International CTM Festival takes place at many different spots around Berlin, giving the visitors chance to enter spaces from galleries to some of the best clubs that the techno capital has to offer. Before the start of the festival, the first glance on the program felt a bit unclear: it took a while to figure out what will happen and what to expect. The ticket and exhibition venue at Kunstraum Kreuzberg/Bethanien then gave the visitor a better impression about the festival’s unique offering. Art installations and inspiring videos about current political topics gave the visitors a first taste of the festival.
Diversity was standing in the focus of the festival. Especially by offering kid-friendly events, it created different, but very welcoming atmosphere for all ages. It was especially great to see the rising amount of female artists in the program this year. Also female:pressure network’s founder, Electric Indigo, pointed out this fact in her recent interview with Monument. Another plus of the event definitely were the free entrances for a few galleries, also for the people who were not attending the festival.
The CTM Festival curators had also created an ice skating rink for their guests. Placed in the legendary Halle am Berghain, it was an experience that seemed to have been criticised by the visitors, who were complaining about the unexpectedly small size of the rink. After all, it was a welcoming idea to create such a different space in the massive venue of the Halle. Ice skating in this huge hall between the rough concrete walls, enhanced with flashing light installations, electronic music and with a hot Glühwein in your hand, truly gave a nice touch to this space.
Another highlight of the festival was exploring the Bassiani club night, also organised in Berghain. However, the usual seriousness of the techno temple felt to have slightly gotten lost. During that night, it was also especially interesting to explore some of what the Iran techno scene has to offer. Artists of a rather unknown underground techno territory, made one want to travel and discover more.
A must-see of the festival was definitely the installation and performance “The Mantis”, a massive futuristic sound sculpture battle at Halle am Berghain. This incredible installation by the researcher Nik Nowak was supported by Kode9, MC Infinite Lives, with video projections by Moritz Stumm and lighting by Riad Bensire.
Dasha Rush exhibited an installation at the venue Raster.Labor. Located in the middle of Kreuzberg, it was a rather small space, yet nice for exploring the artist’s sound experiments. Besides Dasha Rush, Byetone + Mieko Suzuki, Frank Bretschneider, Grischa Lichtenberger, and Robert Lippok presented their experiments. For this exhibit, Labor collaborated with Raster, an influential German label that has released music from Ryoji Ikeda, Kyoka, Atom ™, Kangding Ray and many more.
The feeling throughout the entire festival created an explorative attitude for its visitors. The artist selection was solid, and especially the performances of upcoming new talents that have the guts to criticise the current political situations, such as IC3PEAK, were definitely outstanding. The genre spectrum was very broad, but at the same time the artists, delivering such different sounds, all showed a connection. One could sense the experimental thread throughout all performances and installations.
During its 10 days, CTM Festival is not only an event for all ages, but also a great opportunity to visit the best locations in Berlin. It is also an event to get inspired of, and open up for criticism of the current political happenings around the Globe. Especially for the first-time Berlin experiencers, this festival is a nice event to get a broader insight of the city – but also to explore new international artists and contemporary electronic music sub-genres. Networking, research, club nights, workshops, art, discussion panels, experimental performances and installations – what a great combo.
Images: The CTM Festival