Long lives the volatile!

Three Days And Four Nights
Discussion + Live Acts + Films + Lectures + Exhibition


Long before globalization and MTV forcing music to step into line, punk ignored boundaries of nations and systems it was the cause for an (almost) world wide irritation and feeling of new departures. Somewhere in the range of destruction and new beginning, "Pretty Vacant" and "Hey Ho, Let's Go", between art avant-garde, youth subculture and mainstream punk was like a shock wave in almost every field of cultural production, it was inspiring and totally influential.

But what actually is punk: youth culture, musical genre, or a rigid attitude to life? Who is a real punk: Richard Hell? Nigel Kennedy? Crass? Vivien Westwood? What is punk today? A museums piece? Or vivid and vital history from the underground? And what actually is the nature of punk? The self empowering of a Do-It-Yourself principle? The authentic culture of protest against commercialization and constraint in the music industry, as expressed by some enthusiasts? The radical promise of freedom in a bureaucratic world? Or is punk just another commodity in the supermarket of pop culture and styles.

Hardly any other sub cultural movement is revolved by so many myths and legends. Everyone interested in punk knows the story about Malcom McLaren, how he formed the band Sex Pistols and turned the popworld upside down. But there are different opinions on the story: For some it was a musical big bang, for some a cynical marketing trick, a commercial sell out before things really got started, just like "The Great Rock & Roll Swindle", that famed album by the Sex Pistols.

Where was punk coming from and what earlier musical style made it possible? It where primarily US-bands who cultivated a raw and ruff version of rock and roll: the Stooges, who reformed and are enthusiastically welcomed by the audience at their comeback tour these days and not to forget the legendary MC 5 from Detroit. Scarcely noticed are the
New York Dolls today. Proto-punks like Rocket From The Tombs are only known to specialists. It is one goal of the Punk Kongress! to recall those almost forgotten American roots of punk rock.

Pioneers, theoreticians, experts and activists will come together to talk about their point of view and exchange opinions and experiences. Punk had no spokesmen and no dogmatic leaders, everyone could phrase 'which way to go'. Sometimes too many got involved: anybody could be his own chief ideologist, publish records and pamphlets, each in his own way proclaiming a different idea and conception of punk. Punk has no undisputed, certified history. It consist of many legends and anecdotes: the phenomenon appears completely different depending on whose viewpoint you are looking at it: the USA, Great Britain, the German or Swiss hinterlands. On the other side of the Iron curtain again punk had another face: being a punk meant fighting a running battle with narrow-minded government officials. This is what the participants of the Punk! Kongress will talk about: their "oral history" will give us an idea of the many aspects that punk actually incorporates. Invited are authoritative international protagonist like New York Dolls manager Marty Thau; the guitar player of the swiss punk legend KLEENEX/LiLiPUT Marlene Marder; the founder of "Sniffin' Glue" magazine Mark Perry; the editor of the "Teenage Wasteland Gazette" and songwriter of the Dictators, Andy Shernoff; the author Stewart Home; the manager of the Sex Pistols Malcom McLaren; the Slovenian punk activist Igor Basin; the front man of the GDR punk band Planlos, Michael "Pankow" Boehlke and cultural scientists and authors like
Dick Hebdige
, Sezgin Boynik and Thomas Groetz.

In an open symposium, panel discussions and lectures the participants will outline and discuss the genesis of punk, track down the roots of today's mainstream culture and examine the relevance of its basic ideas to the present situation. In order that this doesn't led to a lusterless academic, pop historical discourse the current punk movement will also be discussed.

Top class and legendary live acts will appear on stage: Buzzcocks (punk pop);
Rocket From the Tombs
(Avant Garage) and Jayne County (rock and roll), who brought back the radical spirit of punk and rock music. Contemporary bands like Viva L'American Death Ray Music (experimental Velvet Underground descendants); Boy From Brazil (One-Man-Electro-Rockabilly) or Boonaraaas! (She Sound 2000) will demonstrate the whole range of the development of punk rock beyond the three chord cliché. Traditionalists like Dean Dirg (just punk) will present punk in its purest form.

A selection of films with rarities of the international Do-It-Yourself-Super-8-Production, an exhibition about the ambivalent relationship between punk and media. A trade fair for international independent labels and fanzines will complete the program.

Be there or get lost.

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