The Art Of Work: Berlin’s Nightlife Slaves

Think of the nightlife as a container that incubates nice memories, amazing feelings and great experiences that can nourish how we express ourselves. As much as you can look at it as capitalist fertile soil for Berlin’s amazing nightlife, it literary feeds the self-proclaimed creative class. And to be frank, I don‘t give a shit about "work-life-balance" or other new-agey terms that try to make neo-liberal tendencies palatable. I‘d rather carry beer crates during the night and write during the day than being depressed about having never finished a novel, a piece, an idea or a vision.

Thom Hadfield asks: a drink or your portrait? Photo: Chris Phillips

For creative minds, there is nothing more scary than the seducing yet sedating corporate life. A slave to the money is what all of us are, but as soon as we get all comfy in an office chair it seems there is no way back to the renegade life we live when we do something that we actually believe in. Is our generation taking the promises of individualism too serious? Are we misusing our freedom, exaggerating our "right" to creativity? Are we too full of ourselves to realize that we should just sit down in a fucking office and do our job for the sake of – well, what? We will never know unless we try.

Cafe and the creative. Photo: Chris Phillips

There is something tourists in Berlin often get wrong: they expect servers to be polite robots. They mistake the not-overly-friendly attitude for disrespect, but perhaps it is them just expecting too much. It is just not that easy to balance an empty fridge with drug habits; ambition and reality with bohemian dreams and actual talent. While it is a privilege to survive on your art, it is not a privilege to do art. Take an idea, wrap it in some concept and put it out there: welcome to Berlin. The city that reveals the artist in all of us, where creativity blossoms and ideas prosper. But artists also work beyond their art and usually it's connected to nightlife or gastronomy. It's not out of any hedonistic tendencies, but this is how they often survive; the nightlife feeds both stomach and mind, gets you hammered and inspired.

Painting and waiting on the masses. Photo: Chris Phillips

So next time you order a beer in a bar or try to articulate your drink of choice in a club, ask yourself if the person serving you does this by choice. They work to make you have a good time but also in order to allow themselves cherished freedom. The exhibitions you like to attend survive on the tips you give. The art might be crap, the money wasted for drugs, but at least your next drink will be prepared with a good portion of love.

Tips to feed the creative hunger. Photo: Chris Phillips

Before this whole discussion gets too one-sided, here is a little announcement: in a monthly feature Berlin Art Parasites will feature artists in their day jobs. You work in a bar? You‘re a part-time barista? Get in touch with us and we can grab a coffee and chat about your personal work-art-balance.

Article: Kevin Junk (kevin@wolfauftausendplateaus.de)

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