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The Warhol Economy or the marriage of creative collisions

19 Januar 2009 30,420 views No Comment

It is 3.30 a.m. at a Saturday night and Berlin’s electronic kraut is jumping up and down in front of a small stage, witnessing a life act that really deserves the word avant-garde. Let’s give it a minute of silence: RIO – the club at Berlin’s Chausseestrasse, the place where artists, djs, drag queens and party people would meet and mingle every Saturday for one reason: the chance to be part of amazing performances that felt like a mixture of art, zeitgeist, destruction and tastelessness and let you some hours later go home with the sense of having been part of something different.
RIO – we will love you forever.



credits: Styleserver

Let’s take this phenomenon and zoom on what I call the Conditio-sine-qua-non for all creative industries (the absence of it would simply erase the word “creative”…): it is about the power of creative collisions. The output, which emerges when creative from different disciplines, put their heads together. It is the certain twist, which catches your eye because it is different from all of the things you saw before. It is: new.

The connection to RIO? Places like this one marry art, culture, fashion and consumption, building the perfect ground for creative cooperation, which in turn inspire the art-as-business crowd to design amazing products and services out of it. We all know that Berlin is pretty good in bringing up exiting spaces like this. So, lovely city, you get a 1+ for the creative part. When it comes to the “industry” part of the game, there is…hmmm…let’s say “still potential” (but call it a high one).

A metropolis which takes a serious look at the economic part is, you name it: New York City.


credit: Princeton Press

I am just reading Elizabeth Currid’s „The Warhol Economy“ who digs into New York’s creative industries, driven by the mission to reveal the drivers and substantial conditions which made the creative industries to one of the major pillars of New York’s economy (believe it or not). New York has kind of the opposite problem as the one Berlin is struggling with. New York needs to strongly support the existence of a Warhol factory-like life that whirls around the clubs, galleries, music venues, and fashion shows where creative people meet and exchange ideas, and set the trends that shape popular culture. Elizabeth Currid never gets tired to stretch the meaning of the social life for a flourishing creative industry. Whereas Berlin needs to reinforce the business ability of its creative forces.

But there is a shiny light at the horizon: Design networks such as Create Berlin got the idea of the essential triggers that turn creativity into business: it is about offering a stage where creative scene meets economy, pushing the play button for collaboration between creative and brands but also between creative and creative from different disciplines. It is about the right touch of providing reasons to talk. And to make them visible for the major part of a metropolis that does not belong to the creative core.

One thing is for sure: there is huge interest from the big business side. Creative collaborations are state-of-the-art for brands who did recognize that design makes the difference.


credit: HP
The digital clutch notebook : HP engaged fashion designer Vivienne Tam to merge high tech and haute couture. The peonies on the notbeook are symbolic for “double happiness”. And so are fashion and technology the modern examples of two things that are better together.

Our Austrian neighbours are already playing a pretty good game, having built a strong lobby for the rise of the creative industries. Forum Mozartplatz, evokes the interaction between art and industry, presenting projects and attitudes of creative entrepreneurs who shape cultural identities as well as create more economic variety. The half-yearly magazine Crea:m extends the forum space.

cream_04credit: Forum Mozartplatz

And also agencies play the connector between culture and consumer. Culturlabel, for example, a London based agency, act as a transmitter to mingle interests and experts from culture institutions, consumers and brands, setting up an international design competition, Release1.0, with focus on stylish new products. The guys are also blogging about cultural entrepreneurship for culture institutions. See IntelligentNaivety.com for more.

Pretty exiting times, when aesthetics takes on new forms, changing our view on economy and creating new ways of working.

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