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Character comrades

Pictoplasma Festival is coming: Mitte gets hi-jacked for a week for an unmissable celebration of illustration, animation, sculpture, music and loads more.

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For those that grew up with a crayon in their hand, monsters on the mind and a rabid impatience for Saturday morning’s cathode ray (okay, maybe you’re not THAT old), Pictoplasma Festival – the world’s leading and largest celebration of ‘contemporary character culture’ – comes once again to Berlin from the April 6-10.

Their ambition with contemporary character culture seems to be a retrogressive glorification of contemporary art without the cynicism and pretentiousness that it seems to so often inspire. A sort of pop culture-fetish rebellion, which is so on order these days, it’s hardly rebellious. But hopefully in the end it’s an unbridled enthusiasm rather than calculated aloofness that wins out.

lllustrators, animators, toy makers, engineers, painters, sculptors and artists from numerous disciplines have been assembled for a a sort of hipster’s paradise in technicolor. All aspiring artists requiring inspiration can come and see first hand people at the height of their craft.

It may have a loose base at the Babylon Kino, but its events spread out all over. They are even holding a concert featuring Jason Forrest, who Berlin party heads may know better as DJ Donna Summer at Volksbühne on April 8. Support comes from Norwegian Captain Credible, bringing his half man, half machine style show. This will be Germany’s first chance to salute the Captain himself.

And 25 other galleries and project spaces will be supplying a quite astonishing Smörgåsbord of treats from some of the world’s leading visual artists.

In terms of the variety and sheer density of events on offer across the week it is certainly a unique event. The artist presentations, screenings and conference lectures happening every day at Babylon have combinations of speakers sharing a stage is almost a little hard to believe.

Ryan Quincy (Wed, Apr 7 @ Babylon Mitte), South Park’s animation director, curates a marathon of his favourite episodes for a midnight screening at Babylon on April 7 (come in your pajamas to get free entry)!

The incredible French artist Matthieu Bessudo aka mcbess (pictured), Matias Vigliano – founding member of the Argentinean Doma Collective, and Mark Jenkins the aburdist street installator extraordinaire are all also on the bill (Wed, Apr 7 @ Babylon Mitte).

Marek Michalowski (Sat, Apr 9 @ Babylon Mitte) , the co-founder of roboticists collective BeatBots, gives an interesting talk – you may have already experienced the hypnotic power of their most popular robot Keepon.

But there are far, far too many to list here.

This is not to mention a full on animation festival happening all week, all over Mitte – featuring workshops, installations, exhibitions, performances, VJ battles and parties that last all night. Also, the always popular Character Walk, an organized walk through Mitte stopping off at all the galleries that are involved.

You might just need to sit in a sensory deprivation chamber for a month simply to give your brain a rest if after this!

For the complete program visit berlin.pictoplasma.com