Katrina Sark






Alice, I Have Once Been, Indeed


Yes, that Alice.[i]

But no one has called me that in years.


I’ve been going by Mrs. Liddell-Bryce,

Though my husband passed away years ago,

And I’ve established a Literatursalon in our house.


You ask what I’ve learned on my journeys

Through Wunderland and the Looking Glass.

You’re not the first person to ask me that –

I can appreciate your curiosity.


You may think that seeing the world from

The other side makes everything look distorted and unheimlich.

But, in fact, it shows things just as they are.

It’s we who become different –

And eventually learn to see through things.


I can tell you’re craving your own adventures.

What Wonderlands will you find?

What creatures will accompany you on your way?

Who will remain in your life afterwards?

What will you take away from it all,

And make use of later?


I can sense your apprehension, too.

What dragons await you?

Of course, I was terrified of slaying the Jabberwocky –

But so many people depended on me to do it.

I went towards it, sword first, and didn’t cease until it was over.

With the persistence of a warrior,

And the courage of a woman.


We all have our quests cut out for us, I know that now.

Yours is about to begin, I can tell.

Just know that every paradox is there to guide you,

Even when it seems like utter nonsense.

Just follow the white rabbit!

Do not fear the thorns of today,

Nor the lack of jam of tomorrow.

And always, always, try to have some jam today.


Go bravely down each rabbit hole,

And be kind to all the creatures you find there.

Live your dreams even when you are afraid.

And don’t let the Cheshire cats confuse you

And make you feel like it’s your fault,

Or like you’re not good enough.

They are not real!

Tell others of your quest and inspire them to embark on their own.

And whatever you do, don’t be late!


I must bid you Auf Wiedersehen now, dear.

I’m expecting the Hatter for tea.

Yes, we still keep in touch.

Though he is quite old now, poor dear.

But he still makes all my clothes himself,

And keeps me very stylish,

Despite time and all.

He promised to take my measurements for a new gown.

Friendship is a delightful paradox.

Especially when it lasts a life-time.



[i] Inspired by Tim Burton’s film Alice in Wonderland (2010), Alfred Lord Tennyson’s poem “Ulysses” (1842), and Melanie Benjamin’s novel Alice I Have Been (2010)




Photo by K.Sark, Pink gown, Royal Ontario Museum, 2013




Via Vittorio Veneto

By Katrina Sark






I take my camera

And point it at her back, as she walks down the street.

I catch a glimpse of her face

Whenever she turns to look around.


The evening lights hit the lens –

Everything turns white for a moment.

Then the focus returns, and the light sparkles in lens flares.

Like light bubbles.


We walk down Via Veneto as the sun begins to set,

With our backs to the orange light that cuts through the blue street.

Past Café de Paris, and the black-and-white photographs of the French and Italian movie stars.

Past the newsstand in the middle of the wide sidewalk, with international newspapers and magazines.


Light bubbles fill the frame again – a splash of golden yellow and orange,

As the light hits the lens – amidst a pale blue evening street,

As my camera hovers over her shoulder, facing the street and the sidewalk,

Capturing her point of view.


A glorious avenue in the summer evening, not too busy this time of day,

Before most tourists and inhabitants settle in for dinner, or meet for drinks after work.

Waiters – dressed in black and white – place the cutlery onto the white tablecloths.

Just before the sun sets and the street fills with people.


She walks down Via Veneto, where Fellini chose not to film Marcello pull up in his convertible,

On location, and take his father out for a night on the town,

Or meet the lovely Maddalena leaning against a bar,

In a black dress.


She can see the layers of history and fiction blend into each other in the street.

The postmodern flaneuse – she engages in three-dimensional, virtually-real superimposition of images

That dissect this space and re-assemble it, kaleidoscopically, revealing new visions of it

Sieved through the psychic mechanisms of different forms of perception.


Thus Fellini’s studio-recreated street and its heartbeats,

Transposed with historical transformations, and mixed with the playful evening light,

Render the street not just magnificent, but alive,

Breathing, enveloping, and calling to her.


Alone, yet entangled in the invisible fabric of the city,

She walks on, past all the history, myth, and glamour.

Its silky fabric wrapping and twirling around her arms and wrists,

Giving her a rare sense of balance and belonging.


Someone on the other side of the street sees her walk by.

Somewhere on the other side of the world,

On some nameless, faceless street, he is also walking –

Along or maybe even towards her.


They both stop – she knows –

At the next intersection –

In different cities, but at the same time.

As if facing each other, but far away.


I follow her mental montage with my camera:

Circling away from her, to the other side of the street,

Towards him.

I cross the intersection, and hold the camera at his side now, looking at her.


From this side, there are no blues, no bubbles,

The whole street is flooded with golden light,

And her.

He can see her now.


I circle around him, zooming in on close-ups of his body,

Pieces of him captured in a collage:

His left cheekbone, his right hand, his shoulder.

I come to rest my camera there, facing her over his shoulder.


At this point, neither she, nor I, nor he

Would have the power to break the illusionary trace

That my camera movement left in the air,

Like a thin silky white ribbon, fluttering between them.


The imagined split-screen in the middle of the intersection

Melts away. For a moment

They stand on the same street.

Facing each other. But not saying hello yet.


Then a car drives by,

And as the last evening light catches her eyes,

She is back at the intersection of Via Veneto and Via Boncompagni,

No longer facing him, but in good company, indeed.


Walking down Via Veneto

Towards Termini and the evening train back to Florence,

She can rest before embarking to discover

Another world, another city, another street somewhere.


I follow her with my camera,

Slowly zooming out, away from her shoulder, from her back.

I follow her until the next intersection.

Then let her disappear out of the frame.











Writer’s Bio:

Katrina Sark is a Victoria-based writer and photographer, who specializes in creative non-fiction on cities and culture, feminism, arts, fashion, film, and theatre. She is the founder of the Canadian Fashion Scholars Network that fosters, supports, and brings together a nation-wide community of fashion writers, scholars, curators, designers, journalists, and fashion professionals. She is also the co-author and co-founder of the Urban Chic book series published by Intellect Press, which explores different cities and their culture through the lens of fashion. She writes reviews of theatre, dance performance, exhibitions, films and books on her blog: Suites Culturelles. She is currently working on developing a new book series on cities and theatres.


Blog: https://suitesculturelles.wordpress.com/






  • Sark, Katrina and Bélanger-Michaud, Sara Danièle, Montréal Chic: A Locational History of Montreal Fashion. Bristol: Intellect, 2016.
  • Ingram, Susan, and Sark, Katrina. Berliner Chic: A Locational History of Berlin Fashion. Bristol: Intellect, 2011.


Short Fiction:

  • Sark, Katrina. “Berlin, May 1946.’ Descant 166: The Berlin Project. Volume 45, Number 3, Fall 2014. pp. 1-6.
  • Sark, Katrina. “Mirror,” in Chaos: Literary Arts Magazine, University of Victoria, 2002.



  • Sark, Katrina. “Berlin Freedom – November 9, 2009.” Essay in Descant 166: The Berlin Project. Volume 45, Number 3, Fall 2014. pp. 187-190.
  • Sark, Katrina. Feature Article: “Three Waves of Feminism” in The Martlet, University of Victoria, 2003, 2 pages.
  • Sark, Katrina. “City Spaces: Berlin Cinema” in CineAction, Issue 80, 2010.
  • Sark, Katrina. « Baustelle Berlin, » World Film Locations: Berlin. Susan Ingram (ed.) Bristol: Intellect, 2013.
  • Ingram, Susan and Sark, Katrina, “Berlin, City of the Imagination” World Film Locations: Berlin. Susan Ingram (ed.) Bristol: Intellect, 2013.
  • Sark, Katrina, “Disassembling Romantic Desire in The English Patient” in Canadian Writers Series, Michael Ondaatje Volume, Guernica Press, forthcoming in 2016.


Translations (German to English):

  • Philosophical letters by M. Pasch (2012)
  • Julius Klinger: Poster Artist and Graphic Designer, exhibition catalogue by Anita Kühnel. Berlin: Kunstbibliothek, 1997 (2012)
  • « Vocal Changes: Marlon Brando, Innokenti Smoktunovsky, and the Sound of the 1950s » by Oksana Bulgakowa, in: Sound | Music | Speech in Soviet and Post-Soviet Audiovisual Media, ed. Lilya Kaganovsky and Masha Salazkina (2011)
  • Documentary film transcription and translation: Chessboxing by David Bitton (2011-2012)
  • Documentary film transcription and translation: Trashopolis(TV Series 2010-) Episode 11: Berlin, by Joe Wiecha (2011)
  • Memoir translation and wed design: Das Schicksal hat viele Gesichterby Astrid Koopmann (2010)
  • Chemistry Letters by Justus Liebig (2009)





2016 – Montréal Chic: A Locational History of Montreal Fashion (Bristol: Intellect)

2013 –Wiener Chic: A Locational History of Vienna Fashion (Bristol: Intellect)

2012 – World Film Locations: Berlin (Bristol, Intellect) 2011 –Berliner Chic: A Locational History of Berlin Fashion (Bristol, Intellect)

2015 –Fashion Theory Journal 19:3 (New York) 2014 –Descant 166: The Berlin Project (Toronto) 2013-16 – Covers of Canadian Review of Comparative Literature Journal (Edmonton)

2013-15 – Photos and cover of Vielfalt – McGill German Studies Student Journal (Montreal)  2013 – Feature artist profile in Imaginations: Journal of Cross-Cultural Image Studies (Edmonton)

2013 – Newsletter of Mosaic, journal for the interdisciplinary study of literature (Winnipeg) 2010 –Inquire, Journal of Comparative Literature (Edmonton)



2014 – “Translating Street Art,” Old Arts Building, University of Alberta (Edmonton) 2013 – “The Post Card Exhibit,” Intermedia Research Studio, University of Alberta (Edmonton)    2012-15 – Photo essays, Suites Culturelles (online)  2010 – First photo exhibition at the McGill Arts and Craft Fair (Montreal)


Work History:

  • Author and book series co-founder – Intellect Press, 2009-2015
  • Professional writer, editor, journalist, researcher, and web designer – Montreal, 2009-2014
  • Lecturer – University of Victoria, 2011-2016
  • Founder of the Canadian Fashion Scholars Network – since 2014
  • Professional photographer – since 2009


Consulting, Research, and Editing Work:

  • Fashion Show: Fashion Avant-Garde Now And Then (Museum of Vancouver , 2015) – hired to conceptualize, budget, organize, and curate a fashion event showcasing Vancouver designers and fashion collectors.
  • Consulting, research (in Berlin and Vienna), translation, and editing of the finished manuscript of Julius Klinger– Poster Designer in Berlin and Vienna by Karen Etingen (2012-15)
  • Consulting, research, photography, and work at the Austrian Film Archive in Vienna for Wiener Chic: A Locational History Of Vienna Fashionby Susan Ingram and Markus Reisenleitner (2011-2013)
  • Edited translations and manuscript for Everybody Talks about the Weather… We don’t. Karin Bauer (ed.) New York: Sever Stories Press, 2008. (2007)
  • Archival work in Toronto, edited the bibliography for Victorian Popularizers of Science. Bernard Lightman, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2007. (2004)


Invited Guest Talks, Readings, Presentations and Workshops:

  • “Berliner Chic” Emerging Local Authors Collection launch, Greater Victoria Public Library, May 2016
  • « Berlin Culture » University of Victoria, March 2016
  • « Fashion Writing and Publishing » University of Hawaii, Manoa, February 2016
  • « Canadian Fashion Writing » Canadian Fashion Scholars’ Symposium, Museum of Vancouver, November 2015
  • « Urban Chic series and Canadian Fashion Writing, » McCord Museum Montreal, October 2014
  • “Berlin 1946” at Descant magazine launch and reading, Montreal, October 2014
  • “Branding Berlin” Goethe Institut Montreal, April 2013
  • “Nostalgia for Babylon” McGill University, November 2012
  • “Berliner Chic” McGill University, Montreal, April 2012
  • “Berliner Chic” University of Victoria, November 2011
  • “Berliner Chic” FUBIS (Freie Universität Berlin International Summer School), June 2011
  • “Berliner Chic” Champlain College, Lennoxville, QC, March 2011
  • “Berlin Fashion in the Ruins” and “Fashion and Film” University of Victoria, March 2006



PhD in Cultural Analysis, McGill University, Montreal (2007-2014)



Montreal Chic: http://nymag.com/thecut/2016/06/montreal-chic-sark-belanger-michaud.html#

Berliner Chic: https://suitesculturelles.wordpress.com/about/press/



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