Turn on, UN TUNE, drop out

Last weekend the 16th edition of the CTM festival started off with the UN TUNE theme reflecting the ‘adventurous music and art’. Stating the obvious, I have partially chosen Berlin as my destination for the variety of techno-related happenings literally around my corner. And as a rather faithful person I try to visit the local parish, Berghain on Sundays. So the CTM has been on my radar for a while now, even though the price of the pass seemed exorbitant. All in all, I’ve decided just for the two events so far.

Now I have to eat my own words, as the opening concert in HAU and follow up in YAAM (former place of cult Maria am Ufer) knocked me off my feet. Highlights so far? Definitely Thomas Ankersmit who explored the in-ear sounds, professionally known as otoacustic emission. My personally admired photographer and performer Nan Goldin who joined Soundwalk Collective for the World Premiere of ‘Closer to Knive: Memoirs of Desintegration’ inspired by darker than noir shorts from David Wojnarowicz. And the 2014 revelation from the neighbouring Poland: Zamilska.

I did not expect such a sensatory-awakening, limits-surpassing performance, taking it for purely marketing. For those in town who want to explore the CTM’s magic behind the sounds, I recommend the quirky exhibition in the Kunstraum Kreuzberg Bethanien. If you are lucky (?), a special machine will immitate a loud sound one of its kind. You never know when it’d happen, whether it is while discovering the sound of concrete in a special tunes, or visiting one of the endarkened rooms. Not to mention that this Wednesday the ‘sibling festival’, Transmediale kicks off. Makes me wanna say thank God it’s Monday, but actually it’s the whole week that looks incredibly interesting.

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Don’t walk. Dance!

The very first profession I ever wanted to be was some sort of a ballerina. As soon as I started moaning about it to my parents when I was around 5 or 6 years old, my rational mother confronted me with the fact that I would substantially need to change my diet habits to pursue my dream destination. My motivation level was close to 0 already, but meeting a ballet teacher at an actual interview convinced my 6-year-old-self that maybe I shouldn’t necessarily take this direction. I ended up in quite an unusual experimental school where we expressed ourselves through art in a broad sense and shaped me greatly.

I eventually ended up doing something completely different, but the joint passion for music and motion made me a good customer of contemporary dance theatres and studios’ performances. Last week I could follow Tanztage (literally Dance Days) in Sophiensaele – a bunch of new, international modern dance productions. Some remarkable and funny including Lea Moro’s Baller for a Single Body interpreting classical Le Sacre du Printemps and Adriana Seecker’s Meet Me As a Stranger.

This made me investigate a little bit more about the Berliner contemporary dance scene, and actually made me think I could  come back to dancing. Just for fun, to please my inner child in me? 30 cms above the sidewalks, let’s put on the red shoes and don’t walk, dance.

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Swimming in sound

Berlin is definitely a place for water-loving people. I wouldn’t notice it at the beginning when I relocated straight from the Barcelona’s peninsular neighbourhood Barceloneta to hipstery bezirk of Friedrichshein. But now it’s almost three months I’ve been living in Berlin and happily settled in a flat overlooking the river Spree that actually gave partial inspiration to this post.

Winter has not been too extreme so far, but as my thoughts look so much forward to the springtime, I’ve investigated about open air swimming pools, lakesides, etc. The offer looks indeed super-promising, from open air sites to boat rental.

However, lately I’ve visited a very special swimming pool, Stattbad Wedding. Built over 100 years ago, it had served as a public pool for a long while till in the new millenium was turned into the particular cultural centre. During the weekend, Stattbad hosts some of the best deep house and techno line-ups in town, under the labels of Grounded Theory or Stattnacht. Apart from the club scene, various concerts and foodie events also regularly take place.

So, despite the weather, awaiting the springrtime and real water pleasures, I truly recommend to immerse into the sounds of the city and swim along with the happy crowd!

Update: Unfortunately, after happy years of swimming in sound, Stattbad has been closed definitely given the vague decision and anonymous complaints from the neighbourhood in June 2015. Yet one place less on the Berlin’s most interesting guide to clubs…

New Year’s on the Devil’s Mountain

On a sunny 1st day of January together with my visiting friend, we decided to discover one of the most quirky building in Berlin: Teufelsberg Abhoerstation. Back in a day it used to serve as CIA’s listening station, even though it was maybe not the most discreet Cold War time place one could imagine. Nowadays it’s owned by a private investor, turning slowly but surely into a derelict building.

Located in the Western part of the city, it is easily accessible by S- and U-Bahn (the closest station: Heerstrasse) and 30 minutes walk through the Grunewald forest. Teufelsberg (literally translated as: Devil’s Mountain) is an interesting place itself, given its origin. This highest peak of Berlin was constructed on the ruins dating back the II WW.

The easiest but not cheapest way to access the Listening Station is to take part of the tour which gathers every full hour and costs 7 EUR per visitor. There are also night tours offered with a more detailed description of the history. During the tour one can enter the building, including the highest standing tower. From my perspective, I would recommend wearing warm clothes and a lantern as there are strong winds and not all the staircases are lit up by the daylight.

This mysterious, abandoned place leaves our imagination play with what sort of messages were circulating in the Station back in the day, and offers spectacular views over the magic skyline of Berlin. Way to start 2015!