Next Stop: Dresden Neustadt
I was visiting my sister in Dresden since 2006 , but by 2012 she had moved to the irreverent district of Neustadt. The buildings seem to hold traces of Baroque and reminiscences of Art Nouveau, dressed with original and irreverent graffiti paintings, and the atmosphere seem to be of originality and firmly anti establishment.
Once there I’ve learned that, by the time fall of the Berlin Wall, artists occupied the district and declared independence from the rest of the country. They even created their own currency and their own flag with Mickey Mouses face, but it was no joke.
Since I had my camera with me, I decided to make something different, perhaps unsettling (maybe a bit too much). For the audio I composed a fast paced music, and as a little treat, in one of my tram trips, I placed my camera close to the speakers and recorder the voices used to announce the stations, which I then incorporated in the music. As I was editing I had certain reservations about how people would react to the tram voice, the music, speed changes and backwards motion etc, but I went on with it never the less.
The local blog, the Neustadt Gefluster, kindly published an article translated below:
“Rui Martins has definitely grabbed it, he has made a film about it. The 35-year-old Portuguese usually lives in Loures, a suburb of Lisbon, where he works as freelance videographer and artist.
He came to Neustadt to visit his sister. Rui immediately fell in love with the charm of the neighborhood. Not only because of the architecture, but above all because of the people. He admired the many cyclists, the large amount of children and the cultural diversity. He compares the Neustadt with Bairro Alto in Lisbon.
The movie was personal. From the announcer voices of tram and train, he designed the background music…”
History of Neustadt -The “New City”
Neustadt is a district of Dresden located opposite to the old city center “Altstadt” and across the Elbe river. The district Itself is divided by “Innere” and “Außere” inner/outer Neustadt due to its location relative to the former city walls.
Neustadt is characterized for its irreverent and alternative feel, young demography and thriving nightlife, not to mention the BRN festival where thousands attend every year.
The inner part was named from “Neuen Königlichen Stadt” (‘New Royal City’). After the fire of 1732 the neighborhood was rebuilt in baroque style. Baroque town houses can still be found mainly on Königstraße.
The outer part, where most of the video was shot, hosted old trades like the early alum boilery. This is where the Alaunpark, the districts park, got its name. It was also home of the world’s first milk chocolate factory in 1839. This area was not greatly affect in the 1945 Dresden bombing so Its streets still preserve the original alignment from 1745 and its characteristic late nineteenth century buildings.
The destruction within Neustadt in February 1945 was extensive but not as comprehensive as within the Altstadt to the south. Rebuilding respected the original street pattern but, whilst respectful in terms of height, is architecturally typical of the 1960s and does not reflect Dresden’s original character. The Hauptstrasse in particular shows little evidence of its history. The western district around Konigstrasse survived more successfully and retains the majority of its historic character.
The Free City
In the early 1990´s by the time of the “Wende” and consequent unification of Germany, a new generation of residents took over. At the time the objective was to make a alternative micronation the “Bunte Republik Neustadt” (Colorful Republic of Neustadt) with its own government and its own currency: the Neustadtmark. The BRN flag was in all similar to the german flag only substituting the center german eagle for the head of mickey mouse. The celebration of the founding of the Bunte Republik is the annual BRN festival well known today.
This video dedicated to the residents of Dresden Neustadt.
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