29.11.11

Review: Where was I?

You are strolling through a seemingly never-ending series of rooms. In the second or third room is a cavernous space where cut-glass minimal tech plays, while lasers glint off of a foil-covered car parked in a corner. Your pagan friend climbs inside the abandoned vehicle and takes it for a joyride, spinning the steering wheel and snarling fiercely as he screeches around an imaginary racetrack.

When you have both exhausted the possibilities of this room you move on. You pass through a negative-exposure hallway full of Day-Glo furniture, graffiti scrawled in incandescent ink across the walls. A second hall, embellished with gigantic wall-sketches and lit by candles, stretches off to the right. You are tempted to go down it and find out what is around the bend at the end but then you hear loud noises coming from up ahead and follow them, instead.

The hall opens onto an industrial-sized storage space, bare except for a DJ table and a Peter-Murphy like singer. The duo is jamming with experimental electronic sounds, Krautrock-style. A small band of groupies are gathered around, nodding dutifully to the low-fi tunes.

You move on, stepping over an artificial creek at the other end of the room, pausing to admire its windmill made of shoes. Then you pass through another door and find yourself inside of a candy-striped refreshment room. An English team serve tea and cakes from behind a pastel bar while a louche gypsy band jams, freestyle, between sofas full of smoking spectators.

From there you spy a hall of mirrors and rush inside to check out the endless reflections of your friend and you, stretching to infinity. At the end of the hall is a small room dominated by a beach mural with 'real' clouds, sand and a beach bucket and shovel. Beside the 'beach' is an unmanned DJ booth. You take to the decks and start playing some of the warped records that someone has thoughtfully rescued from the bin. A crowd of whistling, whooping teens storm in and take over the dancefloor, eventually hustling you off of the decks. You chill with your mate by the 'seaside' for a bit, before moving on...

In the next room is a cinema where a Hollywood film is being projected on one wall for a few mesmerized spectators. On the opposite wall, a surreal mural of a face with glowing fishbowls for eyes watches over a group of friends playing a video game.

Through yet another doorway, you hear college girls shrieking and see them thrashing in a hot-tub filled with iridescent paper, as of they're being attacked by invisible Mugwumps. You keep moving and find another room, and then another... and then another...

After a seemingly neverending series of rooms, you are drawn down another candle-lit passage that leads off of the main hall, leading to a room that reminds you of a well, its stoney walls damp with condensation. Watery lights ripple on the wall, inviting you to reflect on what you've seen and done so far. You cast a penny (for your thoughts) down through the floor grate and hear it splash into the subterranean waterways. You get the feeling that, if you make a wish in this place, it might actually come true...

Every time you make another circuit around the club, it seems that new elements have been added to it. There is a labyrinth, then a stage draped in red velvet curtains where young, earnest actors read a protest-play from endless pages of so called script. Each room is as big or small as the visions that fill it. Imagination has been used to transform the club's finite space into something infinite.

In this venue, no one is subject to the pressures of schedules, timelines, expectations and regulations. Even the rules of sanity need not apply. Without any outside pressures to restrict them, people here are free to realize their visions, explore their psyches, express themselves. This is where the real underground spirit lies - in the freedom to shape the reality that we inhabit. Mainstream culture may resist changes that are made by the people represented by this place – the people without money or status. But here they can change whatever they like, and start living their dreams today.
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Berlin, Germany
...is NOT a fashion blogger! I write about underground music, activism, social media rights. Other publications that I have written for: OpenDemocracy, Urban Challenger, Siegesaeule, Alternative Berlin and Sensanostra.