The somewhat bizarre idea of reindeer pulling a corpulent man in a beard on a flying sleigh was dreamt up by American poet Clement C. Moore in the poem “A night before Christmas” created for his children. Rudolph was not one of those eight reindeer, but was the subsequent creation of writer Robert May, who was commissioned to write a Christmas story for the US department store Montgomery Ward, in 1939. In the first year alone, 2.5 million copies were given away to shoppers and Rudolph took his first, flat-footed steps to fame. The rest is history …

A small herd of hairy reindeer is now on show at SOMA, the current exhibition at Berlin’s Hamburger Bahnhof. You might think the reason for this is the Christmas season. Nope, that is not it. No jingle bells or Santas to bee seen. The story surrounding the exhibition instead is magic mushrooms, Siberian nomads, reindeer and their relationship with canary birds. It is all very amusing and confusing at the same time. I didn’t get it, but the animals seemed happy enough to be away from the cold from where they originally come from. Here they are putting on a lazy show in a warm museum accompanied  by canaries in four giant cages. Seems ok from a reindeer point of view. If the animals seem out of place, the installation of gigantic mushrooms does indeed remind one of contemporary art as we know it. However, the 12 reindeer don’t seem to mind the lack of real nature and the birds are chirping away, but to add to the total bewilderment of what is on display, just check out the the boxes with mice on the side of the reindeer enclosure as well as the refrigerators with mushrooms …

So far so good for artist Carsten Höller’s latest creation. Here comes the scoop. Are you looking for a present for someone who has absolutely everything? If that’s your problem, this is your solution. For € 1000 you and a sleeping partner of your choice  - or that couple, who you may owe an outrageous gift – can stay the night with the birds and the deer. Yes you can! This would be your bed in the middle of what used to be a train station before it became a museum (and a zoo). The point is to visit the museum at night and enjoy the smell of deer as you are trying to fall asleep. Oh, and the use of a designer bathroom custom built for the purpose of this event is also part of the deal. Breakfast will be catered by Berlin”s Hotel Intercontinental.

Interested? Bookings can be made through nachts@somainberlin.org. The show will be on until February 6th 2011.