Our festival is taking place in just two days, and it’s going to feel a bit strange. Because, unlike the previous five years, that doesn’t mean fetching a cable over here and checking the stock of drinks over there, while catching a few minutes of our new favourite band’s set from the edge of the stage on the way, before the next task is already waiting for us, the next problem to be solved. And finally, someone has to sweep up the shards of glass in the glaring light – bye and see you next year!
No, instead we will head to www.pop-kultur.berlin on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday at 8:20 p.m. CEST and stream what we’ve been working on for months: 36 audio-visual works, which have been realised throughout the world by old heroes and new hopes, and which have been compiled into a supercut of perspectives. And after that, we will continue to peruse the website, which has been converted into a media library, and take a look at a full-length Commissioned Work here, or bookmark a talk, there that we want to check out next week. On the website and, of course on our YouTube channel, all individual contributions will remain available, at full length, free of charge and permanently.
As strange as this all may feel, and not only for us, we’ve learned one thing over the past few months: When the world is turned on its head, pop and culture do not bury theirs in the sand. After countless video conferences, thousands of emails, on-site recordings in our studio at the Kulturbrauerei in Berlin and after all the instructive coordination from the external contributions, we’ve become all the more aware that the resilience, the ingenuity, the stamina and the visions of the participating artists are more than just pure professionalism. In our sixth edition, we can safely say that they have succeeded in redefining how community and solidarity need to be shaped on global and regional levels.
We’d be happy for you to join us. All of you. We have carried over our efforts for an accessible festival experience into the virtual sphere, just as we want to enable communication among the spectators and each other via the live chats with the YouTube streams, for example. The same applies to the digital space and all the social media accounts we manage: discrimination of any kind or its relativisation will not be tolerated.
On the first day of Pop-Kultur, there are a few old acquaintances with brand new material to share. Noga Erez, Hendrik Otremba, the RambaZamba-Theater house band 21 Downbeat, the Hamburg experimental musician Preach and Yeşim Duman have already participated in previous editions of the festival. In Wednesday’s Show, they will meet The Notwist, who will present a song from their upcoming album, and Wanlov the Kubolor of the Ghanaian duo FOKN Bois, who are the focus of the documentary »Contradict. Ideas for a New World,« which can also be viewed in the Pop-Kultur programme. They will be joined by Yugen Blakrok, CATNAPP with her commissioned work, the duo MADANII & LLUCID and a talk about art, music and crisis in times of the Coronavirus.
On the second day of Pop-Kultur, Canadian artist Jessy Lanza will play us her favourite chord progressions, while Berlin-based Tellavision and Tel Aviv-based Echo will present the results of their digital, transcontinentalen residency. Of course, there is plenty more. Chikiss will breathe new musical life into avant-garde silent and horror films, hackedepicciotto will get remixed live by the Gebrüder Teichmann and Rafael-Evitan Grombelka will interpret the Erregung Öffentlicher Erregung song »Kein Bock auf Frühstück« (»Can’t Be Bothered for Breakfast«) in German Sign Language. In addition to these three Commissioned Works, Pamela Owusu-Brenyah will discuss the do-it-yourself principles of African festivals with the guests of her talk, while Theodora, Mavi Phoenix, Eden Derso, SADO OPERA, The Düsseldorf Düsterboys and 24/7 Diva Heaven will appear with primarily music-oriented contributions.
On third day of Pop-Kultur, präsentieren Isolation Berlin will present music from their upcoming album and King Khan his commissioned work »Rat-Tribution Now.«Like Khan, kCartel Madras hail from Canada and have produced one of the externally produced Digital Works, which have also been provided for today’s programme by multitalents Evija Vēbere and JOJO ABOT as well as the post-punk duo Super Besse, who are based in Minsk and Berlin. In addition to a special performance by the Berlin queer punk band Eat Lipstick, a videozine by the duo Mueran Humanos and an ambivalent tribute to the city of Berlin by actor Ace Mahbaz in German Sign Language, Mpho Sebina & S.Fidelity will share the results of their Goethe Residency, while Ted Gaier will talk with the author Claudia Basrawi about the topics of his essay collection »Argumentepanzer« for his commissioned work.
But you know what? What we’d like the most would be if we all met at 20:20 on the 26th, 27th and 28th of August at www.pop-kultur.berlin and allow ourselves to be surprised by what’s in store. Everyone somewhere else, yet together.