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Magnolia Electric Co

Wasteland, 2009

Jason Molina, singer and songwriter of Magnolia Electric Co. and – earlier – of Songs: Ohia, turned down our suggestion for the location right away. The reason was more a misunderstanding than an actual difference of views between us and him: when we started talking about some nice graffiti close to the venue, that could serve as a good visual extra in the video, he just shook his head and said: “Come on guys, that’s too obvious, too cliché.” That would have been perfectly true if it were an ordinary graffiti you find on every corner in Berlin. Anyway, we didn’t want to get into an argument about how to measure the quality of graffiti, so we just went out to head to another place – but only until Jason saw what we were talking about: a huge painting on a house wall by street artist Blu (http://www.blublu.org/) next to some urban wasteland at Cuvrystraße. “This is not graffiti”, he said slightly impressed, “this is art!” Irony has it, that the Chicago-based songwriter only minutes later chose a small rock in front of a rather conventional graffiti for the video location. He needed a place to sit, and there was nothing else around. “This is exactly what I didn’t want, but we chose together”, he laughed and started into his song “Down The Wrong Road Both Ways”.

Camera
Michael Luger
Sound Recording
Sarah Brugner
Post production
Michael Luger
Photography
Sarah Brugner
Artist
Magnolia Electric Co

Wasteland

Untilled city areas are more than wasted land. Berlin, a vast and green city, is still rich of so-called wasteland and thus serves luxuriance of a special kind. What might seem like a waste of resources for one, might be experienced as wealth in open space for many others. One of these wastelands, embedded in the lively Kreuzberg-neighbourhood, has made its mark not just by its chilled Spree-riverside-location, but also by its outstanding paintings on the walls of adjoining residential buildings. This masterpiece has been created by the Italian street artist Blu, who is known for partly comic-like, partly monstrous large-scale images on buildings. By the way, when Jason Molina from Magnolia Electric Co., who tends to be very sceptical when it comes to pose in front of graffiti, saw this Blu-painting, he exclaimed – “This is not graffiti, this is art!” – and thus marked the difference.