"Experimentation and freedom": Inside the exhibition documenting the history of Berlin techno – Mixmag

When the Berlin Wall came down in 1989, West and East Berliners came together to create a thriving techno scene that is still very much alive today. Capturing the history of the scene from 1989 to present day, No Photos On The Dancefloor is a unique and multifaceted exhibition featuring photographers and video artists that have experienced the techno scene in Berlin first hand. Each has created an exciting body of work, based on how they became immersed in the techno scene of Berlin. Co-curator of the exhibition, Heiko Hoffmann, answered our questions on the featured artists, his experience of the scene and looks back on the day the wall came down.

How did you go about selecting the artists you wanted to be featured in the exhibition?

This exhibition came about because a couple of years ago I did a smaller exhibition starting from a museum in Brazil and it travelled around South America and South East Asia. And this was just a couple of artists and the first artist Martin Eberle, a Berlin-based photographer, did a lot of architectural photos of the Berlin nightclubs in the 1990s and made a book about this called Temporary Spaces which came out in 2001 and then also by Sven Marquardt who was a bouncer at Berghain but has also been a photographer. He did a body of work taking photos of his colleagues at Berghain and then a couple of other people.

So, for this exhibition, No Photos On The Dancefloor, I selected 26 different photographers and video artists. It's not a history museum and it's not for documentary, it's an art museum. A key artist for example, Wolfgang Tillmans, who photographed the scene and the reason why I wanted to call it No Photos On The Dancefloor is because I was looking for something that made the Berlin nightlife scene different to club scenes in other parts of the world. All the photographers and all the artists included in this exhibition have something in common and that is that they are really part of the scene and have been part of the scene.

Read this next: A new book about Berlin's 90s techno scene

How were the images in the exhibition taken considering Berlin's strict no-photos policy?

This no-photo policy is really something that existed since the start of the 90s in Berlin, both to give a safe space to minorities or people who want to express themselves but also people who go to the clubs to lose themselves in the moment and lose themselves in the music without having that captured outside. So in that sense Berlin club culture is very different to club culture in Ibiza or in Miami.

Despite this title of No Photos On The Dancefloor, its a photography and video art exhibition, So it's not a view from the outside, it's not something voyeuristic. These photographers could make photos because they were part of this community and because they have had the allowance by the people who are throwing the parties or were running these clubs to take these photos and they also respect the values of this club culture.

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"Experimentation and freedom": Inside the exhibition documenting the history of Berlin techno - Mixmag

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