Detroit – Berlin: One Circle

  • Festival

“Detroit-Berlin: One Circle” traces the intimate relationship between two repeatedly written off and yet symbolically over-determined places. The image of a civilization in ruins that has been associated with both cities evokes an almost mythological anti-glamorous austerity. At the same time, both cities have been, in the pop-cultural consciousness since the 1980s, invariably connected to the rapid development and dissemination of techno music. The festival does, however, not only focus on these rich musical exchanges, but also acknowledges the productive fields of artistic and urban policy debate.

The reception and distribution of the kind of techno music that emerged in Detroit in the 1980s also paved the way for Berlin to become a metropolis for electronic music. HAU Hebbel am Ufer honors this fact, whose historical importance continues to exert influences today, through a club night in Berlin’s Tresor club and many live concerts. Cultural producers from both cities will explore the question of how techno came to Europe—and will also take a look at Berlin’s nightlife culture to envision a future scenario for the city of Detroit.

Roundtables will examine how individual radio shows can make a difference. Cultural producers will team up with urbanologists from Berlin and Detroit to think about the possibilities that emerge in a post-industrial city. A comparison of both cities will on the one hand reflect on themes like gentrification, displacement, and austerity while it will on the other hand analyze common consequences of an “urban boosterism“ that regards city life predominantly as an economical resource.

The interdisciplinary artist Tiff Massey has created a singular performance for the festival, which will take up the discourse on “creative cities” and discuss its paradoxical relationality. In preparation for the festival, Baly Nguyễn, the SDW e.V. group, and Kotti Shop traveled to Detroit in preparation for the festival: they will present the results of their artist residencies at HAU3 as well as in an outdoor installation.

The festival “Detroit – Berlin: One Circle” opens up a range of aspects, which are presented in specific formats and which create, through intense collaborations between agents from both cities, synergies that will long outlast the festival.