If you’ve ever been to Berlin in the past as It’s pretty much inevitable that you’ll come across a graffiti piece by Berlin’s 1UP Crew. Cool with us if you didn’t recognize their tag and bombing technique, but the movie One United Power is going to change that.
1UP Crew, Berlin’s most infamous train writers and bombers, started in 2003 and the sheer numbers of pictures the anonymous crew left around the city is stunning. You’ll find them on house walls, public buildings, U-Bahn-trains, truck beds, rooftops – everywhere.
With the movie One United Power, 1UP Crew now builds on its worldwide legacy. As we as already pointed out, Berlin’s graffiti scene has a long and rich history, and 1UP Crew are a big part of this. ‘One United Power’ is the essence of their contribution to the scene. Running to over four hours it is much more than a documentary, it’s more like a monographic show. And in terms of general look and feel, it’s dirty.
Eight years in the making, the double DVD was just released and consists of the Berlin-centred main movie and an additional 11-part worldwide travel documentary – all German, although the DVD comes with subtitles in nine languages.
Now, 1UP Crew have decided to leak their film to the public. You can watch the main movie on YouTube below, though this version comes without subtitles. 1UP Crew are well-organized city art guerilla. Others will call this vandalism – we won’t.
Do you remember movies such as Beat Street (1984), Wild Style (1983) or Wholetrain (2006) and the documentary Style Wars (1983)? All these gave great insight into the world of modern graffiti, bombing, tagging and trainwriting. In early 2011, filmmakers Henrik Regel and Björn Birg stepped up with a new documentary, focussing strictly on the trainwriting culture of Germany’s capital. Unlike U shows the big quality and long tradition graffiti has on Berlin’s U-Bahn-trains.
Covering artists such as ABIS (B.A.D.), Foto Sven, 1UP Crew, POET, Wesp and many more, Unlike U shows the long background of Berlin’s underground culture, from the fall of the Berlin wall until the present day. It explains the motivation of spraying a whole train and portrays sprayers on their way around U-Bahn trains during the night, but also the work of special police unit Graffiti in Berlin (GIB) and their hunt for the people behind this so-called illegal art.
By now, Unlike U has created quite a stir, within and outside the scene. Berlin’s public transportation company BVG seem to have decided to stop circulation of the movie, by confronting the filmmakers with a cease and desist order. Just as the subculture the movie is covering, the 90 minute long documentary Unlike U is now streaming free for the time being.
Watch Unlike U as long as it lasts below.
When French artist Vanessa Alice Bensimon changed her name to Miss Van, she suddenly became a successful and well-known artist. But to be fair it probably had more to do with her fascinating drawings of weird female shapes and her background in the flourishing graffiti scene in Toulouse than with her pseudonym. When she was just starting out, her dolls were a form of self portraits, used as an alternative to bombing one’s name everywhere. Later on, her focus changed to the provocative. “I have always liked painting a sexy doll in an inappropriate place,” says Van. “I want to provoke strong reactions.”
With her current status as one of the most important current graffiti artists, it’s a shame she has been almost everywhere (even in Schwaz in Austria) but Vienna until now. So go and check out the Exhibition at INOPERAbLE gallery in Vienna starting on the 24th of November. Miss Van will also be presenting her new book “Twinkles”, and yes, you can indeed get it signed.