City Diary - Lisbon, Portugal 2015

“To understand yourself: Is that a discovery or a creation?”
( Pascal Mercier, Night Train to Lisbon )

[ City Diary ] - Working on my long time project "City Diaries". Utilising analog and digital capture and postprocessing techniques to find creative solutions for my goal to investigate the urban spaces of modern european cities. Cities are complex constructions in space  and time ( history, memory ). The Cities which I have already investigated or I am still investigating are: Athens, Berlin, Hamburg, Kiev,  Lisbon, Porto. Some more are soon to come ... here some snapshots on work done on Lisbon and Porto ( Portugal ). 

[ DE ] Städte-Tagebücher - Die Auseinandersetzungen mit Orten und Städten. Durch den Einsatz verschiedene technischen Aufnahmemedien wie analoge und digitale Kameras werden Ansichten der Städte aufgezeichnet und gespeichert ( für die Zukunft aufbewahrt ). Hier sollen die Geschichten der Häuser, der Straßen, des Ortes eingefangen und aufgezeichnet werden. Das Projekt thematisiert, wie durch verschiedene Medien Erinnerung gespeichert und wieder erweck werden kann.

Leit-Begriffe: Erinnerung ( Mnemosyne ), Geschichte, Erinnerungsräume, kulturelles Gedächtnis.

[ ]

[ City Diary - Lisbon, Portugal ] - Lisbon Story - Pictures from a travel in Lisbon ( Portugal ) on februar 2015.

Most digital images taken with a Nikon D800E and a MF Takumar 6x7 f3.5 55mm lens. For the analog pictures I used a Plaubel Makina 67 and a Nikon FM2 camera.

( [DE] Lissabon ein Gedächtnisspeicher - Bilder aus meiner Reise in Lissabon am Februar 2015. Die Mehrheit der Bilder wurden mit einer Nikon D800E und einem altem ( MF ) Takumar 6x7 55m f3.5 Objektiv aufgenohmen.  )

 Lisbon a City of History and a Space of Memory

Lisbon is a City of History and a Space of Memory ... Located at the ultimate west end of Europe it is a kind of limit between the continent and the ocean. At this boarder land and sea, myth and reality penetrate each other realm forming the city.  It is also a complex and layered container of history and memory from the beginning of the new era of discoveries until today. A visit of Lisbon is a kind of adventure and exploration of european identitity ( same feeling as in Berlin, Paris, Amsterdam, Athen, Rom, Wien, Prag, etc. ) ...

Lisbon is also a multivoice musical composition. Fado and the multitude of the poetic voices currying names such as  Fernado Pessoa, Alberto Caeiro, Álvaro de Campos, Ricardo Reis ...

To see the fields and the river 
It isn’t enough to open the window.
To see the trees and the flowers 
It isn’t enough not to be blind.

It is also necessary to have no philosophy.
With philosophy there are no trees, just ideas.
There is only each one of us, like a cave.  
There is only a shut window, and the whole world outside,  
And a dream of what could be seen if the window were opened, 
Which is never what is seen when the window is opened.

( "Es genügt nicht, das Fenster zu öffnen, / Um Felder und Fluß zu sehen. / Es genügt nicht, kein Blinder zu sein, / Um Bäume und Blumen zu sehen. / Man darf auch keiner Philosophie anhängen. / Wo Philosophie ist, gibt es keine Bäume: nur Ideen. / Gibt es nur jeden einzelnen von uns, wie in einem Keller. / Gibt es nur ein geschlossenes Fenster, und die ganze Welt dort draußen;  / Und einen Traum den man sehen könnte, würde sich das Fenster öffnen,  / Welcher niemals der ist den man sieht, wenn sich das Fenster öffnet. )

Alberto Caeiro (Fernando Pessoa)

The depiction of Lisbon in Film

There are a lot of good and interesting filmic  representations of the city of Lisbon. Lisbon with its  historic urban facades, was an inspiring place for many cino movies. Here a very short and personal selection:

  • Alain Tanner, "Dans la ville blanche ( In the white city )" ( 1983 )
  • Wim Wenders "Lisbon Story" ( 1994) 
  • Alain Tanner "Requiem" ( 1998)
  • "Night Train to Lisbon" ( 2013 )

- Wim Wenders Lisbon Story (1994) is partially a sequel to Wenders' 1982 film, The State of Things. The fictitious movie director in the previous film, Friedrich Munro, reappears, again played by Patrick Bauchau. In Lisbon Story Friedrich has moved to LisbonPortugal (the country where The State of Things was set). The principal character, Philip Winter (Rüdiger Vogler), a sound engineer, receives a postcard invitation from Friedrich to come to Lisbon to record sounds of the capital city for his forthcoming film. On arriving, the director is nowhere to be found, though he leaves cryptic messages. This sets in motion a mysterious quest.

The story starts with a postcard and a cryptic message: “Dear Phil. I cannot continue m.o.s.! S.O.S.! Come to Lisbon with all your stuff a.s.a.p.! Big hug, Fritz.”

Who is who? And what do all those abbreviations mean? The S.O.S. of course is obvious, and a.s.a.p. only strengthens the urgency: come as soon as possible. But m.o.s.? Only someone who has worked on a film set before might know that the expression dates back to the early years of sound films and according to legend Erich von Stroheim, who wanted to continue shooting without sound, coined the term “mit out sound”.

It soon becomes clear: The postcard comes from the director Friedrich Munroe (Patrick Bauchau) who asks his friend Phillip Winter (Rüdiger Vogler) to come to his aid. Friedrich single-handedly shoots a film in Lisbon and Winter is a sound engineer. He’s stuck: he wanted to shoot a film as if the whole history of film had not taken place. One man alone in the streets, with a crank handle camera, just like Buster Keaton in THE CAMERAMAN. Now he hopes that Winter’s microphone can pull his pictures “out of the darkness” and just save his entire undertaking.

The film is a hommage to the city of Lisbon and a bow to the history of film for which 100th birthday it was made. The soundtrack made the group Madradeus world-famous.

- The latest film ( Night Train to Lisbon. 2013  ) is based on the 2004 novel Night Train to Lisbon by Pascal Mercier. The film is about a Swiss teacher who saves the life of a woman and then abandons his teaching career and reserved life to embark on a thrilling intellectual adventure that takes him on a journey to the very heart of himself.

“We leave something of ourselves behind when we leave a place, we stay there, even though we go away. And there are things in us that we can find again only by going back there.”                                                         ( Pascal Mercier, Night Train to Lisbon )

Pascal Mercier’s novel-now-film takes on questions of identity and the meaning of place. 


“Life is not what we live; it is what we imagine we are living.” 
( Pascal Mercier, Night Train to Lisbon )




Lissabon,  Sontag  1. März 2015 

Vormitags Spaziergang in die Alfama. Aufnahmen mit der Nikon und das 55mm Takumar 67 Objektiv ... interessante Ästhetik ... passt zu Lissabon ... es gibt die Atmosphäre des Verlorenen wieder ... verlorein in die Zeit ... verloren im Raum ... Lissabon eine risige urbane Ruine zwischen den Zeiten ... zwischen Realität und Fikton ... zwischen Narration und Schweigen ... 

Das Geheimnis der Dinge, wo ist es? 
Wo ist es, warum erscheint es nicht, 
wenigstens um zu zeigen, daß es Geheimnis ist?     
Ja, das ist es, was meine Sinne einsam erlenten:   
Die Dinge haben keine Bedeutung: sie sind vorhanden. 
Die Dinge selbst sind der einzige verborgene Sinn der Dinge.  

Fernando Pessoa, "Der Hüter der Herden" ( 1888 - 1935 )

( extract from my personal logbook in German )





“To understand yourself: Is that a discovery or a creation?”
( Pascal Mercier, Night Train to Lisbon )

Plaubel Makina67 ... perhaps the best MF analog camera for travel ... 

Most digital images taken with a Nikon D800E and a MF Takumar 6x7 f3.5 55mm lens. For the analog pictures I used a Plaubel Makina 67 and a Nikon FM2 camera.


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