Kraftwerk at the Museum of Modern Art: Night One

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Benjamin Lozovsky

Do computers see in color? Are those endless, inscrutable calculations vividly illustrated and marveled upon internally, or are they just products of lines of information, delineated and discarded after use?

According to Kraftwerk, the German electronic music pioneers and forefathers of mechanization and technology in pop, these inanimate objects, full of electrical impulses and digital interpolations that control our lives, endure vivid representations of the world. Computers, and technologies to a large part, are sympathetic constructs concerned with social issues, love, humanity, and the stars—not to mention floor-stomping, ecstasy-gobbling, endlessly percolating dance grooves.

In eye-popping 3-D, Kraftwerk brought forth their ongoing hypothesis on the plainly emotional nature of advancing technology to a mesmerized, goggle-adorned audience at the Museum of Modern Art. The event was the first in Kraftwerk: Retrospective 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8, an eight-part concert series exploring the most essential albums in the band's catalogue. It is in essence a living exhibition, combining an updated vision of the band's unique style of performance art with a mood of recollection and summation. No offense to Bacon, Cattelan, or Condo, but its just as grand as any highly touted career celebration a museum in New York as had in a long time.

Much like the group's aesthetic, the setting of the concert in the sparse, cathedralic Marron Atrium was cavernous yet strangely intimate. As people streamed in slowly, one MoMa employee commented on how it might have been the quietest she had ever heard the Museum be. Fuzzy digital representations of the iconic, four-guys-at-work-stations Kraftwerk imagery shuffled around on the curtain blocking the stage. It could have been mistaken for an above average contemporary art installation in itself.

Text and photos by Benjamin Lozovsky.

Published on April 11, 2012

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