Telekom Electronic Beats invites you to dive into The Cube, its brand new 360° digital experience exploring the facets of our culture over the past two decades, and looking at the unique stories that shaped them.
Amid last year’s inevitable further move into cyberspace, people have, perhaps more than ever, morphed into capital for major web platforms. For the architects of this pandemic-boosted digitization, the asset of a weighty online presence doubled in value. This cultural shift was accompanied by a greater openness to rethinking the web as an experiential, and ultimately human space. But the domineering advent of performance-driven algorithms is at odds with the explosive surge of creativity manifested by a proliferation of new, mixed reality and AI-powered digital formats.
For its 20th anniversary, determined to straddle the line between community-building and creative experimentation, Telekom Electronic Beats has joined forces with Hamburg-based design studio WAF GMBH and content agency Looping Group to generate an interactive, user-led visual exploration of the international music marketing program’s twenty year-long history of in-depth music journalism, successful podcasts and video-driven social media series in both English and German.
The Cube stemmed from a desire to revamp the old-school, linear digital archive into a living, interactive, democratic space. One which can be inhabitable, in non-extractive ways.
Incorporating the brand’s rich history of documenting and empowering Europe’s modular and effervescent subcultures, this immersive experiment—built using softwares previously reserved to gaming—launches today and enables users to dive into all facets of the media platform’s archival treasures.
Following the release of Telekom Electronic Beats‘ self-titled 20th anniversary book earlier this year, The Cube consists of a 360° video collage covering the most memorable cornerstones of the last two decades, combined with a series of six films showcasing and celebrating the platform’s legacy in the fields of music, innovation, fashion, culture, and community. By accessing it, each user gets to intuitively create a bespoke jigsaw of designs, photo exhibitions, video installations, films and interviews, all free from the ever-present shackles of web optimization, advertising pressure and shareability.
“We hope it’s a way to get closer to topics that are often physical and haptic in nature—club culture, fashion, music production—make them literally touchable,” says the team. “The goal is to create an experience that revolves around users.”
While the internet is a space we spend large chunks of our existence in, it’s rarely appraised as such by the discourse that surrounds it: when thinking of the purpose, impact and community-building powers of web design, most attention tends to revolve around its looks and feel rather than the depth, spatial freedom, and autonomy it can grant its temporary dweller.
If the virtual world is neither a substitute nor a compromise for the physical one, it can act as a complementary and adaptable layer concerned with the same questions, like aiding social cohesion, facilitating exchange, and communal existence. The concept of The Cube seeks to honor this dimension by lowering the barriers of entry into a variety of cultural movements, enabling brand new interactions.
“Ultimately, if The Cube makes even one isolated teenager come into contact with post-gender fashion, or read up on the profound influence of Jamaican dub technology on Berlin techno—then Telekom Electronic Beats has done its job telling these stories, and we have done our job finding an adequate form for it,” concludes the team on the project led to completion with the involvement of industry heavyweights including Balenciaga, Saint Laurent, GmbH, Trashymuse, Tomorrowland, Dixon, and Sherelle.
With club culture organically dovetailing into the digital realm, the design studio’s collaboration with Telekom Electronic Beats acts as a testament to the web’s reflective and still under-explored potential.
Published July 29, 2021.