Selk’nam Spirits

In November 2002 we traveled to Tierra del Fuego / Feuerland. We went there on our way from Chile and took a twelve hour bus ride from Puerto Natales via Punta Arenas to Ushuaia.

It must have been in Ushuaia, at the small Yamana Museum were I found the postcards below. The museum shows the geological origin of Tierra del Fuego, the way of life of natives (there were four groups: Yamana, Alakaluf, Selk’nam and Haush), and the extinction of the local people through murder and infectious diseases brought by Europeans.

Selknam Spirit

By 1911, only around 300 Selk’nam lived in reserves. Two Christian missionaries were established to provide housing and food for the natives. In spite of the help, Selk’nam were unable to survive without their traditions and lifestyles. A bigger part of the population died because of measles in 1925. The last ethnic Selk’nam died in the 1960/70 (sources give different names and years).

The pictures were taken by Martin Gusinde, a German missionary and Ethnologist. During 1918 to 1924 he traveled to Tierra del Feugo four times and studied the Selk’nam. Therefore, the culture of the Selk’nam is well documented in his 1000 pages strong book. His writing came under criticism later on as it is believed that especially the chapters dealing with religion and family values have not been unreflected from his own contemporary beliefs. However, Martin Gusinde was the first and last Ethnologist who studied the Selk’nam culture as a whole.

The male initiation ceremony of the Selk’nam called Hain was held for several months of the year and different groups came together to celebrate. Young men were brought to a hut were they were thought in myths. The ceremony included rituals in which the young men had to prove their endurance and strength.

The highlight of the festival was the appearance of spirits, actually adult male Selk’nam disguised as such. Each of the spirits had it’s own character. Some of them were there to scare women, others appeared for entertainment. Later on, the real identity of the spirits was revealed to the young men.

The last Hain was held in one of the missions in 1923, and it was photographed by Martin Gusinde. The photos depict various spirits.

Selknam Spirit

Selknam Spirit

Selknam Spirit

German Wikipedia on Selk’nam
English Wikipedia on Selk’nam
Martin Gusinde Museum Puerto Williams (Spanish)
Museo del Fin del Mundo (Spanish, more photos)
Martin Gusinde Biography (in German)

my weekend

I left Frankfurt Saturday morning and drove to Antwerp. I took a picture of this.
By 11pm I was back at my apartment.

Birgit, Sabs, Viola and I sat by the river today. The water stood quite high in the riverbed. I didn’t get a coffee because the queue at the Maincafe was apparently 8 kilometers long. Someone said that they still operated the bar according to their winter schedule.
In the evening, we watched tv and ate Euro Münzen.

I’m into Ricardo Villalobos now. At least into his almost 15 minutes remix of Beck’s Cellphone’s Dead (listen). The remix is on the deluxe edition of his Information album.


Montreal Nights

La Lady M

Toffi and me crawled out of the Sommerloch by taking a trip to Montreal. After the long party weekend I think that maybe Montreal is Canada’s Ibiza. Although, I have never been to Ibiza.

Our days on the island started with a bit of sightseeing, followed by a disco nap and in the evenings we went to the Gay Pride festivities (they call it “Divers/Cité” over there, please excuse my french). On Saturday, we saw Amanda Lepore and Lady Miss Kier perform at Sexgarage 2. Amanda sang 2 songs. And a third one as an a cappella.

Next up was Lady Miss Kier, who I am still in love with. She sang some Deee-lite hits and a few new demos, of which I liked her cover of George Clinton’s Bullet Proof best. I was just a little sad, that she didn’t sing I Had A Dream I Was Falling Through A Hole In The Ozone Layer. But I loved it when she changed the lyrics to What Is Love to How do you say – disgusting?

After their shows, we had the chance to say hi to the Ladies.
We were smitten.

Montreal is a little bit smaller than Toronto, but not when it comes to male strip clubs. There are 5 or 6 or more. Our favourite one was Stock Bar, which just re-opened after a fire 3 months ago. The place was packed on Sunday night. They had a catwalk stage with a pole at the front and a second stage, consisting of a shower with psychedelic light effects. Phil Collins sang I can feel it coming in the air tonight when the stripper got wet under the shower.

Miss Lepore

Toffi and Miss Kier

Amanda and Toffi