Whenever Kraftwerk opens its doors, you know it’s going to be exciting. Atonal festival is synonymous with the venue, and this month it hosts Metabolic Rift, a programme filling the former power station in Mitte with kinetic sculptures, sound installations, live performances – and a new sense of adventure.
Throughout October, you can explore the cavernous space precisely the way you always wanted. Tresor’s locked doors have been opened and long-forgotten places now hold sound installations from Pan Daijing, futuristic cityscapes from Rigobert Nimi and pandemic sculptures from Cyprien Gaillard and Jamal Moss. Atonal invites you to meander through the vaulted halls, following a series of artistic interventions that draw you into the belly of the beast, appearing and disappearing as you go.
That is one side of it, but this is Atonal, which has always been more than an exhibition. In its new form, the festival will present a series of live events over the month. Later this week, Space Afrika offer an audiovisual experience tailored to the unique surrounds of the repurposed power plant. The duo’s newest release, Honest Labour, is genuinely visionary. It’s full of careful distortion, fragmented emotion, downtempo beats and soaring strings that will surely imbue Kraftwerk’s bare walls and girders with a whole new meaning, intense and unsettling in all the right ways.
Next week there’s a mid-week double worth booking in now: first Caner Teker, and Caterina Barbieri the following night. Teker is queering the traditional Turkish martial art of Kirkpinar with a stand-alone performance that asks us to find intimacy in the sport and deconstruct the narrative of hypermasculinity. The second evening involves a classic Atonal performance from an Italian musician who has long been at the forefront of experimental electronic music in Berlin. Barbieri’s talent for minimal composition is truly rare and she is among precious few experimentalists that could fill this vast space with such delicate sound.
All in all, Metabolic Rift is a standout edition in the history of a festival that can trace its roots back to the 1980s without ever having looked back. Now moving forward under a new concept, Atonal continues to innovate at the cutting edge of a much-changed world.
Vladislav Delay, Space Afrika Oct 14, 19:00 / Caner Teker presents Kirkpinar Oct 20, 19:00 / Caterina Barbieri with Bendik Giske, Nkisi + MFO Oct 21, 19:00.