I find television very educating. Every time somebody turns on the set, I go into the other room and read a book. - Groucho Marx

Germany is Awesome - Markus Fiedler proves it

by Jason Forrest
Jan. 20, 2012

Super-interesting guy and Network Awesome curator Markus Fiedler pulled together a kick-butt show of his favorite German live music clips. It starts with Joseph Beuys then jumps to an extensive crowd shot at an early Kraftwerk concert and never lets up. We love it.  He found one of the clips we're most proud to show in the history of Network Awesome: Einstuerzende Neubauten actually performing with and on a highway under construction. Brilliant stuff!

NAmag: You've curated a few of our Live Music Shows already and they have all been really different from each other. Can you tell us what you look for in a music clip?

With the Live Music Show we're talking about live clips, not produced videos. Therefore: Emotion. Feeling. Passion.
Whether that is fake or real doesn’t matter that much to me.  I don’t believe in an authentic reality too much anyhow.  After all: it’s a stage.  Diversity I find interesting, like “Look! This is possible, and that too, and this is the space in between and this is the space on the one side and that’s the space on the other side and its all this one big space that we’re able to perceive.” To see people presenting their art is nice.
Live situations are exciting because if you’re lucky you might get to see the communication between performers and audience. Even more exciting is the option that something unexpected happens. I like that. My rarely fulfilled voyeuristic dream is watching people perform and something happens that they didn't expect. You can see them enjoying the unexpected, and that’s when the mind starts flying. The live video as document also seems like a gateway through space and time.
So: for me its escapism, an escapism I don’t find in produced video clips that often. Besides that I have a strong interest in hair-dos and stages/settings/situations.


NAmag: Today's show is all about, um, "Germanity". What was the thread between the different clips and how do you think it captures the essence of your culture?

I don’t think it’s possible to capture THE essence of a culture.  It can only be particles gathered from the viewpoint of a person (or persons).  There's no way around subjectivity.
I've chosen clips that are documents of a counter-culture, whether that got assimilated by the mainstream or not is another issue.  Some elements that connect some of the clips:
  • The interpretation of blues/rock/pop with academic avant-garde techniques. 
  • The interest in machines, preferably small ones. 
  • There’s an obsession with pocket calculators and it’s relatives.
  • The "beep", the "new".
  • A strong political subtext.
  • Most of it is without a doubt totally unique.

And of course I have to agree with the history books:  the search for a new German identity/expression in this postwar-mess of a country.  I find all of that stuff courageous, uncompromising, and at times even radical, even from the present point of view. The primal motivation doesn’t seem to have been to give people what they want and make a living out of it but to express ones personality and creative energy, whether that fails commercially or not.

And: don't underestimate the funny, cartoonish elements - especially when things seem serious.
NAmag: You started your show with probably the definitive German visual artist of the 70's Joseph Beuys, do you think he actually had an effect on groups like Kraftwerk?

As I believe in the universal oneness, a possible influence doesn’t matter because it’s all one anyhow.  If one decides to have a specific look at the two parties, from like a cultural-theory point of view or something, there’s that almost contrary form and content with Beuys being focused on warmth and organic concepts and Kraftwerk being cold and technologic.  Funnily enough what really reaches my heart is the strong romanticist elements in both.  They are part of a century-old tradition in this region.  Just think of the obsession Fritz Lang and Thea von Harbou had with Karl Mays adventure novels. Most of Karl Mays books take place in the wild west or the middle east on horse (or camel) back whereas Fritz Lang did Metropolis.  But I guess what connects them is the idea of adventure, which is clearly romantic.  Maybe Germans are great adventurers because "we" might be good in mixing stubborness with open-mindness?
NAmag: Obviously a dude who's into all this cool stuff is pretty interesting, what else do you do?

I m trying to give up myself and become a third persona in conjunction with beeswax.  This third persona tries to create sculptures (therefore in most cases objects) that are subjects.  To get the olives into my salad I lift boxes at a warehouse.

Jason Forrest is CEO and Creative Director of Network Awesome. He's been an electronic musician for over 11 years and has traveled almost everywhere in the world.  He invented and developed the iOS app Star6 and aided in the development of both Buddha Machine apps. In addition to that he runs 2 record labels, Nightshifters and Cock Rock Disco - so he's a busy guy.  His new album "The Everything" was released in April 2010 on Staatsakt. Grab it here and Follow him on Facebook here and contact him via the Network Awesome About page!