Locus of Culture and Creative Innovation is Found in the Fluidity of Underground Club Spaces

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Clubbing derived from a place of frustration, struggle, and creative initiative. Club spaces and the clubbing scene are constantly evolving, which makes it almost surprising that now we are seeing groups of people return to the early infrastructure and values of clubbing, this time fueled with a new generation’s attitude and perspective.

Across cities we are seeing an increase in purpose-built club spaces being brought to a halt, but despite these irreversible actions by city councils and demoralized property owners, there is an increase—and room forsmaller collectives and groups of people to come together and create more exciting experiences than would be possible in a normal club environment. It is a progressive act of society that club spaces have been, and will continue to be, safe spaces for smaller collectives and subcultures. Comparing the subcultures and collectives of today to those of the past, the most prominent differences that emerge are the mindset, attitude, and perspective of people. The new generation is learning at such a fast pace that the world is beginning to merge and mutate in all areas and movements.

For clubbing culture, this unimaginable desire to learn and be more is like an extension of its already existing values. Club spaces are liberating, an escapism for some and a utopia for others. For me, clubbing embodies expression in every form—socially, emotionally, physically and mentally. Events and spaces can vary in impact; people who occupy the space are the emotional marker for any setting, which in turn allows people to occupy their bodies on a more communicative and empathetic level. The liberation you may find in such a space or during a party can go beyond the moment, and the mutated emotions and thoughts you experience can instigate new moments. Putting all these people with their boundless energy together and then feeding it will make people want to run with it beyond the physical confines of the club space.

A multitude of smaller collectives have recently been surfacing amongst cities, with a focus on creating unique club nights and an extending vision that adopts other areas of interest and experiences. A number of these collectives, from my own experience, have been born out of youthful friend groups and people hoping to experience something new and more “real” than what can be found in larger clubs. These club nights vary in how they want you to feel and what they want to provide. This is where we see generic clubbing beginning to fade out: Shoot Your Shot, based in Glasgow, hosts poetry nights and queer-based performance parties, GAEZERS designed “fluid drinks” and offered them free to all attendees at one of their parties, Bas Kolektyw hosts exhibitions alongside raves and other events in Warsaw, and Polarys Collective in Florence celebrates visual arts, fashion, and music through events and documentation.

These events allow people to experience more and feel like part of a is a collective from Ireland that produces videos and visual content, hosts exhibitions, throws parties, and occasionally collaborates on club spaces. At the opening night of one of their exhibitions, which later advanced into a party, they displayed a number of video pieces and interactive works alongside visual arts. The interactive pieces and videos continued to entertain visitors all throughout the night. One such installation was the office photocopier which had been supplied with a variety of neon pagessome of which were pre-printed with archived club flyers. This was left for visitors to use however they liked, or simply just to take copies of the original flyers on display. To me, these alternative moments and parties are both designed to encourage and provoke creative exchange.

These moments are important to every generation and with the world developing at such a fast pace, it’s natural for people to be drawn toward creating these underground parties. I believe people will always be attracted to the ideas of alternative and intimate spaces, spontaneous and unpredictable experiences, and a moment to rejuvenate in a space that is mutated and liberated from social and sensual constraints.

By Anja Maye

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