As part of the Mitte-based venue’s progressive and inclusive agenda in unconventional settings, the night follows a series of events crossing disciplines—including dance, fashion, film, video art and, of course, music—since opening mid last year. The show ends 2019 by staying true to the venue’s focus on collaboration, intimacy and community with its programming, where Birmingham-based industrial techno producer Anthony Child (aka Surgeon)’s The Transcendence Orchestra project with Dan Bean of Bleep43 headline. Artist Darren Russell (aka Paddy Shine of Manchester psych band Gnod) joins them, with set design by Theresa Baumgartner.
The night will also include a rare performance from Caterina Barbieri and Carlo Maria Amadio’s Punctum collaboration, which reduces sound to its bare bones and explores abyssal sonic spaces. Club Chai affiliate Thoom will also be there to apply her percussive voice and drone style to a special set that oscillates between themes of vulnerability, playfulness and provocation by using repetition, utterances and song . Meanwhile, sound artist and composer Hatam—who is one half of Hacklander \ Hatam, a member of Labour and co-founder of NK Projekt space—will DJ to close.
As goes the age-old adage about any one place where you stand still for long enough, Berlin isn’t what it used to be. It’s a city that had seen countless regime changes since it was founded in the 13th century (not mentioning the three in the 30 years between World War I and II) long before it was synonymous with the emancipatory club culture that occupied the abandoned power stations, warehouses and office buildings post-reunification. Within the contemporary reality of accelerated capital, however, the very vibrant art and music scenes that have flourished around these often industrial or working-class areas has succumbed to the common cancer of gentrification and corporate crawl. Where once there were cooperatives, are now shared workspaces; where there used to be squats, now stand well-appointed pre-war apartments for rent on Airbnb.
At one and a half years old, Traumabarundkino does something different. It’s barely six months older than the new build on the old railway yard where it’s situated—between the Hauptbanhof central train station and government district of Berlin-Mitte—and yet it still holds space for the dynamic underground community it both supports and promotes. Wedged between a billiard hall, an architecture firm and a CrossFit centre, the relatively new hybrid venue has come to represent a haven of the old Berlin within the corporatised urban development around it since June 2018. The bar and cinema played host to 3hd Festival’s club night and screening program in October this year, where musicians and producers, artists and filmmakers performed and screened work in the dimly lit and grated interior. Hyph11E, bod [包家巷] and Sophie presented DJ sets, while Yen Tech, Curl and Akinola Davis Jr. played live in the encompassing multidisciplinary environment located on the East Berlin border.
Traumabarundkino’s relative isolation from the distinct networks and closed communities of East Berlin’s underground allows it to explore art removed of its usual context and in opposition to the venue’s very corporate environs outside. While the nearby Quartier Heidestrasse describes its mission as a “sustainable and future-proof” centre with all the amenities, this subversive pocket applies a similarly multipurpose approach to serving its entirely non-conformist ends. With an eye for running it independently in the near future, Traumabarundkino’s developing film program has screened Zach Blas’ rumination on internet-enabled state oppression and accelerated capitalism in ‘Contra-Internet: Jubilee 2033’. Artists Constant Dullaart and Jesper Just have shown work too, while queer dance and fashion has also found a home within the unconventional confines of the bunker-like space on the margins.
In reverence to this spirit of community, collaboration and survival in the face of capitalism’s neo-colonial imperative, Traumabarundkino will be presenting a night of contrasts headlined by ‘Birmingham sound’ industrial techno producer Surgeon’s The Transcendence Orchestra project with Daniel Bean on December 13. Their ambient drone uses electronics alongside esoteric instruments to explore its effect on consciousness, in the same way that Caterina Barbieri and Carlo Maria Amadio’s Punctum support looks at perception within minimal composition and analogue synths. Beirut-born, Chicago-raised Club Chai artist Thoom reflects on the constantly shifting landscape of the politically volatile Lebanese capital through her tense constructions of Arabic percussion crossing themes of Midwest American industry. Closing with a specialist DJ set from sound artist and composer Hatam, the event is just one of many evidences that the radical potential of art is still there, you just have to look harder to find it.**