To be a bit adventurous I decided to jump on the free space on Digital Media’s trip to Berlin, where the Transmediale festival is being held.
My expectations were that Berlin would be freezing cold, meat-obsessed and full of miserable Germans. I am happy to admit most of my pre-departure assumptions were wrong. The residents of Berlin are so welcoming and are not offended at our lack of understanding for their language, in fact many speak great English. The meat assumption was incorrect too, Berlin actually has its own Vegan restaurant near the Berlin Wall; the first ever vegan restaurant to be built. I’ve also seen a bit of graffiti around that says “go vegan”. I’ve also seen a lot of other graffiti in general around the towns with some relating to the recent migrant crisis. An example is below.
So Germany has surprised me and made me face up to pre-judgement. One assumption I was correct on, it is bloody freezing here. So if you are thinking of visiting then I have one word for you, layers. Lots of clothing layers.
As for the festival, I only attended for about an hour in total (as I’m not a digital media student and aren’t required to be there). It was literally the least logical festival ever. But it had one investigation of interest for me, a room on Berlins changing media and a lecturer on 1000 handshakes. This lecture was a follow up to an event that ran over the previous few days, a man conducted what can only be described as “arty science” experiment where he shook hands with up to 1000 people and each act was photographed. At the end of each day had his hand swabbed for microbes (or something) the conclusion being that these germs of other people have merged with his and could be passed down to generations (again, or something). It was a load of arty bollocks, but I still think it’s a social experiment worth looking at and maybe adapting to create future investigations.
Berlin has been an interesting visit I highly recommend, full of food and surprises. It’s hard to decide if I prefer Paris or Berlin, each has its upsides and downsides which often relate back to politics. But at the end of the day, the individualism of countries gives that new insight that tourists such as myself crave.