Pit Schultz on Sun, 7 Apr 96 22:08 MDT

[Date Prev] [Date Next] [Thread Prev] [Thread Next] [Date Index] [Thread Index]

nettime: TOURISM: Eastern Bodies, from alexanderplatz to chromapark

        i woke up when the phone ringed at 2 1/2 pm. it was my parents asking 
for a key and announcing their visit. the birds were singing and children 
were playing and people were sitting on the street drinking coffee and 
looking into the sun. the first warm day of 1996. i pumped up my motobecane 
and went for a ride to Alexanderplatz having a breakfast (a big doener, 
orange juice and a Mc-coffee). The area under the TV tower is a traditional 
public place for sunday walks on the map of the Ost-Berliner. At the moment 
it looks like a late victim of the changing phase, suburbanized and under 
renovation, textured with graffities and still in the hand of east europe. 
Little low pricey shops and containers around are mixing with western 
megastores attracting a mix of people which are not appearing in the glossy 
catalogues of 'Zukunft Berlin'. - It's always a feeling of expansion in the
backhead and shoulders when one enters this area and it's wide skyline, which
followed the unearthy plan of a socialistic kosmos architecture. The logo 
gallery on the framing buildings represents the not-so-new order of 
competitive commerce and establishs a semiotic regime which get's subverted
by the pathos of a lost utopia, so the neons emmitate a poetic message of a
possible end of capitalism, mostly refering to themselves. -  A flock of punks
were hanging on the stairs in front of Burger King, candles of beer throughing
around, laughing and barking of dogs. Like all organisms which reappear these 
days, yet a bit unbalanced and insecure in reactivating their bodies.
        then i went to the Shell-gas-station to put some oil into the 
squeeking chain of the bike. some children tried to buy 4 packets of 
cigarretes (no, not Philip Morris) for their father. I helped them but the 
guy at the counter tried to resist "here are cameras everywhere". 
Nonetheless i went to the Potsdamer Platz, just to drive the funny curves 
there and inspected the construction process like hundreds of other visitors.
This day Mercedes Benz or someone in front the 'Red Info-Box' sold some beer 
and families were sitting around between the stillstanding cranes and huge 
hills of sand. It must have been not very different 42 years ago when they
tried to build up 'Germania'.
        a few seconds later i turned into Wilhelmsstrasse, where one can 
find the E-werk, a former electric plant and 'touristic techno temple' which 
got their endagered contracts prolongated after the Loveparade (400.000 
visitors) by investigation of the Kultursenator. I checked in with 10DM to 
see the third 'chromapark techno art exhibition' and write something down 
about it. This years slogan 'Die Natur der Zukunft' was illustrated by a 
series of colorful, blinking, moving and semiotified set of installations, 
backlighted photoshop-collages, telekinetic plasma-tubes, postmodern walking 
TV-titles, jaggy mandalas, painted amorph blobs, slightly childsex anime, 
cu-cme with touristic places in the city, fontshops font-design, lots of 
plexi-glass, tokio-logos, some badly configured HP web-terminals, and a 
screaming test-the-camel event marketing. In a location with the patina of 
an industrializing Metropolis these midcult code for technocultural novelty, 
was appropriating what one has seen already in two dimensions in zines like 
'frontpage', 'raver's nature', 'partysan' and what is not reaching the level 
of complexity of the 2000 records DJs have to filter every week. As a 
perfect background for 'young' TV reports and a must for adventure seeking 
adolescent visitors from west and south germany, this aesthetic manifests 
the manifestation and condensation of the biggest stream of what was once 
named 'techno'. What was once a 'future is now' confrontation of the planner 
minds of the pre-wall society, became a construction of 'hippness' 
supersigns to homogenize the wishes of the many and to go the same way like 
        after having a coffee at Kaffee Adler at Checkpoint Charlie to watch 
tourists which watched how fast they build up the new Philip Johnson 
retromodernist mini-scyscraper, i drove over to Internationale Stadt 
(Prinzessinnenstr. 11) to check my waiting mail. Every day at 6 one gets 
good vegetarian food at IS. Currently everyone is trying to adapt to the new 
times of the net. 'Online business' is today what was 'access for all' 
before. Lost naivity: The enthusiasm of autonomous creativity get's integrated
into the circulatory logic of the divine code of money. Not Censorship but the
Cebit signified the practical shift to the integration of external networks of
power. But the old voluntaristic social webs are still giving a chance to avoid
electronic loneliness. Privacy+property is not a big issue in a struggling
web-tribe. No problem with my Ost-phone line from the 30ies which is
not allowing data transmission longer than 3 minutes. 
        some hours later, it was already dark, i went to the Friseur 
(Kronenstr. 3, will get demolished this summer) which brought SPANK: a two 
floor, 6 DJs, combinative sound of house, electro and drum and bass. An
and relaxed party beat with a coherent vivid groove and a raw, bouncing and 
hypnotic surface. the people there obviously had fun, without subjectifying 
with a too much sloganized and overcoded techno-youth-culture, and not even
the modernist pressure of beeing hip or new. It's the opposite of the
of the drum and bass i heard at 'desire', the e-werk expo-extension, a kind of
synthetic, smoothed, coopted and mass-compatible Movie-soundtrack-version of
was once called jungle. This is mass-media-youth-culture.
        after a while i changed the location to meet some friends. To 
see how to put soundlines into images go to Panasonic (Invalidenstr. 31) it's 
worth to check out Daniel Pflumms computer-edited, hyper-corporate Video-Loops, 
which just came out for VCRs combined with elektro005, the new 12" of 
Mo&Kotai with a huge number of Micro-tracks on it. To these sounds you don't 
have to dance, they are transposed to a level of abstract jewelery where 
tons of filtered patterns and styles reflect into. such sounds and tracks 
are made to leave future as a battlefield of cognitive mass-narcotics behind 
and open a data-base of cultural knowledge of resistance which is not 
textual and not 3 dimensional but highly socially transcoded to form 
collective virtual aggregates of psychic energy and emotional orientation. 
if these sounds are leading you through a week, let you even decide this
and that, aren't they have an ethic dimension far away from the pastoral
voice of a text and it's buzz-words?
        it was getting laid, i've had some Becks, but still needed a last 
night-drink at WMF. (Burgstr. 29) It's the only really 'clubby' club in 
Berlin at the moment, somehow media-sayvy, somehow cosmopolitic, somehow 
underground, somehow too tasty or commercial for TechnoTourists or puristic 
people. At another place it began as the first club in Berlin-Mitte, 1991 
with Hip-Hop+Raga, then it went under the Potsdamer Platz, it always played 
the syncopic general bass in opposition to the straight techno-front. It's 
already a club for the youth of the new capital. Its the only functioning
cultural industry, and there are more then 20 clubs in this city: the only 
functional export article which Berlin has. The artworld can try to coopt
it but noone else ever cares about, instead one makes a decorative fun with
art (and it's sponsors) to show that the flow of 'creativity', sounds and
money of this singular end-of-millenium culture is routing around the
signification of the 'art piece'. 

(for thing-review)
( ) 1996, no commercial use without permission (pit@contrib.de)

*  distributed via nettime-l : no commercial use without permission
*  <nettime> is a closed moderated mailinglist for net criticism,
*  collaborative text filtering and cultural politics of the nets
*  more info: majordomo@is.in-berlin.de and "info nettime" in the msg body
*  URL: http://www.desk.nl/nettime/  contact: nettime-owner@is.in-berlin.de