Today I took a tour through some of the art galleries located in Mitte. In one gallery, there were two paintings of a clown holding a plate of flowers and offering one to the viewer. When you looked through a small screen in front of the paintings, they overlapped and created a three dimensional effect. Across from that, a long television screen mounted on the wall played a video from the clown's point of view of people receiving flowers. On top of it all played a soundtrack of whining electronic noises timed to the video. It was...bizarre. If a clown with molecules for hair handed me a flower while making discordant R2D2 noises, I certainly wouldn't take it.
As a result, the atmosphere in and around the monument is relaxed, social and even playful. Adults smoke and picnic on the table high stones. Youths jump from one stone to another, going "further in and higher up." Kids play hide and seek crossed with tag on the ground level. I tried to remain serious, to let the memorial's grim message press on my heart, to resist the urge to shimmy my way up between two tall stones and emerge high above the ground. I completely and utterly failed. The most serious thought I could conjure up was that I would not want to be there at night when anyone might be there with me.