REFERENCING BERLIN: The view from the private Journalists Club on the 19th floor of Axel Springer Haus was spectacular. The dinner’s hosts — Gucci and Welt — clearly top-notch, and the fashion, press and art world guests most eager and curious. Yet when the evening broke up, the outlook regarding the subject of the gathering — the upcoming 032c Presents: Reference I festival — remained as shrouded in mystery as ever.
Of the five W’s, where is the only real known: Berlin’s über club, Berghain. When: fall 2018, reportedly for a 24-hour period coinciding with Berlin Art Week, which runs Sept. 26 to 30. What: “an interdisciplinary festival spanning design, fashion, art and technology.” Who: the festival’s founders, including Maria and Joerg Koch as well as Thom Bettridge of contemporary culture magazine 032c; Mumi Haiati, ceo of fashion and lifestyle communications agency Reference Studios; and art historian and gallerist Robert Grunenberg. Hans-Ulrich Obrist, curator of the Serpentine Gallery London, will cocurate the festival as special guest.
As for the participants, the first unconfirmed names floating around are Gucci, which wouldn’t verify the report but is expected to be on hand with the second chapter of a three-part video, the first to be presented during Frieze New York in May. Plus Stefano Pilati, who’s called Berlin home for five years. Why: 032c’s Bettridge talked about a new construct he and the magazine are calling the “Big Flat Now.” One of the evening’s few terse and sped-up speakers, he stated, “I am here to tell you there is no future. And no past…Music, art, pop culture and fashion have also evaporated. The only thing left is the Big Flat Now.” The interdisciplinary festival will presumably help shed some light on “how creative production can exist in this paradigm we call the Big Flat Now.”
Intrigued? Perplexed? Want to know more? Join the club, but a press conference Friday evening (in the midst of Berlin Gallery Weekend’s frenetic goings-on) should finally deliver more details. Stay tuned.