It's already a truism: the arts are becoming more globalized and the world – seemingly – smaller. More and more creative people are traveling the world: modern-day nomads looking for inspiration and identity, some on their own initiative, some temporarily, as fellowship holders and cultural ambassadors. In many ways, they're caught in the cross currents of cultures. But what does it really mean to live and work between two cultures and traditions, to commute between several homes? Arts.21 met nine artists from around the world who have been living permanently or temporarily in Germany, and asked them just that question. They included Israeli photographer Daniela Orvin, who wanted to escape the confines of Tel Aviv, Greek novelist Petros Markaris, who grew up with multiple identities, African architect Francis Kéré, who combines the cultures of two continents in his work, and the great photographic artist Dayanita Singh, who doesn't want to be co-opted as a representative only of India. From many portraits, a tableau emerges of people awash in the cross currents of the 21st century: multi-layered, contradictory and close to the artists' reality.
Episode 9: Dance Duo Wang & Ramirez
Their dancing is a clash of cultures. She was born in Germany, the daughter of Korean parents; he is a Frenchman with Spanish roots. With their experimental hip hop, Hyun-Jung Wang and Sebastian Ramirez tear down physical and mental fences. They live in Berlin and tour worldwide. Many of their songs tell about what they call their love collision - their own love story.
Episode 8: Photographer Daniela Orvin
Photographer Daniela Orvin was born in Berlin, but grew up near Tel Aviv. She never felt at home in Israel, so she returned to the German capital. She soon made contact with other Israeli artists there. That's why she likes to call Berlin "mini-Israel."
Episode 7: Poet Ricardo Domeneck
Ricardo Domeneck is a poet as well as a video and performance artist. He grew up in a small town in Brazil, but he's lived in Berlin since 2002. Domeneck started writing poetry when he was 13. He recently published his first bilingual collection of poems – in Portuguese and German.
Episode 6: Musician Mariana Sadovska
She's considered a star on the world music scene: Ukrainian singer Mariana Sadovska. Trained as a classical pianist, she studied drama and acted in Poland, and had a musical career in New York. Now she lives in Cologne. Her trademark: as a composer and singer, she mixes traditional Ukrainian songs with contemporary sounds.
Episode 5: Writer Petros Markaris
Petros Markaris is a household name in his native Greece thanks to his popular detective novels. Born to Armenian/Greek parents, he grew up in Istanbul before studying in Vienna and Stuttgart. Both in his crime stories and essays, Markaris is a keen observer of society. In recognition of his services to cultural communication, he’s been awarded this year's Goethe Medal.
Episode 4: Fashion Designer Hien Le
33-year-old Hien Le is one of the German capital's up and coming talents -- which is why his show was chosen to open Berlin Fashion Week this past summer. He was born in Laos, and his fashion designs have a quintessentially Asian rigor and simplicity.
Episode 3: Photographic Artist Dayanita Singh
She is a pioneer of photography on the Indian subcontinent, and her vision goes far beyond her cultural heritage. Dayanita Singh considers photography her golden ticket – one that gave her the opportunity to work abroad. This year, Singh was one of four artists showcased in the French pavilion, which housed Germany’s contribution to the Venice Biennale.
Episode 2: Architect Francis Kéré
More than 20 years ago, Francis Kéré left his home country, Burkina Faso. Since then, he’s been on the move, going from project to project, from Berlin to Burkina Faso to Beijing and back. His Berlin-based company designs socially and environmentally sustainable buildings for the southern hemisphere, like the late Christoph Schlingensief's opera village.
Episode 1: Filmmaker Myrna Maakaron
When Lebanese filmmaker Myrna Maakaron revisits her home town of Beirut, she longs for the serenity and birdsong of Berlin. When she’s in Berlin, she misses the friendliness and generosity of the Lebanese. Her award-winning films depict life and history in both cities: Beirut and Berlin.