After the Berlin Wall fell in 1989, young squatters, artists, gallerists, and DJs from East and West Germany swiftly took over the city, filling empty buildings, factories, and vacant lots with new life. Clubs, bars, galleries, and studios sprouted up across the city.
Music brought together young people who dreamed of freedom and anarchy, making Berlin into the epicenter of an urban nightlife culture. Berlin’s club and gallery scene became the driving force behind the city’s rejuvenation and gave rise to a new generation of young creatives. The 1990s era of electronic music was forged in clubs such as Bunker, Tresor, E-Werk, WMF, and 103, and in party series like Tekknozid. Techno was the soundtrack for a new era of freedom and East Berlin was the proving ground for many of today’s internationally successful DJs including Paul van Dyk, Paul Kalkbrenner, and Modeselektor. Club life combined music with visual effects, reflecting contemporary art trends that united videos, films, projections, and music. The melding of the club and art worlds opened up new terrain where ambitious young artists could exchange ideas, share inspiration, and party together, leaving behind everyday concerns.
The club scene gained new momentum at the turn of the millennium. Budget flights in Europe, a new wave of clubs such as Bar 25, Watergate, and Berghain, and the seemingly endless party scene drew increasing numbers of techno tourists to the German capital. Artists, record label owners, party organizers and promoters from around the world moved to Berlin and breathed new life into the city’s sound—a process that is still underway today.
The No Photos on the Dancefloor! 30 Years of Berlin Club Culture exhibition series documents and brings to life Berlin’s club scene since the fall of the Berlin Wall. During the day, the exhibition showcases photographs, videos, films and documentary material, revealing the development of Berlin club culture over the past thirty years.
At night, part of the C/O Berlin space transforms into a club. Surrounded by the exhibition images and with beats pulsing in their ears, visitors dance the night away to a series of live performances by acclaimed DJs and sound and visual artists of the past and current club scenes, once again turning life into art.