Portia Placino

Repository of my thoughts and images of art, literature, travel, and life.

Dreams, adventures, and my first snow

Haus der Kulturelen der Welt

I haven’t blogged in a really long time. I would like to say that I’ve been busy with real life, but that is not necessarily the case. It is more appropriate to say that I have disengaged from reality and lived a fantasy, just for a little while. I went to Europe. I lived with my luggage for 5 weeks traipsing through my dream destinations. Needless to say, it was one of the best times of my life. It was Portia’s time.

I received the call for proposals while in my other conference-related travels (still unblogged). Chances are slim, but, I thought to myself, what the hell? Go for it! I never would have forgiven myself if I didn’t. I was granted a slot to participate in the Learning Place of the Former West Congress to be held in Berlin, Germany on March 18-24, 2013. I received the acceptance January, by then, I had less than 3 months to prepare for the greatest journey of my life.

I learned so much, I still do not have a grasp of everything. Its part of why it took me so long to write about it. But it gets better. What I learned is great, but the people I met are even greater–artists, writers, professors, theoreticians, historians, curators, and everyone that has something to do in the art world from all over the world. I still keep in touch with some of them and I am yet to e-mail some. I know that I will be seeing people who until then I only know thru their books–Homi Bhabha, Boris Groys, etc. But the other speakers and participants are just as awesome. I even visited some of them later in their city (more on that later).

Everything will start at breakfast. By the second day, I never even had an empty table. I’d sit down and soon enough, other participants are joining in for breakfast and conversations. The topic would range from the conference to research projects, school, travels, and life in general. By the time they left and I stayed on for the “backpacking” part of my journey, I couldn’t stand the thought of a solitary meal in the hostel’s breakfast room. From 8-9 a.m. until about midnight for a week, life became an endless mix of meaningful conversations, lectures, discussions, activities, and ART. It was exhausting in the best possible way.

The most down time I’ve had is when we took a little trip to see the galleries of Berlin. Okay, we were supposed to be in a lecture, but we were exhausted, so we explored instead. Tiffany, Nonto, Alberto and I started in Alexanderplatz and went from there. From the gallery cards I’ve gathered, we ended up in parts of Kreuzberg, Mitte, and Postdamer Platz. Then, I was taught how to navigate Tiergarten. I’ve always wanted to go inside it but I was afraid of getting lost in the snow. The Tiergarten became my favorite spot in all of Berlin. When they all left, I’ve taken many solitary hours walking and exploring. I was given clues on what to find where, but I know I’ve only scratched the surface. (Details later.)

Kunst-Werke Institute for Contemporary Art

I have endless stories to tell. As I said, I even have a backlog of unblogged trips. I think I wouldn’t be able to tell half of it, but I would certainly try to tell all that I can. I leave this here for now. It’s a story of a girl, a make-believe princess, who took her bag and went for her dreams and fantasy. I haven’t unearthed thousands of photographs from my camera yet, it’s proof that this really happened–Berlin, Paris, Barcelona, Bilbao, Madrid, Pisa, Florence, Venice, Milan, Rome, and back to Berlin.

If there’s someone out there who wants to converse about travels, I’d certainly appreciate it. What I miss most are the conversations.

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