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Where to witness Berlin's alternative art scene

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Hi everyone,

 

As it's my first post, I'm introducing me and my situation in some short words.

I've lived in Berlin for almost 2 months now, and I'm staying until the middle of July. I'm a french student and an internship brought me here. I have to make music videos and promotion videos for a small electro music label called BlackFoxMusic. I came here with a friend of mine who is doing their website.

 

I had a lot of expectations about Berlin as so-called capitol of electronic music in Europe. But in effect, I must confess I'm disappointed and disillusioned. Most of the stages are performing techno/minimal when I would expect some places with (among others) experimental electronica, glitch music and such.

I'm a musician myself and musical performances is exactly what I am looking for. Actually I'm not stuck to electronic musics, free jazz, contemporary music and lots of more fit my tastes...

 

Despite this music fact, meeting people is also not as easy as I expected for the ones like me, who don't know any Berliner.

Everyone I have asked told me that I could find what I expect in the "underground" scene. I did my best to find such places but again, with no one to lead me this is rather tough.

 

I'm 19 and even though I'm usually rather communicative and friendly, I feel there is something wrong here that split me from the local livings (even around my age). The bigger the city is, the easier it is to feel lost and lonely, isn't it?

 

My topic, as I previously mentionned, is video. I'm sure it is possible to find video-artists here, to see their work, to meet them and to meet people like me, willing to do such works.

 

As its name explains it very well, a underground scene is not the kind of scene I could get in touch with that easily. Moreover, my very very basic knowledge in German (I'm barely able to ask my way), is again a barreer that prevents me from being tightly connected to the locals.

 

In a nutshell, would you have any places to advice me to go? My point is to experience something at once artistically and humanly enriching, as well as typically Berliner!

I would feel really frustrated to be back to France and say to myself I only did what the tourist guides advice.

 

Thank you in advance for any answer. Please forgive me if I'm not always perfectly able to express myself in English. I'm doing my best though.

 

Séraphin

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Salut Séraphin!

 

I know the feeling, being in a large city, not knowing your way around - finding it a challenge to hook up with people you want to hang out with.

 

I wish I knew more about the video (and/or elec. music scene) - actually, I opened this thread hoping to find out more about it. I've lived in Berlin some 3 yrs. now (I'm an American) and haven't really investigated those art branches much at all here.

 

I would check out the Universität der Künste (UdK) right next to the Brandenburg Gate (south of the gate, on Pariser Platz). I know they do video there, and you could probably contact students there who know their way around Berlin.

 

Good luck! /Bonne chance!

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I'll be going to this Art Uni, good idea. They must have a wall or a forum where I could write an announcement I bet.

 

I say this topic about experimental music actually. There are some interesting places I subscribed the newsletter of, but not only am I looking for music places but art in general and more especially locations where it's easy to get in contact to people.

 

Thanks for the answers anyway, if anything else comes to your mind, I'll be definitely glad to :)

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Although it may be hard at first getting through the (many) arts listings in German, try the Art & Culture section of Spotted by Locals There are some great tips on some affordable/free alternative arts stuff in there, all in English. Keep an eye on the listings for events at places like Kunsthaus Tacheles and Casseopeia, which attract enough French/English-speaking newcomers and visitors that they might feel more welcoming than the "real" underground.

 

Don't rule out the queer alternative scene in Berlin, even if you're not gay. It's far, far friendlier, and unlike the rest of the world you can actually hear interesting music in some Berlin queer parties.

 

As for meeting people...my impression after 1 month was that Berlin is the most friendly, genuine, and warm-hearted city of any size in Europe, but there's a always a thin layer of ice to break through with everyone if you're a lone stranger who doesn't speak German. I recommend spending some time in outdoor, non-commercial gatherings whenever possible - the Admiralsbrücke at sunset, Müggelsee or Tiergarten or any neighborhood square on a warm afternoon, the many street parties happening throughout the summer, the wide awn of Görlitzer Park on a weekend evening, etc. It's easier to strike up conversations in chilled-out environments like this than at bars, clubs, or gigs, which are too loud and cliquey most of the time.

 

And try to stay positive; the fastest route to social excommunication is complaining about your host city, even if everything you say is true. Salivating all over yourself about how much you love Berlin is an amazingly effective social lubricant, and within a few days of smiling at strangers and sharing your six-packs, I promise the city will slide right down onto your...personality.

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I live right next door to a video art gallery.. Art Claims Impulse http://www.art-claims-impulse.com/

I think they are installing something new at the moment but are opening again the end of June.

 

Also, a few more doors in the opposite direction is a bar called Madame Claude http://www.myspace.com/madame_claude

They put on some shows, including experimental and noise on Mondays (maybe other days too).

 

Seems like you just need to come to Lübbener Str.!

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Welcome to Berlin! Here's some info...

 

Experimental music in berlin - http://www.echtzeitmusik.de

 

Film - This sat (13 june, 8.30pm) contemporary dance based film at dock 11 on kastanienallee 79, Prenzlauerberg (http://www.dock11-berlin.de) - I'm not sure if this is what you're looking for but might be worth a shot anyway! It'll be a showing of a week long project held this week and the dancers/ film makers won't have worked together before, so it'll be quite experimental. Otherwise keep an eye out for flyers and posters and check out http://www.arsenal-berlin.de/nc/en/arsenal/kalender.html on Potsdamerstrasse 2.

 

You should check out Cassiopeia (http://www.cassiopeia-berlin.de/) to feel the underground vibe - old warehouses transformed club etc (rock climbing at a bar?) and as mentioned above, tacheles. There's plenty of stuff out here, any cafe/ bar/ space with a blank white wall will name itself an art gallery. But as a new berliner with no german skills yet I agree it's hard to know about it all at first! It helps to have a bike and a curious hat on...

 

Good luck :)

 

Holly

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