The Sun Machine Is Coming Down

Art at the ICC Berlin

From 7 to 17 October - for ten days, the Berliner Festspiele are opening the International Congress Centre (ICC), which has been unused for years, and will bring this High-Tech architectural icon back to life with Berlin-based and international artists featuring new and adapted art from the fields of performance, circus, music, film, and installation. 


There, where today the aura of what was once state-of-the-art technology has faded, where operations have come to a standstill, and where the deterioration of the building dominantes its presence, bodies, plants, sounds, discourses, and movement are returning, and – with a project named after the title of David Bowie’s song “Memory of a Free Festival” (1969) – are promising light, space, and transformation. At the beginning, there was the desire to make the ICC, which is like a spaceship stranded and floating through time while running on emergency power, able to be experienced as a vessel to other worlds and species. The crackling of time, the groaning of the machine, the echo of the goods of earlier and other cultures – all of this was intended to flow through the ICC as sounds. Eerie, disturbing, and seductive, all at the same time.

David Bowie celebrated the art of transformation. He was living in Berlin when the ICC was built. At the time of its opening in 1979, his promising lyrics “The Sun Machine is coming down. And we’re gonna have a party” were already ten years old. In 1969, during the last four minutes of his song “Memory of a Free Festival”, they bundled, almost like a mantra, the spirit of a time of physical closeness and wild parties that today, after 20 months of pandemic, feels so far away. 

Dear disco, we will wait for you.

Including works by Monira Al Qadiri & Raed Yassin, Arachnophilia & Studio Tomás Saraceno, Ed Atkins, Grace Ellen Barkey / Needcompany, Dara Birnbaum, Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Cao Fei, Floating University Berlin, Cyprien Gaillard, Barbara Hammer, Arthur Jafa, Richard Janssen, Ilya Khrzhanovsky & Ilya Permiakov, Scott King, John Carroll Kirby, Lawrence, Gordon Matta-Clark, Darragh McLoughlin, Chloé Moglia, Jörg Müller, Ayaka Nakama, Nalan, Nazanin Noori, Ulrike Ottinger, Khien Phuc, James Richards & Leslie Thornton, Rosaceae & Natascha P., Rachel Rose, Andrea Salustri, Tino Sehgal, Markus Selg, Joulia Strauss, Alexis Taylor, Tegel Media, Unguarded, Alexander Vantournhout / not standing, WangShui, The White Screen and many others.