17.30 - 18.30 | saturday | stage 1
There’s a version that exists in the real world. It sits an hour or so drive to the south of Berlin and is famous as the place where Stalin, Truman and Churchill met for the Allied Forces’ Potsdam Conference that effectively signalled the end of the Second World War. Home to the oldest film studio in the world, it’s a place that’s unromantically referred to as ‘Hollywood without the glamour’. 
The Babelsberg of the mind is more a fever dream, a dystopian alternate reality (perfectly captured by Russian artist Uno Moralez). At the heart is a tower – a teetering symbol of opulence, bad taste and misguided aspiration. Topped by a series of destiny lofts that house patriarchy HQ, this is Ballard’s High Rise brought to life in the brand new, poorly constructed Trump Tower Moscow. Here, Jesus Christ walks a pet dinosaur on a lead and silent drones circle like birds of prey. The view from the top is very much of the people at the bottom. This Babelsberg might just be the perfect allegory for our hopelessly off-course world. 

Babelsberg is also the title of Gruff Rhys’ fifth album. His version exists somewhere between the other two. Having glimpsed the name of the real place from the window of a moving tour van cruising across Europe endless, the idea of the place had been stuck in the back of Gruff’s head for years - a dormant thought waiting for the right time.


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