Helena Ratka’s plan hasn’t quite worked out. Just a few years after studying visual communication under Wim Wenders, she began making a documentary about the fleeting concept of reality in contemporary democracies. But after 2016, too much has happened in global politics, she writes us. Events spilled over and the film is now on hold. So it’s handy that the Hamburg-based artist has a number of other talents in addition to making feature films. Since 2011, she’s been the Ratkat resident DJ at the Golden Pudel, and she also shoots videos and composes music for film and theatre. Together with Sophia Kennedy, she forms the duo Shari Vari, and as a solo artist, Pose Dia, she has just released her second album on R.i.O. Entitled »Simulate Yourself«, it is not the only indication that Ratka is not about to let world events interfere with her plans.
Mercy, in the last moment, there is still mercy
She simply finds other ways of dealing with the perception of reality – a subject that has been on her mind since she was a student. But even those unfamiliar with fragmented post-structuralist theories will recognise the resolute eclecticism in Ratka’s work. The fact that she used to trot, er, pootle down to the MFOC club night on Sundays when she was still at school has naturally had an effect on her musical character. As a musician, she combines lo-fi synth-pop with rough, angry wave elements or calm chanting with hints of hip-hop with the same ease as she does different IDM styles as a DJ. A strong attraction to opposites can be heard on her own records in particular: they wander somewhere between dark and shrill, between brash and withdrawn, between rave and panic attack. Helena Ratka likes to surprise her audience »without propelling them out of the world«, she writes. This requires considerable finesse, because: »It’s a fine line between challenging people and overwhelming them«.