Living Out A Black Mirror Episode: The Designpanoptikum

Today, I visited the single most interesting museum I’ve ever been to. Considering the number of museums I’ve attended, that’s saying something. I found a list called ’73 Cool and Unusual Things To Do In Berlin, Germany.’ This list included abandoned amusement parks, creepy museums, communist monuments, and street art, among other things.

I felt a bit bored after school so I decided to go on a bit of an adventure. So I set off towards Alexanderplatz to what was called, ‘a surreal museum of industrial objekts.’ I waited outside for a few minutes until a man’s face appeared at the door. Despite that thick Russian accent and hard features, he had a very friendly demeanor.

He welcomed me into his personal museum. I was the only one there and would be given a private tour. All around me were contraptions, machines, and gadgets of all shapes and sizes. The man, Vlad, lead me into another room where he promised I would find a fascinating object which he would accompany with a fascinating story.

 

But first, he must ask me a question. In his hand was a strangely shaped, large, silver, metal object. Vlad said I had my whole visit to guess what it was. He then gave me two clues: I use it twenty times a day and every single building in the world has one. I pondered it for a moment and gave him a couple suggestions. It was not something to fix a broken leg and it was not a piece of a fridge. But he left me to ponder.

 

Vlad soon began to show me different objects with a wild look in his eye. I could tell he was passionate about his museum and the items he worked so hard to acquire. First, he showed me a machine that was used to help patients with polio breath. The specific machine he held, housed a woman for sixty years. She died in 2008.

 

Next, I saw ‘time machines,’ twentieth-century film drying machines, missiles, mannequins, and a variety of things that looked like they could be used for torture. When I voiced my concerns, Vlad assured me that everything in the museum was ‘happy and positive.’ After a few more explanations, Vlad left me to explore on my own.

 

 

I wandered around the eight or so rooms. None of them had any theme, but the way Vlad had placed all the items seemed to make the perfect image. After thirty minutes, I rose to the next floor to find the exit. My mind was working on overload, trying to understand all the strange objects I had come upon. After a short chat, Vlad finally gave me the answer to what the intriguing object from before was.

Unfortunately, I forgot to get a picture of it. However, the crazy looking thingymabob was, in fact, a door handle. It was large and futuristic, which is why I didn’t realize it at first. But it was a fun riddle sort of game, nonetheless.

 

I bid that funny man adieu and walked out onto the street. I was keen to write about my experience. I wanted to write a short story about the curious man who owned a private museum. But then it dawned on me. I’ve practically watched this exact scenario before.

In Season four, episode four of Black Mirror, ‘Black Museum,’ a single female traveler stumbles upon a museum in the middle of nowhere. A curious man shows her around his personal museum with objects he collected. He offers the stories of each individual item and, like Black Mirror tends to do, it soon to a turn for the worst.

Luckily, my visit ended on a pleasant note. I did not see a dead prisoners hologram cry out in agony. I just waved him goodbye and went on my way.

I had a great time at the Designpanoptikum Museum and I’m sure you would too! You can find the address and website below 🙂

Designpanoptikum: Poststraße 7, 10178 Berlin

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