subject/ object – Welkulturen Museum

weltkuturen museum

Today I planned only a visit to the local Dom (cathedral) which silhuete I can see every day during my runs along the Main river but since I’m feeling some slight time pressure, I also decided to go to the Weltkulturen Museum (conveniently located on the Museumsufer, a long street full of many different museums by the river).

The current exhbition is ‘Foreign Exchange (or the stories you wouldn’t tell a stranger)‘ focused on the history of collecting artifacts for the museums and everything related to it (colonialism, white ethnocenrtism, racism, ‘saving’ and exploiting traditional cultures, ways to perceive the museum collections and how they were/ are created/ stored/ presented).

Right after buying my ticket I was informed that I wasn’t allowed to take any pics, so even though I had my phone all out and ready, I don’t have even one picture of the exhibition. It’s a shame in a way but on the other hand, when we take pictures something gets lost – we focus so much on photographing our adventures that we don’t have enough of our time and attention to really experience here and now!

The exhibit isn’t big, just a few rooms but it contains many interesting artifacts and photographs. I liked the way some of the photographs were described (in German) – nouns, verbs, adjectives barked at the visitors, a stream of conscience of sort not only to inform but also move and show how objectified the ingenious people used to be and how ‘other’ they still might seem to ‘us,’ whatever ‘us’ means (although it usually means ‘white/ middle class/ relatively well off’). The photographs are in a few different sizes, from big posters to just ‘thumbnails’ showing copies of old photographs from the times when ‘white man’ was always better, wiser and stronger than anyone else. Kenyan girls selling bead necklaces by the road, passed/ stared by a group of white people in an automobile, amused and curious of the Other;  a group of black girls clad in the white man’s fashion taught by a white noun in the middle of African nowhere, a black, long gone man in some traditional clothing and a lip plate. Who were these people, what were their stories, how come that the only trace of their existence is now not even on original photographs but on scans, copies, something to be stared at?

Other visitiors stared at me, I did stare at other visitors… a fleeting encounter only to switch to different experiences, places and people. Bored guards making sure no one takes any pics and yet surrounded by them.

A very cool, intense experience. If I got to read more about the exhibit beforehand, I’d have experienced it so much better, tho! 🙂

frankfurt and its tattooed inhabitants

frankfurt tattoos

Seems like the author of this article/ slide show doesn’t ride the local U-Bahn as I’m *not* featured in the slideshow! Not really sure whether I should feel relieved or ignored 😉

Indirectly-related to this story, last week a random woman approached me on one of the main U-Bahn stations to ask me where I got my ivy sleeve done only to smoothly switch to complaints how there are no good tattoo artists in Frankfurt am Main. In a small place outisde the city (after all, I use this U-Bahn thing for sth!) a young guy saw my sleeves and asked me for some local shop recommendations. Obviously, tattoos are still a good conversation starter and people badly need some pointers as it’s easier than just doing some research (?)

During my morning runs along the river I seldom get to see tattooed people (or, at least, as heavily tattooed people as me now) but tattoos don’t seem to raise eyebrows around here and no one seems to (mis)judge me only because I look a little unusual. I make sure to smile, say my ‘danke schoen/ bitte/ schoenen Tag’ and do my best to prove that a tattooed/ modified person doesn’t equal any pathology. The lady whom I helped with cleaning her silvers didn’t even want to count them down when I was done. One small success at a time! 😉

I would post some pics taken by me but still no WiFi!

the beauty


How to define a real beauty of human body? how it changed over centuries and across cultures? ‘The Body Beautiful in Ancient Greece‘ is an exhibition touring the world and showing us what was perfect thousands years ago and how the ideal of perfection changed and yet remained the same. More on the exhibit itself here and here.

While reading and going through the links it’s good to remember that even though the real perfection does not exist, it’s always good to strive for our own!

And seeing how I’m just watching ‘Da Vinci’s Demons,’ here’s his ‘Vitruvian Man,’ yet another attempt to create a perfect human!

vitruvian man

cultural and social contexts of tattoos


We have our bodies but it’s the media and consumerism that dictate us how our bodies should look and we all know that. Is this new imperfect mannequin trend going to change anything and allow us to accept our imperfections? I doubt it and see it more as yet another way to get into our pockets and wallets but still, it’s interesting to see.

Another, even worse example of creating false images of people is photoshopping and recently Lena Dunham created some uproar (with a little help from jezebel blog – this post shows changes in the pictures). Pic doctoring demands some serious thinking process – we all do that, we all play with the way we look, we all pretend who we are(at least to a degree). What is right, what is wrong? Are we manipulated totally? To what degree we are also manipulators?

A big tattoo convention in Philadelphia is just taking place and it’s a huge performance and game to create a certain image as well. The industry is booming, though – over 800 artists from all over the world, thousands of visitors and lots of entertainment!

In another place of the world, Caracas, another tattoo convention is taking place and it also celebrates not only self-expression but also a human ability to re-create ourselves for many reasons. Stereotypes aside, the Bild magazine put is quite nicely: “doch hinter den Farben auf der Haut und dem Stahl darunter verbergen sich Geschichten von Menschen, die brutal aussehen, aber zärtlich lieben und ihre inneren Kämpfe außen tragen.

Tattoo artists: a Sarawakian Chinese artist fascinated with the Dayak culture and creating something new in his work and a well-known tattooist and buseinessman Chris Nunez on his own turf.

Tattoos on TV: an interesting guide to the ink reality TV shows, a critical text about Bodyshockers (plus a link showing what Bodyshock program has featured so far) and an article about the Black Ink Crew (also TV stars) branching out by means of a new tattoo magazine.

A Japanese clerk punished for having tattoos in Osaka plus an editorial on tattoos at work from the US. Different cultures, different approaches.

A warning aimed at teens and young adults – what you should know about tattoos. It’s not new but still worth mentioning. An inner lip tattoo trend is kind of related to it. Always be careful and think twice before you go for some ink!


With the Oscar ceremony fast approaching, take a look at this Belgian film nominated in the best foreign language film category – a story about a female tattoo artist and a male musician over the years.

life, skin, hooks


The beautiful picture above shows a temporary tattoo commemorating one of the extinct by now species. There’s much food for thought in the article as well. On a side note, I’m glad to say that a Polish project run by Greenpeace, called ‘Adopt a Bee,’ turned out to be quite successful (I adopted some bees myself).

Great videos from Mecca Suscon (day 1, day 2, day 3). The footage is both twisted and beautiful and the rigs they use are quite breathtaking! An awesome event it must have been!

On the other side of the globe the 1st Hong Kong tattoo convention is taking place while in Poznan, Poland there’s a local one going on right now. In Austria Zombie Boy will be doing his thing at another event of this kind.

How tattoos are perceived and regulated in 4 branches of the US army!

Once again, every body tells its story!

A tattooed Lutheran pastor who’s not afraid of swearing and calling a spade a spade!

And maybe not directly related to body modification we see it on here but good enough to remember that societies we live in force us to follow their rules and norms – an exhibit on how society shapes our bodies (the museum’s website).

bloody Valentine

Valentine’s Day’s over (and I’m still shocked with the news about Oscar Pistorius who always seemed a cool runner to me!) and there were, of course, some V-Day-related articles: Love ink. There’s also this interesting piece of news about the sudden love and lightning quick facial tattoo – most opinions on the subject are quite negative. Shannon Larratt approached it from a different angle but he also tried to show both sides of it. Ellen DeGeneres focused on misspelled tattoos (and such tattoos are usually dedicated to those dear to us) although some of these are kind of unbelievable!

An interesting take on scars (although not the ones related to scarification) here!

Health/ risks: keloids-prone skin and disease-sensing tattoos from Princeton? Also related are the links submitted by Bastian that focus on tattoo ink and health risks associated with it.

Books: ‘Painted People’ devoted to African cultures and a book published by penandink blog which seems a very interesting online place.

Body suspension: the title, ‘Suspensions: taking piercings to the extreme’ says it all!

Three articles in Polish: a local tattoo artist from Poznan, another one with very cool interests and finally an article about transsexuals with Roni Lachowicz featured.

Something in German: according to a survey, most young people find tattoos attractive.

ink, scars and logos

Some time no post and during this time I managed to watch ‘The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo,’ so let me start with links to articles devoted to this movie as they are quite interesting, even if they refer more to pop culture than to tattoos. As for the movie itself, I’m still a fan of the Swedish version.

Speaking of films, here’s a documentary on a local tattoo artist.

Tattoos and photography in ‘I heart Ink’ gallery exhibit and ‘brides in ink.’

Teachers’ dress code in two perspectives: an American one that’s all about the professional look and a British one about encouraging something different (or so it looks).

Pretty cool tattoos: 21 tech brand tattoos and ‘Tattoo Infographic’ by a Polish artist (more here).

A Canadian piece on scarification.

Thanks to Bastian for this cool ad featuring Zombie Boy.

Finally, not really about tattoos but done by a really tattooed and smart guy: another interview with Mark Benecke!

a girl with fake earrings and some other goodies

A little anniversary for starters: the electric tattoo machine patented 120 years ago!

An interesting conference devoted to tattoo history in Vatican of all places! Pretty cool, isn’t it? Another university project described by BBC: ‘Dundee tattoo project’ as a means to help identify bodies.

News from India: tattooed men can’t join the Indian army now.

As a big fan of the Millennium trilogy and Lisbeth Salander herself I’m looking, both impatiently and uneasily, forward to watching the American version of the book. It certainly creates a buzz online; this one, ‘rebel leader,’ is more interesting, though, thanks to an interesting pair of fake spirals now on sale for those who’d like to copy the American Lisbeth’s looks. I’m not sure if it’s absurd, funny or just plainly pathetic.

Finally, a short string of examples of ‘modified charity’: Kenya, American Red Cross and a calendar for a cure.

tis and tat ;)

Tattoos and fashion united again at Jean Paul Gaultier’s fashion show.

Celeb glitter thanks to Kat Von D who is going to try what it’s like to be a musician.

Female tattoo artists also in this ‘local’ article.

A small tribute to Steve Jobs (R.I.P.) in ‘the best and craziest Steve Jobs and Apple tattoos.’

Another slide show focuses on full body tattoos.

A little more on ‘Tattoo Witness’ exhibit.

As a proud owner of a rather big rib tattoo, I love reading about this placement and how painful it is: ‘reasons to smile through painful bouts of rib ink.’

Bastian’s comment on this one was quite priceless, so maybe he’ll share it kinda publicly again. For now, just a glimpse of German soldiers on a mission and their tattoos.

News fromPoland: Body Art Convention scheduled on November 2011 and a quite interesting article on tattoos as seen from anthropological and sociological perspective.

abomination, functionality and a few other difficult words

‘Tattoo School’ still quite ‘trendy’- here we have such words associated with it as ábomination,’ ‘truth‘ and also ‘threat‘ that’s investigated by FBI now.

On the other side of the Pond one police chief is seriously considering a question of tattoos on his work force and their possible positive impact on the public. Funnily enough, the public apparently wasn’t asked about it and seems to have a different opinion on the subject.

Kind of related – tattoos in the Air Force.

A German article on tattoos draws our attention to risks associated with them and advises to use sunblock while being out and exposed to the sunlight – it’s a good tip! The same tip can be found in an article about tattoos on New Yorkers (here’s another one about New Yorkers and their tattoos by the way).

Kat Von D is back both in the gossip columns and on TV; here let’s just focus on her TV-related activity.

Another interesting article about modern times and ta moko!

Tattoos in different countries – South Korea (exotic and interesting, isn’t it?) and Sweden.

Theme tattoos: Wikileaks logo seems quite popular and here’s also a slide show focused on college tattoos.

‘Tattoo body modification gets futuristically functional’ is quite interesting but this one, not really body mod-related, is even better – ear construction.

Finally an interesting piece of news about a baseball player sporting a new ‘surface piercing’which turned out to be a microdermal.