berlin’s still got it

These are the musicians, directors and photographers proving that Berlin is still bursting with creativity. Meet i-D Germany’s Class of 2018.

by i-D Germany
08 January 2018, 4:21pm

This article was originally published by i-D Germany.

Mobilegirl wears Kenzo.

Mobilegirl, producer and DJ
“Make a track and I’ll buy you an ice cream,” were the words of mobilegirl’s best friend Mechatok that convinced her to try her hand at producing two years ago. The result, Ice Sheets, quickly made the rounds, leading to a first epic Boiler Room set and gigs around the world (Mechatok still owes her that ice cream, by the way). A few months ago, mobilegirl -- real name Bao-Tran Tran -- released her first EP on Staycore entitled Poise. The record is decidedly quieter than her high-energy DJ sets would suggest, which feature a diverse mix of musical styles. “I love dancing and really cranking up the volume in the club, but that doesn’t work at home, so I started working on super melodic and melancholic stuff. That’s how the first tack for the EP came about.” At the beginning of the year, mobilegirl was put on the roster of the New York power collective Discwoman, which pushes for greater representation of cis women, trans women and genderqueer talent in electronic music. “It’s incredible how much my music can inspire people. Even though it might sound a bit corny, this is what motivates me to keep going ” says the 24-year-old. “When East Asian women come up to me and say they’ve never seen a female Asian DJ before, that they never thought they would achieve representation behind the decks, that means so much to me." @mobilegirl Text: Alexandra Bondi de Antoni

Mechatok wears Martine Rose x Napapijri.

Mechatok, musician
Dance beats, pop references that steer clear of kitsch, subtle melancholic undertones -- Mechatok’s music is really helping to get us through the long, dark winter. With his DJ sets and self-produced tracks, the Munich-born musician is redefining the meaning of pop. “I’m not necessarily a fan of what’s going on in pop at the moment,” explains the 20-year-old. “So I decided to try extracting the elements I liked and placing them in an exciting cultural context. He has recently returned from touring Asia and is now working on his new EP Skies of Tomorrow, due for release in February. “I’ve worked for far longer on the new EP than on any previous record. Once you’ve released material, you’ve already made a certain statement. Suddenly it plays a role in a wider narrative. My previous releases were very compact and direct -- this time I wanted to take a few detours and bring in some metaphors.” Text: Alexandra Bondi de Antoni

Lyra wears a coat by Kwaidan Editions (via The Store). T-shirt John Lawrence Sullivan (via The Store). Skirt Le Kilt (via The Store). Socks model's own. Shoes Gucci

Lyra Pramuk, musician and performer
Lyra’s performances are a combination of sung and spoken word, visuals and strong beats. She floats across the stage like an otherworldly being, her voice leaving behind a blissful feeling that’s hard to describe. Lyra’s inspirations include performance greats Björk, Diamanda Galas and Meredith Monk, as well as choreographers like Martha Graham. Lyra, who grew up in a small town in Pennsylvania, says she felt like a stranger in her own body before moving to Germany. Just a few months back, having lived for some years as an openly gay man in Berlin, she began her transition. “I’ve become far more relaxed,” she says. “At the beginning of the year, I still felt like I had to indulge in the superficial idea of what people expected from me. I now feel far more feminine, and it has nothing to do with my appearance -- it’s solely about how I feel in my body. I am more in tune with my feminine identity.” Looking ahead, the American-born performer has one main goal: not to release anything with the sole aim of gaining approval. “We are all far too dependent on the validation of others to feel good in ourselves. I want to keep more for me.” @Lyra Text: Alexandra Bondi de Antoni

Sophie wears a KENZO shirt and pants by Nhu Duong.

Pyur, producer
“For me, music is the fabric that binds everything,” explains Sophie Schnell -- aka Pyur. “The most beautiful feelings I have ever experienced -- all-encompassing love, complete dissipation, soaring through the universe -- have all been connected to music.” The Munich-born producer creates her own brand of techno that is carried along by ambient sounds and complemented visually by her self-produced videos: “There are rules present in my music that even I don’t fully understand. Whenever I try, I get frustrated. It’s magic. Everything that happens to me in the process of creating an album just makes sense somehow.” The 25-year-old producer is currently working on her next album Oratorium for the Underworld, snippets of which she presented at this year’s Berlin Atonal festival. She explains that the work is largely about grounding herself. “Many people of my generation are very sensitive, very creative and very free. They sometimes lack that down-to-earth mentality and a certain stability. I was exactly the same. Music has started to change that for me.” @pyur Text: Alexandra Bondi de Antoni

Cissel wears top Gucci.

Cissel Dubbick, fashion designer
Cissel Dubbick describes her designs in three words: “Sensitive, explosive and infinite.” The 24-year-old designer is inspired by different tastes. Currently in her fourth year studying fashion design at the Weißensee Academy of Art Berlin, Cissel has developed an aesthetic that combines various materials, patterns and shapes in large, collage-like pieces of textile art. As part of the Unisex. Brand of everything collective, she can be found in front of the camera as well as behind a sewing machine. But all her activities are united in a single aim: to enjoy whatever she does. “The best thing about being young is the freedom to try things out and do crazy stuff without being condemned for it,” she says. “And that is the exciting thing about fashion, you can constantly reinvent yourself.” @ccdubbi Text: Juule Kay

Annabell wears top model's own.

Annabell Häfner, painter and model
Artist Annabell Häfner takes moments in history and passes them through a melancholic filter, distorting them into new memories. The resulting large-format paintings are full of nostalgia, and remind us just how fleeting a moment can be. “I work mainly from my own memories,” says the 25-year-old student. She keeps a daily video diary that serves as a source of inspiration. Fine lines and abstract colourfields blend together on the canvas to produce sequences from days long past. “My paintings are a rollercoaster ride of emotion -- largely frustration,” she admits. Above all, the young artist values the freedom to experiment. But Annabell knows it takes more than this to achieve success: “No matter how talented you are, you should never forget to work hard and to give yourself the occasional kick in the butt. You shouldn’t just wait around for something to happen.” @annabellhaef Text: Juule Kay

Noah wears suit Gucci. T-shirt model's own. Shoes stylist's own.

Noah Becker, artist and musician
“We feel and hear in colours” claims the website of experimental lo-fi band Bakery, of which artist and musician Noah Becker is a member. But this 23-year-old’s talents are not limited to electronic beats -- Noah is also a painter. “The whole art thing wasn't really planned,” he says, “but I just love collaborating with people around me.” Noah’s paintings are inspired by artists including Richter, Basquiat and Hugo McCloud, and characterised by their spontaneity and colour. “Yellow plays a really important role for me,” says the artist. “Whenever I come up with a sick beat, everything feels a bit more yellow to me.” On stage, Noah and his fellow Bakery boys try to combine the two art forms. And the reason it works so well is largely thanks to one thing: intuitiveness – this is the thread that ties the separate creative endeavors together. Rather than planning, Noah prefers to just start painting and let himself be guided by intuition. But that’s not to say he does anything half-heartedly or is content with whatever comes out -- “If I don’t like something, I work on it until I do.” @noahbecker Text: Juule Kay

Erik wears suit John Lawrence Sullivan. Top model's own.

Erik Raynal, stylist
Erik is one of those people you notice as soon as they walk into the room.“I’m a very ambitious person,” explains the French-born stylist and creative consultant. “I like to try out as many things as possible so that I won’t have any regrets when I’m old.” And he certainly has no regrets about moving from London to Berlin: “I just felt like I had to come here. I wanted to discover a new culture.” He was right to follow his instincts, working with the German capital’s top talent since he arrived. But through all the success, he has been guided by one motto in particular: “You have to hold onto what you stand for and stand up for what you believe in.” Erik stands for genderless creativity, which his striking projects demonstrate time and again. @erikraynal Text: Juule Kay

Langston wears a shirt by Ximon Le

Langston Uibel, actor
19-year-old Langston is currently in the middle of production for the second German Netflix original series Dogs of Berlin, which sees two detectives delve into the Berlin underworld on the trail of a murder. Speaking of his passion for acting, he explained: “Acting gives you the chance to do things you wouldn't necessarily get to do in real life.” The London-born actor has been following his passion for ten years now, and during that time he has learned one particularly valuable lesson: “You should never stop having fun and should always be wary of drifting into a pseudo-dreamworld, as this is where you can quickly lose yourself.” Any tips on how to achieve this? “Don’t go into anything with an overly serious, intellectual mindset,” Langston advises. “I would always rather be relaxed and have a bit too much fun than too little.” @langstonuibel Text: Juule Kay

Nathalie is wearing a coat Hornof. T-shirt model's own.

Nathalie Francois, photographer
"My photos are raw and unfiltered, but still soft,” says Nathalie Francois. She observes the same polarities in her generation as a whole, which fluctuates between determination and anxiety. “We wallow nostalgically in analogue memories while simultaneously trying to master the digital world -- overwhelmed by the limitless opportunities available to us.” Nathalie is inspired by strong women who are comfortable in their bodies and conscious of their emotions. But fashion also plays an important role in her work: “I always feel inspired when I see people on the street wearing crazy outfits. They are not afraid to stand out -- they just want to show the world who they are.” Having recently graduated from the Danish School of Media and Journalism in Copenhagen, her dream is now to start making a living as a photographer. @nathaliefrancois Text: Juule Kay

Sylvie wears Gucci.

Sylvie Weber, filmmaker
“I want women, people of colour and the LGBTQ community to work together and draw attention to the fact that the film industry is still dominated by men,” says Sylvie Weber. The filmmaker’s work includes an intimate portrait of Bibi Bourelly in this short documentary film, and she recently accompanied Team Hurricane to the Venice International Film Festival. Her style is the product of a very personal approach, “I studied in India, and my film professor there told me, ‘The best stories, whether fiction or a documentary, draw on your own personal experiences.’ Being a woman, I generally feel more comfortable portraying female protagonists. I place myself in their world and observe.” The result are films that always have a message. “As a storyteller, I have a duty to address relevant socio-political topics.” Sylvie explains how she wants to show the diversity and value of other cultures and ideas, taking inspiration from role models including Soviet master Sergei Parajanov and American director Kahlil Joseph. “Both have their own very original and often abstract visual language, and enable the viewer to really delve into the psyche of their characters,” she says. @sylvieweber Text: Michael Sader

Raquel wears top vintage Jean Paul Gaultier. Trousers Nhu Duong. Belt Arket. Chris wears top and jacket Arket. Trousers model's own

Raquel Fedato and Chris Phillips, organisers of Pornceptual
“The first thing you see is people getting naked,” says Chris, describing guests’ first impression of a Pornceptual party. But many people don’t know that Pornceptual is not only a Berlin sex and fetish party -- it is also part of a sex-positive, multimedia art project. Originally from Brazil, Raquel Fedato and Chris Phillips organise parties, exhibitions and performance events, publish a Pornceptual magazine, and run a website -- all with one overarching aim, “To redefine porn through various art forms.” Raquel and Chris both originally moved to the German capital to study. It was here that they met, had lengthy discussions about the dangerously conservative Brazilian society and discovered the sexual and personal freedom that Berlin has to offer. “We work with a variety of different artists, giving them a platform to express their sexuality and thereby encouraging others to approach their own sexuality with more creativity and zero shame,” says Chris. The pair explain how Brazil’s body culture celebrates an unhealthy beauty ideal that led to Raquel developing a toxic image of herself and her body, while Chris felt ashamed of his homosexuality. “Pornceptual has helped open my eyes to the different forms of beauty, and to feel better in my own body,” says Raquel. “Because of my conservative upbringing, I had suppressed my sexuality for a long time,” explains Chris. @Pornceptual Text: Helen Schulte

Rafaela wears top vintage Prada.

Rafaela Kaćunić, founder of THIS IS BADLAND
This Is Badland is a biannual magazine created by Rafaela Kaćunić and Nina Vukelić. “I wanted to do something that had ties to my Croatian roots,” explains Rafaela, “and I could see how much potential was in the creative scene there.” In response, she founded the magazine This Is Badland, which puts Balkan culture, design and art in the spotlight. And as soon as she started it, it quickly became apparent that many other creatives from the region had been feeling the same. “There is nothing more amazing than seeing people so motivated to get involved and contribute,” Rafaela says. finds it particularly exciting that the majority of those involved in the magazine no longer live in the Balkans, as this is what makes it such a hybrid: “Many people fled the Balkans generations ago, and their kids are now living elsewhere in the world -- pursuing creative passions and contributing to this project.” This is Badland encourages artists and writers to explore what the Balkans means to them personally and how it has shaped their attitude towards life. Text: Helen Schulte

Paul wears Gucci. T-Shirt stylist's own.

Paul Herrmann, photographer and filmmaker
With his collages of debauched nights and portraits of his best friends out skating, juggling the chaos of everyday life, or at various after-parties, Paul Hermann’s photographs feel so familiar. “I try to use my photos and videos to capture a moment,” explains the Frankfurt-born photographer. It all started with an old camera he bought at a flea market and now carries around with him constantly. And Paul has also demonstrated his talent in front of the camera, modelling for one of the biggest fashion photographers of our time, Juergen Teller, and walking for Gosha Rubchinskiy’s spring/summer 17 show in Florence after catching the Russian designers attention via Instagram. For the 19-year-old, this sums the beauty of being young right now: “The Internet has made age completely irrelevant. You can do anything -- all the doors are open.” Text: Juule Kay


Photography Caroline Mackintosh
Styling Rachael Rodgers
Creative Direction and Production Alexandra Bondi de Antoni
Makeup Jana Kalgajeva
Hair Susanna Jonas
Styling Assistant Keva Legault
Photography Assistant Benny Heinrich
Production Assistant Juule Kay

lyra pramuk
berlin creatives