Chris Chinchilla

@ChrisChinchilla

Berlin Winter, Art Exhibitions and Submarine Cables

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Weather

Firstly, the beginning of this week was COLD. For a couple of days there was a low of around -11° and a high of maybe -5°. I know for some of you in more northern climbs this is nothing but having lived in London, where the weather is generally average most of the time and Melbourne where the coldest it gets to is about 0°, for me this was the coldest I have ever been.

Being the idiot I am, I decided to ride my bike in -7° and felt feelings I have never felt before. I am used to losing sensation in my fingers and toes as a Winter bike rider, but not feeling my thighs, that was a new experience.

Much like extreme heat, everything starts slowly falling apart, especially when it snows. I found it frustrating that I couldn’t ride anymore and of course public transport is busy and damp. I have never understood why people get so delighted with snow. I mean, it’s great to begin with, but after a day when it starts semi-melting, turning to slush and freezing it’s pretty disgusting and dangerous really. I am also always annoyed when councils clean roads of ice and snow but don’t care about the footpaths or bike lanes, are we not valuable enough? :(

Anyway, this has all led to me realising that I can’t manage European winters anymore and next year I will be spending it elsewhere. Around twenty degrees all years is the way to live baby.

I still felt like Ice-Cream

Galleries and Museums

As a result of the weather and social events just getting started again I took the opportunity to visit some galleries and museums earlier in the week. I will address them all individually to discuss thoughts and opinions.

The Botticelli Renaissance
This was a big ticket exhibition in Berlin and finishes at the end of January so I thought it was time to take a look. After negotiating typically confusing German ticketing systems that tell you nothing but end up being easier than expected, I entered quickly and the gallery was bearably busy. The exhibition started with an introduction to Botticelli’s work explained through the work he influenced, which was a lot. The part of the exhibition covering his own work was smaller and was interesting because it stated that, as was common in those days, artists didn’t always sign their work, experts only hypothesize about what actually is Botticelli’s work. I have also always found the concept interesting that many works were not always produced by the artist themselves, but by a team. I have always been fascinated by how what we consider ‘high art’ now might have been at one time just mainstream ‘mass manufactured’ work. I also love reading about creatives who were once in favour, fell out of favour and are now in favour again. It shows there is hope for all of us.

Jean Dubuffet
You may or may not be aware, but many years ago I played guitar in a British Indie band called Art Brut for the first few years. Well, the name came from Jean Dubuffet’s art movement, so the opportunity to see this exhibition was too tempting. It was a small exhibition but I found the artwork inspiring as it made me feel that if I had something artistic I wanted to express I could and it didn’t matter about how I expressed it, the message is the most important. This was something I already new and I have always been a fan of David Shrigley who is similar in style, but sometimes you need a reminder to encourage you again. Watch this space for work inspired by the exhibition.

From Hockney to Holbein — The Würth Collection in Berlin
This exhibition has now finished and I took advantage of the last free entry Monday afternoon to take a quick tour. This was an outstanding collection with some of my favourite artists such as Munch, Picasso and many more. The shear amount of inspirational classic artists and works in one space was staggering. Inspirational.

Submarine Cables

William Kentridge’s Parcours d’Atelier

This is a strange tangent, but whilst at the first two exhibitions I also popped into the equally good ‘Double Vision' and came across William Kentridge’s Parcours d’Atelier which made me think of network maps. My Grandad was involved with Submarine cables in his work life and it made we want to research into this shadowy underwater world that keeps the internet functioning. The submarinecablemap.com site is an interactive map of the cables around the World and my Grandad helped lay TAT-1 between the UK and North America. For those of you interested in knowing more about the topic here’s a WikiPedia page and a good (surprising I know) Daily Mail article.

Meet-ups

This week was the first week of 2016 where meetups in Berlin got started again and I attended an average talk on ‘building large tech teams', saw some pretty good poetry, heard about hacks (slang for journalists) and hackers in one of the strangest areas of Berlin, spoke at the Berlin Ruby users group and drunk lots of craft beer to round the week off. I am now quite tired.

Other places I wrote this week

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