Berlin’s utopian techno and uniquely individual party, Gegen, comes to Berlin Berlin for the first time on Saturday October 20th. Known for its contradictions and as a transnational platform for queer artists to explore their music and performance and style on the Kit Kat club’s four different dance floors, promoters Fabio Boxikus and Warbear attest ‘it’s so easy to be “against”…the question which remains is: “What are you in favour of?”
Here we chat to Gegen’s DJ XIK ahead of Gegen’s hotly anticipated debut and we get a flavour of what’s in store.
TA: Gegen..literally means against and I like the way you’re playing with its meaning and opening it up as an inclusive and liberating place for people to express themselves and their sexuality. Where did the initial idea come from?
XIK: Gegen is one of the first words you encounter when you arrive in Berlin and study German. It has a strange opposition in its meaning. Spatially and philosophically it means against but temporarily it means around. So this contradiction fascinated us and deconstructed the dialectics within the meaning. The unresolved contradiction is the engine of queer culture as the space of becoming, the unwritten possibility, the invisible coming to surface. This is why we chose Gegen as the name of the event.
TA: Italian by birth how did you Fabio and your partner Warbear end up in Berlin and do you think the city (Berlin) lends itself especially to more inclusive and unrestrained events such as your parties?
XIK: We ended up in Berlin in different times and that’s where we met. We had a world in common, networks of relationships and so forth. Our collaboration became fluid and spontaneous. Berlin is a city of strange tension and hidden energies. For sure it is not Germany. The first experimentation in free sexuality and feminism started at the end of the XIX century. If you wanted to find a genealogy of the LGBT and Queer movement, you could say Berlin started a century before the Stonewall riots. Sexual liberation has always been a part of it, even before the fall of the Wall and even in the DDR.
TA: You’ve been hosting bi-monthly events for the last 7 years and your home is the Kit Kat Club. Is there something special about this space that adds to your party?
XIK: Kit Kat has a very long history of fighting the cause over 23 years and it leads the free front of sexual liberation in clubbing. For us it was a wonderful choice to install Gegen there which is anyway different from the parties they do there. We changed Kit Kat and Kit Kat changed us. Now we are very strict and tied.
TA: Apart from Gegen can you tell us about your 3 favourite events and what made them so special/unique?
XIK: The is a difficult choice to make as Berlin has scenes which open and close every six months. Sometimes you do not even have the time to get out and sample it as that something splendid happened and went away with the wind. We can say that personally we happen to appear around Cocktail d’ Amore, Buttons and Pornceptual. Then there is Unbedingt and Bearaoke which are small but super fun.
TA: What do you think are the key elements that make a Gegen night or party?
XIK: The differentiation of the people coming and not recognising themselves in the eye of the other. This sense of rising and losing the identity makes the wall of closed gesture fall down and in the land of certification, the uncertain is the ultimate experience of liberation. This feeling create a very special connection giving the possibility to a 70 year old bear dancing with a naked 20 year old woman. This unsafeness of identity create a special safe space for a dense, joyful and honest contact between people and most of our public are naked women. And as said we have people of 60+ attending since the first Gegen, and this is amazing.
TA: Berlin seems to be one of Europe’s top cities for inclusive and boundary-pushing clubbing with incredible parties like Buttons, Cocktail D’Amore and Pornceptual. What relationship do u guys have and is there an overlap with some of the DJs and performers or do you try and focus on your own unique cast?
XIK: Berlin has something that we never encountered anywhere else, a cooperative economy. This means that in a scene, economy promoters know that if everybody fits in the right schedule the scene will grow higher and higher so there is a close friendship and collaboration between all of us.
TA: Have you ever toured Gegen outside of Berlin and would you like to take your event around the world?
XIK: We are right now, slowly, in the process of transnationalising the brand. Thank you. With Love Gegen.
Catch DJ XIK and more for the Berlin Berlin Halloween Special at Egg London on Saturday 20th October.
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