NYE, Art & Technology in Berlin: Part 2

NYE, Art & Technology in Berlin: Part 2

I flew into Berlin at lunchtime on New Year’s Eve. Already the sound of firecrackers was echoing off concrete and glass buildings during my drive from Tegel to my hotel. A cold Beck’s Beer calmed my nerves and kept me from jumping every time the sound made me think of gunshots before revelry. Then, while the light faded and night overtook the city, I hopped on the U-Bahn to the S and finally emerged onto the street a few blocks from Silvester.
It’s THE place to be on New Year’s Eve in Berlin. On the other side of a police blockade was the reason I found myself in Berlin on the last day of 2011 and the place where spotlights shot up into the inky black sky marking the spot where Germans and tourists alike were already busy whiling away the last hours of the last day of the year.

Beck’s Green Box Project fits well in Berlin. It seems to be a city where the old and new constantly crash together and are found side-by-side. Since the art that appears above the historic old Gate using Beck’s app is absolutely modern, I think it compliments the German capital’s atmosphere of rebirth and self-expression. It seems the German people are some of the most free and expressive people one can know.

The app that Beck’s has created to view the work of art by Miami-based FriendsWithYou isn’t as perfect as the idea itself. The quality of the camera inside the app and the augmented reality portion of the artwork itself leaves a little to be desired. Also, it requires full cell service or a strong WiFi signal and so I had to use data roaming for my app to be useable. Still, I tried it twice. At night, as the sound of punk music and firecrackers echoed off buildings and police stared at me from the other side of the blockade – I moved my iPhone around and around trying to get an optimal view of the balloon-like imagery over the gate. I walked away further intrigued. My head was spinning with all the ways the technology could be used for travel purposes. I returned on New Year’s Day, this time able to get closer to the gate because barricades were now gone.

Beck’s states that, “the Green Box Project marks [their] sustained investment in creative talent for a better world.”. They also note in their app that they endeavor to support “independent creative talent“. I see them doing both with the Green Box Project. As someone who believes art does have the power to positively change people, and the world, I support what Beck’s is doing even if there might still be a technological kink or two to work out. I’ll be trying in 2012 to make it around to their other projects. Their goal is to support 1,000 in total before all is said and done.

Satisfied I had experienced all there was to glean from the app and the Beck’s Green Box Project I went in search of other art in Berlin, hopefully of a modern bent just like the piece created by FriendsWithYou. I also needed a bratwurst. What I found did not disappoint. More on that in part 3 …

My trip to Berlin was made possible by Beck’s Beer but the opinion and information is, as always, my own.