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Getting into the Spirit: Reindeer at the Hamburger Bahnhof

Monday 08th November 2010

Photo: David von Becker, courtesy of somainberling.org
 
Imagine what it would be like to wake up in the middle of the great historic hall at the Hamburger Bahnhof in Berlin in a bed on a raised platform. Around you there are twelve reindeer, refrigeration units, snow, two houseflies, twelve canaries and four mice. My guess is that you would think you were still dreaming. 
 
However, for a lucky few this can all become a reality. Aside from the wildlife, you can specifically wake up to reindeer urine, some frozen and dried agaric mushrooms and some freezer cubes. Yes, it all still sounds a little bit weird. 
 
What it is, in fact, is the newest exhibition at Berlin's Hamburger Bahnhof. Created and orchestrated by Carsten Hoeller and titled Soma, the exhibition will run through until the 6th January 2011, giving us a sort of festive event for the Christmas period. (Reindeers do count as festive, don't they?)
 
A particularly interesting feature of the exhibition is that each night, one or two guests are able to book and stay overnight in the bed on a raised platform in order to fully immerse themselves in the display. 
 
The title of the show, Soma, refers to a myth around a particular drink that was rumoured to have healing powers and the ability to lead to enlightenment. While the origins of the drink are no longer known to us, it is thought that a certain form of mushroom was the base for the drink, which has been held responsible for the effects.
 
The exhibition asks questions of the achievement of enlightenment and what role science and mythology play in our society. I dare say spending the night with twelve male reindeer, twelve canaries, four mice and a couple of house flies would go quite a long way to helping us think about the universe in a new and unique way.
 
For further details on the exhibition, visit the Hamburger Bahnhof website, or visit the dedicated Soma website.

Posted on November 08th 2010 on 06:18pm
Labels: exhibitions

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