Reference Festival Edition 3: Protopia

© Reference Festival
© Reference Festival
Realizing what can be implemented in the future corresponds to the approach of the 3rd Reference Festival in cooperation with the Schinkel Pavillon. The focus is on interdisciplinarity, creativity and the forgotten potential of Berlin in fashion and architecture. Unreal? Find out more here ...

For the 3rd edition of Reference Festival, presented under the theme ‘Protopia’, Reference Studios and Schinkel Pavillon partner to merge myriad approaches to hopeful futures. Disappearing Berlin is a performance and music programme produced by Schinkel Pavillon, that explores the potentiality of a city in change, with some of Berlin’s iconic, disappearing architectures and spaces temporarily transformed through experiences. Biannual Reference Festival is an interdisciplinary platform for new formats. With a focus on fashion, it explores the aspects of creativity as a whole, values and visions, through experiences in physical and virtual reality. A place for special projects in all disciplines of culture, Reference Festival and Schinkel Pavillon for this edition of the festival together take to West Berlin’s ultimate architectural landmark, Bierpinsel, and give access to a place that was abandoned for a decade.

The edition’s theme, ‘Protopia’ represents an alternative vision to utopia and dystopia. Under the title ‘Protopia Futures’, futurist Monika Bielskyte created a matching framework which proposes that there is no singular “future” trajectory but rather a vast scope of many alternative futures which are continuously shaped not just by our actions but also by our inactions. Under the seasonal theme Reference Festival continues its original “open, free format approach” – “to tackle the big themes of the future”, as Hans Ulrich Obrist put it already for the inceptive edition.

"Together with Nina Pohl of Schinkel Pavillon, Reference takes on a dream partnership, in which we explore synergies on the way to many possible futures. Protopia is now!"

says Mumi Haiati, Founder & CEO of Reference Studios. Reference proudly presents some of the most substantial key opinion leaders in contemporary art and fashion, and becomes an enabler of cultural intercourse. As part of a reboot of Berlin Fashion Week, the festival continues to be funded by the Senate Department for Economics, Energy, and Public Enterprises.

For edition 3, activations happen around the city from September 6th – 12th whilst on September 8th and 9th the Festival sets its focal point on Bierpinsel. As the pandemic limits physical attendance, activations transform into digital spheres via virtual platform, Reference Realities.

Reference Festival: Protopia features physical showcases and exclusive activations by 032c, 44 LABEL GROUP, acteTM, Carhartt WIP, deadHYPE, Do You Read Me?!, GmbH, Jack Wolfskin, Juliana Huxtable, OTTOLINGER, Phipps, Protopia Futures, Richert Beil, Rudi Gernreich, Treffpunkt,WildAnimals,WoodWood andamusicprogrammecuratedbyPAN’sBillKouligas.

In addition, Reference Incubator (in partnership with Italian fashion powerhouse Slam Jam) presents its winner. Its committee includes Hans Ulrich Obrist, Luca Benini, Soo Joo Park, Kenneth Ize, Zainab Jama, Benjamin Huseby & Serhat Isik, Edward Buchanan, Ferdinando Verderi, Clea Irving, Mokhtar Benbouazza, and Simon Whitehouse. The initiative sets focus on responsible fashion and representation for new generation talent. On a mission to enable a self-sustainable brand, Slam Jam functions as an incubator while Reference Studios provide their services in terms of public relations and consultancy.