German graffiti artist, Polish jazz singer moved by Latvian poets

Latvian poets Rainis and Aspazija come to life through two more prominent creative Europeans as the Mindpower series in their honor travels to Warsaw and Berlin to meet up with Anna Maria Jopek and Plotterroboter KEN, respectively.

Episode 13 features Polish pianist and singer Anna Maria Jopek, who has taken her jazz music around the world to large open-air venues and her preferred more intimate gigs alike in towns great and small. She and guitarist Robert Kubiszyn perform a duet as the clip opens.

Together with Eva Ikstena-Strapcāne in the role of Aspazija, Jopek then introduces and interprets Rainis’ poem “The Time of Heroes” after ruminating on the role of women under the post-Communist circumstances of freedom. The poem in fact dates to 1905, a pre-revolutionary period bright with the energy and hope of the times.

For Episode 14 the Mindpower team kicks off in the cockpit of an airplane, as Rainis and Aspazija exchange mildly annoyed observations about climatic conditions as they seem about to pilot a take-off from Riga to Berlin. But Rainis settles the spat by stressing the need for unity, especially among those who have little else to show for themselves.

Upon landing in the German capital, Joseph Kent – better known under his pseudonym Plotterroboter KEN, takes us into the ruined factories and vacant lots of ‘a different Berlin’ to show his works of historically realistic-seeming graffiti art scattered throughout the city’s abandoned industrial zones. He likes the juxtaposition between his sometimes apocalyptic-looking figures in their settings and the normal course of daily life.

“My subjects mirror the present times,” he says of his paintings upon the stationary objects long-forgotten by everybody else. “Our constant demand for energy, global industrialization and the resulting conflict of power and resources. Scenes from countries where war has long become mundane. The continuous pollution of the environment and the already appearing effects on humans and animals. Phenomena such as the modification of seeds and plants, factory farming and the manipulation of the climate result in a gloomy picture of the future,” Plotterroboter KEN explains his focus.

As the episode closes, he dons his protective mask and spray paints a raven onto the walls of an underground hall, his voice-over reading from Rainis’ play The Golden Horse:

“Motion is our nature. Standing still is our death.”

 

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