Esther Horn


A micro-narrative by Esther Horn

When I came to Lichtenberg, I was already travelling. The penultimate stop had been truly painful and made better by the love of friendship: it led me to the new light on the mountain, an artist’s studio, a scholarship. I could see how exciting it was straight out of bed in the morning: A flame-orange sunrise shouted promise and prospect to me, new conditions were truly in sight. I hadn’t experienced that for a long time, that my sleeping place was so connected to nature – the 4th floor brought me closer to the sky and its mutability.

Part of the stay in Lichtenberg was to explore… the surroundings, the place. It wanted and should be appreciated, the place, the district, I felt it was right.

Who are you, you place? Do you surround people or do they surround you? What makes a place? Your people, your climate, atmosphere, energy? Buildings, events… what is worthy of seeing and feeling?

A good question that everyone can only answer for themselves. The greatest sight is
the one we feel drawn to. The one that calls to us. That is the one that is in tune with our soul and wants to tell us something.

I was drawn to Love Island. It’s in the middle of Rummelsburg Bay. And quite honestly, the name of the bay is terrible. It immediately reminds me of carnivals, funfairs and hustle and bustle, in other words, nothing that is in harmony with space, water and a sense of well-being – not for me. But I knew it was officially a bay, that is, a beautiful waterfront with a promenade and everything the heart desires, so I’m not put off by Mr Rummel, who once gave this place its verbal face with his inn and his name. Mr Rummel, my ass, in other words, for me you are Little Venice, you beautiful shore, full stop. However, Venice has also been very fond of the carnival ever since it was built, I’ve never understood that. Beauty divided by the carnival. Or the carnival is detrimental to beauty. An equation that emphasises the unequal, so to speak.

So…let me discover your island, is it beautiful too? Can I see love there, on the spot?

Funny was the density of zones I passed through before I got to the water. Density of different comfort zones, so to speak. From my truly contemplative and lovely mini-Paris Tucholla Square in Victoria City, I steered my steps towards the bay, undermined railway tracks, two of them, crossed a kind of urban motorway, past insane and greying post-modern architecture – windows set into the brickwork as rombs – touched a small residential area in fishless zero-eight-fifteen style and then finally the first seagulls were to be seen, the messengers of any sea.

As I experience all this in December 2020, there are quite a lot of people walking around the shore, all wearing masks and they have a lot of free time because a pandemic has hit a big stop button all over the world and everyone is now living differently than they ever have in their lives.

Oh my goodness. MASK. Yet another Venetian correlative that catches my eye in the middle of the unfolding micro-narrative. A slightly slipped and unamusing, yet not to be overlooked, reference to CARNE, the flesh so happily indulged in during the Venetian carnival, just now donned with wickedly mysterious masks.

This year, however, the reason for wearing masks is health-related and not at all connected with beauty, but nevertheless stems from the enjoyment of meat. But it is not really about the enjoyment of meat, but about the appalling unkindness with which animals have to live and die in order to be consumed by humans. The unkindness also lies in the abstract excessiveness of massification, which no longer knows any tender feeling.

It is still the case that quite a few favour ignorance in order to feel equal to the situation. They do everything as before, but with a mask and enforced individual distance. As soon as they are out in the open, however, they cavort unaffectedly in their usual aloof manner and impudence. But not all of them. Some or even several are more sensitive, more respectful. They respect the space of the individual, they are aware of the loving possibilities that this global life situation holds. In the long run, they will show the others what is important.

I enjoy the panorama of the bay… the bigger picture, so to speak. The glow of the late afternoon light on the water, the restrained call of the seagulls and the sway of the moored boats and ships. She holds her breath a little, the bay, has flattened out, noticeably. She looks forward with the people to loving their health again at the top of her lungs, when everything is over with the unpleasantness.
*** Translated with (free version) ***

January, 2021