A play on the name of the famous 90s E-Werk techno club in Berlin’s central Mitte district, “E-Work” acknowledges capitalism’s subsumption of every aspect of contemporary life. With the dawn of the internet, leisure becomes work and work becomes leisure. Social media and user-created content has led to the modern notion of the ‘prosumer’—a person who both consumes and produces information through the labour of self-commoditization and networked communication. This new economy informs a particular kind of online underground, where future-forward subcultures both draw from and feed into the mainstream market. The musicians, producers, performers, and DJs performing the “E-Work” at Trauma Bar und Kino—alongside the night-long “Escapism” film screening co-selected by artist, writer and curator Lou Drago—reflect these aesthetic choices. Within them, the world becomes a whirlpool of influences and uncertainties, revealing a transference of minds and emotions, realities and fictions, countercultural modes and pop signifiers.
Concerned about the time spent staring at screens, Berlin-based audiovisual artist bod [包家巷]’s performances and DJ sets abstract technologies and their relationship to reality through a historical dissolve of boundaries between art and life. Argentinian artist Catnapp combines RnB, rap, breakbeat, pop and other genres into heavy beats with an intense and nostalgic atmosphere, while Berlin No Shade collective member Auco draws on their South London roots, while also activating a nexus of the robust histories and global milieu of underground club culture. Hyph11E is at the forefront of a new generation of club producers in Shanghai, doing bass-heavy and formidable sound design arranged into hard-hitting club rhythms. Part of the same network is rapper, singer and producer Yen Tech who draws on a conceptual and experimental mix of club and pop genres to produce a critical meta-fiction on digital culture, technology paranoia and posthuman themes. New York’s umru already has a production credit with pop star Charli XCX, having almost come out of nowhere to represent a fresh new voice for the Soundcloud generation. The young musician was a part of the curatorial team a Minecraft video game music festival and released debut EP “search result” on PC Music late last year. Together, this global line-up of networked artists asks, in the boundless ambience of a life mediated by money and technology, what reality are you going to live and how are you going to achieve it?