Ministry of Manipulation in Berlin

I’m subscribed to the Ministry of Manipulation blog, a really great place to find new and/or obscure juggling videos, with an obvious bend towards contact juggling and manipulation. From the crew I know Drew and Ryan the best, have performed and hung out with Jeanine and Ed, and know Moon and Colin by reputation/video.

Anyway, this week they are teaching a five day workshop at the Katakomben (minus Drew and Ryan, plus Kelvin and Meghan). There are about 45 students, so it’s almost become a mini-convention. The weather has been good so I’ve been hanging out with other jugglers in the park between my home and the Katakomben in the afternoons (mainly working on my laptop away from the distracting wifi internet connection), and this week the numbers swell impressively during the lunch break and in the evening once it finishes.

Today I needed to buy two juggling beanbags, so I went along to the juggling shop in the Katakomben. I popped into the main workshop spaces to say hi. Declan said “We’re all going to take a trip down to the Holocaust Memorial… are you coming?”

It sounds like a weird thing to do, but the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe (as it’s officially named), is a weird place to visit.


There are 2,711 massive concrete blocks set in a massive grid, perfect for getting lost and disconnecting from the outside world. It’s also a perfect place to drop 50 jugglers with balls balanced on their heads. It might seem disrespectful, but the architect intended it to be a place to experience life, not just standing about looking quiet and solemn. It’s almost an adventure playground for kids in the summer.

Did I want to visit with all the workshop participants? Of course! I had other things to do, like pack for my trip tomorrow, but that could wait. The cat herding began and the group set off. I had nothing to do with the workshop or the trip, I was just tagging alone, but as a Berlin resident I seemed to become a point of information and advice. At one point, while waiting at the S-Bahn station, too many people started looking at me to lead the group, so I made point of shrugging and pointing elsewhere.

I didn’t have a camera, but as the non-workshopee I volunteered to take some group photos at the Brandenburger Tor. There was a bit of an issue with the security guards when we reached the memorial itself, but soon the entire group was in the midst of it. A dedicated videographer was on hand to document the entire experience, so I look forward to seeing that in the next few days/weeks.

Not much more to say about it really. It was just an unexpected fun little trip out in Berlin… and one of many reasons I love living in this city!

One comment to this article

  1. Ryan

    on 2009/12/10 at 01:39 -

    Hi luke.
    thanks for posting about that; I missed out on a special experience and am soaking up as much second hand experience as I can.

    Which brings me to the point: What happened to the videographer? Do you have any communication with Katakomben? Can you help us look into this?

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