“Who the fuck needs Schwelle7?”

I saw a room avertised in Uferstraße recently, 500€ for 12 square metres. I laughed. Then felt trapped. I saw another place advertised, someone is renting out rooms in the apartment next to Uferhallen for 45€ a night. Call it 1300 a month. In Uferstraße. Wedding. Gentrification’s arrived and it’s fucking grotesque. Berlin is no longer cheap; it’s living on the memory of that, though for many this new era of rent has not gone together with increased income.

My reason for coming to Berlin is tied up (hawhaw) in Uferstr. I’d heard about Felix Ruckert in Australia, from friends who’d worked with him, who’d said I’d totally be into what he’s doing. We emailed a bit, then one of those first summer days here I caught the bus to Pankestr, walked to this courtyard factory, up some stairs, found Felix there with three naked women hanging in shackles. Turns out I found Dasniya the most interesting. She was one of those three, and some years later things still turn for me around Uferstr.

Dasniya was deeply involved in the setting up of Schwelle7, and I had my proper introduction there to shibari, BDSM, all kinds of strange things. It’s been a while since I was last there, not that it’s ever so far away, seeing people walking past to and from workshops there (you can always tell them, they don’t look like the ones from across the street in Uferstudios, nor the ones from Uferhallen itself), friends or people in Dasniya’s regular class talking about it. The Schwelle7 factories, Uferhallen, I remember conversations at the beginning about how there was a distinct aim to not disrupt the neighbourhood, to not cause that gentrification which so often follows artists. Artists after all are a tool consciously used by cities and investors towards the ends of gentrification, the shock troops: first in, first out.

Out it is now for Schwelle7. The rent was increased so much there’s no way it can remain. The empty land at the far end of Uferhallen has also been sold, apparently to be built upon this year, further down the street more of the same, and in Wiesenburg with degewo’s recent claim to the land and property; people in Buttmannstr who have lived there for decades kicked out on the street. Wedding ist vorbei, Wedding ist verloren.

There was a place in San Francisco, an artists’ collective in a run-down part of town, it had been there for a decade. The owner massively increased the rent, kicked them out, the place was taken over by a ‘startup’ (fucking hate that word and everything it stands for) that crashed a couple of months later. Some time later it was still empty. This is the mentality that’s reached Uferstr. Laughably extreme rents no artist or local can afford, a short-term perspective that values this over say Schwelle7 (or any of the artists in the Uferhallen) who provide steady, uncomplicated, long-term tenancies, who bring tangible things besides ‘investment’ to the area, who make communities within the existing ones; a complete disinterest in the neighbourhood beyond moving in those with money and shafting those without. Money over and above everything.

So, what next for Schwelle7? They are looking for a new place to rent, or to buy or build, somewhere in Berlin, somewhere affordable. Even if I don’t go there anymore, I think it’s one of the very deserving projects in this city. What Schwelle7 has created and given can’t be reduced to money. It’s really dismal that in the end its existence is solely, entirely determined by this alone.

bondage basics

More from Dasniya, who shall be teaching a two day workshop in Shibari in November. Certainly one of the highlights of living in Berlin.

Kursinfo – scroll down for English ( Please forward to people who are interested )


Bondage Basics

Im November findet wieder eine zweitägige Einführung in die japanische Seilkunst ‘Shibari’ statt.

Mit Hinblick auf ein sinnliches Spiel zu zweit oder auf akrobatische Hängebondage, wird ein breites Fundament spielerischer und inszenierter Verwendungsweisen von Seilen vorgestellt.


In zwei 8 Stunden Sessions verbinde ich diese Praxis mit Yoga und anderen Bewegungssystemen wie Tanz, Berührungstechniken und Körperkomposition.

Technisch möchte ich zwei Ausführungen von Grundknoten und die Oberkörperfesselung ‘Hojo Hishi Nawa’ / ‘Takatekote’ erarbeiten. Außerdem soll ein anfängliches Verständnis für ästhetische Prinzipien dieser kodifizierten Technik entwickelt werden.

Indem wir verschiedene Spielstrategien austesten, unser Gegenüber verwöhnen und herausfordern, werden wir kardinal Emotionen zwischenmenschlicher Kommunikation ansprechen. Machtgefühle, Hingabe und Lust können Teil davon sein.

Nach Möglickeit eigene Seile mitbringen, sowie Trainingshose, Spieloutfit und einen Pausensnack.

Termin: 14. / 15. November 2009 // 12 -20 h mit Pausen
Kosten 150 Euro

Anmeldung und Informationen unter:

Ort: Schwelle7
Uferstr 6
13357 Berlin – Wedding

Bondage Basics

An orthodox Shibari aesthetics is taught in this workshop. By studying the principles of restriction, suspension and floor work, secure and playful moments can be created.

We will look at basic knots of the codified system and at efficient ways to bind the body. The bondage ‘Hojo Hishi Nawa’ or ‘Takatekote’ with two ropes outline the multiple options to decorate and restrict the upper body. ‘Yukimura Technique’ leaves space for leg work and improvisation.

Other parts of the workshop will be concerned with the chemistry between participants. Through movement exercises such as Yoga and through techniques of touch, the personal and artistic aspects can mix with sensual fantasies.

Please bring training pants, evening dress, a snack and personal ropes if possible.

Date: 14. / 15. November 2009 // 12 -20 h with pauses
Costs 150 Euro

Registration and Information at:

Location: Schwelle7
Uferstr 6
13357 Berlin – Wedding

— dasniyasommer.de

Konstruierte Fantasien / The Construction of Fantasy

From Dasniya, and what I’ve been doing since March this year, being tied, suspended, flying, tying others, playing, something like an improvisation or training or rehearsal and for anyone interested in yoga and Japanese rope bondage a weekly class I thoroughly recommend.

schwelle7 – KURSINFORMATION mit der Bitte um Weiterleitung an Interessierte ( Scroll down for English version )

Liebe FesslerInnen und Neugierige,

in der kommenden Saison möchte ich wieder alle erdenklichen Restriktionen mit Jutefasern erkunden! Meine wurden frisch in grünliche Farbe getränkt, geölt und liebevoll eingespielt.

Vom Anfänger bis zum Profi Level gab es in den letzten Wochen viel Input von Osada Steve aus Japan. Dieses Material soll sich in den nächsten Monaten festigen, indem wir es einmal wöchentlich praktizieren, ausschlachten, auf den Kopf stellen und pflegen.

Ich beginne die Klasse mit einer Yoga Praxis, in der Seile funktional in Asanas integriert werden. Die Seile unterstützen das Strecken und Halten des Körpers, ohne den Fokus auf ein Paarspiel zu lenken. Wir üben zunächst meditativ mit uns selbst umzugehen.

Andere Teile des Abends beschäftigen sich mit der Chemie unter den Teilnehmenden, mit Begegnungs-spielen, mit Berührungstechniken und mit der japanischen Technik des Shibari. Mit Abfolgen von Seilläufen, Hänge- und Sicherungsprinzipien. Zuletzt sollen sich die einzelnen Aspekte so mischen, dass sie in komplexen Erfahrungen individueller Fantasien bündeln.

Wer mithängen, aufhängen und nicht rumhängen will, wir trainieren
jeden Donnerstag zwischen 19 und 23 h
im Schwelle7 Studio Berlin – Wedding.

TEL: 0173 – 6118404

Mehr Informationen: www.dasniyasommer.de

Dear bondage enthusiasts and those who are curious,

in this season I would like to investigate every thinkable kind of restriction with rope. After having intensively studied the japanese art of Bondage with Osada Steve ( Japan ), I will now consolidate the new material by weaving it into the weekly ‘Yoga and Bondage’ class.

The evening starts with a preparatory Yoga practice. We use ropes in order to support Asanas and to align and lengthen the body. Equally we learn to listen to the communication within ourselves before engaging in couple work.

In the second part of the evening we will be concerned with the chemistry between the participants, through movement exercises, techniques of touch, and Japanese Shibari bondage. We will learn different rope techniques and suspension principles. The individual aspects should mix in such a way that they create a comprehensive experience of individual fantasies.

An orthodox Shibari aesthetics is taught is this class. By studying the principles of restriction, suspension and floor work secure and playful moments can be created.

Training takes place every Thursday from 19 to 23 h at the Studio Schwelle7 in Berlin – Wedding.

TEL: 0173 – 6118404

More information: www.dasniyasommer.de

Foto: “MA √ 15′.. ” in der ‘Arte Lounge’
Maria am Ostbahnhof / Berlin April 2009
Video at: http://www.arte.tv/fr/70.html


uferstr & kreuzberg & treptow

Sie sagt, “Kapitalismus muss weg!” mit Ihr Faust drohen, über ein €10 Zweiradschloss. Wir hat geradelt um Kreuzberg und Treptow, essen und trinken am der Kanal, Wespen Zucker und Marmelade vollfressend. Ich wartete, fast yoga machen… oder später nach. Mit kamera fone.


osada steve

A couple of days before I began my current day job, a Thursday evening, having done some fast coding, I decided to accompany Dasniya on bicycles north, across the railway bridges to Schwelle7 for an evening of her Yoga + Bondage class.

Six months on.

Yoga with her has become a regular fixed point in my week, Sundays now, and after having many teachers over years, to find a new one I can learn from is rather nice, the third, after David in Melbourne, and Simi in Adelaide, and all three so different. And then the Thursdays, yoga first, followed by bondage, Shibari, which I’ve had a fascination for since at last extermination.

In hell, and all the people i can remember sleeping with… I made another return to ropes and tying and this aesthetic of Shunga and Chungongtu, but as always, never the time nor skill, nor ideas to take it into something that made it into performance. So now I learn this with Dasniya. Six months of seile, fesseltechnik, Nawa Shibari, suspensions, play, ideas… thinking… emotions…

Some weeks ago she said her teacher was coming from Japan to hold some workshops here, and would I be interested in doing these with her, as the one who gets tied, the Bunny? A couple of weeks ago, I joined her on a Monday night to Studio Six for an evening with Hagen and others, something of a preparation for the coming workshop. And then Thursday morning last week…

Osada Steve is German, but has lived for a long time in Tokyo, and is one of the grand masters of Shibari. Somehow when he moves, he reminds me of a Butoh dancer, as though the years in Japan, in this particular performance culture, this training and study all have made him Japanese.

Much of the six hours a day is for me standing, torso and arms tugged at, pulled, shoved, bound, sometimes lifted, sometimes suspended with ankles, thighs, hips also similarly wrapped in dark green Jute. Fresh Jute, so it is scratchy, fibrous, tough. I am left with marks. One of the frequent occurrences in the past six months. Rows of rope imprints in four parallel lines on upper arms, sometimes rows of red flecks, where the skin has been pinched, or pushed between two strands, bright red on alabaster at first, then fading over the days through rust and brown tones.

I wonder about the immediate adoption by the other Bunnies of a passive, one leg bent, head drooped in resignation, almost pathetic… I was going to say stance, but that indicates more sense of self determination than this wilting holds. Later, Dasniya and I talked about this, and the performance or communication between us in this regard. The next day trying other things which seem to work. Or at least to say, Osada Steve noticed the difference.

Also noticed, was the queerness of the group, only one of four being a traditional pairing of male-female, the other three all queer, and thinking too on Osada Steve’s performance which has a pronounced hetero relationship between him and his partner Aiko.

Sometimes emotional also, at times from the physicality, as tough as a long day of rehearsals, or yoga, at times from being observed, my body displayed, at times from other things. Pain. My skin is, in its natural state, quite delicate and shows marks easily. By the end of two days my arms and torso were a maze of lines. It looks like I enjoy pain. So, things to be confronted about, personally.

Dasniya and I talk about this walking home on Friday night, that which I have read much on, how bondage, S&M, Shibari have within them these aspects of suffering, abuse, pain, and the presence in this world of people who have experienced this, and what is to be thought about this, considered, discussed, addressed.

Saturday night, we are lost in Spandau, along Zitadelenweg, close to the See, vast old factories unlit and looking for an address that seems to evade us. Then down some alleys, tighter now twisting at right angles and closing in. Under a light in silhouette is Enji from Studio Six, leading us into Avalon. A cathedral-like hall, there is Osada Steve and Aiko, suspended. They return three more times over the course of hours. There is a brilliance in the technique from both of them, him in the play of the rope, her also, taken by the rope, hung, spun and swung, makes me want to do this more, something yet to find in all this.

Some photos of me then, in Shibari, from Dasniya.

Yoga im August

Yoga in August for Berlinerinnen, two hours every Sunday and I think you should go.

Liebe Augustinischen Yogis,

Für jene die das Yoga Training im August nicht unterbrechen möchten, biete ich jeden Sonntagabend eine zweistündige Yogaklasse an.

Von: 19 – 21 Uhr

Adresse: Schwelle7 // Uferstr.6 // 13357 Berlin // HH, I OG // U8 Pankstr / U9 Osloerstr.

Verbleibende Klassen im August: 16.,23.,30.8.2009

Kosten: 10 Euro pro Sitzung

Das Niveau der Gruppe ist durchmischt. Es sind also Anfänger und Fortgeschrittene willkommen.

Dear Augustinian Yogis,

for those who want to continue the Yoga practice despite vacation time I am offering a 2 hour Yoga course every Sunday

night from: 19 – 21 pm at the Schwelle7 Studio in Wedding

Address: Uferstr. 6 // 133657 Berlin // Irst floor // backyard // Subway U8 Pankstr / U9 Osloerstr

Classes remaining in August: 16., 23., 30.8. 2009

Costs: 10 Euro per Session

In this class the levels of Yoga experience is mixed, so that beginners and advanced practitioners can participate.

— www.dasniyasommer.de



Because it’s…

I’m watching WordPress install under the tessellated layers of windows open. I can see command lines march upwards, not quite enough visible to make sense, but familiar. In the meantime, some words.

I’ve been working on two quite big projects so far this year, both of which I’ve had rather vertiginous experiences of learning, occasional strings of days of coding and between moments of joy and sternum-pressing uhhh’s of small failures or slight blind terror at not knowing the outcome of my next irreversible click, between this all a slow plodding towards an arrangement of things.

Dasniya asked me to help with… mmm maybe to say an idea for a website, like sliding around a page, like for example in Google Maps. A while ago now, she asked me. We talked about ideas for how it might look and I said something like, “To me, your notebooks are far more interesting than any layout, so…”

I could have done it in Flash, but my long affinity with CSS and other delights, and also a practical simplicity born largely of the amount of research I do in the internet where text and accessibility are for me a prime concern, and along with this a discovery of how far JavaScript has come since I laughed it out of my sight when first learning web design in favour of Flash, where beautiful simple things were possible with elegant and simple code…

I discovered jQuery. Well, I discovered Ariel Flesler’s plugins, jQuery.ScrollTo and jQuery.Preload. And jQuery, and the possibilities of which I dimly comprehend. I considered the CSS grid system, opted for a shakey… honestly I do have a sense of how it works, but am surprised every time I add another row or column, surprised it stays together on different browsers, surprised it wasn’t more trouble, surprised it seems to happily take amendments and alterations without collapsing, sometimes to smile when I can consistently cause it to implode and in making mistakes understand how it survives.

The idea was simple, to have everything on one sheet, like an architectural drawing with multiple views, and for the sheet to slide between each page or view, and in doing so pass over other pages, the background being gridpaper from a notebook. I think now there are six rows and nine columns, but maybe more. (On a Mac with two-finger scrolling it’s more fun, though jQuery is possible to give this in a click-drag fashion, something for me to work on yet).

jQuery also led to Flowplayer. There is an abundance of horrible Flash video players around, and when version 3.1 arrived with bandwidth detection and other amazing stuff, I was rather happy at my time already playing with it. I would love to have say, two weeks to learn it better, or even a week…

(something else to work on…)

So my current love for CSS, HTML, jQuery comes from these weeks of learning and playing.

Yes, I could have done it in Flash, likely more elegantly also, but for me I like the feeling of this precarious assembly of things, that I can feel, when I think over it, the threads and seams, where one piece is sewn to the next.

I’ve said little about the content, which has been equally entrancing… caused many smiles and happinesses… perhaps better to read and see and play than for me to include other words.

So, while still becoming itself, I think I shall go and enjoy it once more.



MA √ 15’ { idiosyncrasy } sin x = ly – fx2¯

The best show I didn’t see this year, oh… I have difficulty with seeing dance, and then occasionally something is utterly striking, mesmerising and I wonder what is it in that which constitutes for me what I imagine dance should be? Dasniya is quite strange and her performance is… it makes me want to do it too.

Pictures are here and video is here.