ROOMS OF KAIROS is home for creative professionals, music and sound, art and sign, design and philosophy, vision and experiment. The project stands for concrete and conceptual spaces & times that become ideal(istic) rooms for the creative gesture.
Founder and director Letizia Trussi operates the studio as a COLLECTIVE/AGENCY and as a center for the curation of a wide spectrum of cultural EVENTS and ART EXHIBITIONS. Along with the CREATIVE OFFICE and its visual art collection, the headquarters hosts a SOUND STUDIO – hot core of the project. Here, regular users, artists in residency and sound engineers share a high-end equipped and acoustically accurate environment for personal work, collective purposes, education, and research.
Hello Letizia! Thank you for your time and interest in this interview. Let’s dig right in! Rooms of Kairos is the latest creative project that you came up with, right?
Yes, it’s the latest arrival point, and the fruit of an ongoing art-life process.
We are curious to find out more about it. What exactly is it and what is the idea behind it?
“What is it?” – the simplest and most difficult question. Rooms of Kairos is so many different things!
When people ask of what my work is or what the project is about, I often come up with a long list that touches upon curation and organization of interdisciplinary events, management of sound studios and creative co-working spaces, artists’ representation, collective experimentation, music residencies, sound services, radio shows….
The list grows bigger and changes in time. Some points which had previously held a secondary importance, jump to the top of the list, replacing the first… I believe this is a result of the project being intrinsically organic – it evolves depending on the people who become part of it.
That is a beautiful concept.
But then, in fact, the concept is essential and the name describes it well (though it might sound cryptic to some – people might have to ask or research about its meaning – I guess I like this).
The idea is to create and offer “rooms” for the creative gesture to happen. These “rooms” are physical spaces, virtual spaces, ideal spaces for artists to express, evolve, work and share.
It’s the studio in which we are sitting and having this interview (our headquarters), it’s the location where we bring an exhibition, or a party, it’s our website, it’s the space-time of our radio podcasts…
And “Kairos” – that’s the real clue – is a quality of time, opposed to Chronos, which refers instead to linear, measurable, chronological time. Kairos is the moment when something is possible, when we can really express our creativity at its best, when an idea or a vision exits the abstract level to become reality, at its most efficient level.
And by efficient here, I mean honest, loyal to the creator’s intention and intuition. I want to offer these ideal forms of space-time for artists to be and create. Visual arts and music, especially in their interaction, are at the center of the project’s attention.
I also know that here, you go from techno to experimental to basically everything, so whoever needs a room for their space.
Yes, the project is a lot about music. Of course I have my preferences, and experimental electronics are my dearest love. Yet, as a “technical room” – a space for musicians to have quality creative time – the style or genre becomes less important. My wish and my work is to give the conditions for that thing to happen. I evolved as an operator, as a facilitator, as a bridge and that’s why the project is a roof for so many different things to happen.
We also offer a wide spectrum of sound services and opportunities for people to learn more about production and engineering. So the place is also dedicated to clients and to professionals who want to offer services.
You are the operator indeed. I’ve met so many beautiful souls here. So this means, you are the founder of this, you had the idea behind it in the beginning.
Yes, I am its founder, manager, and creative director… I am a curator. Rooms of Kairos is my first solo project, in a way, but it’s been conceived specifically to host many different artists, musicians, and creatives – for their work to be supported, for collaboration to emerge. I wanted to create an umbrella for all of my different passions, interests, and professional skills – and at the same time, rooms for artists to work and interact with each other. And I am stunned. I can’t express how happy and grateful I am of the people who joined the project and of so many others who got close to it. Somehow, it attracted people who naturally clicked with each other. And of course, then there’s the events side of the project. Where these artists can be involved at different levels.
Tell us more about those and your first events here then.
The last event I organized happened this summer. Once or twice a year, I like to host a good party – purely a party. A pretty classic progression, going from ambient and IDM, keeping it experimental and growing in pace, possibly hosting a live-set, and ending up with a proper techno set for a good dance. This summer, at the gART.n’s open-air, we had Jacopo (Midgar Records) opening the day, Rooms of Kairos residents Solid Traveller (Saramé and Toxido Mask) performing a deep experimental hybrid set and Marco Shuttle closing with a bright sunny techno set – it was great to have Marco Shuttle as a headliner.
For our summer openair in 2020, we had Eric Cloutier playing with us. I think we could only have involved such experienced headliners due to the pandemic, strangely enough. While all official locations kept closed, while international bookings were scarcening, we had the chance and the space to get in touch with these artists, create a relationship with them, and offer them a space where to (finally) perform again, right at the beginning of the summer season.
So yeah, once in a while, a party to refresh the energies, enjoy with friends, have a big reunion and a proper dance.
And why do you think, especially after or still during Covid times, something like this is so important to create and be able to enjoy? It’s of great value to have gatherings like this happening in current times.
Yes! The community needs to keep strong, organic and interconnected. The pandemic endangered an ecosystem of culture that was slowly growing over the years. We need to re-establish and nurture those connections. After the damage, some are forever broken, some can be repaired but new ones can emerge out of the burned landscape. Still, it’s extremely important to recover and nourish this vital process. It doesn’t matter if we are talking about clubbing or about art. In terms of events, for us, it’s not only about parties. Rooms of Kairos has a slightly different vocation. On a typical Room of Kairos event, there would be a consistent presence of visual arts, deeply intertwined with the musical program. These two forms would be called to respond, and mirror each other, for us to then uncover the existing parallels and for the two different languages to further enrich each other in significant ways.
And yeah, I missed this a lot too – the opportunity for me, as a curator, to create those connections. For a while, it was like, “Okay, let’s develop the sound studio and the whole studio groove further, and some more alternative ideas”. The radio work, the video series… But in fact, it’s been a little destabilizing for the project, as half of my work is curating events and converging the collective’s art and music energies into events.
And how was it for you before the pandemic hit?
Before the pandemic hit, I organized a couple of exhibitions at Monom, a place very dear to me. We were meant to continue on this line and organize a monthly event there but meanwhile, so many things have changed. Still there’s a nice connection with the project and I believe we are going to be back in that wonderful space with a nice plan, at some point: our aesthetics, visions and intentions align very well.
For those who have never been there, how can one visualize it?
Monom is located in Funkhaus (although, not part of it in terms of management, and I say that because people often ignore or even forget that) and it is organized into two main spaces: downstairs, the 4D sound studio – the core and essence of it all – and a lounge bar room upstairs. Both are amazing red brick / concrete halls, marked by that particular industrial architecture of arches cut by tall rows of windows. The 4D system represents a unique tool for sound spatialisation and the projects‘ mission lies in the exploration of these new forms of expression in sound and space and in the conscious enhancement of our listening.
My past exhibitions were mainly taking place in the upper room, as part of Monom’s programm for CTM.
The pieces were chosen to establish visual parallels with Monom’s concept of four-dimensional investigation. How do I move in relation to the artwork? Which factors affect my perception? How does the experiencing of the artwork change due to my movement in relation to it, to the quality of my attention… Can the artist break the bi-dimensionality of the canvas and how? What role do light, distance, material, colour play in this game?
And do you think, do we have enough of that in Berlin?
Of visual art in this kind? Yes, there’s so much out there to discover and so many artists who are able to add a +1 (+2, +3!…) dimensionality to their work – whether they do it by research or by chance. I think it’s an ongoing tension presented in any form of creativity, a tendency which is linked with innovation, and to the further detection of new layers of complexity in reality – but also, to the call for a certain simplicity. As well, I find it linked to the unstoppable attempt to reproduce and investigate our natural perception. I go around, look at things with this lens, and find lots of examples. It’s quite funny actually, as I usually work with pretty classic formats – like painting or sculpture – and nothing too ‚multimedia‘ or technologically advanced. But these classic forms too are affected by technological, philosophical and spiritual advancement, and never stop to reflect it. I see many artists being able to access a third or fourth dimension on a two-dimensional surface.
They do it with theory, method and thought. They do it by attempts. Or they don’t know they do it. Does it sound too brainy? In the end, it’s really a sensible impression, something really easy to perceive, like these artworks here beside my desk. Do you see how they blur and un-focus, how they vibrate and breathe, and how much they can change depending on how you look at them, on the light… And the more they are, the stronger their effect.
Did you draw them?
No, it’s not me. All the works hanging in the studio are by artists I work with as a curator. They are part of Rooms of Kairos‘ collective, at different levels.
These abstract portraits are by Diora Reshetnikova, a Greek artist I’ve known for years already. She works following specific theories of psychology of visual perception.
I do a little art myself, but nothing like this. These are people who consciously, consistently work on certain themes and methods. In their productions, there are clear intentions and visible red threads. Well, wait, maybe I do that too. But I mostly do it for myself, and tend not to share too much. For now.
And can you think of a moment, maybe when you were a child, when you were inspired for the first time… Something that you saw, and didn’t forget till now.
I could answer… Wow, it’s a difficult one… I could say Van Gogh, as I can clearly remember the impression his work had on me – at a family trip in Provence. But in fact, I think the answer is NATURE. That’s what had the greatest impact on me, since forever. I remember some huge trees, tall palms rustling in the wind, the contortion of centuries-old olive trees, and a drawing of the baobabs. In my artistic research and production, nature is the ultimate source of inspiration and meaning. Its forms, patterns, movements – and the teachings and metaphors that you can draw from them.
Also, I’ve always been truly struck by architecture, and by how certain people arranged and filled their spaces. Maybe that’s how I got into curation; that’s my expertise in the end, and I think it’s another form of creativity. The artists‘ works are my colours, spaces are my canvas, and my ideas and interpretation will return a fundamental concept.
And where would you say, where did you get this creative side from, or let’s say this artistic approach to life if it’s not from your background.
It was inside of me, it was innate. Maybe I missed out something, but I can’t think of another good answer. I could only add that I didn’t like the work life of my father or the occupations of my other family members. I clearly thought and said “I will never work in an office” – so many times.
There’s a memory that popped up a few years ago. It was forgotten and it made such an impact when it came back. I was maybe 5 or 6 and I promised myself to not become “like them” – I HAD not to forget how to play, and be a child. “Don’t forget to listen or talk to animals, don’t forget how to enter the world of imagination. Don’t end up like them. Don’t let them get you”.
I promised myself, and then I forgot. But I kept the promise somehow, anyway. Crazy – I was so small, yet it was such a grave moment, a serious call to keep humanity, playfulness, creativity, and sensitivity alive.
And you felt it already as a child?
Yes. It was as clear as hell. I think then it was all about finding the place where (and the people with whom) I could fulfil that promise. So I moved away, and moved again and again, until I found myself in the right place, with the right accomplices.
And you are here now, marking today your 8th year in Berlin. Were you determined to come to this city?
It’s a bit of a magical story. It’s been a call “from above”, a strong intuition. I finished my seasonal job in Tuscany for a classical music festival. I was spending a lot of time alone, making space, often strolling in the countryside. As I was walking in the woods, a rock fell down a slope and broke open on another rock. Something in my head said: “I have to move to Berlin”. I swear. Another side of me answered: “Why would you have to go to Berlin?”. Reflecting on this possibility, I found so many reasons why: a city of creative experimentation, free rooms where to break boundaries, much more work for and with younger people, people of my age, moved by similar interests, with a similar mindset.
I was used to work a lot with kids and often under much older people, for some old, conservative institutions. I needed to break out. And I needed to do all the bullshit I never did.
The plan worked. It was a call and it was a good call. Still… So curiously wonderful how it struck me out of the blue.
So Letizia, I would really like to know what has been a seminal experience in your artist life?
There is one that I would like to share. It happened about 6 years ago, with a good crew of Berliner people, underground Berlin. We organised a series of illegal parties. We took over an old location, which was dismissed and meant to be demolished some months later. We bunkerized it, made it sound proof and safe, and created this whole world inside, a labyrinth of DJ floors and multiple wonder-rooms. There, we had six parties, a-day-and-a-half long and over 1500 people at each event.
And that was illegal?
Yezz. In the centre of the city. Almost underneath a Bürgeramt. And oh yes, those were proper parties, but they were infused with such a very strong concept! I think they were going much beyond the definition of a “party”. Each one was a chapter of a story – the story of an encounter: “Dein Drama in 5 Akten”: I. Der Blick (The Look), II. Die Verführung (The Seduction), III. Die Berührung (The Touch), IV. Die Verwirrung (The Confusion) and V. Die Verschmelzung (The Melting).
The whole appearance of the location, the promotional videos, the decorations, the costumes, the performances – everything would be changing every two weeks, depending on the theme. Even the very lineup would be inspired by the episodes‘ theme, and music artists would be invited to take that into consideration. And I could tell, the mood was changing!
So the story, these themes, they weren’t just an excuse to give a certain flavour to a party, they were truly there. They would manifest so clearly in the events, in their preparation, in our lives…
I was a sort of concept care-taker, so I was keeping an eye on the curation of the video works, on the transformation of the whole decorative setting, on the display of paintings and visuals in the club’s different environments, on the performances and on certain playful interactions with the public. I was overviewing this collective process – so many helpers would be joining us and I would have to make sure their contribution was mirroring the concept. I had to make sure it was passed on.
To me, this has been a fundamental experience. Amongst other crucial things – it showed me how important is the why. What is the crucial reason for your focus? What’s the real mission in the mission? What is the true intention behind something you do? Such a project for example: of course we wanted to have a great party, but we wanted to have it this and that way, because we wanted to reflect on what happens when you meet somebody new, to observe that process and interaction, to analyse how we get close to somebody and learn to do it better, more consciously.
Concepts are of great importance to me. Back then, it was about transmitting to the helpers and the guests, the essence of the story, the greater “why” behind our fun. Because of that “why”, the fun gained a +1 dimension that wasn’t there before. Ask anybody who’s been there – it’s been another level of blast.
This is very beautiful what you say. Do you think this is lacking in some of the clubs? Because from my personal view, it is and I am a bit overwhelmed by lineups that show 6 DJs and a party that lasts 12 hours.
Well, sometimes it’s just a party, fair enough. But here and there, often there something is lacking, yes. Even the original good reasons to be here – I see it can get to be forgotten. How lucky we are in Berlin, and the unique potential that certain places hold – clubs, events, festivals, ateliers, laboratories, communities… Is it because we get used to everything, to such luxury too? Is it because we abuse it? Because we don’t exercise gratefulness?
With “Dein Drama in V Akten”, we were really cooking up deep thoughts and intentions, anarchic views, freedom and unleashed collective creativity. It was a festival – the way Hakim Bay describes it in “TAZ – Temporary Autonomous Zone”, one of my bibles.
Of course. How long did it go for?
For 6 month or so.
And then it was shut down by the city?
Well, not exactly. Nobody ever busted us, can’t explain myself how. Oh bullshit!… It was very well planned. We went on until the very end. We knew that around the beginning of the summer the building was destined to be taken down. So in the last weeks we managed to take away all important things that were still inside, left the rest, and said goodbye to the place that hosted our most colourful winter ever; having a drink together, watching our ephemeral ring getting smashed down by a caterpillar.
This way you get out the full potential of the space that is about to get demolished. It’s an amazing concept. It should happen more often.
Yes, places that are going to be demolished, places that are going through certain transformations, places that were abandoned and are soon going to be restructured. But damn, German and European regulations and security issues hardly permit such kind of ventures. But we can take that kind of right, responsibly. In my opinion, rules are not always to be trusted. Though, if we want to play this way, then WE have to become somebody you can always trust.
About concepts and whys – I wanted to show you the flyer of this summer’s party – as I said: a party, nothing more and nothing less, yet, somehow, I wanted to try communicating something special and open the way to further opportunities. So I added this inspirational sentence on the flyer: “Humans are beings that participate in spaces unknown to physics”, for a party that was titled “Back to the Bubble”.
I leave it to your interpretation. It’s about leaving some seeds here and there, which can be noticed or not, they can be picked, maybe left germinating. I spent one day researching around that sentence and reflecting on its use and on the title, critically. Does it make sense to you?
I really like it, also the location name, a combination of art and garden. That is really something… like my favourite wordplay: disco, very, discovery.
That’s a good example. We start from what it is, then play with words and concepts, we let ourselves get inspired and share that inspiration… Down this path, we can expand meanings and possibilities.
“Humans are beings that participate in spaces unknown to physics”… Exiting the material level and recognizing an un-framable magic, energetical factor to our encounter and communion… Throwing down that sentence is just a little hint. Everything will work, with or without it. Yet, if the people in charge of that concept and event really feel and mean that thing, then, as a consequence, artists, helpers and closest friends will feel it too and transmit it down to the guests, who are going to do the same with each other.
That time I took inspiration from the work of a German philosopher, Peter Sloterdijk. He wrote this huge visionary trilogy – “Spheres”.
Yeah I know him, but didn’t read much of him.
He’s a cool dude, one of these guys that you hate or love (isn’t there always something interesting to discover in such characters?). I was interested in researching around the form, concept, constitution of the “sphere”, and so I came across his work.
I am reflecting on this kind of space and enivronment, on its achetype, look, properties… I am trying to find out if I can meaningfully apply this form and concept to my project.
The book is truly inspiring, after reading and picking up concepts here and there, I decided to go through the whole work. That’ll be a study, it will take patience, I will need to take notes. It’s not a super fluid reading, but it’s dense with inspiring visions, and cool parallels and intersections amongst disciplines.
So how was that party?
Oh, we were blessed with a perfect sunny day, the gART.n was a lush green home to our dances, and hey, it was one of the first parties where dances were allowed. For many guests it has been the first dance of the summer, a perfect opening to the season. The music was great. And I am just ecstatic about the collaborations that Rooms of Kairos has attracted around it, whether we are talking about some studio residents, like Sarah and Julia (Solid Traveller), about some new friends like Marco Shuttle, or like Jacopo, with whom, I am sure, I am going to collaborate further. I am high on how special the people involved are.
The crowd was amazing too! Cool, respectful, open-minded, smiley crowd. Advanced people – big time music lovers, heart at the right place… and true party animals!
Because this is what we are.
Yes! And we had all elements in place, the perfect recipe for good times. Yet it didn’t kick in straight away at the beginning. It really grew organically, together with the people’s presence and contribution. Aha, I guess everybody has to take a little bit of responsibility in making it a great time.
t’s one of the best feelings. Especially, if I go to parties that are made by my friends, I like to go from the beginning, really come early and stay late. That’s like the golden rule for me. Then you see it growing organically. You see how the party evolves, and I love that and how people’s energies contribute to the party – in any sort of way.
Good rule! 🙂 An observer will necessarily see that process taking place, that organic growth. I’d represent it with subtle invisible lines, being thrown from person to person and in between the elements, slowly connecting everything in one net, growing stronger, and assuming a form – maybe like a spider web.
I absolutely love this dynamic! So one last question that I ask every artist that I am speaking to. What does art and music mean to you? Role of the artist.
So many things!
Most importantly – art is elevation. In all of its forms (and I believe that language is art too – communication). That’s what brings us closer to the gods, that’s what fulfils our brightest nature and pushes it further. Because of this, maybe, I also see art as an escapade – the way out, opposite to a materialistic culture. The artist is the brave, the darer, the mirror – at the same time, intentional and involuntary, the abstract vision and its first concretisation. Creation is THE gesture. Artists are the inventors but, I’m afraid, sometimes, they are the scientist blown up in their own experiment. The militant avant-garde, free of any command and still destined to sacrifice.
Sometimes I feel angry about this eternal condition of the artist. Sometimes I wonder if this is an old image of the artist, that doesn’t need to apply anymore – I read this sentence lately: “The romanization of suffering was intended to keep you subservient” – and it made me think a lot, but why didn’t it fully convince me? Sometimes I am disgusted about the human and about all of this enormous mess, but then I think of music, and I think of art, of what we can create… And that’s the ultimate consolation, the thought that will make me feel better, back on track, on with my role, serene.