Wild Young Minds: April 2014

Monday, April 28, 2014

Who's at driver's seat

What’s the reason, what’s the use
Who does it comfort, who will win
Will it cure you from sorrow and blues
Oh why do you transform your own skin

The doubt that is grounded deep within
Is not easily hidden from the world outside
The more you try, the harder to begin
Taking the steps of your search for pride

Stay true to who you are and what you believe
But what if thoughts and treasures blur as one
If you no longer know whose goals to achieve
And odd ardours are abandoned and long gone

What if the crowd’s opinion has gained control
Over who to love, where to go and what to do
You think to be true to your own sincere soul
But can you still identify what is really of value

For scandal and slander is the order of the day
Bringing another down to travel higher in the sky
Lessens the fear of being seen as ghostly grey
No difficulty faking a feeling or creating a lie

Where to look for authenticity, sincerity and truth
If the meaning of these words has long been lost
Maybe it's part of the insecurity that belongs to youth
But what’s it worth if being phoney is the price it has to cost?


Sunday, April 27, 2014

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

The Color of Congo

Last January, when I was in Morocco with my friend Yeji, something tragic - for us, western girls - happened. In the middle of a beautiful landscape in a nomad village, her analog camera broke. Goodbye to all of the magnificent photos that were already made, goodbye to all those photos to come. This made her realize the reason why she loved to photograph so much. Not because of the memories - after all, those are in our heads as well - but for the aesthetics. The beauty of nature, the pure prettiness of countries.

Why am I telling you this anecdote? Because aesthetics are a very important aspect of photography, even when photographing or filming a country as troubled as Congo, where conflict after conflict happens and where babies are born in pain, awaiting a life filled with pain, misery and war. 
In his installation The Enclave, now exhibited in Amsterdam based photography museum FOAM, the artist Richard Mosse (1980) combines the dark world of suffering in Congo with aesthetic aspects such as color and music. The way he describes his project: ''an attempt to let two contradictory worlds collide: the potential of art to represent stories that are so painful that they exceed the limits of the language, and the ability of photography to document tragedies and communicate to the world''. 
How he succeeds in doing this? Richard Mosse went to Goma, the capital of mineral-rich North Kivu in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, where wholesale slaughters and sexual violence are the order of the day. He was accompanied by filmmaker Trevor Tweeten and Ben Foster, who recorded the sounds. Together with several rebellian groups, they travelled through Congo and documented the conflicts, the nature and the everyday life. 
The project resulted in various films and photos which have an overdosis of colours, especially pink and blue. The way Mosse created these effects, was by infrared film. According to Mosse, this was the ''approriate medium'' to film, since it is originally made for military purposes. Foliage reflects the infrared light and it is absorbed by camouflage. That's why camouflage troops and buildings can be shown, but also the pink tints in the photos. 
The exhibition is overwhelming, in a positive way. We arrived in a room filled with six gigantic screens, that all showed a different film, but they did correspond in what they showed. The images we saw variated from a singing child near the water, to a military group in a car or in the forest searching for victims. Since there were six different screens to look at, the story remains captivating the entire time. That's the reason why we stayed in the room for more than half an hour, I guess.
The power of the combination of outstandingly beautiful and colourful shots with the hardness of the situation (the African tragedy has costed more than 5,4 million lives already), is undescribable. It works, let's keep it that way. I can't imagine someone not being moved by the films, but also by the photos, which we saw in the second and third room in FOAM. There's this scene where you see an extremely painful pregnancy, and it silences you. Not just during the scene, but several minutes afterwards as well. 
If you find these photos mindblowing already, what awaits you, is a breathtaking experience. If you have the chance, you should definitely have a look in FOAM, since they way they created the room with the six screens, is to me the perfect way to experience what Mosse intended. Prepare yourselves by watching these photos, and then have a look before the 1st of July. 

Monday, April 21, 2014

Sweet Sun

Great song, their entire album is full of great songs actually.
But this one is perfect, for the fabulous line:
'We were 1969. We were Jimi and Janis'. Made me smile instantly. If I meet someone like Jimi who makes me feel like Janis, I'd never let him go. Yes, really.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Back to London Baby part 2

Alrighty, where were we? Sunday mornings in London, I guess. Our main goal for this day was shopping in Camden Town. This town is most famous for its huge market, with foods stalls from all over the world (we bought falafel of course) and vintage clothing stalls. But this isn't all that Camden has to offer, it is also the place where Amy Winehouse used to live. Not that you really notice anything about that fact - except for all of the paintings of her on walls - but the idea is awesome, isn't it?
Anyway, since we got up really early (don't know why that happened?), we decided it was still a bit too early to go to Camden already. Thank god for all the other great areas in London, so we didn't need a lot of time to think about another place. Let's get back to Notting Hill! We didn't go to the famous bookshop where Hugh Grant and Julia Roberts met. Not only because I hate Julia Roberts - I know, everyone loves her... Well, I don't. - but also because we simply wanted to do other things.
Like, drinking coffee. We ran into a cute little French coffee place, which already seemed heavenly because all of the sweet & sugary stuff, but which turned out even better because of the men working there! One in particular, a French guy with beard and hair bun. He liked us too, I assume, cause when we were sitting on the tiny terrace with our faces towards the sun, he made a picture of us. Wild story, right?
After the shots of caffeine, we headed towards Portobello Road, the street with all the coloured houses. There's a daily market over there, but we already figured the Camden market would be better and cheaper, so we didn't buy anything. Made some photos though and continued the trip to Camden. Which was fabulous as expected. We bought a few books at the book store, sniffled the smell of all the food (seriously, they had everything: chicken, fish, falafel, you name it, they got it) and bought some vintage bargains. 

We were pretty lucky this weekend, since the weather in London was better than in Amsterdam. Quite surprisingly, since London is known as the foggy town. But no, 18 degrees and a warm sun, so we found ourselves a spot on the grass in Hyde Park, where we read our books and listened to music. After a while we - mostly I, as always - felt restless again and so we walked a bit more and started looking for a nice place to eat. We thought Camden would do well, but that wasn't such a good idea. Everything was closed or sold only burgers, but finally we found an Italian restaurant, where we ate delicious pasta and - more importantly - drank glorious cocktails.
In the evening we had promised to meet our hosts at Covent Garden. They wanted to go to a bartender contest in a club somewhere, and we figured it would be nice to join them. The contest was kind of lousy, if you ask me, since there were only girls participating and it was obvious from the beginning who was going to win. Fortunately, the music was fun and drinks were free, so we had a great time anyway. I get told I look like Cara (Delevingne, the super model) a lot, but this time it got really annoying. One guy, who was probably obsessed with her, kept asking me if I did extra effort to look like her and if I was a lesbian as well (yes, of course, cause you always are actually like the person who happens to have the same eyebrows!). In the end, he understood I was a different person and we continued our amusing night.
That night ended in a bumpy bus ride for free, a short taxi ride and lentil soup on the couch. The next day we had to catch our flight back to Holland, so we said goodbye to our hosts - after giving them stroopwafels and chocolate sprinkles - and that's how our first experience of couchsurfing ended. I recommend it to everyone!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Back to London Baby part 1

Writing this post, I'm realizing that such a long time has passed since I started this blog. Why? Because one of the first posts was an account of my trip to London with my travel buddy Avalon. And that's already four years ago... Over the years, I didn't only lower my average post from about 15 to 5 a month (which I already have to work hard for), I also changed a lot when it comes to interests and looks. Which is a funny thing, because I thought I looked so cool, back in those days. But honestly, shopping at Primark and H&M, drinking coffees at Starbucks and making duckfaces in front of the Big Ben... Sorry if I offend anyone, but god, we were so young. No, right now I'm sounding way too pretentious. To be fair, it was one of the best vacations ever and I had so much fun. Every single minute. Poor dad, who joined us back then. 
Anyway, we decided to book a flight again, for a few reasons. The first and most important one, flights were only 50 euros, which is NO money if you ask me. Secondly, we hardly ever see each other anymore, since Avalon lives far south in The Netherlands and I live in our capital. And the last reason turned out to be the best reason, we had our first experience of Couchsurfing.
For those of you still living in 1999, like my mom, who actually doesn't even read my blog I believe, let me shortly explain what Couchsurfing is. It's a great community for travelers, who look for a host in the city or country they're planning to travel for. I know, it sounds a bit creepy and yes, you also have a lot of weird guys who offer to host you (I once had contact with a guy who was into nuddism... Good for him, but no thanks). We started looking a bit late, so it turned out to be quite hard to find a host eventually. Thank god for Chen, an Israelian guy who asked us to come to a yearly house party he organized with his friends. It would be very international, so of course we wanted to come. Eventually, we stayed with Chen and his friends the entire weekend and we had a great time!
I don't think I need to say more about the house party than that there was liquor, music and lovely people from all over the world. Yes, it was an amazing party. But there was more to London, of course. So on Saturday morning we had a quick shower and took our broken bodies into the tube straight to the centre. We went to Oxford Street first, to check out the English Urban Outfitters (cause the Amsterdam based store disappoints me every time) and Topshop. I lost Avalon in the Topshop and since our phones had lost their power the night before, we spend half an hour apart. Such a disaster, but finally I found her again with some nice bargains and we continued our trip to Tate Modern.

A bit of culture indeed. We had seen a poster of a Richard Hamilton in the tube and I had once read that he was the photographer of the famous Mick Jagger photo, the one where he hides his face for the cameras, cause he just got arrested. Anyway, the exhibition was really, really nice. His work was very diverse, he made very conceptual art, but also precise paintings, pop-art work and much more. After this cultural boost, we wanted to shop a bit more (since I hadn't bought anything yet), and where better to do that, than in the centre of the students: Bricklane. 

This village is a bit of a rough area, but very artistic, so to us, it was perfect. We saw beautiful street paintings of Johnny Cash, Jesus and many more heroes. Fortunately, we didn't have to search all the streets for vintage stores, cause a girl came over to us, gave us a discount code and showed us the way to a huge vintage dumping store. Which was heaven. There were books, photos, records and lots, lots of clothes. I bought a nice crop top and the most beautiful kimono ever. A white one with flowers on them. I have to tell you that I'm crazy about kimonos, and this one was perfect, so yes, great catch. They also had peanut buttermilkshakes in the store, and I also have to tell you I'm crazy about peanut butter, but we forgot to buy one, so that's a good reason to go back one day. 

 We were hungry though, so we went to the alternative centre of Bricklane, which is next to the famous record store 'Rough Trade'. People can eat outside there, which was perfect, cause the weather was still very nice. We bought halloumi, which is a Cypriot goat cheese, roasted potato and eggplant with salad. After eating, we went to the record store and visited our lovely photobooth again (we also did this four years ago). The photos are typically us - you'll understand when you see 'em - and we took them back home to the Israelian group. 

This time we decided not to drink, and to give our legs a rest, so we stayed at home and watched a long film called 'Cloud Atlas'. To be continued... 

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Fashionable Flights with Air France

Air France has taken a fabulous approach in their new campaign: fashion. Models as the Dutch Bette Franke, Ali Michael, etc. are seen in typical outfits for Air France Destinations, among which Brazil, New York, Italy, Pekin and Dakar. I think photographers Sofia Sanchez and Mauro Mongiello have done a great job. The shots are a bit statical, but that also fits with Air France, I think. The campaign is very lively, colourful and energetic, which definitely is a good motivation to book a flight! It definitely convinced me to go to San Francisco next year. Love the bohemian feeling to this photo, so all that's left to say is: well done, team!

Sunday, April 6, 2014


Move over, selfies. I recently came across something way cooler than this current trend: sleeveface. What do I mean by this strange term? In 2007, Welsh dj Carl Morris was the first to put the term in practice. He held a record sleeve against his face, so that an illusion was created. Since then, an entire blog is devoted to the phenomenon and I think it's wonderful. Check out the blog here and have a look at a few of my favourites beneath.

And the next destination is...

To those of you still reading my blog, well done. Feelings of envy, jealousy or irritation are apparently unknown to you. Just kiddin', but I do have a good reason for saying this. I'm planning my next far trip again! The destination I'm talking about is Israel and Jordan. Quite a risk, you might say. But it's not that bad. Many tourists visit Israel today, despite the conflict. Of course, we should be careful and we should definitely not go to parts of Egypt and Syria, but well, we didn't plan on doing so anyway. Yes, we know that there are certain dangers in that part of the world, but we - my fernweh fellow and roommate Paula - can't wait to see the countries. Must be wildly amazing.
Israel is only a tiny country - comparable to Belgium for all my Dutch followers - but there's so much to it. Many, many cultures and religions of course: Jews, Islams, Christians. Lots of cities as well - and a pretty varying offer of cities. There's Tel Aviv, the party place par excellence. There's Jerusalem, the holy City. There's Bethlehem (which lies in Palestina actually), the birth place of Jesus. And I haven't even begun talking about Jordan. Haven't been there yet, fair enough, but from what I've seen at Google pictures (and that isn't even the best place to look for stunning photo material), it must be close to heaven.

Yes, I am pretty sure we're going to have a splendid time in the Middle East. We still have a long time to prepare before take off (we're leaving in July) but time flies as a student in Amsterdam. Jesus - nice word in this context, have to be careful with this - I sound almost optimistic. Which I'm not, don't worry, because I'm sick and stressed at this moment. My voice is completely gone while I'm writing this, but fortunately I don't need it today. Let's hope it has returned next week, because...
Next week I'm flying to London! Only for a weekend, but I'm really looking forward to it. I'm going with my interrail buddy and we've been there once before, which was one of the best weeks of my life. We are into all that London has to offer: vintage markets, huge parks, cute coffee places and wine bars. We're still looking for a host via Couchsurfing, but - and here prevails my positive side again - I'm sure it will all work out right. Keep you posted!