olympus x kraftwerk berlin
an immersive and interactive art exhibition
during my stay in berlin, olympus was hosting its recurring art exhibition series called PERSPECTIVE PLAYGROUND at kraftwerk berlin in berlin-mitte. videos and photos from this event have been circulating on facebook for a bit so i wasn't too unfamiliar with it and was excited when my friend eurie told me that it would be occurring while i was out there. lucky for me, the opening of its fourth year (this series began in 2013) was on the first of september and would run up until the 24th. i almost missed the show due to my lax sense of time (vacation mode) but made it in with the opening crowd on the second to last day of the exhibition's close.
admittedly i'm a bit jaded when it comes to the art world due to my years being employed at a couple art museums and haven't really stepped into a museum or gallery since quitting one in 2015. however, i do have to give credit to the time spent in those institutions; working for one of the major cultural institutions of los angeles since i was 15 (i started as a high school volunteer to prepare for my then-choice of field: art history with a focus on curatorial studies) had a huge hand in the way i approach social media--for me, it's an amazing platform to share stories, learn, and i try my best to educate audiences (and in turn it helps to educate myself in these topics, whatever they may be).
from that standpoint, i wasn't really stoked about perspective playground; as the name suggests, it's an exhibition that basically provides backdrops for your next instagram post. and if you know me, you're well aware that i grapple with the effects social media has on narcissism, hence my constant back and forth with participating and withdrawing. moving on!
despite my initial apprehension for the exhibit, once stepping in i couldn't help but to appreciate, and be inspired by, the sheer marketing and educational (regarding the products, the art and the marriage of art and technology) genius of the event! as you check in, employees ask if you have used an olympus camera before and what your level of experience is regarding photography. on the shelves behind them there's a wide array of various olympus cameras, varying from point & shoots to mirrorless hybrid dslrs (meaning they are the size of a point & shoot camera with controls you would find on a professional dslr and interchangeable lenses), and based on your experience and preference they suggest a camera they think would be best, which you then loan for the duration of your time there.
i was suggested a OM-D E-M10 Mark II and was instantly in love with how light it is. i'm still using my nikon D90 and find its heavy body quite a hassle most of the time and can't wait to upgrade to a mirrorless hybrid! the controls on the olympus were easy to find/use, pretty intuitive and the display was pretty crisp--i also have heard a rumor that olympus uses the same lens technology as leica so i just might commit...
once you loan a camera, you walk into a sort of tunnel and walk into what can be described as textural heaven. the way each separate installation interacted with each other--through lights, sounds, colors, all in this massive industrial space--was a huge feast for my eyes.
my favorite installation was the river of holographic strips that hung above our heads on the ceiling; it was a piece that started from the front patio of the building (it was cool how it swayed in the wind outside while waiting in line to get in) and wove its way into the space. there were giant industrial fans that were timed to turn on every so often inside the building, so that the strips would flicker and ripple by the current--it was so pretty and mesmerizing! i especially loved how the colors of the strips would alter depending on the warmth of the lighting and the cool of the dark as it made its way through.
there were very few times while i was away when i felt especially lonely and this exhibit was definitely one of them. the installations were made with portrait photography in mind so me cruising solo-dolo i was mostly creeping on the other visitors who came with their families, their friends, their lovers. though i enjoy being alone, perspective playground was one of those places that's better enjoyed with company, and i'm not much of a scenic photographer to begin with. buuuut at the same time, even though it would have been fun to have gone to the exhibit with someone else, i didn't let my emo-ness dampen the experience of such an interactive space!
perspective playground also ignited a newfound respect for olympus, i thought it was pretty stellar of them to work with so many artists and come up with a very creative and educational way to introduce their products to those who are unfamiliar. definitely found that extremely inspiring and learned a lot through it--and yes, i'm taking notes so that i can implement this style of marketing. truly genius! i'm shook!