The Detroit-Berlin Connection (DBC) has been busy in the first half of 2015.
In May, with guests from both Detroit and Berlin, the DBC held its second annual conference at the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit (MOCAD). Presentations included an historical overview by Marsha Battle Philpot of Detroit’s Black Bottom and Paradise Valley entertainment district (sadly demolished for urban renewal projects including the I-75 and I-375 freeways); an introduction to the true meaning of techno by Cornelius Harris and John Collins of Underground Resistance; and a report from VisitBerlin on how the German capital has used its subcultural assets to become one of the most popular tourist destinations in Europe. The conference was capped off by a public conversation with DBC founder Dimitri Hegemann, Packard Plant owner Fernando Palazuelo, Mario Husten of Berlin’s Holzmarkt and Detroit artist Scott Hocking. Much of the conversation was spent talking about the interest that Hegemann and Palazuelo have in entering a potential partnership to redevelop the former Fisher Body 21 Plant.
We would like to thank everyone who participated in the Detroit-Berlin Connection 2nd Annual Conference at the MoCAD in Detroit. Everyone came out in full force to support this project. A special thank you to all of the people who participated in a panel or presentation. We appreciate the staff at the MoCAD who really helped make this event a success! Please check out the rest of the photos from our conference. Continue reading →
It began by redefining what “techno” is and ended with a declaration that “we must keep Detroit weird.” In between, there were four hours of presentations, discussions, slides, and marketing strategies to promote “subcultural” assets and develop the city’s “night economy.”
The second Detroit-Berlin Connection conference, held at the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit (MOCAD) last Wednesday, offered outside-the-box ideas and actions to move Detroit forward. There were no heady monologues steeped in obscure theory. It was a solutions-based conference based around Detroit inspiration and simple ideas that work in Berlin.
Detroit has been compared to a lot of things, but is it like Berlin, a city bombed out in World War II and then cut in half for more than 40 years?
The capital of Germany is a city of 3.4 million with a lot of things going on that Detroit would love to have. It’s the third most popular European city tourists flock to, behind London and Paris. It boasts more than 300 “places where music is played,” with many of those nightclubs. Read more here .
Urban planners in Detroit have been looking to Berlin for revitalization strategies based on artistic and entrepreneurial efforts. One such group is the Detroit-Berlin Connection, which has focused on the shared legacies of techno music between the two cities.
The group will host its second annual Detroit conference on May 20 at MOCAD. According to a release, “This free event is designed to challenge traditional views and boundaries in reaching new horizons and possibilities in Detroit, while involving community organizers and stakeholders, entrepreneurs, artists, and individuals from various backgrounds.” Read more here.
The conference will get a proper Detroit kickoff from John Collins and Cornelius Harris of Underground Resistance, arguably the world’s most powerful techno brand. More guests from Detroit and Berlin are all part of the program. Read the full article here .
… concluding with Hegemanns Quotes : “Detroit needs a creative lighthouse,” and “We can at least start a discussion and ask questions like, ‘Could this work in Detroit?’ ” a great debate is being initiated. Read the full article here .
The question is : Can Dimitri Hegemann bring Techno back to Detroit. The founder of legendary techno-haven Tresor in Berlin, has a new idea for a club in an abandoned car factory in the Motorcity. Well, if anyone can do it… Read the whole article here .
Walter Wasacz recaps the happenings and results of the week in Detroit from his and the cities perspective :
“For Dimitri Hegemann, who was in Detroit over Thanksgiving weekend to talk about his vision for the abandoned Fisher Body Plant 21, simplicity and sharing are guiding principles. He uses few filters when presenting his ideas, choosing transparency over secrecy, selflessness over ego-driven ambition. His message: this is about you, not me, Detroit not Berlin. ” Continue reading here.
The Fisher Body plant could become a techno nightclub and cultural center with a global appeal. This TV-clip on Local 4 contains statements from Drimitri Hegemann and Walter Wasacz recorded at our last Workshop in Detroit on November 29. Find out more here.
Jon Pareles is the chief pop music critic for The New York Times and took a deep look into its cities history and present – a very interesting read about the cities evolution and the roots of the techno generation here.
Techno clubs were key to the regeneration of Germany’s capital in the 1990s and now they’re looking to help the city that inspired them in the first place – Detroit. Spearheading the Detroit-Berlin Connection project is Dimitri Hegemann.
The Detroit Berlin Connection aims to give the city of Detroit a new cultural center. The location; former Fisher Body 21 plant in Detroit, an industrial building designed by Albert Kahn in 1921 and closed in 1994.
The Detroit Berlin Connection, was started in late 2013 by Berlin social/cultural entrepreneur Dimitri Hegemann – with the aim of assisting in the regeneration and renewal of Detroit.
The concept and the vision of the Fisher Body 21 project corresponds to city’s personality: the raw, imperfect, unfinished framing, the clash of old and new and quiet and loud – yet huge potential.
The project aims to incentivize community growth in Detroit. Through art, music, discourse, food, and a community focused development – the Detroit Berlin Connection wants to help to establish Detroit as creative lighthouse and a platform for cultural experimentation for the young and creative.
“What we did in Berlin became the most important cultural movement and economic force in Europe over the past 25 years. The strategic use of art and alternative culture for redevelopment and revitalization has reshaped Berlin. Together with Detroit volunteers and partners I want to imagine a similar, yet individual development for Detroit, a place we love and respect.” Says Hegemann. Continue reading →
Though he keeps a pretty low profile, Dimitri Hegemann is one of the most important figures in the history of techno. Most know him as the founder of Tresor, the legendary club that kickstarted Berlin’s techno scene and established the city’s creative dialogue with Detroit. But by the time Tresor opened in 1991, Hegemann was already an accomplished promoter. Starting in 1981, he ran a festival called Atonal, which played host to everyone from Throbbing Gristle and Einsturzende Neubauten to early electronic acts like 808 State. Like Tresor, Atonal pushed Berlin’s music scene forward and demonstrated Hegemann’s peerless vision as a curator. These days Atonal is in the midst of a comeback—last year the festival was held for the first time in more than two decades at Kraftwerk Berlin, a breathtakingly enormous space in the same building as Tresor. As he and his team prepare for this year’s edition, we invited Hegemann to RA’s Berlin office to reflect on his career in the city’s music scene.
Itself a bold experiment in social innovation that brought creative souls together across thousands of miles of land, ocean, and pesky barriers of culture and language, the Detroit-Berlin Connection conference is near-impossible to recap. As a speaker series, that is.
The better way to see this is not as a five-hour “event” on a single day in May at the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit (MOCAD), but as a weeklong learning experience based in Detroit with potential to be much longer — even lifelong. Put some italics around experience in Detroit. That’s what we’re talking about here.