History

Milestones of the CTM Festival

In 2015, CTM enters its 16th edition with the title Un Tune. Here is a brief survey of the festival's history and its main contributors.

CTM.99. The first edition of the festival (then named club transmediale) in 1999 was held at the old (now demolished) location of club Maria am Ostbahnhof. The festival was conceived as a one-off special programme for the transmediale festival, where it was intended to throw some light on the new and rapidly expanding spectrum of artistic projects that had emerged from the techno movement and progressive digitalization at the interface of media arts, electronic music and club culture. The idea fell on fertile ground – evidently CTM had struck a nerve at the right moment and aptly identified the needs and interests of artists and the public. CTM.99 was titled 10 Tage an der Schnittstelle von Bild und Ton (10 Days at the Interface of Sound and Image) and was organized by Jan Rohlf, Marc Weiser, Lillevan Pobjoy and Timm Ringewaldt, with contributions by Oliver Baurhenn and Remco Schuurbiers.
 
In 2000 CTM.00 – Get Personal! took place in an empty office space with a superb view on Berlin's Alexander Platz on the 7th floor of the Haus des Lehrers – the former GDR training (and indoctrination) centre for teachers. We still did not think of it as a festival, but a sequel of the project begun in 1999. The team consisted of Jan Rohlf, Marc Weiser, Oliver Baurhenn and Remco Schuurbiers – the constellation that would run the festival until 2005.

2001 we couldn't realise the festival due to lack of funding.

2002 saw us re-appear on the surface, this time at E-Werk, an abandoned, wrecked power station, which housed Berlin's legendary E-Werk club from 1993 to 1997. CTM.02 – Go Public! was not only the most adventurous in terms of location, but, spanning 13 days, was also the longest we ever held. 

With CTM.03 – Play Global! the festival returned to Maria am Ostbahnhof, at its second location (now Yaam, after some years under the name of club Magdalena) – and stayed there until 2009. A number of additional locations were added each year, including: Ballhaus Naunynstrasse, Kunstraum Kreuzberg / Bethanien, Volksbühne am Rosa-Luxemburg Platz, Carl Zeiss Grossplanetarium, General Public and others. CTM.03 was the first time we decided to apply for support from public funding bodies – which turned out to be succesfull. The result was our first focus on experimental and electronic music in eastern and south-eastern Europe Go East!.

CTM.04 – Fly Utopia! was held again at Maria am Ostbahnhof. Meike Jansen joined the team as a guest curator contributing to our focus Performing Sound, which resulted in the publiction of the book Gendertronics – Der Körper in der Elektronischen Musik (The Body in Electronic Music). We continued our regional focus on eastern Europe with the programme Go Further East!.

CTM.05 – Basics saw an expansion of the programme, featuring a larger variety of musical styles than ever and especially integrating more and more musical hybrids, shifting the foucus from strictly electronic and digital music to the interplay of electronic and acoustic practises. Part of that development was a focus on the Nordic region, aptly titled Splendid Isolation, as well as the first edition of our Wasted series on hard and fast musics (continued till 2008), created together with Jason Forrest and Peter Votava. After the 2005 edition Marc Weiser left the curatorial team of CTM to focus on his own music.

Consequentially, for CTM.06 – Being Bold! we changed the festival's subline from Festival of Electronic Music and Related Visual Arts to Festival of Adventurous Music and Art, emphasising our preference of specific contents, attitudes or methodologies over particular formats or genres and opening-up the festival to the full range of today's music production. CTM.06 saw the first of three (till 2008) Handclaps film programmes, put together for the festival by Tim Tetzner.

CTM.07 – Building Space highlighted The Blind Spot, a joint project with Ultrahang from Budapest, funded by the German Cultural Foundation, that facilitated an extensive exchange between artists and organisations from Germany and Hungary. Another collaboration project was the workshop/performance programme Liquid Space together with LAb[au] from Brussels.

CTM.08 – Unpredictable included the project Generator.x 2.0 by Marius Watz and our first collaboration with Martin Howse, the workshop/laboratory xxxxx, both at Ballhaus Naunyn. Another highlight was a programme contributed by Tuned City (Carsten Stabenow and Carsten Seiffarth) exploring the relation of sound, architecture and city planing. The exhibition Unpredictable Encounters at General Public marked the endpoint of an artistic exchange project with polish and german artists conceived in collaboration with Unsound Festival from Krakow.

CTM.09 – Structures marked our 10th anniversary and saw our first exhibition at now beloved partner Kunstraum Kreuzberg / Bethanien (within Kunstquartier Bethanien), curated in collaboration with Carsten Stabenow of Dock e.V. / Tuned City. In 2009 the festival hosted for the first time a working meeting of the international festival network ICAS / ECAS, welcoming more than 30 festival producers from Europe, North- and South America. 

CTM.10 – Overlap took place in the then re-opened, but shortlifed WMF club at the heart of Berlin Alexanderplatz, and at the nearby HBC. Guest curators included Thorsten Wiedeman of A.Maze. Around the corner of .HBC, in an empty loft, the dutch art organisation <>TAG produced the exhibition Esemplasticism as part of CTM. Robert Henke and his students of the Soundstudies department at the University of Arts showed a selection sound works in the same building.

WMF closed it doors again not much later, and so we had to reorganise our concept once more for CTM.11 – #Live!?, this time deciding for a more distributed festival that took place at up to ten venues, mostly located in Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg – namely HAU Hebbel am Ufer, Maria am Ostbahnhof, Festsaal Kreuzberg, West Germany, Kunstquartier Bethanien, Berghain and more. Guest curators for our conference at the HAU where Sandra Naumann and Jan Thoben, <>TAG again contributed an extensive exhibition titled Alles Was Sie Über Chemie Wissen Müssen.

With CTM.12 – Spectral we stabilised collaborations with HAU Hebbel am Ufer, Berghain and Kunstquartier Bethanien as the Festival's main locations. Andreas L. Hofbauer and Annie Goh joined the team as guest curators for the discourse programme, Michail Stangl provided contributions to the music programme, while Thibault de Ruyter curated the exhibition Ghosts Off the Shelf.

CTM.13 – The Golden Age returned to main venues HAU Hebbel am Ufer, Berghain, and Kunstraum Kreuzberg/Bethanien, while also venturing into Stattbad for the first time and producing a special concert at the Funkhaus Nalepastraße, home of the DDR National Broadcasting Corporation until 1990. This edition saw the first instalment of the Musicmakers Hacklab, a 6-day collaborative environment created in collaboration with Peter Kirn of Create Digital Media. Michail Stangl joined the curatorial team of the music programme.

Celebrating 15 years, CTM 2014 – Dis Continuity took shape as the most successful edition to date, assembling over 200 artists from 33 countries and an audience of more than 25 000 visitors including 1000 professionals, for 10 days of music, conferences, exhibitions, installations and more. The festival took place at return venues HAU Hebbel am Ufer, Berghain, Stattbad, and Kumstraum Kreuzberg/Bethanien. Several premieres of commissioned works were held this year, either through CTM's new Berlin Current initiative or the CTM 2014 Radio Lab. The Musicmakers Hacklab returned for a second successful edition, this time culminating in a packed final performance/presentation. To commemorate 15 years, CTM also notably produced an in-depth magazine of features, essays, and pieces from invited artists and specialists en lieu of a regular festival catalogue. An impressive constellation of programme collaborations with PAN, Editions Mego, Kees Tazelaar, Dock e.V., Mikko Ojanen, Andrej Smirnov, and ReNoise added an especially rich diversity of musical viewpoints to the 15th edition.

CTM has gained a unique profile and the reputation of being one of the most important international festivals both for state-of-the-art electronic and experimental music and for the manifold artistic activities that unfold in the context of sound and club culture.  We keep developing the festival and its formats, collaborating with various guest curators each year.