A night with Celeste

(a personal report by Kiritan Flux, photos by Ilan Katin)

Just having a faint idea that there was supposed to be something going on this saturday friday evening i checked the outsourced part of my permanently damaged brain memory. the digital cloud reminded me of the Celeste prize final party event and I suddenly got really excited about going there. Looking at the menubar clock I realized I had only half an hour of time before it would start, so I threw a post about it into the VB feed, dropped all my other ongoing procrastination tasks, grabbed my photo camera and left.

Sipping a nice cold bottle of czech beer I walked to the gigantic industrial compound of the old AEG factory in Wedding, scanning the dark area for hints about Celeste. I strayed around the red brick and rusty metal complex, totally lost – until a naturally wary, androgynous, and faceless security guard popped up from the shadows wanting to know my intentions. I explained myself and the guard dutifully pointed me into the right direction. On the way, I realized I forgot to bring the CF card for my camera at my office…

Eventually I found the entrance and met Ilan in front, who seemed like he’d stayed there already for a (much too) long time. We had a nice chat and a few overpriced Becks, and stood there glancing over the crowd of usual suspects to expect at this type of event: new-berliner americans, hipsters, arty geeks and showoff-intellectuals sipping their white wines and puffing weed. It was a nice relaxed atmosphere. A previously leaked but never confirmed rumour turned out to be true: epic berlin electro joint venture Moderat did a free 20min concert for the visuals of the first contestant Pfadfinderei. They performed in the usual static in-line Kraftwerk style choreography, but peppered with britpop fashion and Pet-Shop-Boys-hat and even some head-nodding and hip-twisting in between.

There’s not much say about Pfadfinderei that’s really new or revolutionary. The same perfect and shiny pro aestetics as ever, clip-shooting as always and with some additional RGB lights on the triple head installation, they did a nice show matching the sound of Moderat quite well. But after 10 minutes of watching we left the room to check out the fish which was actually much more entertaining: five real goldfish named after five different avantgarde music composers, floating in five narrow plexiglass tanks tracked by a camera and generating music – really cool!!

Moderat was finished when we returned to the main stage area, so we spent the break socialising with some other artists who had arrived. Dr. Nojoke and Ray Beams who had participated at the Celeste competition and some VB family members: jorgk, e, lucas + christiane, georgina + felix, yagama, bram + anneke. Thenkfully the entertainment factor of the event went up to a higher level, hearing weird stories about lost wallets and smashed car windows, the latest gossip and some rants and rumours about Celeste.

The second performance was Solitude by Dome, which started off a bit too noizy and slightly boring but ended up as a really amazing audiovisual performance. A guy who looked like he dropped out of a sci-fi martial arts manga, making weird sounds with natural objects inside and outside of a small glass terrarium and a violin bow playing on other objects, along with beautiful black and white videos of desolated industrial places and flocks of birds circling above and around run down factory towers. When the performance ended it left the audience in an intense moment of contemplation that suddenly switched to roaring applause.

Celeste Motus was the third piece by the italian artist group abstract birds – a calm and really beautiful three parts opus of generative vvvv color bliss and live played instruments. One of the nicest generative and sound reactive artworks i’ve seen for a while.

My absolute favorite performance was Mutazioni by Gianluca Beccary, a disturbing audiovisual horror trip through a dark and mystical version of Italy’s beaches, river valleys and epic venetian theatres occupied by naked swine men, wildly dancing fauns, occult monks with pale bird masks and accompanied by distorted live cello music and glitchy ambient noise. Truly amazing video footage of highly talented and well casted actors, incredible cinematography and great music added up to a truly memorable nightmare experience.

The final set was L C M [les champs magnétiques] by Otolab dies Orgone, stunningly loud and all black and white, two artists apparetly hooked on speed or ketamines making noise on steroids and running a vvvv an isadora patch on crack. It was all high quality generative mayhem, but in my opinion not really worth winning the top 1 celecte prize in the live media category – but oh well – maybe everyone who voted for them was on PCP or heroin too, so it kinda makes sense.

After some more socializing, shooting cherry tomatos around the exhibition room with an air pressure gun and talking with friends, I was happy when jorgk eventually wanted to leave and gave me a ride back home to xberg.

5 comments on "A night with Celeste"

  • lucy says:

    great review fluxitron. looks like Mutazioni might have tapped into the newly developed twin peaks appreciation centre in your brain. nice work 🙂 am interested to see who wins.

  • Kiritan Flux says:

    heh. you might rather say that mutazioni tapped right into my inbred weirdness appreciation centre, the same centre that makes me love twin peaks 😉

    oh – and by the way – you probably overread it: Otolab dies Orgone (isadora on crack) won the celeste prize…

  • orgone says:

    by the way, it was isadora and not vvvv : )
    anyway, I really appreciate your psychonautic point of view

  • kubuki says:

    I must say that in your absolute favorite performance (Mutazioni by Gianluca Beccary) the performers have maybe forgotten the mad hatter, a big dragon, the intervention of the USA army, the amazing apple cake of my grandmother and, of course, a final definitive BIG BANG

    After that, I think that behind the otolab performance there is more than a list of drugs…

    cheers 😀

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