Sleep With Reindeer for €1,000 / Night

November 9, 2010 • Philip BurgessReindeer

Carsten Höller, Soma, 2010 Installationsansicht Hamburger Bahnhof - Museum für Gegenwart - Berlin, 2010 © VG Bild-Kunst 2010 / Carsten Höller, Foto: Attilio Maranzano

A bizarre exhibition by the renowned artist Carsten Höller has just opened at Berlin’s Hamburger Bahnhof contemporary art museum. “Soma” also offers the chance for a limited number of guests to overnight in a bed suspended above a collection of animals that includes reindeer, canaries and mice for €1,000. In total there are 12 reindeer in the exhibit.

What’s the reindeer connection? Höller has based his exhibit on elements of a verse in the ancient Hindu text, the Rigveda, which reads: “We have drunk of the soma; we have become immortal, we have seen the light; we have found the Gods.”

In the 20th century, philologists, ethnologists and botanists have tried to identify the main ingredient of the enlightening beverage, the ingredients of which were lost over the years, the museum said in a statement.

But in 1968, American banker and hobby mycologist Gordon R. Wasson made the highly-disputed suggestion that the red and white poisonous fly Amanita mushroom may have been the ingredient, and that it may have been absorbed through the urine of reindeer, which eat the plant as part of their natural diet.

Incidentally, that mushroom has a much older connection with reindeer and story being perhaps the connection between the earliest representations of flying reindeer well south of their current range in modern day Mongolia. You can read that story on the Reindeer Portal

Source: The Local See a Video from the show here (in German)