Happening in Berlin: Pop-Kultur is back!

Dear Friends of Pop-Kultur,

it’s getting to be that time of year again! Pop-Kultur will return from August 23rd to 25th at the Kulturbrauerei! Today we also have the first program announcements, a new ticket system and more irresistible reasons to welcome Pop-Kultur 2017 in your heart.

10+ Commissioned Works by

ABRA / Abu Hajar & Jemek Jemowit / Andreas Dorau / Balbina / Circuit des Yeux / Darkstar & Cieron Magat / Evvol  / Fishbach & Lou de Bètoly / Grandbrothers / Hendrik Otremba / Romano / Steven Warwick

70+ Concerts, DJ-Sets, Talks and Movies by

Alexis Taylor / All diese Gewalt / Anna Meredith / Arab Strap / Boiband / Emel Mathlouthi / Erobique / Friends of Gas / Islam Chipsy & EEK / Lady Leshurr / La Femme  / Let’s Eat Grandma / Noveller / Riff Cohen / Sophia Kennedy / Tasseomancy / Young Fathers

Reason 1: Now there’s one ticket for everything. And it’s cheap!

No offense to our old module system, but isn’t it also nice sometimes to let art lead you where it wants you to go? That’s why this year there’s a ticket for the whole experience, for maximum on-site discovery at Kulturbrauerei—and it’s just 60 euros (plus fees). Don’t worry—in May we’ll begin selling day passes too. Until then, everyone else can click here.

Reason 2: The »Pop-Kultur Commissioned Works«

It’s pretty much exactly how it sounds. More than ten in-house productions and performances will enrich our 2017 festival and act as its heart and soul. We’re already working hard with Balbina, Darkstar, Romano, Fishbach, and all the other artists to be able to tell you much more about the »Pop-Kultur Commissioned Works« very soon!

Von links nach rechts: ABRA / Steven Warwick / Balbina / Romano und andere präsentieren “Pop-Kultur Commissioned Works”

Reason 3. A line-up you’d only find here.

From quiet to loud, from Egypt to Scotland—as always, Pop-Kultur’s programme is unmistakeable and one-of-a-kind. In concrete terms, this means: La Femme, Hot Chip mastermind Alexis Taylor, all-purpose entertainment weapon Erobique, UK Grime shooting star Lady Leshurr, the one and only Arab Strap, Let’s Eat Grandma, Anna Meredith, and the powerful Young Fathers.

Reason 4. Over 70 program elements

You’ll like this: Talks, workshops, concerts, DJ sets, and things that are so unbelievably interdisciplinary that we’re still not quite sure how to categorise them. Pop-Kultur will also work together with collectives like female:pressure to fight for empowerment. We’ll explore the connection between literature and pop, delve into the history of the East German Underground, and, with the project SKM 60, we’ll celebrate the birthdays of Berlin labels Shitkatapult, Karaoke Kalk, and Monika Enterprise. As you can see, we like to take plenty of »zeit« for the zeitgeist.

Reason 5. Short Distances and New Multifunctionality—Well Hello There, Kulturbrauerei.

It’s true: we can hardly picture a better place to celebrate art and creativity. Three enchanting summer nights await you on the grounds of the Kulturbrauerei. It’s a space that lends itself to  hosting a wealth of inspiring, gravity-defying ideas.

Reason 6. Last But Not Least, We Really Truly ❤ Our Young Talents

The Pop-Kultur »Nachwuchs« programme will once again act as an important component of the festival. 250 young talents from around the world will come together in 40 workshops designed to address the pop-cultural challenges of the future. The application period begins on May 10th, but no worries—we’ll be in touch again before then!

So, have we won your virtual love yet? There’s a lot happening over here, and we’ll keep you up to date. Check up on our social media channels now and then — here, here and here. Or have a listen through our Spotify-Playlist with music by our confirmed artists. Oh, right, and don’t forget to buy tickets. Not sure how you’re all feeling, but we’re getting pretty excited for the spring, summer, and everything after that.

You like? We like!

Tickets for Pop-Kultur 2017 can be purchased right here


Steven Warkwick (PR)
Balbina (Photo by Max Zerrahn)
Romano (PR)
All Diese Gewalt (Photo by Max Zerrahn)
Lady Leshurrr (PR)
Let’s Eat Grandma (PR)
Young Fathers (PR)

Hendrik Otremba: About Writing

Everybody can write? Not really. At leastnot in the intensity  that really touches the reader. Hendrik Otremba is frontman and lyricist of the German post punk heroes MESSER but also a painter and cultural journalist. At Pop-Kultur 2016 he’ll not just present his debut novel “Über uns der Schaum”, but also host a course about writing lyrics in the course of our Nachwuchs program. Exclusively via Pop-Kultur Otremba has compiled his ideas about that subject.

Foto: Dirk Elsing

A text can suddenly be there. A text can take years of waiting. A text can develop in fragments or just appear completely. A text can serve a purpose or shut itself off to the world. A text can have a message or kill the author. A text can be waiting forever for you to write it. Or it’s you who’s waiting for something to turn into words. Apparently, the text doesn’t really exist. Anything can be text. Well, everything that can be read can thus be text – or: everything that creates significance. But what does that tell us about writing?

Nothing specific to begin with, apart from a myriad of possibilities to write – and I’m not even talking about the subjects. But this article is about a very particular form of writing, about poetry, about the writing of lyrics for pieces of music. Not in terms of a service, but as something that has to get out, that has to be written, that you have to write. How exactly does this find a form that is artful, one that gives back to you and others? To give something. For that, and here’s a huge disappointment, there is now recipe. Everybody writes differently and so this text can only be about my way of writing. But there are deliberations to be had, decisions to make, an awareness to be sharpened. Writing is most effective when you have understood which situations are best for you to write in. At the same time, you can’t know too much about your writing. That is a contradiction that cannot be narrated.

“It should hurt, otherwise, it doesn’t make sense”

Let’s play out one possibility: I wrote lyrics because there was a concrete occasion. That is possible and probably the case for many musicians. For such occasion-driven lyrics – I’m talking about social events, dying, systems, political assassinations etc. – you need a shock, at least I need it. I have to be so shocked, that I give up my security – the other (insecure) writing, that I’ll get to in a bit – and force myself to use the ink.

One should only sit down to write, when one feels indispensably prompted by circumstances that are not bearable or that carry you away.

That’s hard, as you would actually want to constantly write on against the whole world, against all the suffering, all the injustice, the pain, against the things that, in total, are so abstract, that the only thing making sense would be putting a scream on paper. But the more often you urge to do that, the more seldom should you do it. I plead for a household, that turns and flips, only allows sitting down when there is no other way when one feels – Caution! – forced to write by a higher power (???). The scream is supposed to be heard, that’s why its cacophonic sounds must be emitted clearly – and one should therefore really only decide to write decisively when there is no other way. I am convinced, that writing in this way only makes sense if one is concerned with the death of one’s own writing and when writing is something that is related to life and death. To put it another way (pardon my French): Do not just bust one out, do not write about a topic that has occupied you for some time, do not finally make a mark. It cannot feel like fulfillment, not like engagement, not like an attractive slogan. More like an unsolvable task. Then one will find words, but should, in turn, criticize these, should rethink them, grind them, beat them up, pep them up, sharpen them, turn them on time and again. Such texts actually have to be, really have to be, but they must not arise too often. Otherwise, they lose their power. If the ability for such writing lies within you, you should tame it and only let it out scarcely. It should hurt, otherwise, it doesn’t make sense. That’s why there are only a very few good protest songs. So, that’s the one thing.


Diffuse Feeling vs. Concrete Plan

But there is another form of writing, as worthy of protection as the one previously put into the light – that’s the other one. There surely are many more forms, but I want to talk about this one here. When you, as the writer, manage to outsmart yourself. When you manage to surrender yourself to the words. There’s no recipe for this one either. But it works a lot different than writing sitting down. Often fragmentary, at night, shortly after waking up, shortly after going to sleep, while being relaxed, while in ecstasy, in the meantime, with endless pauses in-between, on a train ride, with rediscovered notes, with sudden sentences in heads, in a pillow wet with tears. In short: a writing that you do not sit down for. It’s more of a form of writing that you kneel before. This kind of writing only calls for a whiff of an idea. A diffuse feeling. If you have a plan, you shouldn’t do it. You have to slowly figure out this way of writing, you have to learn to give in to it, learn to trust. Then, it will come to you. It’s the kind of writing you use a knife for, or scissors, slice things, so that they drift around somewhere, on their own. They begin to like themselves in their isolation. Numerous little particles that one forgets doesn’t take them seriously. If they’re worth it, they will come back, they’ll find each other, will crawl towards one another as if they’re pushed by a ghost, insects, fleeing from a giant’s warm breath, finally finding a breadcrumb.
You can observe, are barely part of the process, more of a marionette, performer.

The meanings that are created, don’t really need you anymore, even if they all but let you go. They are tied to you, become accessible to you later, make more sense than you ever thought they would.

When a text is done, you know it. It’s simply there. It has decided for itself to have taken form.

If it finished itself: that’s when it belongs to you, in the same moment, it only belongs to you and only to everybody else. This text obeys everyone in a different manner, evades everyone differently, everyone obeys its orders differently. A few verses enable worlds to coexist, that exclude each other.

If you have allowed yourself to create a text like this, if you had the patience, let go and tied it to you at the same time, you feel invigorated. You are allowed to be happy about that. And you are allowed to argue.

Those are two ways of writing, maybe it’s all of them. How should I know? I know nothing, apart from it being right. And that you’re probably dead when it’ drying up.

Hendrik Otremba

You want to participate in a workshop with Hendrik Otremba and other well-known characters, like Algiers, SassyBlack, Colin Newman of Wire and many more? Please click on the banner below before the deadline ends on June 20.