The Long Now at Berlin Kraftwerk Post Reflections

As I was telling you, last weekend was no regular one for Berliners, as Berlin Atonal teamed up with Berliner Festspiele for the time-bending The Long Now, the closing event of the MaerzMusik − Festival for Time Issues 2015. Despite a very detailed description of concerts, acts and installations, I didn’t know what to expect.
It was my first time at Kraftwerk, one of Berlin’s most majestic industrial landmarks. The brutalist structures might have seemed a lot more intimidating if it hadn’t been for a carefully set up array of blue and red lights and paths of cold white neon, paired with their respective audio-video pieces. But that was just the ground floor setup. Here you could also take a small break in the nesty micro-food court, while echoes from the main floor were pouring down through a mesh net separating the two levels.

With a duration of over 24 hours and guests being encouraged to spend the night over, it was easy to choose a folding bed and a noisy-chic gold foil cover-blanket. Although I went in during daylight, the overall local color inside was pitch black, with random sparks of the aforementioned garbs.

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Moving onto the main level, I was lucky to witness American pianist Jean-Luc Fafchamps graciously execute Morton Feldman’s ‘Triadic Memories’ bathed in a sole cone of light, surrounded by curious eyes and ears, watching from obscurity.

While the audience seemed to be more mature during the day, when the night came and it was time for Mika Vainio and Actress’s performance, the faces in the crowd changed a bit. Actress’s set was incredibly raw experimental at first, with people just silently watching and finding their own rhythm patterns over long period of syncopated audio thrusts.

Slowly, but surely, the entire room was coming both closer to the stage as well as to a very fine boiling point. The entire build up was filling the room with a quietly anchored anticipation. By the end of the night, the whole mise en scene turned into a Berghain-worthy full fledged party scene, with people cheering and dancing, leaving all seats and previous mindsets behind. The set extended towards 1 am, leaving dancers equally satisfied and at the same time craving more. Luckily, the after party was to follow, but that’s a different story.

The Long Now felt like an experimental time capsular adventure, complete with all sorts of creative stimuli that simply make for more impatience about the Berlin Atonal Festival coming up this summer. See you there!