The Show Don't Tell Show, 2015

THE SHOW DON'T TELL SHOW

 

The Show Don't Tell Show was a club night addressing issues moving on the boundaries between art and gentrification, party politics, and night life.

 

It took place at the Bussey building/CLF Art Cafe on Rye Lane, Peckham, as a collaboration between me and Athanasios Anagnostopoulos. The night included two DJ sets, one of which I played as DJ Jamanna Hoj (Leipzig/Berlin). My performance was surrounded by text and image projections, which were conceived to appear as party visuals, in sync with the beats. Moving and blinking text told my personal narration about how the party leader of Alliance 90'/The Greens had made me a DJ in Berlin when I did an internship at his head office, just before I moved to London. By telling the story of how I became a DJ, I wanted to demystify the “club ritual”, replacing the DJ's prototypical aloofness with a more vulnerable/transparent story and, at the same time, penetrate the night with party politics. In the visuals, questions about the process of gentrification were raised on two levels: On the one hand, I asked myself, as a student, who just moved to Peckham, how I contribute to this process. Regarding the context of the night, a club like the Bussey building is performing as a major gentrifier, drawing a hip audience from all over London to Peckham. Yet, blaming individual artists/hipsters on the move would miss the point. The bird's-eye-view on the process that was represented in the visuals involved an interview with Natalie Bennett (the leader of the Green Party of England and Wales), whom I had met at a Radical Housing Conference. After she heard the story about me being made a DJ by Cem Özdemir (the party leader of the German Greens) she agreed on having an interview. We asked her about the process of gentrification, focussing on the different levels that it involves (individual, national, global, and urban). The other projection showed a slowly moving 3D pill, which had the letters P-ME engraved. Beneath, there was a continuously flowing stream of the phrase “politicize-me” in very small letters. The Show Don't Tell Show was about linking gentrification processes in Berlin to those in London. Names like “Berlin”, “Kreuzberg”, and “Neukölln” that appeared in the visuals are part of a clubbing hype, which goes far beyond Germany's borders. One of the reactions to the show was that “finally there was some proper Berlin style techno party in London – which usually couldn't be found here”. So, even though we ironically referred to the hype around Berlin, the show could be perceived as part of it.

© Johanna Maj Schmidt 2020