The urban environment, Berlin or otherwise, used to be a trope for mysteries. History, architecture, social structures, people and their relationships leave traces. Between the walls of two houses, behind an advertising poster, under the ruins of a long lost building… secrets everywhere. And the spontaneous combustions on trains, among the people on the streets. A city is a place to live, sure, but it is also a place to experience the unique combinations of everyday life with people you wouldn’t otherwise ever get in touch with. We have the opportunity to run into each other and say hi.
But something has changed, and I intuitively assume that it has something to do with how we’ve overcome the physical structures by communicating virtually. Has Berlin turned into a segregated filter bubble, organized by Facebook and other virtual tools that guide people of same interests? A location-specific filter bubble: you go where your social feed tells you to go. Much like art, I think the cultural life in an urban environment can challenge us mentally, socially and structurally. The confrontation of different people, minds and intellects can yield exciting, sometimes progressive results. Living with each other – beyond our differences – is what makes life in a metropole worth living.
Nowadays – so it seems – we are living in an environment of prét-à-porter experiences. Where you go and what you do is always within the range of systematic “urban offerings”, provided by your peers or economic entities.
I admit: it’s comfortable to live like this. But it’s also ignorant, as there are many more sides and stories to discover. I’ll make a first step towards bettering myself: and just go out onto the streets again to walk, experience social life in the city, and possibly make new friends that can show me what Berlin means to them.