At the edge of the opening, at the very edge of the people standing around, the very tall body of a young man leans propped against the wall with delicate enormity. He moves slowly into the middle of the exhibition space, greeting a few people at random, and he’s right: everyone really is here. Then the large man, who barely speaks English, suddenly starts jumping on the spot and screams: »One thing is clear: it’s no longer 1993!« Open mouths, sympathetic nods, awkward feelings – Reena Spaulings at Galerie Neu. The New York trend forecaster Emily Segal comes up to me; we briefly discuss the new Coke ad and the brilliantly contradictory Jonah Peretti, founder of celebrity portal BuzzFeed and the Huffington Post. My girlfriend is working with a graphic designer trying to redesign her tumblr directly on her mobile phone. A white slip of paper in the exhibition space reads: »Because everything has already been subjected to a process of problematization, critical ambitions in their original appearance don’t seem fruitful anymore.«

We get on our racing bikes and ride to the Pauly Saal bar in Mitte. There’s a celebration for the opening of the garden; giant dragonflies buzz above us. The director of abc, Maike Cruse, wanders gracefully among the guests; the writer Rafael Horzon, who for years has been doing good business selling his ironic bookshelves to residents of Berlin-Mitte, hands me two glasses of white wine, and there it is on his face: the furniture maker’s infamous grin. I go over to Dominic Eichler. He’s nice. Both stroking the napes of our necks just above the hairline, we talk about Paul Bowles biographies and which is better out of Kraftwerk and Tchaikovsky and who wrote the soundtrack to Peter and the Wolf. A man is sitting at a table, sucking on an empty gold cigarette holder; his companion says to him: »You are the outcast of the outcast of the outcasts.« An eerie charm presides over the carefully restored former Jewish girls school on Auguststraße. Everything seems so well planned and well resolved. The collector sits enthroned above us in his converted chambers. Amid popular galleries is an outstanding traditional Jewish deli bistro, where at the exit many years ago children were forced out of the building and deported by Nazi thugs.

Very early the next morning I am standing on the edge of the middle pool of the Prinzenbad in Kreuzberg. I see girls in shiny Speedo Burkinis, some of them with stylish tribal markings in neon on their synthetic onepiece bathing suits. Next to them, some old German men, almost black-red in color. They are here every day, but would never get in the water. I feel like a cross between the two types of people; I dive into the water and emerge again, reborn. That evening I visit Yngve Holen at his studio, in a public-housing high-rise above the Kottbusser Damm. We google for product tests to find the best bike locks in the world, listen to Yeezus by Kanye West, and talk about airplanes. I show him the short film I made for him onboard an Airbus A380 with a camera hidden in my glasses. Later we sit on the curb below; all the passersby have flashing, minimalist racing bikes; drug deals are carried out; people bite into tropical fruit and the juice runs down their chins; they drink a lot of beer. So do we. We’re waiting for the little gypsy boy with the silver kepi who is such a great dancer. And he shows up, but with a group and they fight over sweets and nobody dances.

We move on to Köpenicker Straße. The underground collective Dingum is presenting Off-Menu. Kerstin Brätsch @ Wurstpate. Brätsch has appropriated a currywurst stand and is offering a special deal for five euros consisting of a BrätschWurstCompressed and a can that, according to the label, contains HighCompressed EnergyWater. Dessert, which is served from the engine compartment of a car, is elderflower air with blueberries presented on a serving spoon. Everyone is asking about Dora Budor, who is responsible for several photo spreads in DIS magazine in New York and is high profile. Some- times she suddenly turns up at openings, and everyone falls silent and quickly looks away. All sorts of people come by, some to look at the hidden sculptures and installed billboards, others on a daily basis simply to eat. It is calm and comfortable, like Wolfgang Tillmans’ roof party last week, where the guests were so happy and totally at peace. Maybe that was due to the poetic approach to everyday objects that Tillmans has piously celebrated for years: plants, casually and delicately arranged in cutoff plastic bottles, a candle mounted on a dustpan. Maybe our profound trust in the photographer is based on the fact that after years of doing analog photography he’s now making an image of the world’s surface in hyperrealistic HD. Here he comes now with his enormous digital camera. Later we go to Chesters. It’s a great disco where everyone mentioned in this text goes and DJs from LA and London play the latest music there is. Our long, damp fingers dip into transparent baggies of crystals and stuff the drugs into our mouths. Someone from the old days says: »You know that nothing really bad can happen to us, because essentially we’re okay«. I look at the Internet, Josip Novosel writes: I want a Birkin bag. — reading Gilles Deleuze.

The next day there’s a presentation at the zine store Motto: Starship is celebrating its publication on Annette Wehrmann, who died three years ago. The activists T-Ina and Judith Hopf are reading texts Wehrmann typed on streamers using an innovative typewriter in the late 80s. I look at a magazine spread portraying Michael Stipe’s apartment. Nearly all the covers in the store feature Chloë Sevigny. On the way out I see a round table installed outside Galerie Silberkuppe and all the people around it are in a good mood. It is Danh Vo’s birthday. Karl Holmqvist mumbles something with a grin just as roguish as Rafael Horzon; they are birds of a feather. The musician Arises talks about Nuremberg; she is composing the anthem for a library there. I tell a story about a woman I saw at the Meret Oppenheim opening at Martin-Gropius-Bau who had a copy of the famous fur cup in her hair and how I really liked that. Her companion finds the present so condensed, filled up simultaneously with a kind of acceleration and a kind of deceleration, so that it is difficult to distinguish the past from the present, and perhaps it is no longer possible to talk about the present at all anymore. I find that very philosophical. Later a singer loudly belts out an aria from Das Rheingold. We move on. The sun is coming up, it is getting dark again, it still hasn’t rained, we laugh in our own faces.

»To Whom Does the City Belong?« The question strikes me as embarrassing; it seems so enormous, like it would overwhelm all the space in the minds of all the people living in this city, like it had been wanting to blow their brains for years. I look at the Internet and see that the discussion panel of that title is just about to begin at the Kunstraum Kreuzberg. On the way there I pause at an abandoned playing field. Nik Kosmas and Jeanne- Salomé Rochat are practicing sex gymnastics there. They just came straight from Chesters and are doing what they would do there at the go-go pole. Their steeled bodies are beautiful in the sunlight; they have face tattoos. I try to explain where I am going. They don’t understand a thing I’m saying, I realize. Their glances at their suspended body analyzers betray that they are being drawn back to their red tartan track. I say goodbye and conclude that they’re probably right, so I skip the discussion of urban politics and head instead to the nhow Design and Rock Hotel, where Nike has invited guests to a shoe presentation. They hand us backpacks loaded with jogging clothes and new running shoes that are said to combine the ultimate flexibility of the Nike Free and the compression fit of Flyknit construction, which fits like a second skin in order to make running feel more natural. Once we have changed we look like some great army; I am wearing a breathable camo Dri-FIT. We run through Kreuzberg, following a bicycle with a hi-fi high-end device strapped onto it blasting Work Hard, Play Hard. A text message comes in: »Von Borries just climbed into his Berlin world-improvement machine in front of the Hamburger Bahnhof, it’s shaped like a pyramid :)«. I grin, and a first drop of sweat rolls over my lips. A punk holds his rat up at me, giving us a nasty look because we have crossed his sidewalk and are advertising by running. We laugh and beam at him, jogging past him in graceful circles, further and further away to the edge of city, out to Treptow, where there are townhouses, and happy families conducting their evenings harmoniously within.

The next morning there is a press conference in the former St. Agnes church, which is being converted by Arno Brandlhuber, the latest Brutalist architect, and is in temporary use by gallerist Johann Koenig. Its the latest from Friedrich von Borries: design theorist, university professor, sneakerfreak. Yesterday at the Hamburger Bahnhof, today his book presentation for RLF: Das richtige Leben im falschen (The right life in the wrong), which turns Adorno on his head. His book comes with a product line, the consumption of which is supposed to lead to a revolutionary act. In the center of the church, displayed on a pyramid of wooden pallets, is his product palette, consisting of furniture and accessories for the dining room and living room (sofa, coffee table, rug) and a fashion collection he created in collaboration with Adidas, Artek, Konstantin Grcic, and others. Noone is present except me. Borries sits in front with the revolutionary Slavia in limited-edition (of three) Kostas Murkudis overalls; they expound the shareholder revolution, the actionist starting point. Their feet are clad in black Adidas sneakers, which are not for sale and can only be acquired through protest. Borries is wearing goldrimmed glasses. For gold, he says, is glamour. I deduce: The pyramid is a symbol for Berlin. The writer Ingo Niermann wanted to build the largest tomb in the world in the form of a pyramid here. Or think of the beer pyramid Cyprien Gaillard built in the KW the year before last, and now here comes Borries with two at once. He just nods in agreement. But I ask him: »World-improvement machine, what’s that about? Isn’t it more about tactics of self-optimization these days?« »Oh«, the rogue admits, personally he is very afraid of that.

I look at my new Nikes; they radiate a gentle melancholy. The almost weightless shoes seem burdened with our desires for something new, but a velvet veil of wornout fashion has settled onto the polyester material on top. They are colorful, and you can make out Aztec patterns on them. They no longer point the way to the future but instead recall something recently lost. They meant so much to us: post-Internet, Speculative Realism, New Materialism – for us, it’s all the same, different sides of the same coin. Artificial intelligence, spiritualist songs of faith, the overcoming of retro mania and of the self. A »togetherness «. I look at the Internet: an e-mail from the Marina Abramović Institute: »Will You Help?« I notice it is difficult for me to take a stance on this question. I think about my friend who went to Social Services two days ago, thinking he had gone crazy. With a couple of questions they would figure it out and help him. He could still remember the second one very clearly: »Do you sometimes have the feeling you are coming apart?« He thought about it for a second and said no. August was hot, maybe only once when I was a kid had it been that hot. Yet the cooling wind brings with it great promise.

Translated by Steven Lindberg

Timo Feldhaus is an author living in Berlin.