Friday, September 30, 2011


Felix Kubin: Get Weird at the New Museum
Image by The NewsGallery.
Felix Kubin a self described German dadaist and minimal wave musician, recently performed at the New Museum with a show entitled: Get Weird.  At first Kubin, whose extensive background is in music — initiating his study of piano and the organ before the age of 10 — commenced his concert with an intensive lecture on the side-effects the Germans (and some of the Eastern European parties involved) had to face, after the collapse of the Berlin Wall. 

Felix Kubin: Get Weird performance at the New
Museum. Image by The NewsGallery.

As he showed multiple clips of his satire performances with his then band, consciously and repetitively making a point of getting some public media attention to poke fun at the new German unification in the 90s, it was quite interesting to learn — from Kubin's very personal perspective — about how the German and Eastern European youths may have in fact, resented the overnight divisional collapse between the east and west.   

The minimal wave enthusiast also played his collected interviews of young musicians and artist, who may have been affected at the time, by a certain feeling of lost of identity, a sudden suffering from censorship by the new and reconciled Germany.  Kubin later re-plays a remixed version of the interviews, but this time: incorporated into his experimental abstruse sounds.

Hence, Kubin's dadaism approach (as well as a some other musicians and artists from the Berlin underground), was to mock and go against anything that carries any classical or traditional roots — something Germany strongly strived for to regain its footing as a well integrated country once again. But this was back in the 90s.  About twenty years down the line, Kubin who's now known for his experimentally obscure horror sounds of minimal wave is still somehow deeply marked by this time in Deutscheland. 

His work, his lecture, his music and philosophy are still highly smeared by a strong dadaism reaction against a unification that happened two decades ago — the same exact approach to experimental expression has now turned into the epitome of non-experimental, and rather the predictable sounds of "anarchy" — dadaism for dadaism's sake.   Germany has moved on and given birth to many other new avant-garde expressions through out the years; and Berlin in particular, has even grown into a hub for the latest artistic trends. 

Germany today stands for an innovative strong country, full of hope and grassroots movements inspired by its new generation, art, and design.  What Kubin's Get Weird show, is pointing out distinctly is exactly that: a retrospect of Germany and its former half communist self, since the fall of the Berlin Wall — all the hardships and phases that it endured and expressed to get through some of the toughest times in its history — hence the harsh disconnect one feels when watching and listening to his work. And perhaps that has become the satiric extent in Kubin's stories as he tells them today.

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