Halle, photo: Roman März.
There are many other reasons to come to Berlin apart from the clubs but they are definitely among the most popular ones. Techno has its roots in Detroit and the Afrofuturism movement but both the name and the current widespread popularity have to do with what it evolved into in Berlin.
While these parties are still relatively underground in many cities, Berlin has embraced rave culture and built a special relationship with its clubs and their audience. Berghain has already secured legal status as a cultural institution, and other clubs are fighting for the same. Club tourists are also valued by the city’s government as a major contribution to the economy.
Wilden Renate’s Overmorrow is an immersive walkthrough art experience created by over 40 artists, from well-known collectives like Bad Bruises and TrashEra to newcomers. The installations, performances, and exhibitions occupy most of the indoor spaces of Wilde Renate, and offer about 1 hour of exploration in dark, morphing spaces.
The audience enters in groups of two, with 5-minute intervals, which is about the time allocated to each room, and makes their way through the 17 interwoven “Positions.” The Positions range from exhibitions of oil paintings through interactive installations to performances, and are loosely tied together by the themes of isolation and future. They often overlap, reflect on each other, and can be seen or heard in advance, which adds to the dreamlike nature of the journey.
photos: Roger Sabaté.
Close your eyes for a second.
Imagine a 28-year-old who just moved to Berlin. She lived here a while ago, but was unable to find a proper job and returned to the country of origin. She promised herself that one day she will be back and conquer the city.
Five years later, she’s here again, this time not as a cleaner but as a project manager. She feels immune to any job market crisis, she has a strong game plan and some money to spend. New shoes? Sure! Techno party every weekend? Bam! Eating outside all week? No problem!
Now pause for a minute. Or maybe pause forever. Can you? Can you pause it forever for me, please? Cause what’s coming next is the infamous “Contagion” reenactment which washed away all my dreams and hopes. Yes, this careless adult was me, stuck so much in my capitalist privileges, that being laid off completely crushed my world.
And here I am, locked in the humiliation and ostentatious luxury of purchasing a beer for €3.25 whilst the overlords of the aviation inferno smirk on for my predictable avarice and sloppy living. “Yes, go towards the pilsner, you wretched tart, go and bathe yourself in our wheaty piss water, heh heh heh, and you’ve got toilet paper stuck to your shoe. Did you know? Course you didn’t, you fucking lush.”
The general mood is one of lethargy and arid existing, with a sheen of sweat, much like a saucy currywurst. The only animation comes from an intensely annoying British couple who look like they’ve wandered out of a B-list perfume advert and are looking for the nearest poppy field to resume their pasty, whimpering, lovemaking. They exuberantly sweep around in silken shirts which I presume are the same sort Daisy Buchanan was wailing about. Damn, I’ve made myself angry again. Fucking hated that paisley bitch.
photos: Beth James.
When I think about Berlin I imagine the U-Bahn rattling on the overhead tracks, pigeons flapping above rooftops and the faint sound of techno in the distance. Berlin is graffiti, sweaty nightclubs, beers on the canal, weird art exhibitions, midnight bike rides, sticky summer days that wrap around you like a blanket and icy, grey winters that make you forget what summer feels like. Berlin is late nights and early mornings, lake swims, laughter on rooftops, marathon dance sessions and afternoons in the park, shoes off, lying on your back under a hazy sun. It‘s a place that tempts you and taunts you, that lifts you up and tears you down. Where freedom reigns and no-one gives a shit. It gets under your skin, and the longer you stay the harder it is to leave.
Berlin is also an identity, and many wear it as a badge of honour. That’s why you see people with Instagram accounts that say their name and “Berlin”. Because it’s a vibe, it stands for something. Being associated with it explains who you are. I’m finding it hard to untangle myself from this identity I have been wrapped in for the better part of a decade. It has taken a lot of soul-searching to make the decision to leave my long-time lover, with its dark heart and endless thrills. Over the years, whenever I felt it could be the right moment to go I would be sucked back in, somehow pulled by an invisible current. I would come up with a million reasons why this was the place for me, and why I could never find anything like what I had here.
Normally, he is the gardener of the house. I watched him year after year, half paying attention. Seeds, coconut-husk soil; add water and in a few months boom… Chilis. Too many to consume. Habaneros, Thai, Jalapenos, Scotch Bonnets. The heat lamp has been set for a few hours in the evenings, on an automatic timer. Every day it clicks on and off. I think maybe I will go mad. I think maybe this is a gift. In our apartment, I set up to work at our dining room table. It’s not the most comfortable set up. The hard chair cuts the blood flow, just above my knees.
One conference call has ended and tasks have been assigned. We have no idea when we will meet in the office again as a team. The dates keep changing. The company provides status updates, the chains of command feign bold ignorance. We’re never quite sure of what is happening at the top, that’s just how it is. They leave that part out of the marketing campaigns and new hire information packets. We are the masses, with seemingly no control. I look over at the seedlings. If I don’t water them, they will surely die, but how much water is too much? I have no direction and no green thumb. Instead, I have an internal lie detector, razor-sharp detachment skills, and Google.
There I was, in my Berlin kitchen, minding my own business. Preparing a salad at a leisurely pace when I noticed a round, gooey, grey, slimy, blob on one of the bio salad leaves (has anyone else noticed bio supermarkets are less hit by the panic shoppers?). On closer inspection, the blob turned out to be a very small, dare I say cute, slug. What to do? I considered putting it on my balcony but quickly thought otherwise as I didn’t want to put my darling plants, and recently sole companions, at risk. Perhaps I would wrap it in a small piece of lettuce and throw it out the window. No. Living on the 5th floor, that would be an unnecessary risk and irresponsible (like those teenagers throwing a Corona -no, not the beer- party at Pankow this week).
Mum’s developed a new habit. Whenever I call home these days she likes to ask if I ‘have anyone special’ in my life. Her voice drops a little as she tiptoes around the question. Subsequently, my new habit is tiptoeing around the answer. Of course, I have lots of special people in my life but none of the ‘steady boyfriend’ variety to which I know she’s referring.
People often say that dating is a game. I have no idea what they mean by that, but the past few months of dating in Berlin has me thinking about the good, clean, family fun that is Uno. If you haven’t played the game in a while, here’s a quick refresher: each player is dealt a hand of cards that is, on the outset, as random as they get. There are colors, numbers, symbols, wild cards, draw two, draw four. There are so many combinations, the aim is to reduce your cards one-by-one. You know you’re doing well in the game when you’re left with a single card. As with any game, a good shuffle results in a better play. My recent dating experience has delivered a cross-section of men that is truly difficult to describe which means the cards in this game were shuffled by an evil genius.
If you’re into electronic and contemporary underground culture music, you don’t want to miss out on this 10-day marathon of cultural and countercultural input, paired with discourse, club culture, and art. Get an update on the state of the art in underground music culture(s) and check out CTM, short for Club Transmediale. In this year’s installment, you’ll find performances by electronic music veterans such as Robert Henke next to underground gems like Sherelle. The festival always highly emphasizes diversity, making sure to arrange a booking that ticks all the boxes when it comes to political wokeness. Check out their artist list and you’ll see how to integrate different identities, backgrounds, and experiences.
After running his first marathon our guest writer Laurent sat down to share his experience at the run with us, as well as the program that Nike hosted in their Home of Running where he lead a panel talk with the founders of some of Berlin’s biggest running communities.
“Are you running the Berlin marathon?” This is probably the question I have been asked the most in the last 3 months. When you are a runner, running a marathon is already one big thing. Living in Berlin and running the Berlin Marathon is THE thing!
This is not just another race. It is the race! It is incredible to see how the city changes from the week prior to this big event. Runners from all countries are invading the city and bring it to life in a different way! Streets, parks, cafés, runners are everywhere, getting their last kilometers before the big day! The atmosphere and enthusiasm around running have been growing so much in the past years. And Berlin has definitely played an enormous role in shaping the running culture.