iceland when the sun rose and we still had 45 minutes before we flew over Liverpool. We were traveling about 535 mph. The time information we had was that it was 8:30 AM in Germany when the sun rose. Can anyone figure out what time it was and where we were (other than somewhere between Iceland and Liverpool) when the sun rose?

SUNRISE 2/17/08

Heeeeeeeeeere Comes the Sun

I wasn't trying to be artsy with the camera orientation in the second part of the movie. I was just so tired that I forgot that I was shooting a movie and not holding a still camera. It was hard to tell when the sun was passing the horizon, so I started to guess when the sky first began to show color. As different bands of color began to form and the sky continued to lighten ever so gradually, I began to realize that that first movie wasn't the sunrise at all. Maybe that was "dawn's early light". Anyway, that's when I decided to shoot another little movie and by that time I was bleary eyed and fuzzy headed from the all night plane ride and continually watching and trying to decide if it was sunrise yet. Hence the sideways view.