First things first: in the Art Scene
1. Focusing, filtering, setting clear interests and establishing your own networks.
Something I learned over the last years is that this process can be really revealing and satisfying, especially in a city with a such a diverse art scene like Berlin.
Christian and Rachel already mentioned how democratic and wide-ranging it is here, and I agree that that is something really positive and absolutely likeable from our art scene, but what I really really like is clarifying and deciding what/why I like from all of that spectrum and focusing in the spaces and people I like the most.
2. Exhibition openings, I love/hate you twice.
Why do you actually attend and what is that you like the most about them? I'm eager to hear impressive opinions. No kidding. Next time, you tell me.
Since most shows are on view for more that one evening (although we all know a few exceptions), it doesn't make any sense to hurry and see it when the room is (hopefully!) completely crowded, right?.
Well, we all like opening receptions. There is clearly the social factor that we all enjoy, and that is: making contacts, making the other kind of contacts, occasional free food & drinks, and... shoe spotting.
3. There are institutions galore in Berlin. Visiting Bauhaus Archiv, Berlinische Galerie, Neue National Galerie, Martin Gropius Bau or the Westflügel of the Hamburger Bahnhof is like a cheap alternative to therapy for me when I feel tired of: socializing, thinking, not really understanding, trying to understand, not really liking it, not really having an opinion about it. Whenever I feel tired of the contempory art scene, I can always find inspiration/motivation in the past century. Time travelling is sometimes actually possible by seeing Bauhaus' women standing on the staircase, the dadaists fooling around in Friedenau, Beuys liking America (and America liking him back)... or how the History of Art will always save my life.
4. The fact that real good things only happen once in a blue moon.
And that is completely alright. The point is that we also need somewhat less spectacular shows in order to compare/digest the super intense ones, otherwise I doubt my brain could cope processing such a massive amount of pleasant stimuli whatsoever. Or maybe yes. But I always tend to mystify a lot. Besides this is just an excuse to shout it loud again: I love Documenta. We all love Documenta. I wish I was at Karlsaue right now!
5. Press releases
Dear gallerist, printing out press releases is actually valuable for some visitors. I actually read (most of) them while/after seeing the exhibition and religiously keep up an archive of folded Din A4s that helps me keep track of the shows that I attend. Not to talk about catalogues. If I fall in love with a show, I will totally get the catalogue... until the day I can afford the works on display, ha.
In the city
1. Low co2 emission rates, the Bio thing, recycling & Co. All in all, Berlin is quite a Green City. Something you can easily realize when you come back from e.g. London: breathing again, being able to (safely!) bike again, buying inexpensive (organic?) groceries again...
Yet to add to this like-category: uncountable forests, graveyards, lakes, parks and gardens all over the city.
2. Walking the streets at night. It's not only safe but also extremely cinematic.
With no real city center rather than the geographic one (or the one of your choice), Berlin's got a twisting structure that will make the delight of every psychogeography aficionado.
On my list of favourite places for a midnight stroll: Fischerinsel, Hausvogteiplatz, Stadtmitte, Museumsinsel, Ku'Damm, and specially here in the hood: Friedrichstraße, with its Schiffbauerdamm and the bridge over the Spree, the Berliner Ensemble, the Sammlung Boros, Friedrichstadtspalast, Bertolt Brecht's graveyard and the classy u6 (sadly under construction until October next year!).
3. Autumn in Berlin
It was about time that I'd mention the weather. There you go
This slightly more stable season is almost a reward after that period from June to September that we still insist in calling Summer. Alright, when you are in the city and need to keep your intellectual abilities intact, a cold and gloomy summer is actually helping. And luckily we'll still have a glimpse of Indian summer in September, before the trench coat times are here to stay, the streets get covered in golden and crimson leaves and everybody is back to life... ahh, I can't wait!.
Tegel Airport is one of my favourite things ever. Because of its architecture, functionality and Wessi flair. It's a shame that it will cease working.
Something really exciting for me about getting there on the 128 is listening to the bus stops announcements: “Kasserne Südtor”, “Luftfracht”... there is something irrationally sexy in the phonetics of these words that I can't describe, even if their meanings are totally not.
5. Stockholm Syndrome
Or how to feel inextricably attached to your kidnapper. Or how to explain the fact that I feel sort of trapped in this city while I'm always willing to move somewhere else. Whatever emigration masterplans I make, it always turns that I'm staying in Berlin. And this attraction escapes any physical law and will always remain a mistery...
And I kind of started liking it, so don't pay the ransom yet.