Reference Festival: Navigating Parallel Realities

© Getty Images / Sebastian Reuter
© Getty Images / Sebastian Reuter
As part of a reboot of Berlin Fashion Week, for its 2nd edition Reference Festival has been selected for a co-funding by the Senate Department for Economics, Energy and Public Enterprises.

Reference Festival is the brainchild of holistic communications agency Reference Studios and had its inauguration in 2019. Its interdisciplinary approach set standards for community driven hybrid formats. Since then, the world quite literally has turned.

As part of a reboot of Berlin Fashion Week, for its 2nd edition Reference Festival has been selected for a co-funding by the Senate Department for Economics, Energy and Public Enterprises. "I appreciate senator Ramona Pop's support of the city's creative industry and her trust in our vision and mission to create an internationally relevant programme that reflects the topics of our time", says Mumi Haiati, Founder & CEO of Reference Studios.

While on January 21st, 2021 the Festival takes to Berlin's Zeiss Major Planetarium as a key content creation venue and Reference Studios' own gallery space amidst the cultural hub of Schoeneberg district on 22nd, the activations transform into digital spheres on virtual platform, Reference Realities. By doing so, the Festival becomes phygital, and generates access to immersive activations to a global crowd. Navigating parallel realities, Reference aims to set a perspective for the future.

The invocation of Reference Prize follows the same principle. The prize finds its announcement in January and is directed at next generation talent worldwide. Formal education is not a requirement to enter. Until the summer, a winner is determined with the support of a diverse committee. On a mission to enable a self-sustainable brand, we partner with original fashion powerhouse Slam Jam to function as an incubator while Reference Studios provide their services in terms of public relations and consultancy. The prize coincides with Slam Jam's journey as ambassador of a cultural wave after three decades.


Thursday, January 21st

Hans Ulrich Obrist & Honey Dijon
The super curator and the international disco legend open Reference Festival in conversation on Addressing the topics and challenges of our times, the foundation of Reference Prize takes shape.

PAN presents Anne Imhof & Eliza Douglas, and in partnership with Carhartt WIP: Pan Daijing, Amnesia Scanner & MJ Harper
Live from Berlin's Zeiss Major Planetarium PAN hosts an immersive showcase featuring some of its most exciting acts. The activation becomes a virtual experience on

Anne Imhof & Eliza Douglas Performance
One of the most relevant contemporary artists premieres a one-time site specific performance at the Major Planetarium which becomes real to visitors of

EBITTM (Enjoy Being In TransitionTM) x Michel Gaubert Audio virtual experience
In collaboration with fashion’s undisputed master of ceremony, the new collective called EBITTM releases a debut Blue Monday mix by Gaubert which becomes (virtual) reality in a dedicated blue room where music turns into a multidisciplinary experience.

Die Hässlichen Vögel Concert
As with most avant-garde acts, Die Hässlichen Vögel („The Ugly Birds“) do not fit into a genre – a fact made even more unique by the group’s refusal to record or release any music. Die Hässlichen Vögel is a place for perspective and poetry, for longing and belonging. The collective’s last shows took place at Schinkel Pavillon’s Performance Programme Disappearing Berlin, the Institute Of Contemporary Arts (ICA) in London and Berghain in Berlin. The Ugly Birds approach the future as they’ve tackled the past: with a seriousness coiled on the edge of provocation.

Friday, January 22nd

Seth Troxler Audio virtual experience
Seth Troxler is one of electronic music’s most instantly recognisable characters, as well-regarded for his encyclopaedic knowledge of early Chicago house and minimal techno through to obscure indie rock and ambient psychedelia, as he is as a cultural commentator, art curator, restaurateur and entrepreneur.


The Berlin based artist/studio was founded in July 2018. acteTM operates in the intersection of visual and haptic significance and commits itself to utilise it‘s art as a tool to reinforce society and transcend creative and social boundaries. acteTM is a manual for collaboration.

ENDYMA Helmut Lang Archive exhibition + panel
1,600 pieces and counting, Michael Kardamakis' ENDYMA is the world's largest archive of Austrian design icon Helmut Lang's original creations. For an exclusive outing at Reference Space, Kardamakis selects 10 of the designer's most outstanding pieces and puts them into context in a one-on-one panel. The experience expands to

Chapel Petrassi x Mowalola Presentation + product launch
Mowalola, one of the most exciting emerging talents out of London via Nigeria meets the young furniture design duo in an unexpected collaboration which launches accompanied by a dedicated film piece.

COLRS by Zec Elie-Meiré Showcase
Zec Elie-Meiré's COLRS brand had its first major outing during Arise Fashion Week in Lagos. For Reference Festival his eclectic, refined street staples make their way to Berlin – and the entire world via – in an exclusive film installation.

TREFFPUNKT Installation
The young, Berlin based, collective's product shaped output is built around the idea of human encounters and interaction. In an interactive, audio visual installation, part an ode to Joseph Beuys elsewhere to humanity, TREFFPUNKT's message becomes particularly tangible.

Tobias Spichtig for BALENCIAGA Sculptures
Two sculptures of the recent collaboration between the Swiss artist Tobias Spichtig and Balenciaga will be on display at Reference Space and The sculptures entitled Ghosts, are a continuation of Spichtig's sculptures made out of clothing fixed with resin for which in this series archival items of Balenciaga have been used.

GmbH AUTUMN 2021 Runway show
The GmbH Autumn 2021 collection lends its title from Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s Sci-fi epic ‘Welt am Draht‘ (World on a Wire) from 1973. Originally created as a series for German television, it suggests that our world exists entirely inside another world, perhaps as a computer simulation. The film of the digital show premieres on and the Paris Fashion Week platform simultaneously.

032c 20th Anniversary project
A long-term partner and contributor to Reference Festival's first edition in 2019, the magazine turned lifestyle brand celebrates their 20th Anniversary on a tour through the city out of which they have conquered the world. The time travel continues on

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