Berlin Atonal unveils 60 new acts & 20 visual artists for ‘Universal Metabolism’ exhibition

Berlin Atonal is excited to reveal the bulk of names for its 6-night concert programme and associated exhibition this September. 10 years after its re-launch Atonal continues to pioneer experimental culture in all forms and this edition represents its most varied and ambitious project to date. Festival passes, day tickets and exhibition tickets are now available. Final schedule information will be released on 15. August.

Concert Programme – First Weekend


The opening night of Berlin Atonal promises a morphing of material, where dynamism constantly permeates the acts. Laurel Halo leads the Kraftwerk through a trip into noir fog atmospherics, smudging particles by way of modal expression, the world premiere of her new live show. This is followed by Holy Tongue, the live trio of Valentina Magaletti, Al Wooton and Susumu Makai, whose mystical and heavyweight dub-dance strikes an ineffable heft, not least bookended by the first in the three presentations of Études For Church from Florentina Holzinger. Wondrous searching within and without our physicalities leads us to Rainy Miller’s one-off A Fugue State, with a volatile experience of human spirituality.

A special commissioned collaboration of Caterina Barbieri, Space Afrika and visual designer MFO closes the main stage, exploring transcendence through the inwardness of auditory experience and draws mutable meshes out from a dialogue between their cybernetic and fleshy sound worlds. Eros, the project of Regis, Einstürzende Neubauten engineer Boris Wilsdorf and Liam Andrews from My Disco, beckons into a night world of dense bodily mutation for the aftershow.


The first Friday of Berlin Atonal brings the exciting debut live A/V performance from legendary techno collective Sandwell District. For long this faceless organism has revelled in opaqueness, but now it steps out from the shadows for the very first time. It bellows with a rhythmic core that is found throughout the evening, from the dismantling of time with protopian electronics from London- based Venus Ex Machina, to the genre form and rules breaking of Par Grindvik and Peder Mannerfelt’s Aasthma (both world premieres).

In The Cell Of Dreams, from Shackleton, Waclaw Zimpel and Indian carnatic vocalist Siddhartha Belmannu, runs parallel threads to transcendence, mortality and the joys of living. The second site-specific intervention from Florentina Holzinger in her Études for Church series will take place, striking a reconfiguration of ecclesiastical gestures. An extensive after show follows, with performances from among others DJ Holographic, DJ Stingray 313, Rrose, Sigha, Simo Cell and Haruka b2b Wata Igarashi.


The last night of the first weekend commences on Stage Null with TLF Trio revealing sculptures of baroque meets jazz, combined with doleful cinematics. Florentina Holzinger rings a two tonne iron bell as part of her third and final iteration of Études For Church. The solo electronics of Aho Ssan and visuals of Sevi Iko Dømochevsky fuse together under Rhizomes AV, a new performance which explores the connections made between roots, drawing an organic, mutating universe of language exploration and emotional responses. Immersing further in emotional dynamism is Honour’s THE BLOOD (2TEARS & A $UCKET), plunging into equally unsettling and captivating realms, reminiscent of the apocalyptic visions and spiritual depths described in the Bible’s final chapter.

A world premiere from Loraine James brings her new album Gentle Confrontation to the stage, as she twists between the diverse sound worlds of her past and present. Nkisi presents another world premiere. Entitled NTI-MA, it mobilises a heavily performative sensorial experimentation, where music and dance are used as codified science, decoding and recoding ancestral musical traditions and spiritual technologies for a contemporary music experience.

Concert Programme – Second Weekend


Billy Bultheel’s The Thief’s Journal is a new performance and installation, activating the Kraftwerk setting through arrays of instrumentalists. It is based on psychoacoustic effects that seek out parallels between the sacral and industrial. The flickers of memory and recognition fizz with energy as Atelier Impopulaire and Dreamcrusher present Crosscurrents, which engages subcultures in a unique performance that maps images and voices to render a polyphonic poetry that re-enacts pre-Black Arts Movement experiences.

Marco Fusinato adapts Venice Biennale’s DESASTRES, a stroboscopic wall of amp’d guitar noise and black and white imagery, to a performative setting for the first time. What can’t be seen, can be felt: sound as physical matter which creates a transformative experience. The aftershow brings a world premiere from Persher, the new band of Pariah and Blawan that draws influence from heavy noise, metal and hardcore, and then uncompromisingly club dimensions from Crystallmess and Washington DC supergroup Black Rave Culture.


Saturday’s concert programme commences on Stage Null with Thessaloniki’s Christian Love Forum’s syncretic blend of durational hillbilly trance, Byzantine newbeat and acid-rock’n’roll. On the main stage, CORIN performs Lux Aeterna, a new live set based on material from her album on UIQ, that investigates the possibilities of a collective heightened consciousness in times of crisis. The main stage is engulfed in dense color through the vibrant sonic tapestries of Carmen Villain whose hypnotic slowmotion simultaneously beckons intimacy and blurred distance. Scenographic changes to the Kraftwerk space accommodate the ambitious new project Paith from Blackhaine, a world premiere performance involving containers and multiple dancers.

The duo of Paul Purgas and James Ginzburg, aka Emptyset, present a show of brand new material that draws on the project’s roots in structural percussion and physical sonics. Entering the aftershow, Prison Religion unleashes dystopian sound worlds manifested in caustic noise, heavy beats akin to public gunshots, mumbled screams like breaking glass, thumping techno or weighty drones. Alongside them Actress, Mia Koden and Tom Boogizm are in OHM, Pariah, Lydo, Buttechno and AceMoma among those in Tresor/Globus.


In the 10 years since the restart of Berlin Atonal, Alessandro Cortini has been ever present, with his new projects regularly launched at the festival. He returns with a special live improvisation entitled Nati Infiniti where a previous sound installation of the same name is reconfigured as a unique, evolving dialogue, accompanied by live visual elements by Marco Ciceri. Pavel Milyakov and Perila join together for pxmxper, where site-specific recitations and installations explore the threshold between being outside and inside of an ongoing performance, softly shifting the gap between listeners and the sound-makers.

The Bug’s detonation of barriers between genres, scenes and cultures renders earth-shattering walls of bass and noise above which Grime MC Flowdan spits pure power. Constantly shapeshifting, Blawan disarms and dazzles with rhythmic messages, before thunderous offerings from dubstep legend Mala scrapes uncharted realms by dislodging and dredging the foundations of the main hall of Kraftwerk.

Exhibition – Universal Metabolism

Taking place across four days in September and flanked by two weekends of festival programme, Universal Metabolism represents an ambitious point of departure for Berlin Atonal, challenging the creative potential of the Kraftwerk megacomplex ever further and augmenting the mode of artistic communication within its function as a music festival. Embodying the formal experimentation of its landmark predecessor Metabolic Rift that took place in 2021, the exhibition invites audiences on a performative journey of artworks created or adapted for the building.

Between audio-visual works, performance, in-situ sculptures, video art, and immersive sonic environments, these works materialise and dissolve in a dynamic temporal sequence, each day concluding in a specific performative, concert-based destination. As a starting point, the focus lies within the bodily and extra-bodily cycles of exchange, reconstruction and transformation. Like a body, the ebb and flows of energy and materials transmit a fluctuating intensity. Using the sparse building, the exhibition borrows from theatre to create a stageless, seatless auditorium where protagonists blend with audience members.

Visiting the exhibition will immerse audiences in constant states of change and fluctuating intensity, where seemingly static artworks defy any rigidity. Bridget Polk will be present throughout the exhibition, reconfiguring Reclaimed Damages by assembling precarious sculptural forms over time, in dialogue with the audience and other works in the exhibition that manifest in ephemeral reflections on the past, present and personal. Hidden Resonance X Kraftwerk is a sound installation from Rabon Aibo using industrial gas cylinders that have been transformed into sound-generating machines. With the use of kinetic motors, these interact with the sound of the old pipe infrastructure inside the Kraftwerk building. The sound resembles an echo from the past resonating in the present, questioning the changing contexts of a post-industrial age. Trioesque, from Ain

Bailey, is an evocative musical composition that transports listeners on a captivating sonic journey that acts as a homage to jazz trios. It is an adaptation for the Kraftwerk space from its origin – sound recordings taken from within the underbelly of Deutz Brucke in Cologne. Operating without a stage or permanent scenography is a roaming opera from Laxlan Petras and Yasmin Saleh, merging frictive dialogues through proximities in the space.

Mire Lee will create a hanging fabric installation, where worn-out, torn, and ripped fabrics are dipped in viscous liquid clay. Over the course of its exhibition, the clay absorbed by the “skin” of the work will be slowly thinned down by water. It promises a misty viscerality as a space to question human fantasies of technologies that contradict the realities of subjects that decay and deform through time. Legendary Theatre and Opera director Romeo Castallucci’s video installation The Third Reich is shown in Germany for the first time. The large-scale video work will be preceded by a symbolic action in which a performer brings to life a ceremony in which language is “ignited”. The sound that accompanies the installation, composed by Scott Gibbons, will be apodictic. DESASTRES from Marco Fusinato, especially adapted from the highly acclaimed work for the Australian pavilion at last year’s Venice Biennale for performance, will appear and disappear like an apparition throughout the exhibition.

Renowned UK producer Actress contributes a sound piece, linking the exhibition back to its roots as a music festival, while Nastya Livadnova will present her musical performative show titled ‘i come as one and i stand as 1o ooo paradoxes’, manipulating unpredictable narratives of ordinary objects, wide and sharp movements and creating a debut music release in the process. Underpinned by aggressive and melancholic sounds, it prepares the scene for 300 metres of paper flying in the air during the performance.

Each night of the exhibition leads to a concert-based end point after the final showing of Castalucci’s The Third Reich. Tuesday sees Robin Fox present his polysensory laser work Triptych, Wednesday hosts a performance by transdisciplinary UK artist KLEIN and Thursday culminates in a performance for multiple instrumentalists orchestrated by Billy Bultheel entitled The Thief’s Journal.

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