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Alan Oldham gives his view on the UNESCO protection of Berlin Techno

Photo by: Zee Maria Osh

We catch up with the Detroit techno pioneer Alan Oldham AKA DJ T-1000 who was one of the driving forces behind the UNESCO campaign for ‘Berlin Techno’, spearheaded by Rave the Planet.

What does this mean for the scene and for Berlin as a city?

Like everyone, I’m waiting to see what practical benefits there are from this status, but in theory it ratifies the Berlin Techno scene as culture worthy of protection on par with museums, libraries and historic buildings, not just a bunch of clubbers taking dr-gs.” – Alan Oldham.

Protection from what?

Gentrification and erasure of community spaces are the main enemies. Berlin has already lost many great venues like IPSE and Fiese Remise.

There are concerns that the campaign focuses on Berlin, and not Detroit. Are you scared it would make people forget about the roots of where techno actually comes from?

Nope. Detroit Techno has been around for almost 40 years. Everyone who knows electronic music knows that my hometown Detroit is the birthplace of techno. Many Detroiters are living legends who are still relevant and leading the way creatively.

When campaigning for UNESCO status, it was in the back of our minds (myself, Dr. Motte and team) that Berlin was just the test case. And if successful, other cities with rich musical and creative histories could apply for the same UNESCO Intangible Cultural status. Of course, culturally, the USA is a different place with its own challenges. We shall see!


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