Still, as Sunday evening rolled around, I realized that I was not going to get any studying done in the remaining hours before next week. No disaster, I did allow myself seven days of leisure... but I also realized that I hadn't left my block during the entire week (and my room only about half the days) and that was a bit embarrassing. So I hauled ass off to Potsdamer Platz and plonked myself into a cinema seat. When in doubt, watch a movie - it's almost Doing Something With Your Life.
Especially when it's such an interesting movie as Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. My biggest beef with it was that they hadn't bothered to sub it in German; Benedict Cumberbatch's role was easier to understand than when he plays Sherlock, but not always wholly easy to hear and there were one or two other actors whom I had even greater trouble understanding. Gary Oldman remained clear almost all the time at least, a great relief.
Good, well-done movie with lots of subtle moments and a plot where you really had to concentrate all the time. I approve and remind myself that I really should get around actually reading le Carré. When I get home, that is, since I am fairly certain that dad has most of his classic books.
They also showed the trailer for MiB^3. It looks awesome!!!
Monday I finally got around to visit the Berlin Guggenheim. I've been thinking of going there ever since I learned that it was free on Mondays - because I am both a cheapass and utterly ignorant about modern art, so it's not like I expected to get that much out of a visit.
Well, with the exception that I managed to coordinate with two classmates, it turned out more or less as I expected. The current exhibition, Found in Translation, sounded appealing enough but I am afraid I must admit I hardly got anything. Neither did my friends, so at least I didn't have to be alone in my ignorance...
The biggest surprise was how utterly tiny the place is! I've passed outside the Guggenheim in New York and the one in Berlin looks like a rather hefty building too. But inside, it's pretty much one little exhibition room and a shop (where I freely admit that we spent at least as much time as in the actual exhibition) and that's it - unless they hid some kind of secret staircase somewhere, which wouldn't surprise me in the least.
There were nice photographs by a Chinese photographer and an interesting video-installation, where an artist (or someone picked by the artist? No, I think it was him) whom I do not think spoke English (?) or at least not with a standard pronounciation, read the excerpt from Robinson Crusoe where it is revealed that Friday lacks a toungue, while a speech pedagogue coaches him. On the wall around the video, they had written in "phonetic English" the words he was sayings. The message was the silencing of minorities and non-English speakers.
I might have gotten a tiny bit more if they hadn't made the informational so very small and printed them directly on the walls. There were quite a lot of people and it was both annoying and difficult to try and read the information.
Tuesday was spent writing stuff for work (still no essay, but at least I'm writing something beyond blog posts!) and going on a language tandem with a girl who wants to freshen up her Swedish before she does a project for her Masters. By the by, if someone has a room/bed/sofa to let to a nice student who is going to Stockholm for about 3 weeks in April, do gimme a shout.
Still, I don't want to slack off now that I'm not busy as hell in school. It's my goal to experience as much as possible of Berlin outside of both the university halls and my room. So, step one! Buy a Tip magazine and see what's on offer for the coming two weeks.
It's already paid iteself off, too ^_^ Because tonight they held a open discussion about the human/machine interaction in advanced experimental implants entitled "Werden wir Cyborgs?" (Are we becoming cyborgs?) at the Max Planck Science Gallery.
Since the two debate guests were an engineer working in brain-research and a philosopher/biologist working in ethics and medicine history, I figured I would probably not grasp every detail but also not be utterly lost.
Really glad I went there, it was very interesting both in what was said and how they had built the discussion. The audience were allowed to pick themes, by choosing among three short movie clips that where shown on a screen (Choose with laser pointers!!1! Empirical evidence I just gathered shows that if you give a bunch of adults, several of whom appear to hold at least doctorates, a laser pointer each they will turn into gleeful kids for the first five minutes). We also decided who was to "get the word" though I think both guests got to talk every time they signaled that they wanted. further questions could be asked either normally or sent in by SMS, which I appreciated very much. Mostly due to the "omfg a bunch of professors so not opening my mouth to speak German in here!!!" factor.
I learned interesting tidbits about the frontline of medical research, that we shall (alas) probably never be able to download an entire foreign language into the brain and heard many other interesting things. Some of it tied back quite nicely into the Body/Machine seminar I've had.
Then I got to visit the showroom of the Max Planck Institute and OMFG! SO COOL! Touch screens that wouldn't look amiss in the latest Star Trek movie, some kind of curved screen thing where it looks as if a molecule is hovering, amazingly beatiful photographs of cells and molecules in a room that I could best describe as iArchitecture. I'm going back during daytime to have a closer look, felt a bit tired right now. But that was seriously a room from the future, looking even better since it was in a classical old building by the Gendarmenmarkt.
How I love this city!
Originally posted at Dreamwidth.