Sunday, February 05, 2006

"Very Prenzlauer Berg"

One of my New Years resolutions is to get out and see more of Berlin. Last night Matthias and I definitely accomplished part of this goal. I wanted to see an exhibition of political photos and cartoons from 2005. Matthias, who is now quite the Berlin social guru, had heard about a media/art/club/lounge/dancing/reading “thing” in Prenzlauer Berg that he thought we should check out. (This was the description I got beforehand.)

We began the evening at the photo exhibit: Rueckblende 2005. For anyone even remotely interested in current events, this is a must-see exhibit that is touring around Germany. The photos chronicled an exciting and turbulent year for the country. National elections, Ratzinger’s elevation to Pope and the opening of the Holocaust Memorial in Berlin were among the themes. I was most impressed with how well the photos captured the range of emotion surrounding the election!

Next it was off to Dr. Pong. As Matthias, his friend Nils and I entered a non-descript storefront on Eberswalderstrasse I felt a bit like Forest Gump walking into the Black Panther meeting—not only did the stark smoky building look similar, I felt totally out of my element! How do I even describe the rest of the evening? My 6th grade social studies teacher used to say that culturally different things are “ohhh” or “hmmm” but not “eewww.” Sorry Mrs. Bowerman, I cannot resist: the evening was cool and enlightening, but very STRANGE! Matthias kept saying that this was “very Prenzlauer Berg.”

First, nature videos and footage that looked like old home movies were playing on a blank wall in the main room. As I understood it, the footage came from a museum in Hamburg, which is collecting video that would otherwise be destroyed/forgotten. The second part of the evening was a collection of readings, which discussed animals, hunting, Angie M. and immigrants/migration. Next, a couple of women from Argentina presented symbols, (that looked a bit like the international boy and girl bathroom symbols) which depicted how immigrants in foreign countries feel. Finally, a group of Spanish guys presented a video game that they have developed to help illegal immigrants in Madrid deal with everyday situations that they might encounter. The kids can also learn about how the game was created in the hope that they might develop computer skills that would allow them to be employable.

Strange…yes. But it I really enjoyed myself (minus the odd smell that I am choosing to believe was incense!) Somehow it all worked together! As a foreigner in a foreign city I even related on some level to what the symbols represented as well as understood how the video game could really help immigrants in Spain. (I can think of a number of social situations that would have been better played out in a video game before messing them up in real life☺)

We didn’t stick around to hear DJ Abdullah, the illegal Moroccan immigrant from Spain who was helped by the computer program, nor the other two DJs, but I am sure that would have added to the evening as well. Instead I was treated to the drunken musings of a group of teenage girls on the U2 who sang Brittany Spears’ “Lucky” all the way to Alexander Platz. There’s some culture that does not need to be exported!


At 8:16 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh how I wish I had been with you all for the evening!! Sounds abit out of our comfort zone, but it's good to stretch the boundaries occationally. Maybe your Uncle Larry might enjoy this video game!
He could give a copy to people he is dealing with who have come into the US via Canada illegally!!!
Love ya Mom oxoxox :)


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