Here’s What Our Community Has Been Creating During Quarantine

While the world has been in lockdown, Catalyst’s community of musicians, filmmakers and actors has been creating and spreading positivity. Discover what our students and team have been working on so far. In this story, we'll be presenting you with an inspiring selection from our community's "isolation creations".

“What if we could see this not just as something we survive, but instead as an opportunity for new growth; as an opportunity to become stronger individuals and more supportive team players?”

Catalyst founder David Puttick nailed our community’s sentiment in a recent message to our students. In these uncertain times, we may feel as though the invisible hand of the coronavirus has pulled back our progress. But, not unlike the toy cars we all played with as kids, the force might just provide us with extra momentum to move forward on the track of personal accomplishment. 

There’s one amazing thing about us creatives: our inherent capacity for lateral thinking allows us to approach problems in alternative and innovative ways. Many of our students and tutors have been experimenting and pushing the boundaries of their art whilst in self-isolation, conjuring up magical creations with whatever tools they have available to them. 

Our team’s resourcefulness saw them thinking on their feet in order to provide online education and support to our students when our facilities closed. And far from leaving those facilities idle during the quarantine period, music tutor Robin Koek and IT system administrator Sol John-Addey found a way to utilise our computer processing power to help combat COVID-19 and other diseases. More on that later.

In need of a little inspiration? Read on for a closer look – or listen – at what our community has created so far. 

Music to stay at home to

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The nightlife scene is the motor of Berlin’s music community. When sound systems were forced to stop pumping and party goers to stop dancing, the whole city knew it had a problem. A 2019 study by the Berlin Club Commission found that clubs offer a whopping 58,000 events throughout the year – the foreseeable of which have now been cancelled in 2020. 

Creative Audio Production & Sound Engineering tutor Christopher Jarman, aka Kamikaze Space Programme, missed out on his gig at the legendary Tresor’s huge 29th anniversary party. And be it through event cancellations, studio closures or postponed collaborations, many more members of our music school have also been directly affected. But as local crowdfunding initiatives like United We Stream are proving, the music community spirit goes on – even from home. In fact, our students are also joining the streaming buzz, taking the next event of their performance series Das Schalllabor online.

In a collective effort to share positivity and inspiration, new music has been coming in thick and fast from our tutors and students. We’re compiling all of it in a dedicated SoundCloud playlist – featuring everything from Creative Music Production MA lead Richard Scott’s “disgusting viral funk” to Electronic Music Production & Performance student Roxana Bartalis, aka xanah’s high-attitude Quarantine Mixes. 

Improvised beats and finger painting

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Film Production tutor Jon-Carlos Evans wrote the book on how to keep yourself busy. When he’s not at Catalyst, he’s running his production company and music label, creating film content, producing music as Klaas on Karlos and as part of the band Reverse Bullets, and writing for Black Nerd Problems. It would be hard to imagine our resident multitasking machine twiddling his thumbs during lockdown.

Making the smooth transition from fingers in all the pies to fingers in all the paints, Jon-Carlos wasted no time in creating an audiovisual marvel in collaboration with his artist girlfriend Annabell Chin. It got us to thinking: how can we diversify or combine our skills to push the limits of our creativity?

Acapella fever

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“Coronavirus, be gone!” When Electronic Music Production & Performance Certificate lead Benjamin Bacon challenged his students to make a track using only the items available to them in their quarantine space, he probably wasn’t expecting an ingenious multilayered acapella. Yet, this was exactly what first-year student Linn Hege Langrekken, aka Hazylinn, delivered – with a #catofinstagram to boot. Press play and it’s impossible not to smile – this one-woman band should go viral!

Roll Camera game

Here’s What Our Community Has Been Creating During Quarantine | Catalyst Berlin

There’s another amazing thing about us creatives: we can turn our artistic skills to multiple disciplines. Did you know our Film Production Certificate lead Malachi Rempen illustrates the popular travel and language comic Itchy Feet

Well, now he's taking the isolation opportunity to get busy on artwork for his upcoming filmmaking game, Roll Camera! Above is an example of a 'finished shot' card which gets placed into the 'editing room' on the board. We can't wait to see this project come to life.

Skincare and bad accents

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Acting isn’t just a profession; it’s a lifestyle. As any actor will tell you, spending inordinate amounts of time in front of the mirror is their daily bread and butter. In her latest IGTV video, Screen Acting student Sara Ruta combined her acting practice with her skincare routine to hilarious effect.

“I was just acting while doing my skincare, trying to stay active in acting,” she says. “Because of the situation in the world right now, my school got closed (as many other things). It has been a difficult thing for me to stay inside for days now. I'm extremely extroverted. I like being busy and working sometimes 3-4 jobs, doing projects, independent theater or just hanging out with friends, so #Covid19 is really testing me. I feel helpless and the only thing I can do is stay positive, stay inside and maybe try to put a smile on someone's face.” 

Keep ‘em coming Sara, we’re definitely smiling!

Red Cross release

Here’s What Our Community Has Been Creating During Quarantine | Catalyst Berlin

Here’s one thing you can do right now to help the COVID-19 crisis: buy a fantastic compilation of tracks from 23 internationally based artists! As part of the techno duo Artefakt, music tutor Robin Koek has contributed a track to Amsterdam label Konstrukt’s This Is Not A Drill vol. 1 compilation.

“⁣All Bandcamp sales will be donated to Red Cross The Netherlands,” Robin explains. “They will globally distribute it to the people making a difference every second of the day, at the frontline of this pandemic. I hope you enjoy the sonic journey and consider supporting the project and spreading it across your networks.”

The track name ‘Suiran’ is Japanese (in Kanji: 翠嵐), meaning ‘the sense of being engulfed in a green, mountainous atmosphere.’

Click here to listen to, and buy, the compilation.


Here’s What Our Community Has Been Creating During Quarantine | Catalyst Berlin

We’ve already seen the marvellous things we can achieve by channelling our energy into creativity. Yet, when social distancing is the best thing we can do to proactively fight the coronavirus, many of us understandably feel pretty powerless. That’s why our team was excited to discover that by harnessing the literal power of our school’s computers, we could contribute to the wider effort while our facilities are closed.

“We’re using the powerful graphics cards and overall computing power of our VFX desktop machines to run the Folding@home software,” our IT system administrator Sol John-Addey explains. “This helps the team at the University in St. Louis School of Medicine run simulations and solve the many calculations required to understand more about how proteins assemble themselves, or ‘fold’. This deeper understanding helps to create cures and medicine to combat many diseases, including COVID-19.”

To learn more about Folding@home and how you can donate computing power visit the website.

Concerned about how the coronavirus situation might affect your 2020 application to Catalyst? Never fear, we’re offering a full money-back guarantee. For more information and updates regarding our school’s response, click here.