Wieder was Neues im alten Westen!
Die Vesper Bar eröffnet heute Abend
am Kurfürstendamm 160. Nur
geladene Gäste sind heute willkommen,
ab morgen kann jeder in die Bar im Bond-Stil.
Skateistan - the Book
11. July 2012
To make new friends, all Oliver Percovich had to do was pass out a bunch of skateboards. The Australian native traveled to the war-torn Kabul five years ago with his girlfriend, a development aid worker. He quickly had the local youth on his side with his funny looking wooden boards on which they learned how to perform grinds and lipslides. Oliver realized that skating offered a psychological support for the Afghan boys (and girls) he encountered and, above all, that they were having loads of fun. “Skateistan” was born, at least in the head of its creator. But to turn his plan into reality. Oliver first had to get his hands on a big load of cash.
In the beginning, Oliver met the kids at a fountain in an inconspicuous park in Kabul. He soon caught the residents' attention, and it wasn't long before the big media caught on. CNN, BBC, The Guardian – they all came to see for themselves what was going on. After that, funds started coming in from the German, Norwegian and Danish embassies and a few big skatewear brands.
Today, Skateistan boasts a gigantic skating hall, a skate park, a school for creative arts and a “Back to School”-program that helps Afghan kids (re-)enroll in schools. Skateistan has even branched out to Cambodia. Especially girls have profitted from the project: Since skateboarding is such a new and unbiased sport in Afghanistan, it lacks the gender prejudices that are attached to, say, soccer or basketball.
Alexandra Bald and Ana Lessing, the heads behind “Berlin Haushoch” magazine, have been Skateistan's art directors since the very beginning. They designed everything, from hoodies to advertising. “Skateboarding is a means to an end,” says Alexandra. “It gives the kid a chance to learn from each other and to compete but without violence.” Alexandra and Ana began thinking about a Skateistan-book back in 2009. They collected unreleased photographs, interviews, essays and facts from and about the kids, grown-ups and volunteers involved in Skateistan over three years. But it wasn't always easy. In the winter, a roof broke down in Afghanistan, leaving the Skateistan office without an internet connection and prolonging the development of the book.
But “The Tale of Skateboarding in Afghanistan” was finally released in June 2012. It is a loving dedication to a unique sport and a fascinating country. Alexandra and Ana, both part of the C-D-A-P collective, worked Arabian ornaments into the book cover. “Design-wise, I liked the chapter openers the best. The fonts for the typography were sponsored by HVD fonts. Each section [past-present-future] is colored in one of the three colors of the Afghan flag,” explained Ana. But “Skateistan” doesn't just offer insights into the lives and minds of Skateistan-participants – even though their stories would have been enough to make jaws drop. It also frees the reader from those grainy night-time shots and pictures of green war tanks that have burned themselves into our retinas after 9/11. Alexandra pointed to a picture of a barber shop in Kabul, exclaiming “This could be in Kreuzberg!” The pictures show that not everyone in Kabul Kabul is hit on the head with a bomb as soon as they leave their house in the morning. But it also includes stories like the time everyone had to sleep at the skate park because the Taliban had conducted a siege and Kabul's main roads were blocked.
Skateistan, The Tale of Skateboarding in Afghanistan, 320 pages, english, available exclusively at the Irie Store Online Shop:http://www.iriestore.de/index.php?cat=c2708_Skateistan---The-Book.html; All profits go to the Skateistan project. http://skateistan.org/book