Olympus Launch

As part of their promotion of the OM-D E-M5, Olympus held a 'Photography Playground' in the centre of Berlin.

One quiet Friday, Andy and I headed with Mercedes, and her lovely friend Babs, to what can only be described as a very hipster looking warehouse, in order to get our play on.

The general concept is that they give you one of their shiny new cameras to play with for a couple of hours as you make your way through the floors filled with a mixture of art and play equipment. You look, you photograph, you get occasional instructions for use, and you fall in love. At the end, you hand over the rights to any photos you took, and they give you the SD card on which you took all the shots for free.

When we arrived, despite bunking off work quite early, there was a massive queue, and only a couple of cameras left, so instead of waiting we decided to frolick on our own.

Luckily I already had my (brand appropriate) camera with me.

I have to hand it to them for the set up. On the first floor, there was just some cameras, and some lenses to lust over,

... plus these giant balls

Plus a giant pile of powdered Oasis foam (you know the stuff you use for flower arrangements). Apparently it started of as a sculpture, and its disintegration symbolises the 'human urge to move' that 'leads to complete destruction of the space and neutralizes architecture's control on human beings'.


It really made us contemplate.... things like 'did they pay money for this?'

But everything got a lot more fun on the next floor!

Of course, we had to wait aaaaggges for the tiny children with boundless energy for mesh castles to get out, and then rather quickly found out that mesh castles are very hard on the feet and that we do not have boundless energy.

Nonetheless.  It's a friggin' giant hanging three dimensional spider web people (I may have pretended to be spider man for some seconds, before realising that spider man has much better upper arm strength than me).

Next in line, Dressups!

I'm pretty sure that Mercedes is visually measuring Andy, and mentally concluding that he is perfect for the crazy-shiny skirt

I apologise to any small children we may have elbowed out of the way in our grab for the shiniest costumes.

Onwards and upwards, where the world got a lot trippier, and a lot more filled with awesome.

(Ok, that's just Andy's hair.. but there was more!)

This room was rather strange. If you 'played' the record, the music started, and the two dresses spun and danced around and around, with the scene punctuated occasionally by bright flashes.

Andy made friends with the record player.

And then...


Ok, so they weren't technically lasers, but actually bits of white string in a dark room with a black light shining on them.

But I refuse to recant the exclamation marks!!!

Come! How AWESOME is that. It makes me think of Tron, although I've never seen it and really have no concept of it and I think it might even be from before I was born... but still... Tron-y.

Of course Mercedes was cool enough to have pale pants and patterned socks that glowed in the black light:

Although admittedly her outfit was not as cool as this girl's:

We had to play instead with what we artistes call 'negative light'.

The next area focused on the macro properties of the camera lens, so we were able to express our musical sides, using a keyboard to produce vibrations in a cap of water.

For this bit I put my SD card into one of their tripod-mounted camera.

And then came the actual lasers, in a small, mist-filled room, where they used beams of light to define the distance and spaces in between.

And more: in this one the light created liquid oily-looking sheets, which I wasn't able to properly capture on film.

And then, we left the future, and headed into Wonderland.

This room was actually kind of strange, because we got told after about 5 minutes of playing around that actually it was supposed to be art, so could we kindly put the props down, and, that while it was agreed by all that Andy looked very nice on the chair, it would be possibly better in the long run if he removed himself.

Which explains our looks in this photo (these are our 'trying to work out what the Nice German Man is saying' faces)

Take that Reality!

The QR code room was rather beautiful, and came with bonus gimmick- we were given a tablet with which to scan the different codes in the room and see some slightly boring videos about some Scandinavian company.

If you heard that someone was currently focusing on 'self-organising structures that readjust our perspectives and expectations', what would you think?

I, personally, would not think of a 360 degree panorama of mould and bacteria, but maybe that shows my lack of artistic vision.

As a scientist, I would suggest he were more careful with his sterile plates.

Finally, we walked into a room on the top floor, and thought we heard the rain restarting outside.

It was, in fact, the sound of hundreds of small cork balls being wound around and around, to repeatedly hit against the walls of a tunnel created from cardboard boxes.

And that was it. After a busy week, and an evening filled with costumes and climbing and futuristic lights and fungus, we were tired.

Andy and I headed off to a rather tasty steamboat restaurant (which I won't talk about, because there have been complaints about the amount of food in this blog) and then headed home to bed.

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