Call me crazy, but I like Berlin. And one of the – okay, Heribert, you can stop calling me crazy now – and one of the things I most like about it is the diversity of museums and zoos. Seriously, there are museums everywhere, from bauhaus to Islamic Art to computer games and all sorts of history – and two zoos. There’s also a sort of fierceness about the role which culture plays in lending a city identity. So when I encountered this call for a new Berliner souvenir I had to play out the idea of creating something that pays this aspect of Berlin some respect. If we’re to feed into the consumer-craze of tourist tokenism, I’d rather take it up as an opportunity to point to this unique Berlin offering. Souvenir doesn’t mean character, but it includes character…
My take is a Giraffatitan in toon form called Boomboom. He loves Islamic patterns, Nefertiti’s nose and – while he appreciates an evening of fine opera – his acoustical culture of choice is dubstep … wouldn’t that be great to animate!?
There would be a realistic Giraffatitan outdoor life reconstruction in scale 1to1 at the Park at Nordbahnhof, adding a physical attraction between the Mauer Museum and the Museum of Natural History and tie-ins to the graphic character for printed beer krugs and back packs, stuffed figures, the whole 9 yards… and a percentage of profits going to the cultural institutes of the city.
I’m really interested in feedback, particularly from anyone familiar with Berlin. I’m not sure if I’ll enter, as this would need a good deal of work to make it presentation-ready and I don’t think this really has a chance. The souvenir competition is all designy… and I don’t read the call as the beBerlin folk looking for cultural plugs. It could propagate some awareness for what I consider to be Berlin’s true stars, though. And my only other idea for a fitting Berlin character is a cute little devil character that barfs when you squeeze him.
The only way this incredibly cool photo of night-time Berlin could be more telling is if each Kiez (city section) was lit with its own color. Thank you to André Kuipers, ESA and the ISS.
The German new year’s is like the English, a jovial ‘Happy New Year’s‘. But there’s also New Year’s Eve greeting Guten Rutsch, which I butcher into an English ‘have a good slide‘. All of Germany slides into the new year, and Berlin does so with particular fervor. Fireworks here range far beyond the Brandenburger Tor party. Indeed, from our apartment overlooking Prenzlauerberg and Mitte, Berlin’s official fireworks was only able to compete with the panoramic rest for about 5 minutes and even then presented only another wedge of awesome. The video above only shows an arc about 25 degrees of Alex and eastwards – the official fireworks are kilometers to the west. The overlapping exposures create the general ambient of a full panorama of explosions. Berlin is unique in this regard, or at least in this dimension. Everyone everywhere seems to have their own firework show, which begins with impatient explosions and fire crackers a few days premature, swelling into a horizon of pyromantics a few hours before the Rutsch and then a crescendo of explosions as the clock rings 2013 and about an hour thereafter.
This year seemed decidedly less aggressive. In years past, the feeling was raw. Kids would toss firecrackers at your feet or aim fireworks at cars and passersby. This year felt much more celebratory. So, we had a great Rutsch, and I hope you did too!