I was overjoyed to participate in the great PEOPLE creative platform and kumbh mela this August in Berlin and onward, along with 180 exceptional artists.
People / Spanda is an introduction to the festival I wrote, set to music by The Last Dinosaur. Funkhive Devi reflects the process of holding silent space for the artists and collecting sounds during rehearsal week.
PEOPLE is a steadily growing group of international artists who have come together to create and share their work freely, with each other and everyone. It was born of a wish to establish an independent and nurturing space in which to make work (generally around music) that is collaborative, spontaneous and expressive in nature and where all unnecessary distractions or obstacles that get in the way are removed. PEOPLE is for the benefit and development of the artists involved and just as importantly, for those who would like to access and enjoy the output. It is as much about the process of making work and showing all that openly, as the final outcome.
PEOPLE was born during the Michelberger Music event held in Berlin in 2016 and evolved in 2017 by a group surrounding Aaron Dessner, Bryce Dessner, Justin Vernon, Nadine Michelberger & Tom Michelberger. It now numbers over 180 contributing artists and that number is growing slowly and steadily through music.
The two pillars for the output of PEOPLE artists are physical encounters for creation, the gathering, everyone together in an open, physical experience. And the digital platform for sharing the findings, where the music from recordings, sessions and live events as well as visual art, podcasts and essays are available. Just like everything else, this too is an artist-lead, independent environment which uniquely offers the opportunity to the contributors to provide all the rich context to all their work that appears there. Everything is available for free, though the audience is invited to become members. The platform launched officially in August.
PEOPLE artists came together in Berlin August 12th to 20th for a week-long residency. On the 18/19 August, doors opened for two days of public performances in Funkhaus. The Funkhaus, built in the 1950s, is the historic site of the radio and recording HQ of the former East German Republic. It’s a maze of studios of varying sizes and allows for an unrivalled sound quality in performance as well as a wide range of audience numbers.
One of the aspects of this event is that no line up or timetable was communicated. The aim was to provide a situation where an audience member would not know what they were going to see until they sat down and the lights came up. With this arose the possibility to be genuinely surprised, moved, or opened up to something new. It liberated artists and audience alike from preconception or expectation.
This event was free of sponsorship or any commercial interest. The artists did not receive any fees to be there and 100% of ticket costs went to covering the costs of staging it. Capacity was around 5000. Made possible and brought to life by the artists.