Sometimes I find it difficult to put into exact words why Berlin is a good place to live. There are many reasons, sure, but there might be just as many negative points as well. Not having a beach and the constant lousy weather seriously test my limits. There are only so many times that a lake can satisfy my wish for a Copacabana (not to worry, though: I am currently learning Portuguese so I can leave Berlin for Brazil, at least temporarily. It will take at least six months of non-stop sunshine for me to get over the past two years here).
But I won’t hesitate to mention one of the qualities of life in Berlin anyway. I find that Berlin, unlike most other big cities on an international scale, offers a vast landscape of various cultural activities — for everyone. That means most of it is free. From the rave to the spontaneous theater to the open galleries to the big events such as the Karneval der Kulturen. These events tend to shake up certain parts of the city. Last weekend, 48 Stunden Neukölln was a perfect example for how it should work: every gallery, restaurant, bar, or even private place, was invited to take part in an open Festival of Arts. The point with these things is not just to attract those who know about art, but also those who pass by randomly and can possibly find some interest in the things that are displayed. Since the whole district takes part it’s almost impossible not to be drawn into this or that shop or gallery. Teenagers, tourists and children alike were fascinated by the transition of Neukölln.
Even though I hadn’t originally planned to check out the festival I ended up just as mesmerized by the masses of people on the streets. As our friends from ArtConnect decided to give our little Cages exhibition (which we had displayed at Studio B before) another chance to be seen, I changed my mind and ended up checking out various spaces from Boddin– to Weserstraße. The Festival is — as always — a good excuse to drink and be outside, wandering new and different streets to discover this or that exciting exhibition. I even bought some art (!) at the idrawalot gallery (seriously though, that is a major accomplishment for someone who thinks Batman is the only work of art this world will ever need. That said, it’s still a somewhat altered picture of 2Pac by a very talented artist called Ben, whose e-mail adress unfortunately I lost. But he does some great work, even I can see that, so you should definitely go by the gallery and check it out!).
All in all, 48 Stunden Neukölln feels like a massive subcultural happening with many adventures to expect. I took out my camera for some snapshots, but really it’s more an experience of mind and soul — so don’t miss out on it next year! Besides, I think most of you have seen what kind of spontaneous love can happen once you set yourself free on the Neukölln streets…
My personal bonus feature: I ended up snacking the best Arabic Pizza with cheese at the shabby looking but top-quality “Boddin Snack”. It’s not fancy food, sure, but it’s the most delicious thing you can get for one Euro. It makes little rainbow colored pug puppies cuddle up and kiss each other in my heart.