On Thursday a delegation from Detroit that included staff from the mayor’s office, the owner of one of the city’s most famous repurposed power plants and members of pioneering local techno group Underground Resistance arrived in Berlin for a four-day tour to discuss the potential benefits the Motor City may reap from investing in its creative industry. The Detroit-Berlin Connection (DBF) initiated the embassy in order to, according to its website, “show Detroit leaders the results of over 25 years of revitalization efforts, many of them based on outside-the-box tactics that include marketing Berlin’s round the clock bar service and temporary use of empty spaces for a variety of entrepreneurial opportunities.”
Dimitri Hegemann, founder of DBF and the longstanding Berlin nightclub Tresor, went to Detroit in 2014 to scout the Fisher Body Plant No. 21 and its potential as a nightclub, which prospect we discussed with Berghain resident Ryan Elliott earlier this year. During the recent visit in Berlin, Hegemann talked about transforming the crumbling site into a vast “cultural space” that included a club, restaurant and music studios and the possibility of altering Detroit’s curfew. The weekend trip also included a conversation with Berlin’s Senate Chancellor of Cultural Affairs, Tim Renner, and stops at the multipurpose Holzmarkt urban renewal project, which includes a technology center, art spaces, a club, a restaurant and a public park, as well as Hegemann’s Tresor nightclub and Atonal, the festival he founded in 1982 that now takes place in the neighboring Kraftwerk power plant.