Twenty minutes outside of Berlin, it's like a time warp. The frantic renovations of the city haven't made it here yet, and graffiti tags point to the only signs of life more recent than, say, 1960. Not quite the spot, unless you're into Cold War nostalgia, for a romantic idyll. Here you could believe the earth is flat and that you're teetering on the edge. But not before you reach a humongous aluminum oblong perched in the middle of a former Soviet airfield: Tropical Islands. The place has more than a hint of the zoo habitat, though even captive animals get a little privacy. Slinking off to a secluded spot for a sexy tryst is apparently not part of the Tropical Islands scheme, and its beaches, rainforest, and "seas" are chastely unsuited to pitching any but the most well-behaved woo.
For conservator Andrea Pitsch, conservation treatments are episodes in the life of the object; its history is always part of the equation. "The achievement of a conservation is that you will look at this object, see 1887, and think that this piece of paper has got a few little marks on it but it's well-preserved. "The success of Pitsch's treatment is apparent not in how much can be seen but how little; as she says, "ideally, my work should be invisible."