In the winter of 1967, at the invitation of the landlord Paul Glaser, musician and artist Conrad Schnitzler began to create the programme in two rooms under the Schaubühne’s former location at Hallesches Ufer, which is now HAU2. For over a year, he ran the Zodiak Free Arts Lab as a hierarchy-free venue for musical experimentation and interdisciplinary exchange. Until 1969, the Zodiak served as an artistic and social meeting point. Despite its short existence, it was a notable starting point for numerous musical developments – especially for the “Berliner Schule” that emerged shortly thereafter, whose sound is often referred to as dubbed “Krautrock” and which continues to echo in various musical developments decades later.
The HAU-festival “Bildet Nischen! Rückkopplungen aus dem Zodiak Free Arts Lab” (“Build niches! Feedback from the Zodiak Free Arts Lab” 21.–26.9.2021) examines the club’s historical influence, illuminating the connections among the political, social and cultural conditions that shaped the scene that emerged.
The HAU publication for the festival contains essays by Patrick Hohlweck and Hendrik Otremba on the musical and pop-cultural classification of the Zodiak Free Arts Lab as well as an interview on the questions of what actually happened at the Zodiak and what influence it had on subsequent generations – with Elke Lixfeld, Alfred 23 Harth, Alexander Hacke and Andrea Neumann, conducted by Jens Uthoff.