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‘Balconies, life, art’: Berlin’s locked-in artists display their work

Berlin's art galleries are closed, but the art scene is rising to the occasion as around 50 artists join a community exhibition from their balconies.

'Balconies, life, art': Berlin's locked-in artists display their work
An art installation featuring a video screen, part of the "Balconies, Life, Art, Pandemic, and Proximity" exhibition, is seen in Berlin on April 12th. Photo: John MacDougall/AFP

“At a time when our freedom of movement is suspended, (balconies) have
become unique performance sites,” organisers said as they launched the project in the trendy Prenzlauer Berg district of east Berlin.

READ ALSO: 'Focus on what's really important': Berlin artists' colony finds creative solution to shutdown

Balconies are “for getting a breath of fresh air, spending some time in the sun or smoking”, said Ovul Durmusoglu and Joanna Warsza, whose project “Balconies, Life, Art, Pandemic and Proximity” gives artists a 48-hour showcase for their work.

The rules of isolation in the face of the coronavirus pandemic are less strict in Berlin than elsewhere in Germany, allowing people a chance to admire the works while out for a stroll.

One installation presents ribbons of toilet paper cascading down a building's facade, a reference to Germans' rush to stock up on the must-have commodity as soon as the coronavirus pandemic arrived in Europe.

Artists have unfurled toilet paper as part of the exhibit. Photo: John MacDougall/AFP

One artist displayed black and white photographs of people on their balconies in Athens and Cordoba, while another hung a ladder made from rope and sticks.

The project with “zero budget, no preview, no crowds” aims to provide “an intimate walk in search of signs of life and art“, the organisers said.

The 48 hours ended on Monday evening, when the artists retracted their works and returned to their usual solitary endeavours.

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TRAVEL NEWS

Covid face mask rule on flights in Europe set to be eased

The mandatory EU-wide mask requirement for air travel is set to be dropped from Monday, May 16th, but airlines may still require passengers to wear masks on some or all flights

Covid face mask rule on flights in Europe set to be eased

Europe-wide facemask rules on flights are set to be ditched as early as next week in light of new recommendations from health and air safety experts.

The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) dropped recommendations for mandatory mask-wearing in airports and during flights in updated Covid-19 safety measures for travel issued on Wednesday, May 11th.

The new rules are expected to be rolled out from Monday, May 16th, but airlines may still continue to require the wearing of masks on some or all of flights. And the updated health safety measures still say that wearing a face mask remains one of the best ways to protect against the transmission of the virus.

The joint EASA/ECDC statement reminded travellers that masks may still be required on flights to destinations in certain countries that still require the wearing of masks on public transport and in transport hubs.

It also recommends that vulnerable passengers should continue to wear a face mask regardless of the rules, ideally an FFP2/N95/KN95 type mask which offers a higher level of protection than a standard surgical mask.

“From next week, face masks will no longer need to be mandatory in air travel in all cases, broadly aligning with the changing requirements of national authorities across Europe for public transport,” EASA executive director Patrick Ky said in the statement. 

“For passengers and air crews, this is a big step forward in the normalisation of air travel. Passengers should however behave responsibly and respect the choices of others around them. And a passenger who is coughing and sneezing should strongly consider wearing a face mask, for the reassurance of those seated nearby.”  

ECDC director Andrea Ammon added: “The development and continuous updates to the Aviation Health Safety Protocol in light of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic have given travellers and aviation personnel better knowledge of the risks of transmission of SARS-CoV-2 and its variants. 

“While risks do remain, we have seen that non-pharmaceutical interventions and vaccines have allowed our lives to begin to return to normal. 

“While mandatory mask-wearing in all situations is no longer recommended, it is important to be mindful that together with physical distancing and good hand hygiene it is one of the best methods of reducing transmission. 

“The rules and requirements of departure and destination states should be respected and applied consistently, and travel operators should take care to inform passengers of any required measures in a timely manner.”

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