my friend is a taxi-driver. a portrait.

CHRISTOPH POHL

Christoph Pohl, Chai & Cigarettes, self-potrait taken in Lahore, June, 17th, 2008

CARMENCITA: WHAT DID YOU DO DURING THE LAST YEAR ?

CHRISTOPH POHL:

Hm, how detailed do you want this question to be answered …?
Well, probably you just want to know about my guteMedien postcast project, so I focus on that.
On May 2nd, 2008 I took a plane from Berlin to Istanbul, quite inconsistent to go by air, since this was the beginning of my overland trip to India, but due to limited budget for this travel I had to choose the cheapest option to get on the asian continent. From Istanbul I went by train straight to Tehran. This is a very modern train that goes once a week from Istanbul to lake Van in east Turkey, there only the cargo wagon of the train goes on a ferry, along with the passengers of course, on the east side of lake Van the Iranian train is waiting already and takes you across the border and all the remaining way to Tehran. This takes three and a half days and only costs around 50 €.
In Tehran I visited the family of my good friend Armin. He and his family haven’t seen each other for more than 12 years. Back in Berlin we recorded a video message to deliver and show to his parents, his two sisters and his niece. Wow, that was so touching to share this moment when they all watched the video …
Armin’s father and his sister Mehrnaz then took me for a one-night trip up north to the Caspian Sea. After arriving back in Tehran I said good bye to my newly gained family and went on travelling by myself.
By train I went to Esfahan, further by bus to Shiraz and Persepolis, again by bus to Yasd, from there by train to Kerman and then I took another train to Bam. From Bam I went by bus to Zahedan, the Iranian border town just a couple of kilometers from the Pakistani border. I crossed the border by taxi and went on to Quetta by bus. From Quetta I went by train to Lahore. Why am I describing all this in such detail?
Well, probably because I try to immitate Dr. Muhammad Anwar and the way he described his trip in the year 1985 to me:
http://postcast.gutemedien.de/dr-muhammad-anwar-about-his-trip-in-1985

In Lahore I met Yannick (FR) and Jeremy (CH) and together we travelled across Pakistan: Peshawar, Chitral, Kalash Valleys, Mastuj, Gilgit, Karimabad, up the Karakoram Highway to the Chinese border and back to Karimabad, Islamabad and Lahore. From Lahore I rushed down in just 4 days to my final destination, Auroville in south east India. I stayed in Auroville for 9 months this time.
During my trip from Istanbul to Auroville I took photos and videos and published them more or less right away on my video blog. I called this blog postcast because I see it as a modern way of writing postcards, broadcasting multimedia postcards.

CARMENCITA: WHAT DO YOU SEE AS YOUR BIGGEST MOTIVATION FOR THIS JOURNEY ?

CHRISTOPH POHL:

My biggest motivation for this journey was the fact of being away – away from day-to-day same same but different life. Being away makes it so much easier to be in and enjoy the present moment.
Also I felt dragged back to Auroville again and flying from Germany to India is such a strange thing, you get onto the plane on one side of the world, sit and wait more or less patiently squeezed in an uncomfortable chair for 12 hours and get off in a completely different world. That’s why I wanted to experience a more gradual change on my travel to India this time.

CARMENCITA: COULD YOU EXPLORE YOUR PROJECT TO BE FOUND AT postcast.gutemedien ?

CHRISTOPH POHL:

Me? No, it’s YOU and your readers who should explore my project to be found at postcast.gutemedien

CARMENCITA: THERE WAS A TRIP BEFORE IN 2007…

CHRISTOPH POHL:

In 2007 I started my first video blog project, called guteMedien TAXI.
taxi.gutemedien
After quitting my last employment I bought a small car, equipped it with a second battery and a simple sleeping construction and travelled across Europe for two months. From Berlin via Prag and Passau to Korchula in Croatia, then to Sarajevo, Zagreb, Vienna, Linz and Zürich, payed a short visit to my hometown Duisburg and then via Tilburg, Amsterdam and Hamburg back to Berlin. The idea was to explore on-the-spot video broadcasting with minimal equipment. I wanted to gather good media (German: gute Medien) of all kinds on my way. But I was far too optimistic about user participation in the age of web 2.0. I thought people would follow my blog and give suggestions about where
to go and which projects or artists to visit in much bigger scale … well, but it was fun though …

CARMENCITA: WHAT IS YOUR PERSONAL VISION OF “GOOD MEDIA”? WHAT IS TOTALLY
EXCLUDED BY MEANING “GOOD MEDIA”?

CHRISTOPH POHL:

For me good media means all kind of media that is used for good, media used for transmitting information that is intended to help the recipient to grow, by either inspiring or informing in an honest and transparent (and possibly even humorous) way. So in fact it’s not really the media itself that is good or bad but its content.
Most content transmitted through today’s mass media has the opposite purpose, namely to prevent the recipient from growing by numbing her/ his mind with repetitive dumb stuff called entertainment or by giving only well calculated chosen parts of information to manipulate her/his opinions in a certain way. Another word for this is propaganda.
So that’s the idea behind guteMedien. I doubt that all the content published under guteMedien meets this given defintion, but I try …

CARMENCITA: WHAT ARE YOU EXPECTING FROM YOUR NEXT STAY AND WHAT DO YOU HAVE
IN MIND TO DO IN AUROVILLE NOW THAT YOU GO BACK ?

CHRISTOPH POHL:
Because it took me so long to answer your questions I am already back in Auroville by now …
I try not to expect anything since I believe that any expectation only limits one’s freedom and leads to disappointment.
In Auroville I still want to continue working on the guteMedien idea in some way.
There is a fascinating project here in Auroville called Sadhana Forest:
http://www.sadhanaforest.org
I want to set up a video blog within their website and take care of media issues concerning this project.
Then there is a first Auroville Film Festival going to take place this year from September 21st to 26th.
http://www.auroville.org/art&culture/AVfilmfestival.htm
I’m involved in the organizing process of the festival and I help giving film workshops in different Auroville schools.
Last but not least I am very very happy about having brought my beloved bicycle this time and so I got also involved in the cyclepath group to try to make Auroville a more bicycle friendly city.

CARMENCITA: WHAT IS IT ABOUT THAT MADE YOU CHOOSE AUROVILLE FOR STAYING FOR
THE NEXT YEAR ?

CHRISTOPH POHL:

It wasn’t me who chose, I was somehow called … I know this is the place for me for now.
This is a great place for experimenting new ways of living …

CARMENCITA: THANX. GREAT BIG HUG & KISS !

CHRISTOPH POHL:

You’re sowas von welcome, big hug&kiss back.

5 Comments

Filed under ISSUE Ø8 - INTERVIEW

5 responses to “my friend is a taxi-driver. a portrait.

  1. bobblebee

    Wow. Thanks for this interview.

  2. CARMENCITA

    @bobblebee: I even did not forget about your e-mail. just a little patience..

  3. Yes, thanx for the interview also from my side.

    @ bobblebee: I was curious why the heck you thanked for this interview, so I visited your site and found out we have someone else in common we both know: Holger Ernst.
    Funny small world in this age of cyberspace …

    Love

  4. Pingback: by mail. « m.e.t.r.o.n.o.m.

  5. Good interview i know being a taxi driver is awesome because you can mingle to other people and its great.

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