the cmrc blog
Audiovisual Art Festival in Berlin
Berlin, Germany initially felt like an intimidating city to me — the graffiti-filled walls, the language I was unfamiliar with*, and its long history and heritage. But having been there recently, my views took a complete turn. Berlin is beautiful, beautiful in a way that you have to experience it yourself. It had an inner beauty shared among the friendly locals, artistic culture that was part of daily life, and a sense of warmth that made me feel safe travelling alone.
Now, I am not doing touristy promotion for Berlin so on to the main point. I was in Berlin for a week (23-29 August 2016), volunteering at arts festival Berlin Atonal. Berlin Atonal is an experimental and part-techno festival that hosts music performances, along with audiovisual installations and projections. The amount of artworks presented there was breath-taking with a huge diversity of works put up by various international performers. There was a YouTube video jockey and commentary (not something you see at a typical ‘concert’), fixed projections running throughout the night, as well as visual and light shows that brought the atmosphere of the festival to high immersive levels.
Berlin Atonal ran from 1982-1990, returning again in 2013. It has since been held at Kraftwerk Berlin, a former power plant; there could not be a better venue. The interior looked bigger than you initially thought it would. Its industrial look further enhanced the edginess and intensity of the festival. It was loud, very loud but at acceptable range. Visuals were striking and captivating, but not disruptive. Although having some slight time delays, the art works were worth the wait. The ideas and compositional aspects of the performers were well-thought out and widely accepted by the audience that attended the festival. It was not a typical music festival with rock musicians and commercial tunes, instead synthesisers took the stage (even spotted a Buchla), laptops replaced traditional music instruments and there was no talking during the whole festival; performers just took the stage and started playing! The crowd consisted of mostly young faces, but amongst them I could spot some middle-aged and older enthusiasts that were present for all five days the festival was held. The arts in Berlin is definitely highly emphasised and is a good place to pursue and encounter new forms of art.
I have compiled my experience at Berlin Atonal into a video which I would like to share with everyone. It was a great opportunity that I was fortunate to be part of. This trip was made possible with partial funding from the Santander International Connections Award.
*Side note: Everyone spoke English there so there was nothing to be afraid of. Berlin is truly a city that never sleeps!