The World in Your Hands, City Guides by Oooh, Berlin!
We have the world in our hands – or at least so it seems. Maps and cartography, historically speaking, have suffered the same narrative, if not fate, that art and design have. Brutally critiqued, repurposed, redefined and at times rendered useless. Yet, in spite of the technophilic era of digital consumption, both art and maps are still here and relevant as ever.
Scientific, accurate and often unembellished, it’s intriguing to consider that at one point maps weren’t always so. As humans grappled with the ability to categorize and make sense of sprawling landscapes and populations, accuracy was lost to aesthetics and mythical narratives. Cartographers exhibited a subjective, distorted view – one where a city’s inhabitants were at a distance from its existence. Now, by combination of rolling shutter cameras and an accurate global positioning system, you can see your own car parked outside your building, your next door neighbor’s dead flower garden and somewhat-recognizable figures taking a stroll through your local park.
Strangely enough, despite the high-quality imagery available at the scan of a thumbprint, accessibility and convenience have not deterred those in various industries from constructing their own maps. A common theme throughout the vast city of Berlin is the unprecedented resurgence in traditional crafts and retired methods of making. Acutely aware of the size, grandeur and transient nature of Berlin, Oooh, Berlin! has firmly positioned themselves in a niche market – one that is simultaneously ephemeral and permanent.
A city as ever-changing as Berlin poses issues for larger corporations looking to properly map and locate not only residential addresses, but especially businesses and public markets and locales. Ooh, Berlin!’s answer to this has been the pop-up nature of locally-produced maps. By means of networking, interviews, word-of-mouth gossip and daily accessibility to the city, Anika Oehme and Chris Foster have established city guides where for once, Berlin’s inhabitants are on the inside, in-the-know.
Infographic in nature, their maps of Mitte, Neukölln, Prenzlauerberg, Friedrichshain, Charlottenberg and Kreuzberg are perfect for expats and locals alike and give opportunity to those looking for an intimate experience. The maps are downloadable in English or German, printable and are available for PC or smartphone.
Featuring cafés, restaurants, comedy clubs, nail salons and everything in between, Oooh, Berlin! maps are exquisitely diverse and free for all who wish to download and experience an independent walking tour of Berlin. They are updated as often as needed, normally twice annually, and any further updates are made via their social media channels – Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Perhaps just as receptive to their creation are Berlin business owners, offering the maps at their locations so expats, tourists and locals can pick as many up as needed on the go. Accessible, convenient and unique, Oooh, Berlin! has established a city guide that is repurposed and redefined – but never rendered useless.