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Single Room


Project Florian Wüst .Next Project...


SCREAMING CITY: WEST BERLIN 1980s


Babylon Lounge, Istanbul

April 30, 2009 
 

Curated by Florian Wüst. Presented in collaboration with Apartman Projesi. 
 

Between the end of the 1970s and the fall of the Berlin Wall in November 1989, a vast number of films were produced in and about West Berlin, dealing with the ambivalent realities of the enclosed city. Highly subsidized by the Federal Republic of Germany as a "shop window of the Free West", West Berlin had become an island, an inverted fortress for all those who saught to live without economical pressures, and to express themselves by all means. It wasn't about devoting oneself to the World Revolution anymore, but to implement alternative ways of housing, giving rise to social resistance, strident underground cultures and sexual border-crossing. Pessimism and apocalyptic moods, not least driven by the enhanced arms race and nuclear threats of the Cold War era, mixed with extravagance and dilettantism, punk and queerness.  

Where images lived a special life inmidst the deadlock of socialist and capitalist ideologies, an idiosyncratic crossover of music, performance, art and super-8 movement developed. The extraordinary activity of the various individuals, groups and institutions working with film and video in West Berlin in the 1980s was subject to an extensive retrospective, Who says concrete doesn't burn, have you tried?, at Kino Arsenal, Berlin, in 2006. Recently, the two curators of the series, Stefanie Schulte Strathaus and Florian Wüst, published a book of the same title. 

The double feature screening at Babylon Lounge comprises a shorts program and a feature length experimental movie, and focuses especially on the role of music, from Pere Ubu and Dead Kennedys to The Birthday Party, Abwärts and Malaria. The films by Brigitte Bühler & Dieter Hormel, Christoph Doering, Horst Markgraf and Die Tödliche Doris address the pathological condition of a militarized world, and meets it with dark fantasy and sensual ecstasy. Christoph Dreher and Heiner Mühlenbrock's OKAY OKAY. Der moderne Tanz travels through industrial landscapes and urban decay, interspersed with camera footage of live concerts and staged performances. The delicate choice of songs by The Residents, Throbbing Gristle, Wire, and above all Pere Ubu, amongst many others, not only underscores the images, it rather builds the core of the film: a radical approach to contemporary life profoundly influenced by punk, post-punk and new wave. 
 
 

Program 
 

7pm 

Norma L.

Horst Markgraf, BRD 1983, 6' 

A young woman in a scarcely lit space, dressing up, polishing her nails, while the camera continuously drifts into darkness. A performance of solitude and vain, set to the music of The Birthday Party, with singer Nick Cave. The title of the film, Norma L., plays with the creation of a fictive persona that refers to the actress's fascination with Marilyn Monroe before she became a star and was still known under her real name Norma Jeane Mortenson. 
 

a-b-city

Brigitte Bühler, Dieter Hormel, BRD 1985, 8' 

Accompanied by a score composed of music by Pere Ubu and Einstürzende Neubauten, a-b-city revolves around West-Berlin's psychodelic atmosphere. Brigitte Bühler and Dieter Hormel, who were renown for their fast paced and skillfully edited Super-8 clips, mix TV images and time-lapse shots of nightly streets, drifting clouds, and a man continuously jumping in front of the Berlin Wall. The video brings about an impression of the enclosed city that constantly shifts between ecstacy and depression. 
 

Persona Non Grata

Christoph Doering, BRD 1981, 16' 

The world at war plays on a TV screen in an empty space. While the light sets over the city, a young man eventually takes the TV and throws it out of the window. This is the moment for him to head out into the dark, ecstatic jungle of the night full of punk music, drugs and wild drives over the city's highway. The films of Christoph Doering, who was a member of the artist group Notorische Reflexe, are key to West Berlin's notorious Super-8 avant-garde of the early 1980s.
 

Geld

Brigitte Bühler, Dieter Hormel, BRD 1983, 4' 

Even before music videos revolutionized the industry and MTV arrived in Germany, Geld (Money) was produced and released as a video clip for the all-female band Malaria!. Bühler and Hormel shot the band members around Gudrun Gut and Bettina Köster in an empty cellar. Streaks of light were projected onto the musician's faces and androgynous bodies, and refilmed on Super-8 so that they seem to peek out from behind a layer of torn darkness. This low-tech effect combined with double exposure and cross fading creates a striking visualization of the nebulous lyrics of the song: "there is no clarity / there is no fog / ah, if I weren't hungy / how happy would I be / our belief is our world / our belief is our money." 
 

Naturkatastrophenkonzert

Die Tödliche Doris, BRD 1983, 3' 

On a sand heap in front of the Berlin Wall, Die Tödliche Doris stages their Naturkatastrophenkonzert (Natural Catastrophy Concert), shot on video for West German TV.  After the microphone has been set on fire, short musical pieces are played in an overly amateurish fashion. The group around Wolfgang Müller, Käthe Kruse and Nikolaus Utermöhlen existed from 1980–87, and represented one of West-Berlin's most idiosyncratic artistic formations that mixed music, art, performance, and film. 
 
 

8pm  

OKAY OKAY. Der moderne Tanz

Christoph Dreher, Heiner Mühlenbrock, BRD 1980, 90' 

Produced at the German Film and Television Academy in Berlin (dffb), OKAY OKAY. Der moderne Tanz (OKAY OKAY. The Modern Dance) is a music film in its best sense: a timeless selection of punk, post-punk and new wave songs (amongst others Pere Ubu, Throbbing Gristle, Wire, The Red Crayola) defines the mood and rhythm of the film. With each new song, Christoph Dreher and Heiner Mühlenbrock introduce a new situation or locality, comprised mostly of fragments of a man made world empty of people: waste sites, garages, industrial chimneys, and run down housing blocks. It is from these post-apocalyptic landscapes that both the music and film draw their energy and living resistance. 
 
 

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www.b-books.de/verlag/beton/index.html

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Thi

Florian Wüst
This Project is  supported by/ Bu projede destegi olanlar
Pera 117
Babylone