by Benjamin Scheerbarth*

What has the opening of a small pop-up hotel on the east coast of Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula to do with the contemporary form of accumulation and, to borrow German sociologist Max Weber’s term, its spirit?[1] The observed marriage between art and commerce at the KaterHolzig @ Papaya Playa—A Design Hotels™ Project (hereinafter referred to as Papaya Playa) illustrates the mechanisms of contemporary, networked, and creative capitalism and illuminates significant developments taking hold therein. This argument rests upon the simultaneous occurrence of three interrelated phenomena: first, the spectacular rise of the creative-individual-as-enterprise as a key figure in Western economies; second, the progressive co-optation of alternative subcultures for commercial ends; and finally, the irrepressible subsumption of once-radical artistic movements by the capitalist machine. I will briefly treat the first two phenomena before investigating the third within the Weber-inspired framework established in the work of Luc Boltanksi and Ève Chiapello.

A growing number of analyses grant artists privileged positions within economies—experience economies,[2] artful making,[3] and the occupational concept of the creative class[4] are among the most prominent models. Though heavily critiqued, ideas popularized by theorists such as Richard Florida[5] and Klaus Ronneberger[6] characterize the prevailing conception of contemporary Western capitalism as a system that thrives on immaterial production, which, in turn, requires constant innovation or, to use its new label, ‘creativity.’ Within this conception, the creative individual—especially the creative-individual-as-enterprise—is a crucial figure of study. A second key component is subculture—widely understood as a source of novelty, diversity, and difference. Gilles Deleuze, among others, has discussed capitalism’s reliance on both difference and negativity,[7] arguing that subculture continuously provides spaces to be re-territorialized by popular culture. Paradoxically, rather than (or in addition to) counteracting capitalist forces, counterculture and subculture fuel and reproduce the conditions in which it thrives: the underground becomes a “factory of value.”[8]

Boltanski & Chiapello’s Co-Optation

In his 1976 study of capitalist culture, sociologist Daniel Bell argued that following the events of May 1968 Western society became predominantly hedonistic.[9] He predicted that the soixante-huitard values of aesthetic creativity and sensuous impulsivity would impede the functional requirements necessary for capitalist market efficiency. It soon became clear; however, that Bell had underestimated capitalism’s flexibility and resilience.[10] Professor of philosophy Axel Honneth has recently contended that far from precipitating a contraction of capitalist production, this hedonistic turn has been incorporated into the contemporary capitalist system.[11] According to Frédéric Vandenberghe, capitalism restructured itself “through a neoliberal co-optation of the libertarian aspirations to autonomy and authenticity.”[12] In other words, creativity and impulsivity have been internalized as a productive capitalist force.

In their analysis the May ’68 protests, Boltanski and Chiapello identify two types of critique—sociale and artiste.[13] Critique sociale condemned capitalism’s inherent proliferation of societal egoism, exploitation, and suffering, and called for universal equality and fairness. Critique artiste denounced the dehumanizing, disciplining, and homogenizing effects of the capitalist system on the laborer, and demanded greater liberation and authenticity.[14] Proponents of this type of critique sought a so-called ‘artistic’ way of life—namely, one free of compromise and social conventions—in an effort to subvert capitalist, bureaucratic control over their labor. Boltanski and Chiapello’s notion of critique artiste provides a useful lens through which to consider socio-economic dynamics at play in the Papaya Playa Project. As a commercial project built around creative labor, it provides fertile testing ground for investigating the correlation between individual creativity and economic liberty.

 Advancing a Working Definition of Capitalism

Boltanski and Chiapello define capitalism in terms of shifting relationships among capital accumulation and reinvestment, competition, and wage labor. Wage labor—the sale of labor power—is a result of the inability to directly quantify the products of labor.[15] In today’s creative industries, the distinction between labor power and product is particularly blurry. Similarly, the boundaries between work and leisure as well as those separating producer and consumer are becoming less and less discernible. Cultural theorist Sylvère Lotringer supports this analysis, claiming that the entire capitalist system is becoming progressively invisible, existing both everywhere and nowhere at the same time.[16] As the mechanisms of the capitalist system become more elusive, how are we to understand the capitalist logic undergirding projects like Papaya Playa?

I propose a definition of capitalism that examines the interrelationship of its mode, its spirit, and its form; that is to say, the operations by which it functions, the ideologies driving them, and finally, their physical manifestation. First, in order to produce a working definition of the capitalist mode, I draw on three prior examples: those of Michel Callon and Bruno Latour; Luc Boltanski and Ève Chiapello; and finally, Sylvère Lotringer. Actor-network theorists Callon and Latour define capitalism as “a way among others of organizing markets” and as “the ongoing, unflagging, violent effort to define, format, gather together, and extend ‘market economy’ as an autonomous sphere which would have its own laws, its own history, and its own essence.”[17] They further describe “formatting” as a means of extracting the necessary elements from the mobilization of people and things in order to make such exchanges calculable. Next, Boltanski and Chiapello characterize capitalism as an amoral process of unrestrained capital accumulation enacted through conventionally peaceful means in order to realize a profit.[18] Lastly, Lotringer describes capitalism as “a certain way of formalizing relations between people, relations of production and technology” and establishing a “rule of general exchangeability”[19] While employing the Marxian notion of exchangeability, Lotringer also introduces the useful juxtaposition of omnipresence and invisibility. A synthesis of elements taken from these three accounts produces the following working definition of the capitalist mode: the pervasive and persistent formatting of relationships toward calculable exchangeability in order to realize capital accumulation. Importantly, capitalism functions as a relationship rather than as a singular entity. Finally, this operational mode, though relational, can be described as a “modifying machine”[20] that exists through “continuity with difference.”[21]

However, the lure of the capitalist system extends beyond simple capital accumulation. The notion of a capitalist spirit is credited to Max Weber, who suggested that in order to entice subjects into the capitalist system of exchange, a certain ideology must be internalized—one that favors the rational drive towards profit.[22] According to his analysis, this spirit was fuelled by Puritan ethics and doctrines; it can, however, assume many different historical positions. For Boltanski and Chiapello, the spirit—or esprit­­—also provides the means of changing capitalist forms. Thus, the esprit serves proponents and critics of the system alike; its efficacy results from its ability to withstand and even thrive on contradictions.[23]

Finally, the capitalist form is its material manifestation—including, but not limited to, production techniques and the organization of cities based on enterprises and markets. Historical examples include the industrially organized factory and the “post-Fordist project-based polis.”[24] While the former has been described as “bureaucratic, hierarchical, pyramidal and centrally controlled, planned and Taylorized, oriented to the mass production of standardized goods, elephantine, rigid and alienating,”[25] the latter is often characterized as flexible, decentralized, flat, and informal. Further, Deleuze suggests that the forms of contemporary capitalism have shifted from the sector of production (which is often offshored and outsourced) to that of the product, its sale, and its market.[26] This conceptual understanding of capitalism in terms of its mode, its spirit, and its form shows how extensively capitalist logic pervades our definition and understanding of personal freedom and creativity—how it governs the subject, commercializes experiences, and commodifies emotions.

Introduction to KaterHolzig @ Papaya Playa—A Design Hotels™ Project

Located in Tulum, Mexico, KaterHolzig @ Papaya Playa—A Design Hotels™ Project (fittingly) occupies land formerly owned by luxury hotels, abandoned in the wake of the recent crisis of financial capitalism. The temporary hotel was the first pop-up hotel in the world and its eighty-five straw and bamboo cabañas will stand on a half-mile of beachfront for one season only.[27] Facilities include a spa, a beachside restaurant, a bar, and a mini-boutique. The inherent paradox of relatively simple cabañas with price tags ranging from $70 to $675 a night has not gone unnoticed–even a several-hundred-dollar hut comes without electricity.[28] Despite the lack of amenities, many guests justify the cost (and the shared restrooms) because the resort offers an off-the-grid space with a distinctively countercultural vibe that cultivates artistic expression and play. Founder and CEO of Design Hotels, Claus Sendlinger asserts that “ideological values play an ever greater role in the hotel business.”[29]


Straw and bamboo huts, Papaya Playa Project, Tulum, Mexico (Copyright by Stefanie R. S. Schwenk; reposted with permission.)

The project came about through the unexpected collaboration of a commercial European service innovator and a subcultural institution. KaterHolzig–the most recent offspring of the legendary and internationally renowned Bar25[30]–operates the bar and serves the food at the resort, which is owned by Design Hotels—a publicly listed luxury hospitality company. The collaboration produces a curious mélange of underground club and boutique hotel, art and commerce. Before we analyze the project further, it is important to note that the aim of this study is not to judge the opportunism  (if any) of either KaterHolzig or Design Hotels, but to use the project as a case study to illustrate contemporary transformations in capitalist form. From this, a mapping of the type of capitalist spirit at work in this and similar projects provides a framework from which new critiques of capitalism can emerge.[31]

The Project’s (Capitalist) Form

The creative-individual-as-enterprise

Unlike other luxury hotels, Papaya Playa’s staff does not wear a uniform. In fact, they are indistinguishable from paying guests. The glibly named “not-without-my-iPhone community”[32] of staff and clientele is described as young, beautiful, and dressed in shirts, shorts, and flip-flops.[33] However, despite representing an eclectic mix of races, ethnicities, and sexualities, both groups overwhelming come from the same cities—Berlin, London, Los Angeles, and New York—and socio-economic class.[34] With the collapse of the guest-staff division, the traditional separation between consumer and worker begins to dissolve. For example, the project’s website explicitly invites guests to present, collaborate, and perform.[35] As both groups can produce and consume cultural goods and services, they thus become hybrid subjects–what we might call ‘prosumers’ of experience and ideas. Because capitalist accumulation requires goods and services and their producers and consumers, this fusion provides an efficient way of sustaining continual innovation. Frédéric Vandenberghe explains, “to innovate continuously, it [capitalism] constantly draws on knowledge that it does not produce itself, but that is the result of individual and collective processes of communication, cooperation, and learning that take place in the life-world.”[36] He further argues that because creative work (and its associated ways of communicating, innovating, and improvising) is a source of social identity, “immaterial labor eventually merges with the work of the production of the self.”[37]

The target group of the Papaya Playa Project—the so-called ‘gypset’[38]—includes artists, designers, and musicians. Here, the creative class is comprised of individuals who enact a synthesis of the “creative individual”[39] and the “individual-as-enterprise.”[40] In fact, many members of the Papaya Playa network could even be characterized as individuals-as-multiple-enterprises. Some simultaneously perform the roles of music producer, DJ, event manager, and label manager. While all of these jobs are perceived as “alternative, self-determined, and fun”[41] in comparison to orthodox forms of employment, the immateriality of the product in these creative spheres enables a new form of capitalism, in which exchange exists at the level of individual identity.

In addition, this type of exchange poses the ethical question of whether the individual is especially free (given the romantic associations attached to such creative labor) or especially subjugated within such capitalist forms. Sylvère Lotringer asserts that every individual can become a small enterprise, a little capitalist, or, at their most exploitative, a walking war machine.[42] In order to market his or her ‘human capital,’ the creative individual becomes an actor-networker who strategically identifies projects that enhance social capital through increased social connection. At the Papaya Playa Project, these connections seem to stem primarily from pre-existing social networks—in a recent profile of the project, CEO Claus Sendlinger quipped, “the fun part is that we brought our friends.”[43] Thus, it comes as no surprise that two-thirds of the full-time staff of the Katerschmaus restaurant in Tulum are Berlin natives (the number of workers from Berlin increases when the part-time staff hired on four-week rotations is counted). Networks of collaboration are imbricated in the mechanism of exchange: staff members and clientele are all within the same creative class and are thus interchangeable. However, the idea of equality also conceals mechanisms of power, through which these creative exchanges can be co-opted and abused.

Improvisation and provisionality

The aforementioned artist as actor-networker provides an important model for thinking about relationships among artists, stressing that informal networks are central to successful artistic entrepreneurship.[44] Indeed, the KaterHolzig @ Papaya Playa Project implements both provisional and improvisational networks in its operational paradigm. As guests are encouraged to perform, a traditional entertainment schedule is replaced by a flexible and spontaneous series of programming generated by the guest consumers-cum-producers—dubbed “made by originals” in Design Hotels’ advertising campaign. On all fronts, the experience of ‘creative improvisation’[45] at the resort furthers the jarring paradox of a countercultural luxury hotel. A number of incidents that would ordinarily be unacceptable[46] are instead celebrated at the Papaya Playa Project—the guiding principle (and primary selling point) is that the hotel functions as work in progress where everyone improvises. Bob Sharestani, co-founder of Design Hotels’ advertising agency Mamapapacola, describes the resort’s surroundings as being in constant flux since new things ‘pop up’ daily.[47] Notably, this attitude capitalizes on our culture of spontaneous communications via Twitter, Facebook, and other social media.

In addition to being well versed in social networking, the project backers consider themselves “experts in community life and habilitating a derelict space into a shared home.”[48] In this project, they employ the programmatic notion of Zwischennutzung, which describes the temporary reappropriation of space by mostly counter-, sub-, and alternative cultures.[49] Georg Krämer, owner of Berlin’s Club der Visionäre, contentedly remarked in an interview, “I love the idea of the Zwischennutzung of Mexico … we use everything only temporarily. That’s the essence of the Berlin underground.”[50] Krämer is not describing a new phenomenon—illegal raves, pop-up stores, and temporary restaurants have been employing this tactic for years. Even temporary beach huts built for a holiday season are nothing new. However, the scale of the co-optation is distinct, as is the integration of a countercultural ethos as a structural element of the hospitality industry.

Theorists agree that creative subjects are creating new and (arguably more efficient) business models. Pierre Guillet de Monthoux and Antonio Strati suggest “artists are constantly testing new ways of cooperating and networking to get things done” while more traditional managers are “trapped in obsolete industrial postures.”[51] Referring specifically to Berlin’s techno scene, Jan-Michael Kühn describes networks of relations as highly connected and loose at the same time.[52] The improvisational, flexible, and responsive character of artist networks is reminiscent of Deleuze and Guattari’s rhizome: able to negotiate and overcome ruptures by re-emerging on old lines or forming new ones.[53] In the Papaya Playa Project, ­­­­­­­­both people and places are “flexible constellations of identities-on-the-move”[54] instead of stationary nodes in a network. As opposed to the image of a web implied by a network made up of lines, nodes, and fixed points, this type of mobility suggests a gel, which implies “fluidity, slipperiness, instability, movement and transformation in form.[55] The Papaya Playa Project continually uses and reproduces the fluidity and flexibility of both the subcultural network and the creative individual. KaterHolzig’s self-characterization could just as easily describe the subject produced through the demands of contemporary creative capitalism: “Urban, individual, ambitious, broadly travelled; knowing how to keep balance between improvisation and seeing an event through from start to finish.”[56] The demand for both professionalism and improvisation creates a picture of this emerging capitalist form as a type of assemblage, in which the subject continually vacillates between the former and the latter. Thus, the Papaya Playa Project provides insight into the subjects of the contemporary capitalist form: creative ‘prosumers,’ who manage themselves and are being managed in transitory, fluid networks of connections.

The Project’s (Capitalist) Spirit

Demand for Selbstbestimmung

In stark contrast to the white-collar businessman of yesteryear, management discourse in the 1990s gave birth to the business leader-as-coach, team leader, or, what management guru Moss Kanter calls the “business athlete.” The primary role of the manager ceased to be commanding and supervisory; rather, he (managers were still mostly men) became responsible for motivating, challenging, and even inspiring organizational members to reach their full individual potential—in other words, to self-actualize. Since then, the discourse of self-realization (Selbstverwirklichung) has advanced to become an institutionalized expectation of large corporations, and individuals have become increasingly skeptical of it. According to Charles Taylor, self-actualization presupposes some form of transcendental end, which, functionally similar to the spirit of capitalism, provides the motivation to actualize oneself.[57]Within the corporate model, this motivation, built into the institution, simply results in strengthening the corporation rather than serving the individual.

However, Charles Taylor also suggests that our modern notion of the ‘transcendent’ is not as fixed and unchallengeable as it once was.[58] As the corporate framework provides less and less motivation to self-actualize, self-determination (Selbstbestimmung) becomes worth striving for. While the corporate model presupposes a self that is yet to be actualized[59]–in other words, whose most natural state of being is perpetually out of reach–Selbstbestimmung depends less on striving towards a transcendental good and more on an explicit drive for individual autonomy. As opposed to the more essentialist Selbstverwirklichung, Selbstbestimmung is produced through personal choice. It is the freedom to make one’s own choices, including the creation of work and membership in professional and artistic networks. Embodied in the figure of the creative professional, this form of capitalist spirit ostensibly eschews the pitfalls of corporate overdetermination. However, Selbstbestimmung is also at risk of being appropriated by the axiomatics of capital, evidenced by the emergence of a new managerial figure–the ‘business hippie.’


The creative minds behind Bar25, Juval Dieziger and Claus Klenzendorf. (Copyright by Anja Weber; reposted with permission.)

Especially in its final stages, Bar25 created what its founders called a “business-hippie commune,” as it became a self-determined live-work village.[60] Interestingly, Design Hotels’ founder also defines luxury as the freedom to make one’s own choices,[61] effectively re-qualifying the hotel’s luxe qualities as programmatic rather than material. To describe its “1960s-commune vibe,”[62] the project’s official website employs language highlighting creativity, community, and play:

Design Hotels and a group of like-minded partners will create a communal playground for five months, offering a raw, white canvas for a community seeking reconnection with nature and within themselves […] With ‘community’ at the core of the physical and experiential concept the “Papaya Playa Project” sets the stage for a spiritual and adventurous journey worth sharing.[63]

However, despite their countercultural roots, neither Bar25, KaterHolzig, nor the Papaya Playa Project critique capitalist ideology.[64] They are simply businesses profiting from the upscale clientele of the pop-up genre.


During the FIFA World Cup 2010, Bar25 cooperated with Adidas Originals to create ‘Johannesburg24’, a temporary public viewing space. (Copyright by Highsnobiety.com; reposted with permission.)

Here, capitalistically mediated productivity is aligned with the perceived freedom of decision-making. Hence, the movement of the capitalist spirit towards the promise of greater self-determination indicates the aforementioned threat of co-optation. When leisure time becomes productive, the traditional distinction between labor and leisure disappears as does the boundary between production and consumption. Work, in becoming more playful, also becomes more closely aligned with personal choice. Indeed, the creators and participants of both Bar25 and KaterHolzig seem governed by the freedom they have to create their own rules. Frédéric Vandenberghe theorizes that:

government does not annul the capacity of individuals as agents, but presupposes it and draws on it to further its own ends […] Appealing to the aspirations of self-determination and self-realization, the government of subjects passes through the personal strivings of each and every individual for self-fulfillment. Power does not crush aspirations, but acknowledges and adjusts itself to them, while instrumentalizing and utilizing them for its own objectives.[65]

However, by collapsing labor into leisure time, creative ‘prosumers’ are prone to working more than ever, thus calling into question what we once understood as freedom. Can freedom occur when discipline, though ostensibly rejected, has in fact been internalized?

Demand for play

Selbstbestimmung, in contrast to Selbstverwirklichung, does not rely on self-dissatisfaction with the here and now. Thus, this type of self-determination is more compatible with the notion of work-as-play, especially in the context of creative production. Historically, the revolutionary movement of the Situationist International radicalized the demand for play; its members believed that a playful and adventurous life within the city could overcome the all-pervasive, controlling narrative of la société du spectacle.[66] It is telling to compare this idea with Erlo Reiniger’s description of the Papaya Playa Project as a kind of adventure playground with an urban feel.[67] Reiniger’s use of the terms adventure, playful, and urban recalls the rhetoric of the Situationists; but, does play have a liberating or an oppressive function in this model?[68]

All major partners of the Papaya Playa Project conspicuously state, in one way or another, the centrality of either play or fun in their philosophy: KaterHolzig fights for “the right to party,” Mamapapacola “mixes work and play,”[69] and Sendlinger of Design Hotels says he and his project partners “want to play a little.”[70] Thus, the décor comes as no surprise: neon-colored cuckoo clocks, deer heads, and kitschy paintings (nailed upside-down) adorn the bar and dining room walls—even standard light fixtures are installed off-kilter. The playful feel of the Papaya Playa Project is reminiscent of Bar25 and KaterHolzig; the projects share the feel of a ‘playground for adults’ and the Papaya Playa team imported the majority of the furniture from yard sales and flea markets in Berlin.


Used furniture flown in from Berlin. (Copyright by Stefanie R. S. Schwenk; reposted with permission.)

While this design decision makes no sense at all from an ecological standpoint, it underscores the project’s desire to align itself with every aspect of Berlin’s counterculture—from its decor and staff to its all-night parties.[71]


The beach bar evokes feelings that, thus far, had been unique to the Berlin branch of the club. (Copyright by Stefanie R. S. Schwenk; reposted with permission.)

The wholesale export of a certain type of experience demonstrates Papaya Playa’s commodification of play. For the Situationists, the human instinct to play exists outside of the society of the spectacle; however, within the hotel, play is pre-packaged and aestheticized. This form of play, co-opted by capital, in effect perpetuates the spectacle. As play becomes a product of capitalist exchange, the capitalist spirit begins feeding on the authentic human desire for play. As Vandenberghe writes, “by paying for access to experiences and for the experiences themselves, we become, so to say, the consumers of our own lives.”[72] Thus, despite the emancipatory qualities of Selbstbestimmung, play loses its subversive capacity and becomes integrated into capitalist logic as commodified human experience.



Though the artistic avant-garde has been heralded as effective critics and resistors of capitalist subjugation, the subjectivities and structures that emerged in relation to KaterHolzig @ Papaya Playa—A Design Hotels™ Project illustrate the ongoing co-optation of such subcultures by global capitalism. The emerging markets for creative products as well as the appropriation of Selbstbestimmung by capitalist logic dramatically lessen the critical potential of counterculture. However, both in spite of and because of this, it is premature to declare demands for personal freedom and creativity to be futile. Though the Tulum experience has proven problematic, it does invite further investigation into ideas of creativity and personal freedom. Ulrich Bröckling posits that in order for true creativity to unfold it needs space (at least temporarily) free from the constraints of sustaining a living.[73] However, in this project every member, knowingly or unknowingly, instrumentalizes their creativity towards marketable products, services, experiences, and emotions. Bröckling further suggests that when creative deviance is expected and demanded, persistent nonconformity paradoxically becomes the ultimate conformity. Thus, the solution must not be “Don’t be creative!”[74]; rather, it lies in the discontinuation of such imperatives altogether.

Further, the project problematizes the widely held notion that functional differentiation leads to increased personal freedom.[75] Does the pluralization of individual roles and ties of the creative-individual-as-enterprise actually result in an increase in individual freedom? For Georg Simmel, liberation from social ties and the resultant increase in individual choice does not automatically increase individual freedom, since choice still requires support from others.[76] In effect, “free” is only to understand oneself as dependent—especially for the creative self, which depends on affirmative recognition from others. In today’s creative workplace, “security cannot be found easily outside of the hierarchical unit that has been replaced by a series of projects.”[77] Thus, the flexible, fluid, and ephemeral networks and the multiplicity of roles and social ties observed at Papaya Playa are, though perhaps more efficient, not more liberating than the traditional structures they replace.

*Benjamin Scheerbarth studies urban planning at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design. 

[1] Because of its historical specificity, Weber hesitates to provide a conceptual definition of his concept of spirit. For our purposes it will suffice to understand it as the ethos of a socio-economic system, fuelled by the cultural significance (Kulturbedeutung) of its historical reality. (Max Weber, “Die Protestantische Ethik Und Der ‘Geist’ Des Kapitalismus,” Archiv für Sozialwissenschaft und Sozialpolitik 20 (1904), 1-54)

[2] B. Joseph Pine and James H. Gilmore, The Experience Economy (Boston: Harvard Business School Press, 1999).

[3] Robert Austin and Lee Devin, Artful Making: What Managers Need to Know About How Artists Work (Upper Saddle River: Financial Times Prentice Hall, 2003).

[4] Richard Florida, The Rise of the Creative Class: And How It’s Transforming Work, Leisure, Community, and Everyday Life (New York: Basic Books, 2002).

[5] Jamie Peck, among many others, suggests that Florida’s methodology and empirical claims are heavily flawed and suffer from circular logic. (Jamie Peck, “Struggling with the Creative Class,” International Journal of Urban and Regional Research 29, no .4 (2005), 740-70.) Ann Markusen finds fault with Florida’s structural definitions and classifications, suggesting that the analyzed occupations neither display group identity nor are they inherently creative. (Ann Markusen, “Urban Development and the Politics of the Creative Class: Evidence from the Study of Artists,” Environment and Planning A 38 no. 1 (2006), 1921-40.) In their book, blatantly called Critique of Creativity, Gerald Raunig, Gene Ray, and Ulf Wuggenig critique “the hype of the ‘creative class’ and the high flights of the digital bohemians.” Gerald Raunig, Gene Ray, and Ulf Wuggenig, ed. Critique of Creativity: Precarity, Subjectivity and Resistance in the ‘Creative Industries,’ (London: MayFlyBooks, 2011.)

[6] Klaus Ronneberger, “Die Kreative Stadt,” Dérive (2011), 37-45.

[7] Frédéric Vandenberghe, “Deleuzian Capitalism,” Philosophy & Social Criticism 34, no. 8 (2008), 892.

[8] Matteo Pasquinelli, “Beyond the Ruins of the Creative City: Berlin’s Factory of Culture and the Sabotage of Rent,” in Skulpturenpark Berlin_Zentrum, ed.KUNSTrePUBLIK (Berlin: Verlag der Buchhandlung Walther König, 2010).

[9] Daniel Bell, The Cultural Contradictions of Capitalism (London: Heinemann, 1976).

[10] Gifford Phillips, “A Commentary on Daniel Bell’s Book ‘the Cultural Contradictions of Capitalism’,” Leonardo 11, no. 1 (1978), 49-51.

[11] Axel Honneth, Das Ich Im Wir: Studien Zur Anerkennungstheorie (Berlin: Suhrkamp, 2010).

[12] Vandenberghe, “Deleuzian Capitalism,” 889.

[13] Luc Boltanski and Ève Chiapello “Die Arbeit Der Kritik Und Der Normative Wandel,” trans. Katja Bigalke and Fabien Jobard, and Kreation Und Depression. Freiheit Im Gegenwärtigen Kapitalismus, ed.Christoph Menke and Juliane Rebentisch (Berlin: Kulturverlag Kadmos, 2010), 18-27.

[14] Ronneberger, “Die Kreative Stadt.”

[15] Boltanski & Chiapello, “Die Arbeit Der Kritik Und Der Normative Wandel.”

[16] Sylvère Lotringer. Neoliberalism and Discipline, Media and Communication Studies, seminar at Saas-Fee: European Graduate School, 2011.

[17] Michel Callon and Bruno Latour, “Tu Ne Calculeras Pas! Ou Comment Symétriser Le Don Et Le Capital,” La Revue du M.A.U.S.S. 9, no. 1 (1997), 45-70.

[18] Boltanski & Chiapello, “Die Arbeit Der Kritik Und Der Normative Wandel.”

[19] Lotringer. Neoliberalism and Discipline, Media and Communication Studies Serminar.

[20] Ibid.

[21] Vandenberghe, “Deleuzian Capitalism,” 878.

[22] Max Weber, “Die Protestantische Ethik Und Der ‘Geist’ Des Kapitalismus”

[23] Daniel Tutt, “The Disenchantment of Inauthenticity: How Management Adapted to May 1968,” Spirit is a Bone, http://danieltutt.com/2010/06/06/the-disenchantment-of-inauthenticity-neo-management-discourse-and-the-artistic-critique/

[24] Tom Holert, “Formsachen: Netzwerke, Subjektivität, Autonomie,” in Kreation Und Depression. Freiheit Im Gegenwärtigen Kapitalismus.

[25] Vandenberghe, “Deleuzian Capitalism,” 879.

[26] Gilles Deleuze, “Postskriptum Über Die Kontrollgesellschaften,” trans. Gustav Roßler in Kreation Und Depression. Freiheit Im Gegenwärtigen Kapitalismus,11-17.

[27] At the moment of publication, the hotel is operating and has not announced a revised closing date.

[28] Blisse, “Pop-up-Hotel Mit Trash Und Retro-Chic in Mexico.”

[29] Kerstin Greiner, “Die Wollen Nur Spielen,” Süddeutsche Zeitung, January 19, 2012.

[30] Like no other club, Bar25 was the embodiment of the Berlin-based techno subculture of the 1990s. The masterminds behind this adult wonderland were twelve friends who revived a derelict industrial wasteland at the river Spree. Beyond being the authority of the after-hours scene, the multifaceted character of Bar25 attracted artists of all kinds. Upon entering, club-goers left their societal roles behind–some for hours, some for days, some for years. With parties lasting well over 100 hours (and widespread recreational drug use) Bar25’s guests often described losing themselves in transformative experiences. A recent film about the club shows guests dressed as pirates, robots, and elves doing everything from dancing to sleeping in confetti mountains. Bar25 – Tage Außerhalb Der Zeit, directed by Britta Mischer and Nana Yuriko (2012, Germany).

[31] Boltanski & Chiapello, “Die Arbeit Der Kritik Und Der Normative Wandel.”

[32] Uwe Leeman, “So Schnell Sinkt Hier Die Sonne,” Berliner Zeitung, February 24, 2012.

[33] Erlo Reininger, “Club Der Enthusiasten,” Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung, January 22, 2012.

[34] Blisse, Manuela. “Pop-up-Hotel Mit Trash Und Retro-Chic in Mexico,” and Leeman, “So Schnell Sinkt Hier Die Sonne,”

[35] Design Hotels, “Papaya Playa—A Design Hotels™ Project,” http://www.designhotels.com/hotels/americas/mexico/tulum/papaya_playa_a_design_hotels_project

[36] Vandenberghe, “Deleuzian Capitalism,” 892.

[37] Ibid.

[38] Blisse. “Pop-up-Hotel Mit Trash Und Retro-Chic in Mexico.”

[39] Ronneberger,”Die Kreative Stadt.”

[40] Ulrich Bröckling. Das Unternehmerische Selbst. Soziologie Einer Subjektivierungsform (Frankfurt/Main: Suhrkamp, 2007); Ulrich Bröckling, “Über Kreativität. Ein Brainstorming,” trans. by Ralf Schauff in Kreation Und Depression. Freiheit Im Gegenwärtigen Kapitalismus, ed. Christoph Menke and Juliane Rebentisch (Berlin: Kulturverlag Kadmos, 2010), 89-97.

[41] Jan-Michael Kühn, “Arbeiten in Der Berliner Techno Szene: Skizze Der Theorie Einer Szenewirtschaft Elektronischer Tanzmusik,” Journal der Jugendkulturen 17, no. Winter (2011), 52-59. Translation by the author.

[42] Lotringer. Neoliberalism and Discipline, Media and Communication Studies Serminar.

[43i] “The Papaya Playa Project,” Designsigh, http://www.designsigh.com/2012/01/the-papaya-playa-project/.

[44] Ann Markusen and David King. “The Artistic Dividend: The Art’s Hidden Contributions to Regional

Development.” in Regional and Industrial Economics (Minneapolis: Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs, University

of Minnesota, 2003).

[45] Personal interview with Stefanie R. S. Schwenk (guest) (February 26, 2012).

[46] For example, a number of guests were asked to bring supplies with them when the restaurant’s stock was depleted, and news reporters experienced on-site water shortages and power blackouts. In yet another instance, a guest had sand in her bed and no fork for a $40 dinner – yet she extended her stay.

[47] Leisha Jones, “Traveling Light. Parties, Beaches and Spontaneous Journeys – Inspiration Comes in Many Forms at Mamapapacola” in Made By Originals, (Berlin: Design Hotels AG, 2012).

[48] KaterHolzig official website, http://www.katerholzig.de/. Indeed, prior to the pop-up hotel, Bar25 closed with the end of a temporary lease to re-open as KaterHolzig, which now also operates under similar conditions.

[49] Rudolf Kohoutek and Christa Kamleithner, “Temporäre Nutzungen, Deregulierung Und Urbanität,” Dérive, (2004), 37-45.

[50] Norman Ohler, “Kreuzberg, Karibisch,” Die Zeit January 19, 2012.

[51] Pierre Guillet de Monthoux and Antonio Strati, “Urban Insider Art: Reconnecting Enterprise to the City,” in Parcitypate: Art and Urban Space, ed. Timon Beyes, Amelie Deuflhard and Sophie-Thérèse Krempl (Zürich: Verlag Niggli AG, 2009).

[52] Jan-Michael Kühn. “Arbeiten in Der Berliner Techno Szene: Skizze Der Theorie Einer Szenewirtschaft Elektronischer Tanzmusik”

[53] Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari, “Introduction: Rhizome,” in A Thousand Plateaus (London, New York: Continuum, 2004), 3-28.

[54] Leisha Jones, “Traveling Light. Parties, Beaches and Spontaneous Journeys – Inspiration Comes in Many Forms at Mamapapacola”

[55] Jean Hillier, Stretching Beyond the Horizon. A Multiplanar Theory of Spatial Planning and Governance (Aldershot, Burlington: Ashgate, 2007).

[56] KaterHolzig official website, http://www.katerholzig.de/.

[57] Charles Taylor, Sources of the Self. The Making of the Modern Identity (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989).

[58] Ironically, because of these expanded notions, the hedonism of the techno subculture, often characterized as simply escapist (In particular, see the work of Ronald Hitzler. Also: Diedrich Diederichsen, “Kreative Arbeit Und Selbstverwirklichung,” in Kreation Und Depression. Freiheit Im Gegenwärtigen Kapitalismus.; Ronald Hitzler and Michaela Pfadenhauer, Techno Soziologie: Erkundungen Einer Jugendkultur (Opladen: Leske & Budrich, 2001); and Ronald Hitzler, Thomas Bucher, and Arne Niederbacher, Leben in Szenen: Formen Jugendlicher Vergemeinschaftung Heute, 2nd ed. (Wiesbaden: VS Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften, 2005).), is often claimed as an alternative source for spirituality (See: François Gauthier, “Rave and Religion? A Contemporary Youth Phenomenon as Seen through the Lens of Religious Studies,” Studies in Religion 33, no. 3-4 (2004): 397-413 and Scott R. Hutson, “The Rave: Spiritual Healing in Modern Western Subcultures,” Anthropological Quarterly 73, no. 1 (2000): 35-49.) and connectedness (Tim Olaveson, “‘Connectedness’ and the Rave Experience: Rave as New Religious Movement?” in Rave Culture and Religion, ed, Graham St John, (London, New York: Routledge, 2004), 83-104.)

[59] Dieter Thomä, “Zur Rehabilitierung Der Selbstliebe” in Transitorische Identität. Der Prozesscharakter Des Modernen Selbst, ed. Jürgen Straub and Joachim Renn. (Frankfurt/Main: Campus, 2002.) 114-31.

[60] Hendrik Lakeberg, “Durch Die Nacht: Mit Christoph Von Der Bar 25,” De:Bug, August 14, 2008.

[61] Blisse, “Pop-up-Hotel Mit Trash Und Retro-Chic in Mexico.”

[62] Ami Kealoha. “Papaya Playa Project. A Hotel Pops up in Tulum,” http://www.coolhunting.com/travel/papaya-


[63] The Papaya Playa Project official website, http://www.papayaplayaproject.com/wordpress/?page_id=1047

[64] In fact, the creators of Bar25 realized a profit from hosting parties and operating a high-end restaurant under the brand’s name—a wellness area, a hostel, a radio station, and a record label followed. Likewise, KaterHolzig offers an equal amount of cultural services (while a pool is still missing, the new star-quality restaurant Katerschmaus ranks among the best in Berlin and a new record label successfully releases selected artists).

[65] Vandenberghe, “Deleuzian Capitalism,” 887-888.

[66] The notion of play is understood in Situationist terms or, more specifically, in the terms of Guy Debord’s La Société du spectacle, which describes a consumer-capitalist society, in which everything is mediated, and nothing is authentic: “its citizens are reduced to passive spectators before a parade of alluring but frustrating images of consumption, transformed into the powerless inhabitants of an increasingly controlled environment.” For the Situationists, the society of the spectacle obliviates authentic human desires such as the instinct of play, leaving its members both dissatisfied and disaffected. The call for play, then, presupposes an ideal social order “as the non-teleological nature of the ludic restores to the alienated individual the full range of his or her faculties.” See Douglas Smith, “Giving the Game Away: Play and Exchange in Situationism and Structuralism,” Modern & Contemporary France 13, no. 4 (2005), 421-34.

[67] Reininger. “Club Der Enthusiasten.”

[68] Bar25 had always been described as a playground for adults. Often referred to as “Neverland” or “black hole,” Bar25 successfully created a space for the unexpected and unforeseeable, where its guests encountered and welcomed disorder, disorganization, and a retreat from the world ‘out there.’ Upon being asked whether the upscale restaurant with regulated business hours is a contradiction to this ‘wild’ life, Klenzendorf replies, “it is nice to meet with your lawyer, who spends €28 on a filet mignon on Wednesday, and then with the party crowd on Sunday. Whether this is hippie-like or not, we don’t really care as long as it is fun.” Dieziger holds a similar view, “we never forget where we come from and why we do this–to have fun with friends and like-minded.”

[69] Jones. “Traveling Light. Parties, Beaches and Spontaneous Journeys – Inspiration Comes in Many Forms at Mamapapacola.”

[70] Greiner. “Die Wollen Nur Spielen.”

[71] This accomplished what a major German newspaper titled ‘Caribbean Kreuzberg’ (where Kreuzberg is the name of a currently hip district in Berlin, which, used this way, portrays a feeling more than a place).

[72] Vandenberghe, “Deleuzian Capitalism,” 893.

[73] Ulrich Bröckling. Das Unternehmerische Selbst. Soziologie Einer Subjektivierungsform. (Frankfurt/Main: Suhrkamp, 2007). & Ulrich Bröckling, “Über Kreativität. Ein Brainstorming,” trans. by Ralf Schauff in Kreation Und Depression. Freiheit Im Gegenwärtigen Kapitalismus, ed. Christoph Menke and Juliane Rebentisch (Berlin: Kulturverlag Kadmos, 2010) 89-97.

[74] Ibid.

[75] Axel Honneth, “Das Ich Im Wir: Studien Zur Anerkennungstheorie”

[76] This idea is philosophically rooted in Fichte, who proposed that freedom and determinism are in fact co-dependent.  Similarly, Hegel describes that the individual “self-consciousness must come to accept [the freedom of the other self-consciousnesses] if it is to move beyond the impasse that leads to the life and death struggle.” See Robert Stern, Hegel and the Phenomenology of Spirit. ed Tim Crane and Jonathan Wolff (London, New York: Routledge, 2002).

[77] Daniel Tutt, “The Disenchantment of Inauthenticity: How Management Adapted to May 1968.”