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Berlin's Most Notorious Club Gets an Acoustic-Architectural Installation

Berghain will become an audiovisual playground for German record label Raster-Noton’s 20th anniversary.
Screencaps by the author

Berlin’s club mecca, Berghain, might be infamous for its downstairs "orgy room" and drug-fueled techno parties, but the building is equally notable for interior architecture. With 60-foot ceilings and rows of large pillars, the industrial space seems like something out of a science fiction film—a mixture of Alien and Blade Runner. For the 20th anniversary of German record label Raster-Noton, from tonight through April 30, Berghain’s acoustic-architectural space is getting transformed into an audiovisual installation called White Circle.

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In collaboration with the art and technology group ZKM, Raster-Noton invited four of its artists—Alva Noto, Byetone, Frank Bretchscneider, and Kangding Ray—to contribute to the development of this audiovisual composition. Each artist’s composition is an “independent, self-contained concept,” though the works will use ambient and drone as sonic reference points. Each of the works exist as visuals as rhythmic flickers in a circular array of white tubes of light, which react to each of the artists’ audio pieces.

“All works will be based on the idea of ambient music, a music that wants to make (palpably) tangible the acoustic space as well as the visual stimulus,” Raster-Noton announces. “White Circle was exclusively conceptualized for ZKM's Klangdom (Sound Dome), which is made up of 47 speakers distributed [throughout] the room. By means of the control software Zirkonium, these speakers can be played, turning sound itself into a sculptural spatial experience.”

Given the post-industrial, near-cyberpunk atmosphere that is Berghain, White Circle should give an even more futuristic feel to the whole experience. The club has always been about the marriage of sound and visuals, so the installation will conceptually distill that down into a mesmerizing audiovisual experience.

white circle /// raster-noton 20 anniversary /// zkm karlsruhe from Michael Wolf on Vimeo.

White Circle is part of Raster-Noton's larger 20th anniversary celebration, which includes an artist showcase in the main Berghain space, and its upstairs space Panorama Bar, on April 29th. The concerts open at 7:00 PM and run through midnight with performances from Atom™, Dasha Rush, Emptyset and Grischa Lichtenberger. There will also be performances by Alva Noto, Byetone, Kangding Ray, Kyoka, Donnacha Costello, as well Marcel Dettmann, Credit 00, Magda and Nastia. Click here for tickets and information, and click here to see more of ZKM’s work.

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