Berlin Lab

Favorite Moments from Berlin: Charly, Regular Lab Visitor

Charly was a regular visitor to the Berlin Lab

Charly, a regular visitor to the Lab in Berlin

Last fall, in the wake of the Lab’s time in New York, I collected and shared one favorite memory from several people who had worked at the Lab. The resulting post, “As We Move Forward, a Nostalgic Look Back,” turned out to be among my favorite ones from the New York Lab. The reason? It encapsulated a truth about the Lab itself: just like a city, the Lab is defined by an indefinite mass of individual experience.

With this in mind, I decided once again to talk to some of those who made the Lab possible, and ask them to share the moments that will remain with them long after the Lab has departed for Mumbai. We’ll feature memories from one or two people every day this week, so come back tomorrow for more reflections on Berlin.

Today, thoughts on the Berlin Lab come from Charly, a regular visitor to the Lab:

“A moment that I found really exciting was in Charles Montgomery’s workshop with the ice bucket. The workshop was meant to look at how people behave in green and grey environments—whether there is a difference. The hypothesis was that people in grey surroundings would not be as cooperative or supportive, and that they would be less willing to hold their hand in a bucket of ice [when they knew that for every ten seconds they did, one Euro would go to a charity]. On the day before, I had gotten a wasp sting on one hand, so I thought, ‘Oh perfect, it will cool my hand down.’ But I had to do it with the other hand. [But] I [still] bore it an incredibly long time. I collected, I think, twenty-one Euros for the good cause, and Charles was joking that the theory had totally flown out the window.

“I had to think what had allowed this to happen, and I realized that, before that, I had done a workshop about communication through dance, and how one can build strength without exerting oneself, in relaxation. I had also been five or six times to the Tajiquan [programs] and meditation. The exciting thing was that when I took my hand out . . . I realized I could have actually continued on longer. The day before I had had the other hand in ice because of the wasp sting, and it was horribly cold—although it was just on the outside and packed in paper and I could barely stand it.

“So I found it exciting that simply through thinking you can influence your physical feelings without neglecting your body. I found it fascinating, and it was so many workshops and experiences at the Lab really flowing together. And then I was really happy to find out that the money was going to Pinzessinnengarten. If I’d known that before, I’d have held out [even] longer!”

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Photo: by Christine McLaren