Techno is a new genre in music’s recent history. Originating from different music genres, techno developed in Detroit and Berlin, two urban places with two very different historical developments. At the time of techno’s emergence, both cities were undergoing drastic changes: in Detroit, big industry had left; and in Berlin, the city’s former divide was at the center of Germany’s reunification.
The exhibition “The Birth of Techno. From Detroit to Berlin” examines the developments of the techno movement in both cities. The focus is to show the relationships between the techno movements of the two cities.
By including actors from Detroit and Berlin, new perspectives on the mostly “white,” Eurocentric narratives about techno in this country are becoming possible as African-American influences on techno in Detorit are becoming visible. Here, it becomes apparent that Detroit techno draws its artistic and aesthetic references from Afrofuturism and other utopian narratives. Berlin’s techno history is strongly influenced by Detroit, not least through exchanges and performances by Detroit artists. At the same time, the Wende era, which was marked by deindustrialization and fragmented urban development, is important context for the development of Berlin techno.