Finding Basel

by Nico · 15.09.2010 · Escapism · 5 comments

This is a guest post by Nico. If you feel like con­trib­ut­ing to our Find­ing Ber­lin pro­ject, please don’t hes­it­ate to con­tact us. Thank you Nico!

Dur­ing sum­mer­time you really need a good reason to leave ber­lin. The budget of the aver­age ber­lin kid is small and the oppor­tun­it­ies to spend it are count­less. You don’t wanna end up spend­ing money on a trip to a city which can’t com­pete with the big B and then hear the stor­ies of all your friends about what was going down.

So its basic­ally just: beach . Or in my case: basel.

170 000 inhab­it­ants, loc­ated between the bor­ders of ger­many, france and switzer­land, cen­ter of the chem­ical industry, why would you care about basel?

For me it was the only chance to exper­i­ence the work of an artist who played a big role in my per­sonal devel­op­ment, who dragged me inside a new world and revealed new interests and pas­sions inside of me. If it wasn’t for Jean Michel Basquiat I wouldn’t be in Ber­lin right now, I would be a dif­fer­ent per­son. Logic­ally I had to see the huge retro per­spect­ive in Found­a­tion Bay­erle. Basquiat lived fast, died young and left behind a huge amount of work which is, thanks to the pop­cul­tural phe­nomenon we call hype, nearly com­pletely in private col­lec­tions. So your chances to feel the mon­strous energy of his huge paint­ings are lim­ited. I had to take mine.

The exhib­i­tion was everything I wanted it to be. I sat down, sur­roun­ded by all the large canvases, and just con­sumed the energy, the rebel­lion, the free­dom, the des­per­a­tion. It was crazy.

At first basel seemed to be kind of the oppos­ite to basqui­ats ener­getic, chaotic paint­ings and in a way the oppos­ite to berlin,too. The city moves slow and thought­ful. You dont crash into hys­teric hip­sters, no tour­ists car­ry­ing their digicams like rifles and try­ing to catch the next never end­ing party, no annoyed-by-life ber­liners who cant stop yelling. Just relaxed liv­ing. I walked threw the old­est part of the town and sud­denly it felt like walk­ing threw an old vil­lage in the south. A cat was lying on a bench, hid­ing from the sun. Kids played on the street and a beau­ti­ful well sprinkled calmly. I totally lost myself in that atmo­sphere. Then I learned that it was the quarter where all the “Kun­stis” are liv­ing, that is equal to “yup­pie” in Berlin. :)

The Rhein is just beau­ti­ful. Ima­gine you could jump into the spree without being killed by a mutated forelle or die by intox­ic­a­tion. That is what the Baslers do, they jump in, all their stuff in water­proofed swim­bags and let them­selves being car­ried away by the flow of the rhein. Its so nice. Unfor­tu­nately I didnt do it because the rhein was very angry due to the heavy rain the week before.

In the night­time I finally found ber­lin. My lovely host Ale­jandra took me to the opening-party of a bar. It was loc­ated at the NT Areal, its crazy how sim­ilar it is to the RAW Tem­pel in Friedrich­shain. A huge ter­rit­ory where cul­ture actu­ally hap­pens, where artists use the walls as an out­side gal­lery, where skaters come together, where people dance, drink, eat, live and which is sadly just for tem­por­ar­ily use. A prob­lem we know very well in ber­lin. Hanging around with the basel youth I recog­nized that the spirit of their gen­er­a­tion felt very sim­ilar to mine. A spirit the basel kids call “hippie-kacke”. I like that.

In those two days Basel really fas­cin­ated me. So small but still so mul­ti­fa­ceted, high-contrasted and such an import­ant place for art in the world. Its worth a visit.

  1. very nice pic­tures. i exper­i­enced basel as such a laid back place too. people don´t worry about crime or some­thing. they don´t even lock their race-bikes (if it wasn´t for a bad karma — the colagno sport would have been mine). the minus thing about basel are teh prices. lon­don, new york? paa! i paid 6,50 euro for a dürüm!

  2. yea, i for­got to men­tion that. I had a Piad­ina for 10,50 Franken. Took me three bits to fin­ish it. You could take a bath in classy brugeramt-pommes for that money :D

  3. Just for the record, it is called Fond­a­tion Beyeler, not Bayeler.
    And thank you for the lovely review of Basel.
    Con­cern­ing the prices: it might seem expens­ive, but the wages are a way higher here, in con­trast to Lon­don or NYC…

  4. these pho­tos are amazing…especially the one of the grand­mas going up the stairs and the girl on the step…is the pigeon fly­ing by?? Way to cap­ture the moment!

What others had to say about it

  1. […] Ich für Find­ing Berlin! […]