Sina Kempe / Seeds
shot in Berlin, May 25th, 2015 / published: July 6th, 2015
Sina, we have been spending quite some time out and about Gesundbrunnen. You grew up in Berlin and know your hood like the back of your hand. What fascinated me the most about the tour you gave me, were the little in-between-worlds you took me to, the little spots within and yet outside the city. Like this overgrown path along the Panke (a little river running through Gesundbrunnen), or the little on the hill in Humboldthain with its flak towers from WW2. Places you have to find your way in and out. Do they have a special meaning to you? Are they childhood memories or discoveries you made while walking around?
I am an explorer and love to wander and wonder. There is so much to discover, even in the most common places that you pass everyday. If the architecture doesn't change, or the view, still there is always some sort of transformation going on... the light, the vegetation according to the seasons, people, objects... I am an observer, and even the tiniest details catch my eye. It's beautiful to keep an unspoilt eye and to be able to see things like it's the first time. I enjoy experiencing all the facets that an environment has to offer, and since nature is very important and soothing to me, I cherish those little green hiding places in the middle of the urban hustle and bustle.
Talking about different facets, you express yourself by many media. Beside modeling, you dance and perform, take pictures and draw... and probably I am still forgetting something. Is there a common thread running through all these aspects of your life and work?
I can't really decide for only one medium. I express different facets of myself in different ways and certain inspirations call for certain ways to be expressed. For example, when I'm drawing I'm in a solitary, silent and concentrated state, when I'm dancing I am in a state of ecstatic joy, it's a totally different side of me. If I see a certain scene, I will be certain it has to be photographed, another scene will inspire me to draw it... I intuitively choose a particular medium for a particular thing. I have no idea WHY I work like this. It's complex and connected to my subconscious, my emotions and senses. Sometimes I would like to be more steady and focused on one technique for a longer period of time though. I try, for the sake of advancing technically, but in the end I will always be a switcher.
Your dog Rakete is always by your side. I must admit I have rarely seen such a skilled city dog. He walks 100 meters ahead, chases a trail, takes his time to greet some nice bitch along the way, seems to be gone and yet he pops up again from around the corner... and no matter what he does, he still watches you and comes back at the first sign you give. How does your bond work? Did you have to train a lot with him or did it come naturally?
Rakete is just awesome! He's an orphan who grew up half wild in the Polish forest, where he found me. So he just has this stray dog attitude and is street smart. But he also has this immense love and gratitude for me, because I took him into my home, so he's super loyal and fixated on me. I didn't have to train him much, he learned quickly and out of love, no bribing necessary. I take him everywhere, he's had many adventures with me... that creates a bond and a mutual trust and connection. We're a pack! :)
You told me you like to watch the water rats at the Panke. It sounds somehow very weird, and somehow not so much... Rats are extremely intelligent. What do you like about them? Is there something we could learn from them?
Well, I just love all animals. All my life I've been an animal lover, I can spend hours watching them. The canal rats are nice because they're leading a very natural, original life, opposed to the dirty, rubbish eating image most people have of city rats. To read about what we can learn from rats, I will recommend Günther Grass' novel Die Rättin (The Rat), he has much more to say about that! Crazy book, a sharp, bitter and funny apocalyptical vision with rats in the leading role..
From up the flak towers in Humboldthain you can overview the whole city. What is so special about Berlin to you?
Berlin is just such a relaxed, fun and green city. There's so much space, it's so decentralized and a bit chaotic. I've always loved the contrast between the positive anything-goes vibe and the natural roughness and grumpy humor of the Berliners. And I like that the Berliners own their city more than people in other big cities. You can participate in the politics, influence what's going on by joining petitions, demonstrations, initiatives... often crowned by success or at least a compromise. The cultural and night life is awesome too, as well as the culinary scene. But I'm worried that many of the beautiful things that make Berlin special are in danger, because it's becoming more and more touristic and expensive, but salaries aren't rising as fast as the costs. I hope Berlin will resist and stay as genuine and rough as possible, while at the same time gaining just enough professionality and order to sustain all of its inhabitants.