Saturday, July 12, 2008

WASSERMUSIK festival passes up great chance

The highly acclaimed WASSERMUSIK-Festival of the "Haus der Kulturen der Welt" has missed a great opportunity. The motto of this year's world music event in one of Berlin's most outstanding buildings, the former Congresshall, is "Surf/Shanties/Tiki". But instead of hiring Tiki-avantgardist, stage designer and Book-Of-Tiki-cover artist Moritz R@ of Der Plan to give the three weekends of exotic music a decent location design, the staff and director of the HKW decided against it in the last minute. The official reason given by the vice director Detlef Diedrichsen, who had gladly hired R®, pointed on Tiki and Exotica as being estimated as "non-avantgardistic" and "politically incorrect". Besides being arguable in itself this statement sounds hollow for two reasons: why does the HKW feature a Tiki event at all, if they think it's not correct? And why is the decoration by a group called Designmai Youngsters, they finally agreed upon, nothing but a pure (although very weak) Tiki-concept? It's more than suspicious that the mutinity against R®s concept was started when Diedrichsen was on vacation and couldn't even comment! Besides these obvious contradictions Tiki and surf music afficionados attending the concerts, film screenings and readings can only weep bitterly when seeing what the festival has got for the incredible amount of money they spent on the decoration. Uninspired stiff "party-cellar" ornamentations executed with the cheapest plastic and hardware store materials and a complete lack of artistic sophistication look like a narrow-minded GDR-version of misunderstood Exotica rather than the real thing. Again Germany has presented itself as the place where kitsch rules over quality when it comes to ripping-off what is falsely believed American culture. What a pity for a festival with an otherwise great line-up and toobad for another big chunk of senselessly wasted tax money.

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