Auf wiedersehen, techno: Berlin’s banging Berghain club reborn as a gallery


With nightlife in limbo due to Covid-19, the legendary temple of techno has reinvented itself as art gallery.

If a new report by nightlife consultancy VibeLab is anything to go by, collaborations like these will have to be part of the new normal. Their “Global Nighttime Recovery Plan”, co-written by an international panel of night mayors, academics and music promoters, suggests more clubs need to perform “creative business model pivots” like Berghain in order to maintain revenue while the clubbing experience is impossible.

Knowing the challenge of trying to do anything productive during the lockdown is what lends many works on display in Berlin an intriguing edge. British artist Tacita Dean recalls the “feeling that I wasn’t marking the time in a way an artist was expected to”. She ended up bundling her frustrations into a limited-edition postcard she sent to friends across the globe: a woodcut of a 16th-century alchemical drawing that looks like a turd falling from the sky, scrawled with the words “Shite Zeit” and “anus horribilis”.

Inside a disused power station in east Berlin, a red-and-white buoy is bobbing mid-air, swooping six metres up and six metres down in rhythm to imaginary waves.