Challenge:

Relocate to Berlin.

Medium: Travel

Duration: March 2014 - ?


Toronto is a loverly city, but it needs another twenty years or so to figure some of it's shit out. It has come a long way in the last twenty years, but has yet to really find itself, realize it's full potential, champion a true flavour, organize it's values, build a sustainable infrastructure and become the metropolis it so badly wants to be. After living, working and loving in the city for six years, I decided that the time had come to move on. 

It is interesting to compare Canada's biggest city to somewhere like, say, Berlin. Though both share a familiar presence of creative culture, Berlin's creative class has emerged and permeated the city as a result of a more liberal European sensibility, inexpensive living costs, an extensive transit infrastructure, and a strange series of societal circumstances. Forced to (literally and figuratively) rebuild three times over the last one hundred years, Berliners are resilient, determined, diverse and resourceful people. Infamously hailed as 'poor but sexy,' Berlin established itself over the last decade as a fertile hive of creativity, friendly to artists and entrepreneurs of all stripes. 

According to some sources, this trend has since dried up... but to those who live there know that Berlin is simply in another stage of evolution. Collections of ambitious entrepreneurs and visionaries have established various creative start-ups, art collectives and tech companies. Hubs like ArtConnect Berlin and Supermarkt have united Creatives for the sake of collaboration, adding to the renowned presence of agencies like Jung von Matt, BBDOHeimat, DDB, Fischer Appelt and Zum Goldenen Hirschen. Keeping up with the Western world, the city has entered an exciting new post-digital phase of progressive economic growth, creative development and metropolitan diversity while respecting it's incredible, layered past. 

After considering British Columbia, California, New Zealand and Germany, I made a decision. I got my Visa in order, took a tropical holiday, hung with the famjam, arranged an auf weidersehen (goodbye) party, excavated my car from under a Canadian snowbank and headed to the airport. The next step in my career path is a trek across the Atlantic to the Fatherland.


UPDATE: November 18 2014


So last night I walked home from a new job downtown, and walked through Bebelplatz, the square where in May 1933 students and Nazis burned books in an effort to suppress various ideas, philosophies, authors, ethnicities, and other things that did not adhere to the tenants of National Socialism. (If you can't imagine this, there's actually a scene featuring it in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade). 

Anyway, I have always been fascinated with the monument that is that square, and had always wanted to see it; it was one of the first landmarks I visited when I arrived earlier this year. Tonight, I remembered that in my fourth and final year in art college, I drew some kind of architectural sketch of it, based on the then-amazing-and-barely-3D Google Maps. I managed to dig it out of my old hard drive, and made a comparative version.

It's not my favourite piece, but check this shit out.

When I drew the image on the left, I had no real idea of where or what this place was, but maybe wanted to visit it some day. 

Now I can tell you how to get there, the street names, that I spelled Gendarmenmarkt wrong, the buildings in the background and in the distance, and how many roasted chestnuts and/or mugs of glühwein you'll get for a few Euro just a five-minute walk down the street at the massive German christmas market.

I love this city.

 

Observing the light installation lining the former path of the Berlin Wall at Potsdamer Platz, during the 25th Anniversary of the Fall of the Berlin Wall.

Comment