GERMANY: Culture Map – Daniel Vargas & Sam Khayari

A map is used to get an overview of a region or a country. Thus, then a culture map would be a cultural map. Something that gives you an overview of local art and its history. That’s exactly what the initial idea of DJ Daniel Vargas and visual artist Sam Khayari from Rüsselsheim in Germany was. Meanwhile, a creative website has emerged on which the two Culture Map founders introduce artists from a growing regional and cross-genre network into interview videos and portraits.

In the same way, the network serves as an aid to young and aspiring artists who are introduced on the Culture Map or who are involved in the projects. In the meantime, many of the collaborations have already resulted in some interesting CM event series, such as the techno event CM1, the CM ART, the CM POETRY and on October 20, the first CM URBAN with the “Peace & Harmony” Graffiti Jam in Rüsselsheim in which ten experienced spray artists have painted a 40-meter-long wall together with children. Including Rocker Redford, Retro, Panik, Eat Maef, Doit, Iniki aka Traubeminze und Stem.

Also in attendance were Phil the Gap, an open mic session, and Rico Montero from Los Monteros with his Heartbeat Edutainment Bus. This is the only mobile recording studio far and wide and the Kiddies were able to sing and record tracks directly live. There are always new events on which Vargas and Khayari carry the links and projects of the Culture Map out into the city and put them on stage. Most of the time, they tend to be more in the background; more important to them is the joint creation and provision of space for artistic development for the city dwellers. In this art and culture promotion, they are with full heart and soul.

We had Daniel Vargas and Sam Khayari in the Radio X Studio. Here you can find the interview clip about the Culture Map, it is in German. In the further course of the article follow translated parts of the conversation.

What is the “Culture Map”?

DANIEL: The Culture Map is by and large a platform for artists, for those interested in culture, to exchange ideas across genres.

SAM: So in the foreground is the network idea that you get to know other artists, work together with other artists and yes, from our initial idea has become simply a website and we are gradually looking up artists from the region and make an interview with the artists, in order to introduce the person a little bit, and then there are collaborations and we now have some series of events under the motto Culture Map. In the meantime we have four series of events. The CM1, this is a techno event. Then we have the CM ART, it’s about artists and exhibitions. Then the CM POETRY, it’s about speech art. And the CM URBAN, there was also the first CM Urban Graffiti Jam recently.

So you introduce artists, but you also have networking platforms.

SAM: Yes, once to get to know the artist and to encourage young artists too, just to see that you are not alone on the journey and that there are many like-minded people there. And on the other hand, the events to work together with the artists. And also to get to know the artists closer. As already said, across genre, we have everything from sprayers to DJs and sculptors to rock bands.

DANIEL: It is also much more of a help. I believe anyone who is artistically active, he has always the thing, just today in the digital age. How do you represent yourself to the outside? Personally, that was hard for me at the beginning, because you’re just too full of all the things you see outside and then you want to get involved somehow. Yes, because alone in the work room doing your own thing is maybe then evenutally not enough. We just give a little help and introduce the people also.

The graffiti event that you organize, that’s also spraying with children? (Event took place on 20. October 2018)

SAM: Yes, exactly, the whole event takes place on behalf of the Youth Fund Rüsselsheim and the Child Protection Agency. And so we thought about how we can integrate the kids and had a workshop idea, where kiddies just take an active part in the wall design and also have the opportunity to lend a hand. We also plead for free space in Rüsselsheim, because there are Graffiti Groups in schools as well and graffiti workshops by the youth promotion, but unfortunately no areas where young people can live it out. That’s why we use the action to promote vacant space.

DANIEL:  It’s not like we’re reinventing the wheel. It is quite simply a mouthpiece for the kiddies, for the whole youth culture and especially for us in the city to make the city more attractive again. Because for many out of our city, they probably already wrote the city dead. For us that is not the fact, we find Rüsselsheim still very very attractive and there is also a sign to set, and I think so we do it too. We also want to spend a day with the kids, to make the day beautiful. And then just let’s see what’s still waiting for us.

SAM: We now have a relatively small Jam with the first Graffiti Jam. Altogether with ten artists who are present. And we hope that next year, together with the city of Rüsselsheim, we will be able to organize a bigger jam there.


 SAM: We like to connect different genres, that’s what we do at our events. I had an exhibition a few weeks ago. Daniel started playing there, I painted live, and we also have a speech artist Hanna Verum with us. Text that can be found in the painted pictures, yes, she recorded and played it for us. Was very cool.


For one thing, this is an idea and the website with the Culture Map, but actually you are the Culture Map. So you and those who then participate.

DANIEL: Exactly. So it was always important for us not to see ourselves on the presentation plate. It’s all in the first place to connect a bit and I count on the other artists who have worked with us until now. This also makes us a huge pleasure and gives us a lot of fun. Because behind it is still the human being, whom you finally get to know and that is something that comes close and you should not underestimate that.

SAM: Yes, that’s just us. It’s not something artificial, it’s just how we are and how we work with people.


SAM: Our idea was, that is, the struggle that we ourselves have undergone in our lives, that younger artists can benefit from it and that we also work together with experienced artists to learn something from the artists for us as well.

DANIEL: We always take something with us, definitely. It’s also true that we give something to young people and then take something with them from experienced artists and that’s actually what we enjoy so much. We would never stand down and say we can do everything and we know everything. This is rather the opposite, so we learn something every day and with each artist.


What kind of music do you play and create? And do you like Paul Kalkbrenner? His music is playing the whole time in the background.

DANIEL: Yes, I associate a lot with his music. In any case. I also do electronic music. Incidentally, I still have a project running with a good friend, also a DJ called Martin Reichmann. And the genre in which I move is the Romanian techno. I swear on it. That’s my thing, what I’m following, and that’s how I got used to it. Although I always try something new, but ultimately that’s my thing, for which I have a lot of interest and where I put all my energy in it.

You Daniel then do the music to the interview projects, to the movies and you Sam, you make then the visual. You’re a photographer and visual artist.

SAM: First and foremost I am a photographer. I work as a freelance photographer. And on the other hand, I also paint and have also had my own exhibitions for a few years, but have the roots of painting on the street and are originally from the graffiti. That’s why I have such a connection to the event.

Do you also spray and make graffiti?

SAM: No more, no active sprayer anymore. I then walked from the wall to the canvas and work only on canvas now. But these are just my roots, as far as art is concerned, and for the Culture Map, where I make the videos for our interviews.


Who did you have so far? Who is there already on the Culture Map?

SAM & DANIEL: We have Mario Hergueta among others. This is a conceptual artist. Svenja Badeck, who does watercolor paintings. Then we have Who killed Janis, this is a rock n roll band that’s about to take off, Rotor City. Then we have Sven Hosek, who among other things made the frog for the cleaning agent back then, also a pretty cool guy.

So on the website are small videos and interviews with the artists online?

SAM: Exactly, so we always write a little interview and have just our small two-man editorial, in which we then deny our texts. Even if we do not see each other, that works quite well. And then there is always the interview as a video on the website. Now we have artists like Mathias Vogt, who is here and now in Frankfurt in the club Silbergold.

DANIEL: Exactly, we also interviewed him. This is also currently being worked on, we visited him in the club Silbergold. And yes, we always change. Finally, as far as the film is concerned, we found out that it is best if we take turns every once in a while. Because not that one of us is still talking fuzzy.

SAM: We are also interested in getting to know the person behind the artist and, for a while, understanding the art better. We have some artists doing art in the public space and there are always discussions in the public about the art. And if you know more about the artist, then you also suddenly connect a personal story.


 >>>  The artists about themselves on the Culture Map website <<<


Sam, guest worker child, 80s kid, 90s teen. I liked to paint as a little boy and I liked the special thing about it, I liked it better than talking. A picture is worth a thousand words for me not only proverbial character. I was very excited when one day my dad came home with a Polaroid. The foundation for the first photo experiments had been laid. Thought, snapped, shaken and voilá the picture was there. At that time, I could not visualize my thoughts faster. Nevertheless, it has drawn me time and again to paper and pencil, especially the comic world has inspired me. Pictures telling stories without needing much words. At 15, I discovered the mirror reflex of my father for me. A Canon AE-1, I experimented a lot and studied the technology. During school, I learned to develop and manipulate images in the darkroom and discovered the fondness for black and white shots. The Creative Nomad, because I’ve been relentlessly wandering figuratively in search of the right medium to capture what I feel and see. Meanwhile, photography is an integral part of my life. With the help of the camera I process everything that happens in my life. I capture moments, feelings, perspectives.


Gude, I’m Daniel. I spent my childhood and youth in Rüsselsheim. My parents are from the time when the cavaliers came to Rüsselsheim – I also owe my parents my passion for music, they educated me very culturally. So there was a life outside of Los Caballeros for us and I quickly learned that there was more than just flamenco and San Miguel. My parents love music so it happened that I often spent my time with my parents at the CD DUK in the city center. The “waiting time” always seemed to be boring, yet my parents’ musical influences influenced me a lot – no matter if Bob Marley’s reggae sounds in my mother’s car or Pink Floyd with dad. Everywhere I interpreted the music to find out what I like most about a track. That’s why there is always something on a track that I can use to do something with, whether it’s lyrics, drums or the melody. Then there was the big brother with hip hop of the 80s and the early 90s with the beginnings of techno and house in Germany but also the musical taste of my friends inspired me, like to remember the Toten Hosen at Frederik, in short I just have almost everything belongs. I then played guitar myself and formed a band with my friends. But in the end it was the electronic music that awoke my passion to hang up – until today! I’m often asked, Gude Daniel, what do you actually feel when hanging up? This is easy to answer, altruism describes it in one word: I feel a strong satisfaction with my fellow human beings. I accept each person just as he is, how he moves to the music, how he lives out and that is also the feeling that I live in the moment. I let the music and my feeling guide me. For the past three years, I have visited my parents’ home country again and again and my camera has always been my companion. I have seen moments, places and faces. Some time ago, I suddenly saw a red thread in the pictures and decided that what I have seen to show others and have put together an illustrated book. The result is Roots of Liberty, a 140-page illustrated book that has recently been published in the book trade.





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Daniel Vargas (DJ)

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Sam Khayari (Fotograf & Bildender Künstler)



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>>> Sam Khayari aka Kreativnomade