Author: Pit Schultz --- Date: 04/18/96 --- Copyright: ThingReviews NYC

I woke up at 2:30 pm to the phone ringing--it was my parents announcing a visit and asking for a key. Outside the birds were singing and children were playing and people were sitting along the sidewalk 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 to have breakfast(a big doener kebab, orange juice and a McCoffee). The area at the base of the TV-tower used to be the perfect spot for an East-Berliner to take a Sunday stroll; at the moment it's caught in the throes of renovation, but still textured with graffiti, somehow still in the hands of eastern Europe. Cheap little shops and the mix of people they attract(not the kind featured in the glossy pages of "Zukunft Berlin")are being replaced with western megastores anxious to snap-up prime real-estate. Entering this part of town and surveying the broad skyline, one can't help but feel the effects of the socialist kosmos architecture that laid the foundation. Hosts of of logos, which sit perched high on the constuction scaffolds, represent a not-so-new order of competitive commerce which is subverted by the pathos of a lost utopia. The poetic flickering of neon signs seems to hold hope for an end to self-referential capitalism. A flock of punks lounging on the stairs in front of Burger King; the throwing of beer bottles; dogs barking.

Then I went to the Shell station to put some oil on my bike's squeaky chain. Some kids were trying to buy four packs of cigarettes(for their father...). I tried to help them but the guy at the counter resisted--"there are cameras everywhere!." So I travelled on to Potsdamer Platz, just to navigate the funny curves there and to check out the contruction, like hundreds of other people. Today Mercedes Benz was selling beer in front of the "Red Info Box" and families were gathering between the still-standing cranes and mountains of sand. It must have been quite similar 42 years ago, when they started building up "Germania".

Later I went over to Wilhelmsstrasse where one is confronted with E-Werk, a former electric-plant which has been transformed into a "touristic-techno-temple." I traded my 10DM for a chance to see the third "Chromapark TechnoArt Exhibit" and to write something down about it. This year's motto--"Die Natur der Zukunft"--had inspired a series of colorful, blinking, moving and semiotified installations, back-lighted PhotoShop collages, telekinetic plasma tubes, postmodern walking TV titles, jaggy mandalas, painted amorph blobs, slightly pornographic anime, font-design, lots of plexi-glass, Tokyo-logos, some poorly configured HP web-terminals, and some shameless test-the-camel event marketing. The whole thing was a perfect backdrop for "hip" news reports and a must-see for adventure-seeking adolescent visitors from western and southern Germany. I felt a parallel between the "future is now" mindset of pre-wall society and the present production of "hipness", both of which function through homogenizing the wishes of the many.

After coffee at Kaffee Adler, at Checkpoint Charlie, where I watched tourists and looked at the Philip Johnson retro-modern mini-skyscraper under construction, I drove over to Internationale Stadt (Prinzessinstrasse 11) to check my email. Everyone is scrambling to adapt to the new time ushered in by the net--yesterday's "access for all" has become overnight "online business." Lost naiveté: the enthusiasm of autonomous creativity gets integrated into the circulatory logic of the divine code of money.

A few hours later it was already dark and I went to the Friseur (Kronenstrasse 3, will get demolished this summer) which offered SPANK: a two-floor, 6-dj mixture of house, electro, and drum & bass. An intense, yet relaxed party beat with a coherent groove and a raw, bouncing, hypnotic surface. The people there seemed to be having fun without subjecting themselves to "techno-youth-culture" or the propagandizing pressure of being hip and new.

After checking out some amazing computer-edited, hyper-corporate video-loops from Daniel Pflumm at Panasonic(Invalidenstrasse 31), I decided it was time for a last drink at WMF(Burgstrasse 29). It's the only really "clubby" place in Berlin at the moment, sort of media-savvy, somewhat cosmopolitan, somewhat underground, something too tasty for TechnoTourists and too commercial for purists. It's the club for the youth of the new capital.

There are more than 20 clubs in Berlin--it's the only cultural export the city has. The art world can try to coopt it, but nobody else cares. Instead they just make fun with decorative art(and its sponsors) to show the flow of "creativity", sounds, and money in this singular end-of-the milleniem culture.

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susan --

"The people there seemed to be having fun without subjecting themselves to 'techno-youth-culture'" WARNING: subjecting yourself to techno-youth-culture can yield intense pleasure


tja pit da ist ja richtig viel los in berlin ariane

pit --

>The poetic flickering of neon signs seems to hold hope for an >end to self-referential capitalism. 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.