Untitled, (Self Portrait in the Garden) c.1934-36
Untitled, (Self Portrait in the Garden) c.1934-36
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We went into The Venus Grotto. Yet another of Ludwig d. 2. fantasies, his own artificial grotto with swans, a heated pool, actors and an orchestra to play whatever music he fancied. Mostly Wagner. There’s also a gondolier, in the shape of a swan of course. The swan being synonymous with Ludwig aka “The Swan King”. The Swan King was a recluse. Linderhof, a mineature version of Versailles, never had any visitors. Ludwig lived there alone with his swans and servants. One big machinery for literally living the dream. The walls are covered with mirrors to produced the feeling of eternity. It’s all very nice, and quickly gets boring. Electrincal lightning provides colured lights. A pioneer project by Siemns in 1860 something. Impressive in its accuracy and detail, and it’s extremity also, but tedious in the long run, too nice. Pointless really. My grandmother would have loved it.
The rose gardens, the fat golden angels, and schönen portraits. Germany’s Howard Hawks. It’s spectacular without being sublime, basically they’re not sexy!
Later that evening we had our first non-bavarian meal at the only “international restaurant” in town. You can’t miss it, it’s just by the Alp See lake. Next to the lake a group of chain smoking teenagers have gathered around a ghetto blaster. Two of them is wearing the traditional bavarian heidi outfit that the staff on all the hotels wear. They drink cheap beer, laughing, singing…rapping. They seemed to know every word of 2Pac’s ”Thug Life”.
At 00.00 the couple next door in number 42 are figthing. Or fucking. Not sure which, or whether it matters. In any circumstance this is a wonderful place which I’m happy not to live in. The air is thin, and it feels like it’s getting thinner. We found a good spot to kill someone by the way, but it should be a secret for now
There’s a lot of tourists at the foot of the castle. They take pictures, shooting from the designated areas in front of the castle. Foreground and background mix. “Your’re head is bigger than the castle”, a man laughs out loud, while taking a pictures of his wife. Tours in all languages, it’s like a tourist mekka. Everybody comes. Takes pictures. Eats a sausage, buys souvenirs, tries to speak some German, take off. Why? The castle is an extraordinary display of idolatry: The castle is Ludwigs homage to his idol and “true friend” Richard Wagner. Every room has got it’s own share of scenarios from the operas. It’s not a nice place to live, more like an installation or environment for total immersion in fantasy.
The gloomiest place in Neuschwanstein has got to be the bedroom (we wern’t allowed to take pictures). Dedicated to Tristan & Isolde, the guide tell us. We are still not allowed to take pictures. The bedroom is where Ludwig was told by officials that he would be removed from power. That he was insane. 4 doctors concluded that without ever examining him in person. They just looked at the extravagant castles he’d build!! Ludwig wanted to commit suicide instantly. He did not consider the asylum an option: A life outside of his castle would be death. To the very last he was very concious of his of appearance. His public image had to be perfect. He had himself portrayed as healthy and beautiful, although an extravagant and excessive lifestyle had turned him into fat, bald alcoholic and drugabuser. He refused to have his teeth fixed, and killed the pain with opium.
In a state of resignation the king played with the idea of suicide. Even his most intimate friends feared he would jump off the castle’s tower. But then he changed his mind: “Drowning is a nicer death. No mutiliation. But falling from a great height….”
I’m reading this out loud, from Martha Schad’s book “Ludwig II”, while receiving a Weissbier from a “Heidi”-waitress image.. Kari and Per Morten are eating Ludwig d. II chocolate. Just next to where we sit, 10 japanese tourists dressed in pink overcoats, wearing pollution mask covering their mouth and nostrils are boarding a bus that will take them up to the castle. They all carry a white kane, with red stripes on them. We look at each other in silence: What would make 10 blind Japanese tourists dressed in pink go on a tour around the Neuschwanstein castle?
At 23.00 the town is quite as a fox in the Alps. Coincidentally, that same fox is rummaging the waste bins for a midnight snack. I watch it from the balcony. I expect it to turn towards me and whisper: “Chaos reigns!”
We’re looking to kill someone
We hope to create something extraordinary with Wunderkind. We’re not entirely sure how we’re going to do just that. Therefore we’ve deciced to share our thoughts while we build, to lay everything on the table, as they say.
We ride through the bavarian landscape in a Volvo (our choice of transportation attests to our credibility) We’ve arrived at Neuschwanstein Castle 200 km south of Munich to scout for locations for the road-movie that will be an essential part of the Wunderkind Universe. Our protagonist – a successful theater director aka. “Wunderkind” - goes to Neuschawanstein on a researchtrip to prepare for his upcoming interpretation of Tristan & Isolde. It all goes terribly wrong of course. So we – movie director Kari Vidø, still photographer Per Morten Abrahamsen and universe architect Jesper P – are here to find a great spot to kill somebody, among other things. Neuschwanstein Castle was build by Ludwig 2. Ludwig had to hobbies: Wagner and building castles. Neuschwanstein is an homage to Wagner and his operas. One could look upon it as one great piece of fan fiction, and Ludwig as a master escapist.
We’re staying at the village Schwangau. At day masses of tourists float through the streets, at night everything is quite and empty. Nobody actually lives here. That’s the impression we get anyway. The tourist land in Munich, go by bus to the castle, shoot some pictures and then head for Wienna for the night. Most of them are on a European Tour, seeing the highlights of European culture. They all end up at the Olympics, we learn from a local guide.
There are only two disturbances in the Schwangauian night. One regular cat fight, involving two regular cats, and another involving 2 or more humans. Actually they were either fighting of fucking in the room next door.
Both activities occurs between 2230 and 2330, precise like a cuckoo clock.