Report: MIRA Digital Arts Festival 2018

3D sounds, virtual reality, performances and robotics: Digital Arts Festival MIRA again introduced us to the world of electronic music and technologies. Here’s our review!

’15 seconds of light’ by Protopixel _ Tigrelab supported by Robe Lighting_Xarlene_2’15 seconds of light’ by Protopixel _ Tigrelab supported by Robe Lighting


Berlin, as one of the key city worldwide for musical and tech creativity, was chosen again to host MIRA. The festival was made up of three interconnected areas: exhibition, dissemination and education. Originally founded in Barcelona in 2011, this year’s edition of MIRA attempted to offer a preview of new digital culture trends and technology innovations making everyone think: “What a time to be alive!”


AÏSHA DEVI Live _V_Xarlene_4Aïsha Devi


Former GDR broadcast centre Funkhaus, located on the shore of the River Spree in Berlin’s East, was chosen as a location of the whole action. The festival occupied several spaces of the building with its endless corridors. Needless to say its groovy atmosphere, especially in the twilight, seemed to be an element of MIRA’s program. The fog by the river in the evening made the whole place marvelously strange and mysterious.


A conversation with Diana Arce, Leil Zahra, Lyra Pramuk and Mic Oala _Xarlene_3A conversation with Diana Arce, Leil Zahra, Lyra Pramuk and Mic Oala


The program of this year was truly broad, consisting of audiovisual shows, digital art installations, 3D sound shows, fulldome screenings, conferences, presentations and workshops. Our personal highlight was Swiss artist Aïsha Devi, who presented her new album „DNA Feelings,“ completed by visuals by Emile Barret. Aïsha managed to single-handedly enchant the huge main room of Funkhaus with her dazzlingly spiritual performance, engulfed in flashing lights and powerful beats combined with her almost-hypnotizing singing.


LORENZO SENNI Live_Xarlene_5Lorenzo Senni


Yves Tumor’s audiovisual show also needs to be mentioned, mostly because of its intensity. His set couldn’t be described other than a wall of noise, which soon turned to a serious assault on the audience’s hearing after the artist’s repetitive demands to increase the volume, accompanied by threats of him cutting the show short, bringing it so loud everyone’s ears were ringing for a good 20 minutes after (hopefully, no one has demanded the MIRA organizers to pay for their ENT doctor bills yet). Combined with the dim lights, heaps of fog and Yves unexpectedly lunging towards the crowd, the performance gave you both a feeling of immense energy and slight fear at the same time. Other stars from contemporary electronica such as Lorenzo Senni, Forest Swords, Laurel Halo, Croatian Amor, or Vladimir Ivkovic completed the diverse line-up.


FOREST SWORDS Live A_V_Xarlene_5Forest Swords


However, despite all praise listed above, there were a couple moments, which definitely could be improved to ensure a better future for MIRA+Berlin love story.


YVES TUMOR Live_Xarlene_2Yves Tumor


Check, check, check
You get it, they check your pass upon entering, nothing new. Then you move forward, get your pass checked, and again, and again,… Sometimes the distance between the first and the second control was literally five steps. What’s more, some people were subjected to the checks more often than others – what’s the rub here?


AÏSHA DEVI Live _V_Xarlene_7Aïsha Devi


Gimme a time-turner, please
A couple notes about the schedule. The line-up of the festival was definitely ambitious and interesting, the programming not so much. While the main stars performed in Funkhaus’ Saal 1, there were plenty worth-to-see shows at MONOM at the same time, forcing the visitors to only pick one place, while there was a bit of dull program gap after that. Such a pity.


ESPINOZA MODULAR Live A_V _Xarlene_3Espinoza


Bottle/cup policy
What it was about the cups and bottles? You can go out with the bottle, you can’t come inside with the same bottle, you have to pay for the cup in the bar downstairs, you can just grab a bottle in the bar upstairs… So many rules. All of it probably for security reasons, but still – way too complicated. Just let me have my drink, please.


ESPINOZA MODULAR Live A_V _Xarlene_5Espinoza


Hosting part of the program at MONOM, Berlin’s Center for Spatial sound and conferences offering a 4DSOUND experience which opened just a while ago, sounded like a great idea, All the guests (i.e. all the people with more expensive MIRA BERLIN + MONOM 4DSOUND ticket) had a chance to experience exciting live shows and sound installations. Did we expected more from it? Yes, we did. Well, at least not to be interrupted by the light and noise from the corridor, which shined up all the people sitting not so far away from the entrance and exit, when someone went in or left the space. It could be fixed by using double curtain to cover the door. Easy.


LAUREL HALO Live_Xarlene_3Laurel Halo


Get me out of here!
After a long, long day of dancing, trying to figure out how the hell you can actually leave the lost island in East Berlin where Funkhaus is located is literally the last thing you wanna do. Unless you brought the contents of your savings jar with you so that you could afford a taxi back home (we highly discourage anyone from biking while wasted, stay safe kids!), you were forced to stay at the festival till early morning simply because there was no public transport running. Considering the industrial, abandoned feel the area has, it made one feel like a main character from a horror movie – one that would be the last person alive on that island, one that would never leave. Ever.


FOREST SWORDS Live A_V_Xarlene_2Forest Swords


In spite of all these negatives we’ve mentioned, we’re already excited for the next MIRA festival with its unusually progressive educational approach to the modern culture. At the end of the day, events like this are needed not only in Berlin, but worldwide.


MIRA Berlin: Website, Facebook, Instagram
Photos: MIRA Berlin
Text: Polina Korneeva
Edit: Anna Wim

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