From Alexanderplatz to Chromapark

Pit Schultz

I woke up when the phone rang 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 at the sun. The first warm day of 1996. I pumped up my MOTOBECANE and went for a ride to Alexanderplatz to have a breakfast (a big Doener, orange juice and a McCoffee). This 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 changes, suburbanized and under renovation, textured with graffities and still in the hand of East Europe. Little low pricey shops and standard pre-fab vendors around coexisting with western megastores attracting a mix of people which don't appear in the glossy catalogues of 'Zukunft Berlin'. - It's always a feeling of expansion in the head and shoulders when one enters this area and its wide skyline, which followed the unearthly plan of a socialistic kosmos architecture. The logo gallery on the framing buildings represents the not-so-new order of competitive commerce and establish a semiotic regime which gets subverted by the pathos of a lost utopia, so the neons imitate 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, throwing around around cans of beer, laughing with the barking 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 packs of cigarretes (no, not PHILIP MORRIS) for their father. I helped them, but the guy at the counter tried to resist "here, there are cameras everywhere". Nonetheless I went to the Potsdamer Platz, just to ride the funny curves there and inspected the construction process like hundreds of other visitors. This day, MERCEDES BENZ or someone, in front of 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 E-WERK, a former electric plant and 'touristic techno temple' which got their endangered contracts prolongated after the Loveparade (400.000 visitors) and by an 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, FONTSHOP's 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 codes for technocultural novelty were appropriating what one has seen already in two dimensions in zines like 'frontpage', 'raver's nature', 'partysan' that don't reach the level of complexity of the 2000 records DJs have to filter every week. A perfect background for 'young' TV reports and a must for adventure seeking adolescent visitors from West and South Germany, these aesthetics manifest the commodification 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 as Pop&Rock.

After having a coffee at Kaffee Adler at Checkpoint Charlie to watch tourists watch how fast they build up the new Philip Johnson retromodernist mini-scyscraper, I rode 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. 'Content business' is today what once was 'access for all'. Lost naivity: The enthusiasm of autonomous creativity gets 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 are not big issues in a struggling web-tribe. No problem with my Ost-phone line from the 30ies which doesn't allow data transmission longer than 3 minutes.

Some hours later, it was already dark, I went over to the FRISEUR (Kronenstr. 3, it will get demolished this summer) which brought SPANK: a two floor, 6 DJs, combinative sound of House, Electro, and Drum & Bass. An intensive and relaxed party beat with a coherent vivid groove and a raw, bouncing and hypnotic surface. The people there obviously had fun, without subjectifying 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 recombination of the Drum & Bass I heard at 'DESIRE', the E-WERK expo-extension, a kind of synthetic, smoothed, coopted and mass-compatible Movie-soundtrack-version of what was once called Jungle.

After a while I changed my 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 onto a level of abstract jewelery where tons of filtered patterns and styles reflect. 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, make you even decide this and that, don't they have an ethic dimension far away from the pastoral voice of a text and its buzz-words?

It was getting late, I'd 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. It began at another place 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. WMF is already a club for the youth of the new capital. Clubs are the only functioning export article here, and there are more then 20 clubs in this city. The artworld can try to coopt it but nobody else ever cares about it, 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.