The Safe Itinerant / The Insecurity of Mobility

A mobile workshop, seminar, performance, between Berlin and Luneberg August 14, 2013

 

Leaving from Berlin Haupbahnhof, concluding at the Post Media Lab in Luneberg

Organized by micha cárdenas with support from the Post Media Lab

Featuring the work of: Zach Blas / micha cárdenas / Tikul / NM Rosen / Pinar Yoldas

 

We are safe when we walk.

We have walked for generations.

Your colonial regimes want to stop us, name and identify us.

We won’t be stopped by your policing violence,

We won’t be named by your regimes.

 

From Oscar Grant, a black man killed in San Francisco at a public train station by private train police, to the 2012 sexual assault of a woman by a group of men on bus in New Delhi, India, repeatedly the promises of urban mobility are belied by the violence that is used to police spaces of transit and the ways that access to mobility is regulated. This performance / seminar will consider the themes of mobility, violence and access, using the actual space of transit, the train and train station, as the space of performance, discussion and presentation. The performance is part of the project Local Autonomy Networks, by micha cárdenas, which works towards networks of community based responses to violence through performance and dance. This part of the series will consider how trans-local networks of safety can be imagined within spaces which are intensely regulated yet fall between the lines of local regulations. Engaging with the Post Media Lab’s theme of Organization After Networks, this performance will consider how communities can organize for safety after their lives have been shaped by inter-urban and transnational transportation networks.

Themes to be addressed:

  • The cloud versus a home / colonial dream of mobility versus de-colonial construction
  • Safety in Numbers / Gendering of Public Space
  • The Itinerant scholar / the safe itinerant / the itinerant artist
  • The Insecurity of mobility / gender/sexuality/race in transit and across borders
  • From passport checks to biometric mobility controls
  • Ticketing systems / E-Ticketing
  • The price of speed / The cost of easy border crossing
  • Mobile Public Space / From Public to Corporate Transit / Public Interstitial Space
  • The promise of mobility / Disability and access

Inspired by The Political Equator my daily sense of danger and my daily experiences of harassment and violence (micha cárdenas)

To join, use the following itinerary for DB
Halt Datum Zeit Gleis Fahrt Reservierung
Berlin Hbf (tief) 14.08. ab 12:16 7
Hamburg Hbf 14.08. an 13:57 5a/b, ICE 1612
Hamburg Hbf 14.08. ab 14:53 14a/b
Lüneburg 14.08. an 15:25 1, ICE 681

DIY MASTERCLASS: WRITING &

PUBLISHING OPEN SOURCE BOOK

SUPERMARKT BERLIN

22. May 2013 – 15:00 – 18:00

Welcome to the future of publishing!

In this free workshop, Lisa Lang and Kristin Trethewey from Sourcefabric will introduce you to the Booktype software and showcase some of the exciting projects that can be published using this open source tool. Adam Hyde from Book Sprints will co-host the workshop. Adam is the founder of the Book Sprint methodology and will discuss the concept and projects produced using a Book Sprint.

booktype_pen

Booktype is a free publishing tool that produces books formatted for either print, Amazon, iBooks or almost any e-reader. Learn to create books on your own or with others in a collaborative online environment via an easy-to-use web interface. Build a community around your content, sharing your work with co-authors, editors, designers or even a community of book lovers with social tools and the reach of mobile, tablet and e-book technology. Learn about different production models and workflows in the new era of distributed book production, delving into free culture economic models and sustainable practices.

The Masterclass will include a presentation and demonstration, followed by a workshop session where different publishing and book sprint ideas will be brainstormed, and can be brought to the table by participants, for discussion and feedback from the presenters and the group.

booktype-txt

About the presenters: Lisa Lang has an extensive history in media organisations and publishing, and is the Head of Products at Sourcefabric. Kristin Trethewey works with Sourcefabric’s international community and events, and has been active in the media arts and as a journalist. Adam Hyde is the project lead of Booktype, and Open Source book production and publishing platform. He is also the founder of FLOSS Manuals (http://www.flossmanuals.net) and the Book Sprint methodology (http://www.booksprints.net).

About SourcefabricSourcefabric is a non-profit organisation with offices in Prague, Berlin and Toronto. Since 1999 Sourcefabric has been building digital open source newsrooms for some of the world’s most innovative news organisations, in some of the worlds most challenging media environments. Booktype is one of four open source projects built by Sourcefabric to write and publish print and digital books.

Cost: This event is free but please email rsvp[a]supermarkt-berlin.net to reserve your place
Language: The instructive language of the workshop will depend on the participants in attendance
Location: SUPERMARKT – Brunnenstr 64., 13355 Berlin (U8 Voltastr. or U8 Bernauerstr.)

Nice Rain

performance and discussion by Gilles Aubry

May 10 2013, 19h
Errant Bodies project space
Kollwitzstrasse 97, 10435, Berlin.

The project Nice Rain takes the city of Berlin as a pretext for exploring the notion of urban sound document from the perspective of a diversity of recording practices and intentions. Confronted with the difficulties to discover new strong narratives by simply listening to the Berlin public space, I’ve decided to explore instead the narratives embedded within already existing audio documents related to the city. As an alternative to a classic city soundscape like some of my previous works, I will present a collection of Berlin audio recordings from the personal archive of various practitioners who I know personally, some living in Berlin and some elsewhere.

While all of the recordings will be referring to Berlin as their location, each one will represent a specific recording practice corresponding to an intention more or less defined by its author. The live mixing of these files over multiple loudspeakers will thus be an attempt to create something like a soundscape of (documentary) intentions, while at the same time generating an arbitrary sound travel through various public locations of the city. One aim of the project is also to discuss and re-situate the community of field recording practices within a field of intentionality and reflexivity, as possibly opposed to a logic of place.

With announced text and audio contributions by:

Rinus van Alebeek, Mario Asef, Boris Baltschun & Serge Baghdassarians, Alessandro Bosetti, Rob Curgenven, Peter Cusack, Anke Eckardt, Christina Ertl Shirley, Helena Gough, Andy Graydon, Ezgi Kilincaslan, Achim Langerer, Felicity Magan, Israel Martinez, Anders Lauge Meldgaard, Valeria Merlini, Udo Noll, Dave Philips, Stephan Roigk, Jodi Rose, Fritz Schlüter, Tapeman (Helge Neidhardt), Valerio Tricoli, Antje Vowinckel and Kathrin Wildner.
Recording the demolition of the Palast der Republik, Berlin 2008
Recording the demolition of the Palast der Republik, Berlin 2008

(picture by Jodi Rose, 2008)

*I am very happy to be invited to participate in this event, enjoying the discussion via email with Gilles around notions of intention & authorship, composition and place. JR

Gilles Aubry is a Swiss sound artist living in Berlin since 2002. Trained initially as a sax player and composer, he graduated in 2010 as a Master student in Sound Studies at the University of the Arts (UDK) in Berlin. His artistic practice is based on an auditory approach of the real informed by researches on cultural and historical aspects of sound production and reception. Combining ethnography, critical discourse and formal experiments, Aubry creates installations, performances, compositions, audio essays and radio plays. His sonic images (phonographies) of more or less identified situations stand as an attempt to challenge problematic aspects of visual representation.

Nice Rain is part of THIS IS THE END, a research project curated by Marta Ferretti and Gaia Martino about the relationship between public space and narration in the specific context of Berlin. THIS IS THE END is hosted from April 15th to May 12th at Errant Bodies project space, Berlin.

Fall in love with SADO OPERA!

“The electro-punk Russians are coming!”

April 20th Kater Holzig

Whatever these words conjure up in your imagination, I can assure you the reality is even more fabulous. All they want is your pleasure – and a little bit of pain… you can try to resist all you like, but ultimately you will succumb to the force and magic of their charms.

“We love you. We must be together!”

I always secretly wanted to be a cabaret singer – 30s Paris, 20s Berlin – and having just decided to commit myself to being more open to decadent pleasures and dedicated to trying new experiences on my return to Berlin – the capital of modern day licentious behaviour, when I am presented with the unexpected opportunity to do just that.

The trio of travelers I am idly watching at Helsinki airport as they check-in before me has something strangely alluring about them – so I keep sneaking glances as we wait to board the plane, and then again while disembarking. A kind of vaudeville style that makes me want to run away with them or at least find out who they are. I wonder again to myself as I wait for my luggage, “Who are you people?”

I summon up my courage at the last minute, take a deep breath, and walk up as they are met by their friend outside the gates. “Hi, excuse me, are you doing a show?” I ask, and when they smile and confirm “yes”, I continue: “do you have any fliers?”. So I find myself at 4am in an underground Berlin club, chanting “SADO OPERA!” along with their fans. The gig is somewhat outside my usual range of experimental music and sound art, so I’m glad that I did follow that impulse to say hello, or I would never know who they were, and I wouldn’t have missed experiencing SADO OPERA for the world.

SADO OPERA
SADO OPERA

They start with a bang, “Fire on the dance floor, fire at the taco bell – danger! Danger! High Voltage! When we touch, when we kiss”… and I am transfixed. High energy doesn’t even begin to describe the feeling of their show – I am electrified from the very first song, following a brilliant cinematic trailer build-up which could fill a stadium with fans screaming their name “SADO OPERA!” in a booming voice from the brilliant drummer/musical maestro the Android. Their comic magic and hardcore antics only get more intense and wild from here, with glitter hearts and a driving beat, melding into the beautifully debauched cabaret that is SADO OPERA live as the indefatigable presence of Herr Oberst (the Colonel) and the debauched antics of Magic Doll, Psycho Rabbit and Pierrot the Trickster drive the crowd into a frenzy. It’s four in the morning in an underground Berlin club, and the audience is high on pure adulation and adrenaline. The truly dynamic energy with which they attacked their original material is well matched by the exorbitant streams of glitter hearts and shiny confetti that were nearly constantly exploded onto the now-manic audience crowded into the Naherholung Sternchen in Berlin Mitte, behind the Rathaus and Kino International.

SADO OPERA HERR OBERST & MAGIC DOLL
SADO OPERA HERR OBERST & MAGIC DOLL

I am blown away by the ability of these five electro punk Russians to raise the energy of the room and create a sense of sheer spectacleusing their original music, magic dust, stage presence – and a LOT of glitter! – that will translate easily from the Tal Der Verwirrung party to a stadium filled with thousands of screaming fans. Their free spirits and philosophy of “aggressive hedonism” – enhancing pleasure and love with sexual freedom – are evident in their style and the way they engage with the crowd, bringing a light-hearted feeling to some edgy material, with songs touching on different aspects of sexuality.

The tongue-in-cheek comic magic tricks are ludicrous, however this is truly overcome by the sheer conviction with which they are performed – “Russian Magic, ladies and gentlemen! Magic! Magic!” but I leave you to discover the details yourself, when you will no doubt find your destiny as you are drawn to the love vibes emitted by SADO OPERA across the globe. I look forward to seeing SADO OPERA taking over the stage again to blow you away with their decadent spectacular.

Sado Opera at Tal Der Verwirrung from Jannis Mayr on Vimeo.

“Magic powder” and “sexually enhanced” pleasure candies may have contributed to the overall effect, but the main impact of the show, which kept me transfixed throughout was entirely due to the artistry, good humour, purely decadent generosity and presence with which these remarkable performers grabbed our hearts and exploded them into a thousand glittering pieces with their debauched love bombs… I for one, will never be the same again, for which I am profoundly thankful!

SADO OPERA are given over to decadence and sensual indulgence and they want to help you, with the promise to change all that for anyone brave enough to take their magic trip… The show has a light touch, which combines humour, obscenity and absurdity, as evidenced in the upbeat chorus chant: “Be Obscene!” their tongue in cheek cover of Marilyn Manson’s song “mOBSCENE.”

The more hardcore aspects are conducted with a touch of gentility – aggressive but with elegance, as Herr Oberst describes. During their show, an over excited fan sprays his beer over the performers and is fiercely admonished by the row of enthusiastic devoted female fans in the front row. This reinforces the underlying message, if there is one beyond “pure decadence and debauchery!” that is: Yes! be sexually depraved and be outrageous, be obscene but do it with charm, do it with style, do it with wit, respect, intelligence and elegance.

SADO OPERA LIVE!
SADO OPERA LIVE!

As the group comes from St Petersburg, I am intrigued by the sense of truly subversive energy that is intimately bound into their aura of decadence, which has an edge beyond most of the alternative cabaret I’ve seen, and want to know more about their perspective on living and working in Russia, so arrange to meet where they promise to satisfy my curiosity.

When I interview Herr Oberst (the Colonel) and Magic Doll, despite their claim to have given me the special pleasure candies, it truly doesn’t take any magic to fall completely under the spell of these utterly charming, delightfully articulate, debauched and enchanting characters. Their unique blend of absurdity, joyful sexuality and outrageous flirtation continues off-stage as we delve into the questions I have about what the intentions behind their “act” and the message of freedom to express yourself with pleasure and love that they wish to share with people everywhere.

We start our conversation naked – as people’s inhibitions fall away with their clothes simply on being in the same room… They promise to demonstrate their philosophy of “aggressive hedonism” with me after the interview. I comment that my friend who came to the show was too scared to eat the candy, he really thought it would have some serious effect on him.

The Colonel replies: “Smart of him! Did he eat it in the end, though? NO. But this is typical for the human psyche to be afraid of the pleasure you can get. We are like doctors, we are helping people to fight with these psychological blocks in their mind, and not to be afraid of the highest pleasure they can get – we are trying to teach… and this is partly one of the messages of our show. For example, like anal sex – a lot of young girls are afraid of this, some boys are afraid of this – but in the end if they find the proper teacher, they discover the real art of pleasure. Not in this primitive penis vagina sex which is just typical for animals, or for people who don’t really want to think…”

And so we dive straight into the deep end with my first question eliciting a panegyric to the joys of anal sex. Much like the Ancient Greeks, Sado Opera truly believe this holds the key to a heightened experience of sexual pleasure in its deepest and most spiritual form. I didn’t even have a religious education and yet I still seem to have absorbed the guilt about pleasure and mythology that our culture surrounds sex with shame and sin, and haven’t entirely broken free of these constrictions. Maybe Sado Opera can help…

I ask if Berlin is more or less hedonistic than St Petersburg, and the Colonel replies: “Yes, definitely Berlin is a more hedonistic city than St Petersburg, and many other cities in the world. It is easier to help people in Berlin than to help people in St Petersburg, that’s what I can say – but at the same time we are still going to continue working with people in Russia as well, because who else can help them if not us?”

SADO OPERA - WILD
SADO OPERA – WILD

Apparently you are the only electro punk cabaret in St Petersburg? Is this true?

“It looks like at least – we were trying to find some colleagues, but we never saw them. Maybe they were hiding somewhere because of the high level of homophobia and xenophobia and other phobias,” Magic Doll interrupts “magic phobia,” the Colonel continues “and love phobia, which is very common in Russia. The love phobia is one of the main problems of people now.”

Really? The fear of love.. and during the set you also say that in Russia this song is illegal, and there was a lot of protest recently about homosexual rights in Russia. Is it legal or illegal to be homosexual in Russia?

C: “It is illegal to be homosexual in Russia. Illegal to be sexual, illegal to be lovable, illegal to be yourself – that is why people really are forced to pretend and they are filled with tension, on every step. And we really love people, that is why we feel responsibility to help them and to save them from all this shit.”

Magic Doll: “Yes, but Russia is a great country. Please, when you have time visit the Red Square, (Colonel: “and get naked there”) you’re going to see Lenin, that’s the guy who made the revolution, that’s fun, and you can see the parade of the big military Russian forces, and this “Big Ben” at the red square, and a lot of police guys…

Colonel: “Police, police is everywhere, that’s what Russia is famous for! Men in uniform everywhere, but they are very tensioned and unfortunately they don’t let themselves explore and be themselves again. That is why they feel very nervous when they see us, unfortunately we sometimes even had not a nice cases happening with the Russian police – because they probably feel that they want to embrace, lick us, kiss us and give their bodies to us for us to do something to them – but they are afraid of that.. we understand that, we forgive them, and we wish them only happiness…” Magic Doll: “and love!”

That’s so beautiful, I can feel the love in the room. It seems that you’re coming from quite a serious social-political context, and you’re like, bursting with energy and life and you’re really pushing something that is not at all hard or heavy but just beautiful and exploding with excitement and joy – and I was wondering if you could tell me a little bit about this and where you’re coming from?

C: Well it’s a very long story, because it starts in 1772, when the Marquis de Sade and his servants just hired four prostitutes in Marseille for a big orgy. They were feeding them with the sexual stimulating candies which we are usually feeding everybody – so anyway, we are the descendants of the Marquis de Sade and his servants, or these four prostitutes –

JR: You’re the direct descendants of the Marquis de Sade?

C: Not the direct descendants, but maybe of his servants – it also was connected with these four prostitutes

MD: But for sure, yes – my grandma she was a prostitute, I’m not ashamed of that

C: We hope that at least one drop of the Marquis de Sade was in each of us . Maybe even more. Anyway, what is special about this story is that Marquis de Sade never had any vagina contact with women – like all of us – he only liked them, how is it – more appropriate to say on this radio interview? In the ass! That is why all these prostitutes, got pregnant – through the ass, which is possible.

JR: Now you’re really stretching my credibility…

MD: Not only pregnant through the ass but also giving birth through the ass, which is proved in the documents, and actually the first case in history when children were born through the ass…

C: But anyway, in returning to this birth from the ass – you can also see it in some of our shows. We have a magic trick, in German we call it arsch-geboren-kinder – we didn’t do it this time – it is a very special trick.

I have to speak a little about the characters of our show – Magic Doll is definitely the one who is responsible for all magic in the show. I am the Colonel, I am responsible for all military stuff, for fame, power, commanding – everything I like. We also have the Psycho Rabbit, Frau aus Moskau, we have the little Pierrot the Trickster, and he is responsible for all trickster stuff.” Magic Doll: “I don’t know if you noticed, he is always trying to spoil the show?”

Surely you need some trickster element to keep you on your toes, otherwise you’d all be all loved up all the time?

“Yes definitely, and there is Android, the drummer and the sound engineer – who is German. And we only have German sound engineers and German drummers because they are so attentive, much more attentive than Russians.”

I don’t know if this is like, a stereotype, I have this image of Russians as being very wild and free-spirited, a little bit chaotic, a little bit intense, prone to, like drama and poetry and passion…

“It is true. This stereotype is true. Well, actually, this is a funny thing, because we once had this question in the interview, about stereotypes – but we just had to admit that almost all stereotypes about Russia are true, in the world… I mean, not really extreme ones like bears on the street, but I think in some places really it happens, at least wolves are coming and stealing dogs in the wintertime.. but the stereotype that Russian men are aggressive, drinking too much, that they are not polite, that they don’t respect your privacy and women are really highly discriminated – this is all true.

The thing about free spirit, is probably also true but we don’t really notice it in the majority. It is probably lying deep in the Russian mentality, and if you discover it maybe Russians are – more open to the possibilities of spiritual development than a lot of Western people – I am certainly talking about the majority, But they don’t really notice it often, unfortunately, but we are trying to do this…”

This is really part of your mission, to release this freedom in everyone?

Colonel: “Yes, yes sure! And as well, to take the best details from all these things which I just described, but sometimes it is good to be a little bit aggressive, but just a little bit – to stay elegant, and female discrimination is also sweet…”

Magic Doll: “Yes, but for sure, we are proud of representing Russia and being a part of Russian culture in a way, because if you close your eyes and try not to mention all the really bad and hard things which are happening – for sure we are proud of Russian literature and cultural background”

Colonel: “and I am proud of the Russian military force, you know, those big rockets and guns… ooooh” Magic Doll: “and actually when you look on the map and you see how big is Russia, that’s really impressive”

JR: So how did you two spawn of the Marquis de Sade end up in St Petersburg? How were you brought together? Was it on the streets of St Petersburg, was it in a lion’s den, at your mother’s breast?

Magic Doll: “Destiny”

Colonel: “Yes, destiny brought us together”

MD: “and how did you meet Maestro and me and psycho rabbit”

C: “I don’t remember, I think that it was in the church, maybe traveling, I don’t really remember it was such a long time ago. You know we are all very spiritual? We are Pagans, we don’t really belong to any official religion, but we really respect all the temples, all the magic rituals – we really like the magic rituals.”

MD: “So when I was studying at the magic school and I got a course of prediction, and I predicted myself a big orgy, where I gonna meet three strange people who are also not the same like regular humans, and I predicted it to myself, and I came to this place which I saw in my crystal ball, and they really were there and waiting for me – and of course we had some sexually stimulating candies which I also learned to cook, in this magic school, and then, when the orgy was already in progress, I suddenly realised that they are all my very close relatives, who I never saw before, but they have the special sign on the body, which we all have, all the descendants of Marquis…”

C: “Which you can see now, Jodi!”

MD: “Our grandmothers put this sign on each of us so that we could find ourselves in the world – so that we can recognise each other”

JR: “I have a magic circle, just here – is this the sign?”

C: “A magic circle, oh my god, we found a new sister! Certainly.”

MD: “But it’s not only the magic circle that…”

You reminded me of something, in your spiel, on the internet – you say that you will tell my fortune and you will heal my broken heart, and I’d quite like to have my fortune told… and my broken heart healed!

C. “But this is a magic secret ritual, we cannot make it when the microphone is on… but we are ready to do this. You really have a broken heart?”

MD: “and also because there is no one way to heal the broken heart, and if we now try to show it on radio, live and then people would try to do it themselves at home, the heart can be even more broken, that is why.”

C: “It is dangerous”

MD: “Yes, don’t try to repeat this at home – it is always very very special, and we have this personal touch in healing the broken heart, and everybody is welcome, you just have to come to our show or contact us and we really would love to help you. Because, heart should be loving and not broken. No, not broken.”

C: “As we mentioned during the last show – magic – real magic, hurts. So, be careful!”

SADO OPERA - KATER HOLZIG APRIL 20th
SADO OPERA – KATER HOLZIG APRIL 20th

I will consider myself warned… Thank you very much. So where is your magic life taking you next? You’re back to St Petersburg on the weekend – what else are you cooking up for the legion of fans you must have out there? Adoring you and waiting for your to come into their hearts, again and again…

MD: “Now we will go to Russia, to have some shows in St Petersburg and Moscow, and then back to Berlin for a show at Kater Holzig on April 20th, and we come again in May, to have a big performance at our colleague, dj Noema’s party “The Magic Movement” It’s going to be in the club called “Chalet.”

JR: “I could really see you guys kicking it big festivals – because, you have like a very big presence, and a lot of glitter… you could, like rock out with the 5,000 people stage, I think”

C: “I would love to”

MD: “That’s what we’re going to do in Austria in July, because its the big body painting festival, with artists from all over the world, collecting a crowd of thousands of people – and our stage is going to be in the medieval castle. Party “Surreal Ballroom”, 03.07 at the World Bodypainting Festival, Pörtschach, Austria.

C: “and we are going even to live in this castle, and this is I guess the Sado Castle – because I don’t remember if we said this at the beginning? We live in the Sado Palace, sure and that is why it is very important for us.”

MD: “That’s on the rider. So yes if you have time in July, every body is welcome to join us at the world body painting festival in Austria – at the Sado Castle – and after that we plan to go to another festival in Dresden – schaubudensommer – which is the festival for theatres, also international.”

And what would be your dream place to perform – if you could do anything, anywhere, where would you like to see yourselves?

C: “Well, actually the castle – I have to say that we really love “Salon-zur wilden Renate” in Berlin, because it is like a SADO Palace for us, and we are really in love with the place and the family of the club, so it is one of our dream places where the dream came true… The SADO Castle is also exciting me – but we are having a plan to become a stadium band, and to make this punk cabaret on a very big stage. We already had an experience on a stage with the, like more than a thousand people. This was in St Petersburg, the same stage where Morrisey performed, even Franz Ferdinand performed there, so this was a big stage and we really felt that we fit to the stage. Maybe we want to do even a mix of classic cabaret with our electronic music, in the way Prodigy did their shows at big festivals.”

You’re mainly writing your own material? Because you made one song that I recognised: “danger danger, high voltage” and then the rest were original?

C: “Yes, we sometimes do some covers, some songs which we like but we do it in our SADO OPERA way, for instance there is also “Be Obscene, which is our version of Marilyn Manson’s “mOBSCENE,” but certainly we have our own songs which are usually stories about us, or about our famous relatives… and also some songs which can help people, like medication.”

MD: “Yes, soon we’re gonna upload the song which you heard live on the show, it is called ‘Doctor Squirt’”

C: “Which is a very important song for Russian women, first of all – because Russian women, because of this terrible female discrimination in Russia, they have problems with feeling pleasure, and with feeling themselves free in sexual relationship, that is why we are trying to help at least with this song. But also it looks like, maybe German women also need it sometimes… So it’s international cure.”

JR: “I think everyone needs a little help sometimes, because no matter how free and open minded you are, there is still social pressures or cultural prejudices that kind of sneak in, there’s, you know – there’s all kinds of things that can make you feel bad about your sexuality… and to embrace that, to like, jump up and down and scream “Be Obscene!” I think is wonderful! You’re doing a very valuable service – Thank You!”

C: “Thank you so much, it’s so pleasant to hear, I feel vibrations of pleasure in my body – what do you feel Magic Doll?

MD: I do.”

I ask for their SADO OPERA mantra, a few parting words from the Colonel & Magic Doll:

MD: “We are SADO OPERA. We live in the SADO Palace. We drive the SADO Mobile. We do magic shows. We heal broken hearts. We bring happiness and joy. We must be together.”

C: “I should say, first – We love you, and then we must be together.”

MD: “We love you more than your own mother..”

C: “Definitely we love you more – because, your mother loves you, just naturally, it’s not a love which your mother is spending a lot of energy to feel. She is spending a lot of energy to raise you and educate you, but it is a natural love.

JR: “And your love is an unnatural love, right?”
C: “Yes! Our love is artificial as art is – it’s artificial, it’s love for arts sake – for love’s sake – and its art for arts sake, sure.”

ALL_SADO_OPERA

To the wonderful, the hardcore and fabulous SADO OPERA! I do hope, dear readers, you’ll have the chance to enjoy their magic, and their mystery in the very near future. If you ever wished to visit 20’s Berlin, this decadent troupe will take you there in a SADO OPERAtic time capsule. They really can tell your fortune and heal your broken heart, but to find out how that is done you will have to experience the pleasure and pain of SADO OPERA for yourself.

“We love you. We must be together!”

Jodi Rose

Images courtesy of SADO OPERA

Berlin’s media art community: a female

perspective

Tuesday 9th April, 2013 // SUPERMARKT

Photo: © Ars Electronica | Susi Rogenhofer, Flickr CC Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.0 license
Photo: © Ars Electronica | Susi Rogenhofer, Flickr CC Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.0 license

Berlin has a rich and long-standing tradition of women engaged in the fields of media arts, media activism and digital culture. Today over half of Berlin’s independent project spaces and initiatives revolving around the themes of tech, media and digital culture are run by women. A broad range of female curators and activists continue to shape net politics – initiating independent programmes, hosting events and leading research at Berlin’s universities.

Despite this large female contingent, and in a city where the workforce is generally evenly distributed, it is at odds that the theoretical discourse on media art and net activism, executive roles and directorships, as well panelists and participants at events and festivals, are still male-dominated. In a forward-thinking city like Berlin, this ongoing gap should be addressed so that the wider fields of media arts and activism are fully inclusive of the multitude of female skills and viewpoints on offer.

At this event, SUPERMARKT highlights and showcases some of the women who have played an important role in shaping the profile of Berlin as a digital culture city. We will learn more about their history, career paths, and the narratives of their work and life. Ten inspiring women in the field will join us, and answer questions against the backdrop of their own lives and careers, including what drives them to continue the work they do, what have been the crucial moments of their careers, and who are their professional mentors, support networks, and inspirations.” Ela Kagel & Michelle O’Brien

Media Fem Panel Photo: Helena Lingor @ Supermarkt
Media Fem Panel Photo: Helena Lingor @ Supermarkt

I was thrilled to see and hear ten amazing women take the stage at SUPERMARKT last week to share their perspective on working in the media and culture sector. The event had a great buzz and drew a wide audience, as diverse and happening as the women speaking. Ela Kagel and Michelle O’Brien curated the evening with a deft touch, having provided the framework for each speaker to contextualise their own practice by thinking through questions of motivation and key moments. The responses to this provocation ranged from the necessary historical contextualisation of career highlights to intriguing, poetic and subtle approaches, exploring personal stories and reflections through a selection of quotes.

Tatiana Bazzichelli spoke about her varied professional facets, being too radical for the academics, too artistic for the radicals, and too academic for the artists, while Kathy Rae Huffman enumerated her significant and internationally influential career highlights in curating video and media art from the 70s up until today, offering an insight into her practice through the excellent reading list that she discussed (in follow-up discussion a member of the audience has requested that this also be made available). One of the key points made by speakers in many of the talks was the necessity to jump in and figure things out for yourself, or to “learn by doing”, not wait to become an expert.

Tatiana Bazzichelli & Ela Kagel Photo: Gretchen Blegen @Supermarkt.
Tatiana Bazzichelli & Ela Kagel Photo: Gretchen Blegen @Supermarkt.

There was no discernible antagonism towards the male dominated world, as this was the case with many of the speakers who had often been the only woman in the room at work or speaking on stage at professional events – but rather all highlighted their strategy of responding to challenges and getting on with the job to hand as the most effective form of action. Michelle Thorne spoke about her love of soccer, and how the sport gave her physical confidence and a different understanding of her body, operating from a position of strength and power. The celebration of their peers and support network was also a positive influence at Mount Holyoke, all-women university. Her mission statement was to figure it out and do it – don’t wait until you have the answers or training. Don’t be afraid to fail! (“Fail more, fail better” – called out someone in the audience. “Try Again. Fail again. Fail better. Samuel Beckett”)

All three initiators of the Faces mailing list (Kathy Rae Huffman, Diana McCarty, Valie Djordjevic) spoke about their experiences in the 90’s and how the need for the women focused list became apparent, both sharing and creating opportunities, network and exchange of ideas, information and resources for women working with art and media. It can definitely be a boys club, and every one of the women speaking and in the room is testament to how much that has changed, and how far it still needs to go before there is gender equality. The discussion was agile and lively without falling into the murky waters of complaining about the situation but finding ways to address the needs and roles that women can play in creating and theorising and promoting and facilitating all forms of media and culture. The evening also raised an interesting question of the distinction between a “female perspective” and a “feminist” one, as while some of the women identified as feminist, not all did. This gave the conversation a interesting take, as the speakers and audience maintained a broad spectrum of interests, which was not mainly focused on issues of gender but on the desire to meet and explore the challenges of creating satisfying work in a richly diverse range of contexts.

In this event, it made sense to talk about the personal experiences behind these voices, however I hope this is a stepping stone to taking the conversation further and deeper into their actual work. This critique is not directed at the organisers per se but is a wider cultural concern, is that while it’s amazing to see so many incredible women in one place talking about their work, I would love to have this taking place simply because the work they do is powerful, important, fantastic, relevant and highly influential… not because they are women. A comment by one of the men present was that in his 25 years of experience, even with gender equality on a panel or in an exhibition, it was still the male voices that tend to dominate. I think the evening provided an excellent opportunity for women’s experiences to be heard and discussed, but this needs to become a far more “normal” enterprise, without having the framing as “women’s experience” but as experiences, from a range of professional and personal perspectives. 

Audience Media Fem Photo: Gretchen Blegen @Supermarkt
Audience Media Fem Photo: Gretchen Blegen @Supermarkt

Ela Kagel responded to this point: “I can understand your critique, that we referred to our presenters as being female as the prime criteria for showcasing them. But of course we selected them for being brilliant, inspiring and influential in the first place. And yes, we wanted to present women, because the public image of Berlin as a digital culture city is still much more tied to the men working in that field. I think it’s really about time to reassess this image! And as much as we wish for a world in which we don’t need events like ours, we just have to acknowledge the fact that there is still a huge gender imbalance out there – and this is a structural problem. I think we can’t address this often enough.

We have been working quite a while to get this invitation text together and to frame everything in an interesting and challenging way. And we knew that it would still raise questions – but questions and comments are of course very welcome in that context.”

Michelle O’Brien comments:  “I would also reverse this point and say it was a specific and intentional celebration of powerful and influential females in the industry. We could have removed the ‘female perspective’ part of the title, simply calling it a showcase of prominent figures within Berlin’s Media Art Community and inviting the same 10 female speakers, and perhaps this would have attracted a different audience (with possibly more males!), but I feel this would not adequately represent the topic at hand. The  focus highlighted the specific achievements these individuals have made, as women in a male-dominated industry, and the powers and social/political structures they have overcome, and continue to push against on a daily basis to do their work, whether or not they specifically identify as ‘feminists’.”

Andrea Goetzke, Diana McCarty, Lisa Lang PPhoto: Gretchen Blegen @ Supermarkt.
Andrea Goetzke, Diana McCarty, Lisa Lang PPhoto: Gretchen Blegen @ Supermarkt.

Diana McCarty talked with great passion and humour about the revolutionary aspects of women working in radio & media, particular focus on the film program that she curated in New Mexico. Playing excerpts while she spoke of the 1983 feminist science fiction classic “Born in Flames”, directed by Lizzie Borden which explores a hypothetical New York society, ten years after the successful socialist revolution. Radio plays a large part in both the film plot and in Diana’s work significantly with reboot fm. If there was ever a women’s army, I would sign up if Diana will lead it!

“Think Big” are the words Lisa Lang wrote in her notebook while studying – and she made a point of showing her process through the exploration of ideas (and lists) in her notebooks. “I wrote it down and it echoed inside me, and I owned it” she explained, and I understood completely the conviction with which she expressed this concept. The act of writing does both ingrain something inside you, and invoke a power with those words, allowing you to live their fullest expression.

Lisa Lang Photo: Helena Lingor @Supemarkt
Lisa Lang Photo: Helena Lingor @Supemarkt

Having fallen in love with Australia while studying there, Lisa wanted to stay longer and was discouraged to find that it wasn’t officially possible – until someone suggested that she didn’t need to play by the rules. “Hack the system” became another maxim to live by, and in the event she did manage to wrangle another six months of her studies, which turned into five years living in OZ. The evangelista for Berlin Geekettes, a collective of women talking tech, she gave for me what was absolutely the most inspiring moment of the night with the following advice. Talking about her attempts to find work after she finished studying, and realising that whatever she was doing just wasn’t working, this affirmative wisdom is taken from“What Colour is your Parachute?” the job hunting manual she read in a more desperate time: “Define yourself. Decide what you want to do and with whom you want to do it.” Excellent, don’t wait for someone else to choose you or tell you what you are capable of – make it up, get out there and make it happen!

Finally, Andrea Goetzke of newthinking, gave us her summary with ten key quotes. She apologised for all but one of them being by men “so beat me up for that later” – a squeamish moment when the tension between the feminist principles and their lived experience was played out, although with no violent repercussions. “It’s about creating a space that wouldn’t really exist otherwise!” is the first, and she discussed the moment of realising the value of creating spaces where people gather around shared interests. The second memorable quote concerned the value of coming to things with a fresh eye, to learn while doing and take and open approach – be naïve and a beginner.

Andrea Goetzke Photo: Gretchen Blegen @Supermarkt
Andrea Goetzke Photo: Gretchen Blegen @Supermarkt

“Enjoy life and create and enjoyable moment for others,” Andrea concluded, and that is exactly what the SUPERMARKT and all the women who spoke and attended have done and will continue to do….

Jodi Rose

Inside Media Fem Photo: Helena Lingor @Supermarkt
Inside Media Fem Photo: Helena Lingor @Supermarkt

Images courtesy of SUPERMARKT

Speaker Biographies

Tatiana Bazzichelli is a researcher, networker and curator, working in the field of hacktivism and net culture. She is part of the transmediale festival team, where she develops the year-round project ‘reSource transmedial culture berlin’. She is Postdoc researcher at Leuphana University of Lüneburg, as part of the Innovation Incubator / Centre for Digital Cultures, and the Institute for Culture and Aesthetics of Digital Media, Faculty of Cultural Studies. She is Affiliated Researcher at Aarhus University (DK), where she received a PhD in Information and Media Studies (2011), conducting research on disruptive art in the business of social media, published with the title: “Networked Disruption. Rethinking Oppositions in Art, Hacktivism and the Business of Social Networking” (2013). She wrote the book “Networking. La rete come arte | The Net as Artwork” (2006). In 2001, Tatiana founded the AHA:Activism-Hacking-Artivism networking platform. She organised exhibitions and events such as Hack.it.art (2005), HackMit! (2007), CUM2CUT (2006-2008), and HACK.Fem.EAST (2008) in Berlin, Rome, and other European cities.
networkingart.eu | disruptiv.biz | transmediale.de

Valie Djordjevic is an editor at iRights.info, a website about copyright in the digital age, and lecturer on the topics of digital writing, social media and copyright for private and public institutions. She is active in the digital world since 1996, e.g. as member of Internationale Stadt Berlin, one of the first net culture projects in Germany or mikro e.V., a Berlin based association examining the different facets of media culture. She is a co-moderator and administrator (together with Diana McCarty, Kathy Rae Huffman and Ushi Reiter) of the mailing list Faces, one of the first lists for women working with art and media.
valid.de | irights.info | mikro.org | faces-l.net

Andrea Goetzke is a Berlin-based cultural producer, curator and organizer. For many years, she has worked in different contexts on issues of free culture, open source, digital and music culture, ranging from projects supporting open source software in African countries to initiating the openeverything Berlin events. With all2gethernow, she organizes activities looking for new strategies in music culture and business. She is part of newthinking, an agency that works at the interfaces of open source and digital technologies with culture and society. Andrea organizes music events, and hosts a regular radio show on free culture on reboot.fm.
all2gethernow.de | newthinking.de | reboot.fm

Kathy Rae Huffman is a freelance curator, networker and media art collector currently based in Berlin. She has held curatorial posts at the Long Beach Museum of Art, The ICA Boston, and Cornerhouse, Manchester. She has written about, consulted for, presented special programs and coordinated events for a variety of international festivals and organisations. Her research focuses around issues of female environments in the Internet, and the history of artists’ television. Kathy co-founded the international online community for women media artists FACES: Gender/Technology/Art (with Diana McCarty and Valie Djordjevic) in 1997. Her current curatorial project is an exhibition of the late Nan Hoover’s video, performance and photography. She curated Exchange and Evolution: Worldwide Video Long Beach, 1974-1999, a retrospective exhibition of international video, for the Long Beach Museum of Art, (in 2011). The exhibition and research was supported by the Getty Research Institute as part of Pacific Standard Time. She was international curator for ISEA2009, Belfast; and project curator for Transitland: Video art from Central and Eastern Europe 1989-2009. Huffman received an MFA in Exhibition Design from California State University Long Beach in 1980, where she also completed the graduate course in Museum Studies.
faces-l.net

Claudia Kefer works as an innovation intermediary and strategic consultant in the field of art, culture and educational contexts. She holds a MA degree in Communication in Social and Economic Contexts from the UdK Berlin. During the mid nineties she graduated in Communication Design at the GSO University of Applied Science in Nürnberg, at a time when Germany was a pre-web market, the ambiguity between a analogue and a digital world became a core issue of her work. During her early nineties experience of “Zwischennutzkultur” in Germany, Kefer began freelancing, co-working and co-thinking before it became a facet of a broader lifestyle or an educated instrument of urban and economic development. She is a team member of the SLEEPING GIRL JOINT VENTURE, an independent art-house film reflecting the early days of video art in Germany, told through the lens of a ‘boy meets girl’ story. Currently she is focused on a research project titled MESHING-BERLIN which will be introduced at re:publica 13.
claudiakefer.de | dasschlafendemaedchen.de

Julia Kloiber is currently working as a project lead for the Open Knowledge Foundation Germany, an NGO working within the field of transparency and open data. She holds a Bachelors degree in Information Design and a Masters in New Media and Digital Culture from Utrecht University. She has worked for Women Make Movies in New York City and for Platoon Cultural Development in Berlin. Julia’s main fields of interest are netpolitics, open data, interactive design and art.
okfn.org

Lisa Lang is a born networker and problem solver. Some also use the word “whip-cracker” in the same sentence with her name but she prefers the description “traffic light”. She’s the head of products Sourcefabric, an independent organisation promoting quality journalism and providing open source tools, including Newscoop, Booktype, Airtime and Superdesk; Evangelista for BerlinGeekettes collective of women talking tech, and is finishing off her MBA in the coming year.
linkedin.com/in/lilaworks | berlingeekettes.com | sourcefabric.org

Tina Mariane Krogh Madsen holds a Master of Arts in Art History (Aarhus University, Denmark) with a focus on internet art, digital media and performance studies, where she wrote her Master Thesis with the title “Keeping Ephemerality Alive – Preserving the Dynamic Materiality of Net Art”. Tina works as an independent curator on projects in the field of internet art, live art practices, interactive media and online performance. During 2012 she curated and coordinated the online exhibition website for internet art: Net.Specific, for Museum of Contemporary Art in Roskilde, Denmark and Net.Specific’s first exhibition Communication Paths that was launched in October 2012.
tmkm.dk/about.html | netspecific.net/en

Diana McCarty was born and raised in New Mexico and has lived in Europe since 1993 – Budapest in 90’s and Berlin in the 2000s. Her work revolves around art, politics and new/old media. Currently, Diana is working with radio and revolutionaries: mostly reboot.fm, radia.fm, Bolshevik women, and experimental film. A long time ago, she was part of the International Women’s University server development team (with Seda Gürses, Barbara Schelkle, Prof. Heidi Schelhowe, and Heiki Pfisch), and also worked to develop feminist pedagogical approaches to learning technology. In the mid-nineties, she co-founded Nettime (with Geert Lovink, Pit Schultz, a.o.) and the Faces Mailing list (with Kathy Rae Huffman, Valie Djordjevic & Ushi Reiter), and as part of the Media Research Foundation, co-organized the MetaForum Conference Series in Budapest (with Janos Sugar and Geert Lovink). Diana was a co-founder of Mikro e.V. and the now defunct bootlab. Her main interests are exploiting social and technological systems for culture and real life.
reboot.fm | radia.fm | faces-l.net

Michelle Thorne is an American-born, Berlin-based Creative Commons activist. She holds a BA in Critical Social Thought and German Studies from Mount Holyoke College, USA, where she wrote an honors thesis on authorship, originality, and American copyright law. Michelle grew up in Heidelberg, Germany. She worked as the international project manager for Creative Commons from 2007 to 2011 and joined the Mozilla Foundation as Global Event Strategist in 2011. She is a founding member of the Awesome Foundation Berlin.
mozilla.org | awesomefoundation.org

Supermarkt Media Fem Photo: Helena Lingor @Supermarkt
Supermarkt Media Fem Photo: Helena Lingor @Supermarkt

Lost in Berlin
Thursday 4th April, 2013

 

I had high hopes of the Lost Lectures first foray into Berlin and wished to be enchanted as promised by the cleverly marketed event, which bills itself as using “incredible secret spaces that surprise, delight and bring the imagination to life.”

Ready to be amazed and taken somewhere completely out of the ordinary, the first disappointment was the choice of location. Stattbad Wedding, although a unique space, is a well-known venue that Berliners attend, usually for a much lower entrance fee. Sorry “lostlings”, while this may be incredible for someone from out-of-town, a decommissioned swimming pool regularly used for events is far from our most “secret” location – for anyone who lives here, it is simply part of the local cultural scene. The organisers need to dig a little deeper to find a local venue that fulfils their marketing pitch – in a city like Berlin it is not difficult to find unique, hidden and really special venues that aren’t traditionally used for events.

It was unfortunate that almost all the talks were riddled with technical problems – in part due to the location, as the audience was far away and out of sight of the speakers, who could sometimes hardly be heard over the echoes from vast tiled surfaces. Technical snafus ran the gamut from sound issues and malfunctioning speaker microphones, to speakers unable to hear audience questions, information disappearing as the presenter slides were not working and projections being difficult to see due to the dull projector and sight-line issues of the space.

The first half was underwhelming, three lectures were pitched to a basic introductory level and lacking in the level of interest, performative aspect or personal stories one needs to be “delighted.” Covering familiar topics (3D printing, fallen fruit maps and open data) from the extensive range of talks and events to which most people living in Berlin have access on a regular basis. Taking the event as one for people who would alternatively be drinking at the pub or watching TV, perhaps it has something more to offer, but for someone already informed about 3D printing, the fallen fruit maps and open government & data movements, these ideas were presented competently but without anything special to “enchant”.

While the neuroscience lecture intrigued me, I still didn’t quite get the shift in focus, which was largely about flies and leeches, and it seemed a stretch to extrapolate these to human free will.  One of my companions disagreed, saying she actually found it very interesting and liked the examples of fish and insects to show the creativity, randomness and unpredictability of nature, as well as free will, being crucial in natural selection and evolution.

The PARKOUR team display was brilliant, totally shifting the energy of the space and using the empty swimming pool as their jumping platform and diving board – energising adrenaline rush throughout the house. Their talk about how and why they do this urban street sport was equally intriguing, offering a sense of passion and humility, striving only to better their own attempts rather than competing with each other, and always reaching to leap that next wall.

Julius von Bismark talks about whipping nature and colouring pigeons
Julius von Bismarck talks about whipping nature and colouring pigeons

The absolute highlights were Peaches and “mystery guest X,” wildly inspiring Berlin artist Julius von Bismarck. His activities as artist in residence at CERN remain a mystery, however he notably won the Prix Ars Electronica in 2008 with his Image Fulgurator, a wonderful and strange apparatus that looks like a camera, but actually projects an image onto the object at which it is pointed, a subtle intervention which is only visible on the photo afterwards. These range from “NO” projected over the Pope, to the Mayor of Berlin, Klaus Wowereit being ‘powered’ by “O2” at the opening of “ART FORUM 2008” (02 World is a massive development along the River Spree), Obama having his lectern enhanced with an iconic cross, and one the most confusing to the tourists whose photos bore this strange unexpected image, a Magritte inspired dove fulguration on the Mao Zedong portrait at Tiananmen Square in Beijing.

“At sacred or popular locations, or those having a political connotation, an intervention with the Fulgurator can be particularly effective. Especially objects with a special aura or great symbolic power are good targets for this kind of manipulation. It is possible to have a lasting effect on those kinds of individual moments and events that become accessible to the masses only because they are preserved photographically. In this context the Fulgurator represents a manipulation of visual reality and so targets the very fabric of media memory.”

juliusvonbismarck_punishmentI_lake

There was something unbearably hilarious about watching his lanky form whipping nature, with his brilliant “Punishment 1” video. The artist is depicted wielding a long whip and ‘punishing nature’ from calm Swiss lakes to rocks, mountains and eventually where nature fights back with a strong ocean swell knocking him off his feet. His action on Liberty Island resulted in being arrested for carrying a weapon and his assistants for participating in an unauthorised performance – whipping the base of the Statue of Liberty. Sadly most of that footage was lost – confiscated by the representatives of said “Lady of Liberty”, however there remain some tourist videos and a short introduction to the piece, before the cops arrived. Next project is the somewhat odd coloured pigeons – look out for the yellow pigeon in Kreuzberg. Julian spoke very convincingly about how this introduction of colour to the pigeon population would allow people to focus on the sky and be aware of the city in a different way.

Julius von Bismarck Punishment I (nature fights back!)
Julius von Bismarck Punishment I (nature fights back!)

This strangeness and poetry in the subtlety of his interventions is exactly what makes all of these works so compelling. I find the title of the work when searching for the link: “Some pigeons are more equal than others”, which adds another layer of politics to this intelligent and thoughtful urban wildlife intervention. It’s far easier to see the effect with the documentation online than it was during the talk as the projection was not clear – the pink and blue pigeons flying over Venice are especially gorgeous and enchanting above the picturesque rooftops. I’m still wondering if Nikolai Tesla and his well documented romantic love for a pigeon had anything to do with inspiring this piece?

Julius von Bismarck "some pigeons are more equal than others" Venice
Julius von Bismarck “some pigeons are more equal than others” Venice

Finally, Peaches invited the audience to join her in the pool, where she gave a very personal and moving talk about her own journey to creative self expression, from teaching art in primary schools to dropping acid and jamming with strangers to unleash their freeform song writing. The forced audience participation was a little uncomfortable, as the vibe and energy never reached the pitch where people actually wanted to run down to wave their hands in the air. Although it was necessary for her performative talk this felt off kilter as a demand, especially in the context of talking about “creative freedom.” The moment when Peaches threatened the people looking from above to join in or she would accuse them of “looking down on her,” fell completely flat, particularly when intimating that this was a form of being fearless, which detracted rather glaringly from her stated ambition of fostering creativity.

Talking about naming herself after a line in a Nina Simone song was a charming insight into the process of developing her artist persona, as she imagined Nina singing “Her name is PEACHES” directly to her – not quite the same as “Her name is… Merrill.” After stripping off her excellent purple 80s sci-fi inspired designer onesie to reveal gold hotpants and donning a wild hot pink leather frilled-lizard style top, she asked everyone to raise their hands in support and walked out onto the crowd singing an incredible aria and directing the flow of hands to take her next step. Although you’re definitely preaching to the choir when telling an audience in Berlin to “embrace your creative spirit, take risks and become the person you can are meant to be”, this was a magic performative moment of connection and sent the audience out into the night on a high note.

Peaches_Uberlincouk

Peaches – Photo uberlin

Overall, I am glad I went along for the experience, not sure if I would go again… As the location was not particularly “enchanting” or magical, the sound was overridden by echoing tiles, and the decor of mismatched furniture much like any random corner Berlin bar, I was still impressed that the place was packed – selling out 350 tickets at €13-17 a pop, the organisers are clearly onto something. Wondering what their magic formula is – a mix of secret location, mystery guest, celebrity, new-in-town and really good PR? All of the lectures are generously available online, so you watch for yourself and decide if you want to make the effort next time.

Note to the London-based team, while it’s a great idea and clearly successful, please try to do more local research into places and speakers that are exciting for Berlin residents! Admittedly we are spoiled with the plethora of free or vastly more affordable talks, lectures, workshops, conferences and masterclasses on offer in Berlin on an almost daily basis. However, when you are asking a ticket price at over 17 euro, a much higher level of content curation and event production standards is needed if the Lost Lectures is to keep an audience for future Berlin editions.

Jodi Rose

Thanks to Michelle O’Brien for thoughtful comments & feedback, Leela Shanker for documentation and the organisers, speakers and audience for a thought-provoking evening.

stattbad_audience_lost

Lost in Berlin

Lost Lectures – Watch online

Julius von Bismarck
Image Fulgurator / Punishment I / Some Pigeons are more equal than others

Prix Ars Electronica Collide@CERN Artist Residency

Peaches

This evening I am going to the Lost Lectures with the seriously awesome Michelle O’Brien. Will report back!

LOST IN BERLIN

The Lost Lectures is a unique series of ‘Enchanting Talks from Secret Locations’.  We take lectures out of traditional corporate and academic environments and into incredible secret spaces that surprise, delight and bring the imagination to life. We invite a magically eclectic host of speakers: 6 per evening, from the worlds of science, art, design, business, blogging, entertainment and more.  Their talks range from the sublime to the ridiculous, which is just how we like it!

lostlectureslogo

BERLIN: April 4th 2013

Josef Průša: is considered something of a revolutionary: an open-source ‘genius’ and a pioneer in the world of  3D printing.  He’s one of the lead developers of theRepRap project: an open-source hardware project that is fundamentally changing the rules of manufacture, creating wealth without money (who needs money when you can make anything?), logistics (who needs deliveries when you have the blueprint?) and forging a new future seemingly without limits.  Josef is coming from Prague to share his 3D vision of the future and demonstrate his brilliant replicating machine.

Katharina Frosch is an economist and co-founder of Stadtgarten, a community-based gardening initiative that encourages would-be gardeners to use this public space to grow and harvest their own vegetables and share in the spoils: over 1000 servings of fresh, organic fruit and veg last year!  She is also the co-creator of Mundraub, an internet platform that enables users to share the location of fruit trees lying on common or non-farmed land so they can be tended and harvested.  Both projects have been awarded prizes by the German Council of Sustainable Development.  Katharina will talk about the importance of collaboration and community (both real and digital) in channelling the agricultural potential of our planet.

Prof. Björn Brembs:  is Professor of Neurogenetics at Regensburg University: he’s a prolific blogger and world authority on how the brain accomplishes adaptive behavioural choice, in other words how the brain is organised for reward, punishment and decision-making. In 15 minutes, he’ll describe a new understanding of neurons and circuits ending centuries of philosophical debate around the idea of ‘free will’ and use neuroscience to wrestle this term from its philosophical ancestry, the goal being to arrive at a scientific and factual understanding of the fascinating and uniquely human concept of free will.

Anke Domscheit-Berg is an entrepreneur and a campaigner for both open government and better opportunities for women in leadership roles.  She’s on the board of Government 2.0 and previously worked as Director of Government Relations & Innovation at Microsoft.  She’s the founder of FemPower, an organisation that advises female executives on how to break the glass ceiling andOpengov, a body that advises governments and policy makers to develop and implement open government strategies, making them more transparent and participative.  In her talk, Anke will reveal a new way of politics, one where government and civil society can collaborate, share data and work together towards common goals, creating a fairer, more open society.

Peaches is an electro artist known for her ravenously raunchy, gender-twisting mix of explosive electro-clash, with tracks like Fuck the Pain Away and Mommy Complex.  Music is just one element in her expansive oeuvre: throughout her career, she’s furthered her experimental sound and stage creations, allowing us to experience the evolution of the Peaches persona.  From electronic music machines to pink bathing suits, giant necklaces to hairy costumes, Peaches has pushed the boundaries of self-expression to their breaking point.  In this no-holds-barred performance (part talk, part interactive show), Peaches will demonstrate that it’s in losing fear that we will gain freedom of expression and experience real creativity.

We are planning to announce one final iconic speaker on the night itself (Lost X), we are still awaiting clarity on this, thus their identity must remain shrouded in mystery.

As always there’ll be a bar open till late, free-running demo from one of Germany’s foremost parkour crew, ParkourONE intro’d by Ben Scheffler as well as a musical mash-up of an interval, a chance to meet all the speakers and then, the afterparty!!

Until then, Lostlings… keep this to a whisper.