In 2009 prominent arts and cultural institutions in Berlin are presenting exhibitions, literature, dance, theatre, music, fashion, and youth culture. A ten-day program of highlights offers a look into contemporary developments in the Asian-Pacific region.
The journalist and author Suketu Mehta kicks off the cultural program and the event series Frenetic Homeland in the Haus der Kulturen der Welt as he carries us off to his childhood home of Mumbai. His autobiographical novel Maximum City – Bombay Lost and Found is also an homage to the megalopolis of the future. Frenetic Homeland delivers the experience of art at urban speed. Its artists live in places like Jakarta, Osaka and Beijing – cities that are changing at a breakneck pace and challenging our idea of homeland.
The music festival ‘inmotion Asia-Pacific’ at Arena Berlin moves us too. In 2009 we hear bittersweet sounds from New Zealand, visual kei from Japan, and minimal techno from the heart of the People’s Republic of China. The Black Seeds bring with them a pile of gold and platinum records, and Distraught Overlord its manga look. The band Beijing Minimal Underground gives Berlin’s heart an infusion of genuine Beijing rave-party culture.
From the Beijing rave scene to a legendary quarter of Tokyo:
homes in on the Shibuya district, Japan’s hippest location. Shibuya pulsates with creativity and lust for life. HAU hosts Toshiki Okada, Kuro Tanino and the collectives faifai and Chim↑Pom, who put on Japanese theatre with a fresh aesthetic – and provoke with Pokémon-styled super-rats.
With ‘Hybrid Arts Fest – Australia’, the big country down under definitively takes its place in Berlin’s cultural landscape. Long nights of film and music, barbecue and parties, dance and miniature percussion, visual arts and architecture from the farthest continent: RADIALSYSTEM V’ s ten-day festival builds a bridge to the other end of the world. The series opens with an unusual aural experience and a synaesthetic confusion of the senses.
Architecture Forum Aedes leads us into the workaday world of Indian cities. Hamburger Bahnhof, with Paul Pfeiffer, relocates the legendary ‘Wembley goal’ to Manila. With a view to Korea, NGBK explores Cold War division and migration routes, drums speak in ‘Rhythm of Korea’, and Korean B-boys thrill us with artistic breakdancing to music from the Sookmyung Gayageum Orchestra. The German-Japanese Society of Berlin shows traditional kyogen theatre from Japan, while NEXT brings Asia closer to Berlin’s youth with the BerlinAsiaRoadShow art caravan, which goes on tour to urban cultural centres and presents a colourful palette of Asian-Pacific cultures.
The gate to Asia closes with a family day at RADIALSYSTEM V; an interdisciplinary fashion performance by Fashion Patrons with designers from Asia and Berlin; and the father of the Asian Underground. In a coproduction between Arena Berlin and the House of World Cultures, Talvin Singh & Band beckon us into ‘Experience No. 1’ and their fusion world of bubbling, snapping, throbbing tabla sounds and ethereal electronica. From a tea break on the holy Mount Kailash to holy cows on the Spree – if your imagination hasn’t already boiled over, just dance.
The Asia-Pacific Weeks Berlin are initiated by the Governing Mayor of Berlin.
The Haus der Kulturen der Welt conceives and coordinates the cultural program of the Asia-Pacific Weeks Berlin.
The Asia-Pacific Weeks are made possible by the Stiftung Deutsche Klassenlotterie Berlin.