PROTOPIA: 032c @ Reference Berlin

“How can we live a little better, now?” In a new futurist location, Berlin’s REFERENCE FESTIVAL takes on a future focus with “PROTOPIA,” centering sustainability, adaptability, and community in two days of creative activations.

Once a restaurant/pub/discothèque, the 1970s brutalist landmark in Berlin-Stieglitz dubbed the “Bierpinsel” is now home to the third edition of the REFERENCE FESTIVAL. Presented in partnership with Disappearing Berlin, this latest iteration takes the name “Protopia:” a Kevin Kelly coinage used here to refer to a dynamic alternative to the utopian/dystopian binary, proposing a constantly evolving vision of a future shaped by a multiplicity of viewpoints. “It’s about creating the future we want in every conscious moment,” says Reference founder and director Mumi Haiati, who consulted researcher Monika Bielskyte on the multidisciplinary festival concept. “We are always interested in the in-between, in fluidity as a whole,” explains Haiati of the ultra-collaborative, digital and physical event.

032c brings our own fusional philosophy to Reference this year, combining material product with theory and fantasy in a presentation of five looks from MARIA, the Autumn/Winter 2021/22 collection by 032c Readytowear. Exhibited alongside the clothing are art and objects that play with ideas expressed and explored in the designs, staged within an imagined game of chess in which Italian Marxist Antonio Gramsci faces off with French Dadaist Marcel Duchamp.

In support of the installation’s opening on Wednesday September 8, 032c will co-present a showcase headlined by Berlin DJ and producer KOBOSIL following the launch of the new collection by 44 Label Group.

Reference Festival continues on Thursday September 9 for two days of activations from Berlin and international creatives and collectives including Juliana Huxtable, Ottolinger, Pan Records, and others. Reference and Disappearing Berlin will return for another series of projects and performances taking place during Berlin Art Week (September 18 – 19, 2021).

Keep reading for this week’s program details.

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