3hd Festival

How to be human: Creamcake’s 3hd Festival launches the ‘Fluid Wor(l)ds’ program around storytelling by writing their own history

22 October 2019

We are the stories we tell ourselves. The language we use and the histories we draw from form our identities, our cultures and the ways in which we communicate. These forms can change, of course, but they’re all part of a complex process of growth and self-discovery shaping how we exist inside the world. In celebrating five years of programming, Creamcake‘s 3hd Festival explores how its own identity—as an organization and an ever-developing community—has shifted and expanded in the half-decade since its inception in 2015.

Michele Rizzo, ‘HIGHER xtn.’ (2018). Performance view. Photo by Alwin Poiana. Courtesy of the artist.

Running from October 22 to 27, this year’s ‘Fluid Wor(l)ds’ program features interdisciplinary artists, writers, musicians and performers, producers, academics, designers and programmers, who share an online network. Selected participants are informed by what the press release calls “the art of storytelling” —whether it’s in Michele Rizzo’s rave choreography, or Georgian rappers KayaKata’s emancipatory experimental hip hop. The latter trio, informed by their ‘ghetto sci-fi’ universe—crossing music, text, animation, film, comics and more—are included on this mix from 3hd, along with tracks by Yen Tech, mobilegirl, Catnapp and many more. You can listen below:

Laurel Halo’s ‘Latency’ is also featured here, as she’ll be DJ-ing a chilled set at the ‘E-Waste. Heavy Metals’ event, alongside a performance by Geo Wyeth, high above the Berlin skyline in Kreuzberg’s Postscheckamt Tower. The location here is important because—as a defunct postal bank—the space is inscribed with its own hidden histories and shifting infrastructures of communication that reveal so much about our past, and thus the present and the future. Now a venue for hire, the building is also the site for a temporary 3hd gallery space, hosting the (Un-)Real E-state group exhibition, running for the duration of the festival. It features work by Ruth Angel Edwards, Julian-Jakob Kneer, HellFun, Shaun Motsi, Tarek Lakhrissi and Viviana Abelson, as well as Margaret Haines, whose contribution extends from the pockets of her three transparent pink raincoats displayed in the street-facing windows to cross-platform anthology Embedded Narratives.

Margaret Haines I dreamt in heaven (2017) Film still. Courtesy the artist + 1646, The Hague.

Edited by AQNB’s own Steph Kretowicz, the URL and IRL text connects across online and offline spaces via events, performances, pieces and hyperlinks, while drawing together new and old texts and commissions from the past five years of 3hd programming. One of these is an excerpt from Haines’ own upcoming interpretative biography of occult personality Cameron, called On Air: Purity, Corruption and Pollution, as well as new commissions from manuel arturo abreu and Sarah M. Harrison. A piece by Jen Rosenblit also features, its accompanying QR code leading to the ‘Laboratory for Feeling Right‘ web page, announcing a workshop that will run over three days during the festival. The project introduces open call respondents to using early intuition research for exchange and improvisation, building on and overwriting each other’s original content.

The night program will be packed with live music and DJ sets, where x/o, Qualiatik and Elvin Brandhi perform Traumabarundkino for ‘Switching Codes’ on Thursday. The ‘E-Work. Transcending Realities’ club night will happen in the same relatively new hybrid venue in a recently developed part of Berlin, with umru, Hyph11E and bod [包家巷] representing the future-forward subcultures that both draw from and feed into pop. London’s Curl collective—co-founded by Mica Levi, Brother May and Coby Sey—optimise the potential of the same space with their mutating interdisciplinary collaboration with Akinola Davies Jr., whose ‘Mayonnaise, Corn on the Cob and My Car’ film has its German premiere at 3hd.

Another Curl affiliate, Alpha Maid will perform her signature rock and electronic hybrid guitar music, channelling the everyday anxieties of living in a surveillance state, at one of two cross-disciplinary events, called ‘World Play I & II’. These evenings of sound, text and audio-visual performances at HAU Hebbel am Ufer feature artists, writers and musicians—Claudia Pagés and Freeka Tet on Friday, Ms. Carrie Stacks and Erica Scourti on Saturday—exploring narrative in our technologically dominated present. When it comes to digital culture, that narrative is vast and complex, and a continuous work in progress, a process of becoming.**

3hd Festival’s ‘Fluid Wor(l)ds’ program is on across venues in Berlin, running October 22 to 27, 2019.

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“Sell-out” isn’t such a dirty word anymore: On the effects of corporate & institutional co-optation within counterculture at the ‘Assimilation Politics’ roundtable

17 December 2018

“It’s really important that we try to look to other platforms to determine where our creative culture is coming from,” says producer and selector Ari Robey-Lawrence (aka The Neighbourhood Character) at the ‘Assimilation Politics‘ roundtable. “Because otherwise you’re stuck with three or four different platforms that all have various gatekeeping practices.” Hosted by AQNB editor, Steph Kretowicz, and also featuring fellow panellists Dorine van Meel and Philipp Rhensius, the event took place at Studio 1 of Berlin’s Künstquartier Bethanien as part of Berlin’s 3hd 2018: System.Lure on October 27.

The panel was put together to discuss what it means to ‘sell out’ — to compromise ones principles for support — a practice that is now widely accepted as a means for survival in an increasingly precarious gig economy. To sell-out is to live, and artists, producers, musicians, performers, writers have higher living costs, lower pay and fewer independent spaces to work in, outside of corporate interests. Instead of resisting the inevitable total subsumption of the margins by expanding markets, one can join in, get paid, gain visibility and work from the inside. But is this realistic, and what is the real cost of such a concession?

3hd 2018: System.Lure. Image by Salim Bayri. Courtesy Creamcake, Berlin.

The conversation is available to listen in full above, and it features artist and writer van Meel who works with socially engaged art, feminist methodologies and self-organization; writer, musicologist, musician and curator Rhensius; and producer and selector Robey-Lawrence whose work with intersectional and non-binary/queer identities proposes alternative avenues for socio-cultural mobility. Together with Kretowicz, they question the value of visibility and exposure outside of an artist’s original context, and explore the consequences of collusion with the capitalist or state prerogative.**

The Assimilation Politics panel discussion took place on October 27, 2018 at Künstlerhaus Bethanien as part of Berlin’s 3hd Festival 2018: System.Lure. The festival is curated and organised by Creamcake.

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‘Staying Present’: an AQNB x Video in Common screening rundown

26 October 2016

What happens to the present when we’re stuck in the future? AQNB editor Jean Kay, and Video in Common (ViC) presented the ‘Staying Present’ screening, reading and discussion at Berlin’s Vierte Welt, as part of the Creamcake-organised 3hd Festival, on Wednesday October 12.

In referring to the title of this year’s festival topic ‘There is nothing left but the future?’ AQNB x ViC focussed on the question mark, interrogating what is actually meant by ‘the future’ and whether the past has a role in determining it. The programme presented artists, musicians and ideas drawing on convention and tradition to comment on the contemporary condition by integrating old aesthetics, formats, media, practices and logics into producing new work.

‘Act I, Scene II’ of Jaakko Pallasvuo‘s The Hunchback of South Bermondsey sound piece — originally produced for quarterly podcast Status Effect — opened the event with a glimpse into a near neofeudal future. Armed with an “iPod Shuffle, your Master’s degree, the keys to your apartment”, a character called Lancelot navigated a play and a scene full of “wizadry, alchemy, allurement, sorcery”, while London-based producer Klein talked about the influence of Gospel music and the internet on her visceral vocal ambient project in an AQNB x ViC editorial video production.


Meanwhile, Gary Fembot and Easter combined and conflated contemporary issues and ideas with traditionally transgressive queer-punk aesthetics and outdated filming techniques in excerpts of their respective ‘Scream of the Mandrake’ and Sadness is an Evil Gas Inside of Me videos. Maxwell Sterling laid fielded footage of Los Angeles’ surreal landscapes over his ‘Hollywood Medieval’ music production, while Institute for New Feeling looked into the oracle of the online in a custom massage chair and screen experience in ‘seek: a self-fulfilling prophesy’. Finally, writer, artist and witch Martha Windahl of MW Tarotscopes drew up an astrological chart prediction and joined the Berlin event from her base in Los Angeles to predict the future of Europe, live and via Skype.

‘Staying Present’ follows a series of previous events organised by AQNB and video production partner ViC in Berlin, London, and Los Angeles –all key cultural centres in the collaboration’s network. Titled ‘The Future Is Here, It’s Just Not Evenly Distributed’, ‘At the Backend’ and ‘Accessing Economies: Engagement & Withdrawal’ together these programmes interrogated the systems and infrastructures embedded in networked communication, and how this affects distribution, flows of information and power, as well as language, community-building, identity formation and assimilation.

Below is the full programme of video, audio and stills of the works presented in their running order:

Jaakko Pallasvuo: The Hunchback of South Bermondsey, ‘Act I, Scene II’ (2015) [27:17 min]

Helsinki-based artist Jaakko Pallasvuo explores a dystopic future with a view of the contemporary, as well as the past, in a co-production with Roy Boswell. The sound piece, drawing from three years of three different eras — 2555AD, 1677 AD, and 2015 AD — presents a narrated play that mixes and confuses historical signifiers, only to draw parallels between systems of power and hierarchy across ages.

Klein: ‘Key Changes’ (2016) [6:54 min]

London-based producer and performer Klein talks about her influences spanning the breadth of the internet, from Kim Burrell to Pavarotti, and how it feels to be a self-taught musician and artist being embraced by the greater “electronic realm”. Klein released her first EP Lagata on September 1, where she produces a unique blend of athletic vocal exercises that clash and combine with noisy ambience.

Gary Fembot: ‘Scream of the Mandrake’ (2015) [16:00 min]

San Francisco-based musician, director and zine-maker Gary ‘Fembot’ Gregerson bids farewell to the old days of his Bay Area city’s liberal activism and queer counter-culture, now overrun by Silicon Valley tech employees and bourgeois boutique lifestyles. Using blanched Super 8mm film, Sta-Prest and Puce Moment band member Fembot draws on a specific aesthetic tradition of San Francisco’s radical punk past, while revealing the hollow corporate sprawl left at its disemboweled core.

Easter: Sadness is an Evil Gas Inside of Me, Episode 4, ‘The Age of Corn’ (2015) [17:06 min]

Berlin-based art and music duo Stine Omar and Max Boss of Easter present what their press release, written by Vika Kirchenbauer, calls a “soap opera in the guise of an essay film”. The four-episode series produced between 2014 and 2015 stages a world described as being in “absence of present”, one where multiple pasts emerge through the subconscious and internal worlds of its characters. Filmed with a camcorder and narrated by queer icon Vaginal DavisSadness is an Evil Gas Inside of Me contrasts high quality sound with the low resolution video material to construct its own “ambiguous future”.   

Maxwell Sterling: ‘Hollywood Medieval’ (2016) [7:32 min]

LA-based, Manchester-born musician and producer Maxwell Sterling takes his classical training in double-bass and experience in scoring film to produce live renditions of cult-producer James Ferraro‘s ‘Burning Prius’, as well as releasing his own music in recent album Hollywood Medieval on Los Angeles Memory No. 36 Recordings on August 6. Through cut-up and collaged images, and layered and augmented synthesiser samples and recordings, Sterling develops an audio-visual experience at the point where nature and the city collide.

Institute for New Feeling: ‘seek: a self-fulfilling prophesy’ (2016) [3:48 min]

Pittsburgh- and LA-based art collective Institute for New Feeling echo humanity’s age-old obsession with future-telling via the dystopian narrative of modern clairvoyance and its corporate co-option. A live personal session in a massage chair VR that uses personal internet search histories and online surveillance to produce a future reading, ‘seek: a self-fulfilling prophesy’ presents an oracle that offers a false sense of calm in the face of uncertainty.

Martha Windahl: Live Skype psychic Reading

LA-based artist, writer and witch Martha Windahl uses alternative logics and practices to make sense of a universe in chaos. Her ongoing performance and clairvoyant work emerged in the grip of the 2008 Global Economic Crisis, not only as a practical solution to fiscal insecurity but also in response to a growing demand for a new source of reason in an increasingly complex world.**

Martha Windahl, 'Staying Present chart, Oct 12, 2016, 6:00PM CEDT'. Courtesy the artist.
Martha Windahl, ‘Staying Present chart, Oct 12, 2016, 6:00PM CEDT’. Courtesy the artist.

aqnb x Video in Common’s screening ‘Staying Present’ was on at Berlin’s Vierte Welt as part of 3hd Festival, October 12, 2016.

Header image: Maxwell Sterling, ‘Hollywood Medieval’ (2016). Video still. Courtesy the artist.

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