On Saturday I arrived at the Deutsches Historisches Museum (German Historical Museum) shortly after they opened at 10 a.m. I had seen a poster for the DDR exhibit that was ending this weekend, so I expected large crowds and I wanted to beat them. But the DDR exhibit turned out to be only one of several in this vast museum. It was busy but not overrun, and it wasn’t even that big. I think there are just too many choices here in Berlin, while in Vancouver the few exhibits we get tend to be mobbed in their last days when everyone tries to cram it in. The DDR exhibit also included free audio guides featuring interviews with people who had been imprisoned by the Stasi, or recounting their military service experience, or working conditions, or travelling around Eastern Europe with its restrictions.
Afterwards I also visited an exhibit of the DHM’s painting collection. They collect only paintings that are relevant to German historical events, and they did cover the gamut, including a painting of Hitler which was clearly not meant to flatter.
There was also a modern art exhibit on art, “Verführung zur Freiheit” (Seduction to Freedom). The exhibit expresses answers to questions such as “How do we wish to live? By what should we orientate ourselves? What roles should politics, the state and society play, in helping us to live out our lives, as worthy human beings? Does our desire for a socially and ecologically secure future count as a basic human right?”
It’s interesting for me to ponder this role of art. I am aware of its validity, but so far, I have the need to just create images without questioning why I am making them. But the question of why we make art and for what purpose and whether it can be for the greater good, is one that needs to be asked over and over again.
Then I wanted to ride a City Bike to Kurfürstendamm to pick up an opera ticket and a play ticket I had reserved, but the whole bike rental internet system was down. All the bikes were locked up and nobody could use them. So I started walking. I walked for several hours, until I had done my errands and lots of meandering and looking into shop windows and then I took the subway home, had dinner, and crashed. It was only 8 pm but I had been sightseeing for 10 hours.