Temporal Disjunction At The Endless Rave
Role: Research, design, curation, production.
Brief: How can a Hauntological investigation of Rave culture highlight the Neoliberal attack on Collectivity?
Response: Utilising a collected archive of nightlife photography spanning 1988-2018 - alongside selected interviews from photographers, DJs, promoters and dancers – Temporal Disjunction At The Endless Rave is a research project and artwork installation that draws attention to the importance of nightclubs and festivals as communal spaces for self expression and transformative practices.
Examining rave culture through the lens of hauntology - an interpretative philosophical concept that explicitly brings into play the question of time - the project looks at the function of archives in modern networked societies, while critiquing the impact of nostalgia driven media on cultural style. By disestablishing time as a sequence it transforms audio visual content into a looping construction that challenges our perception of linear memory.
Rave culture has become increasingly prominent in popular consciousness, with the Covid-19 pandemic further highlighting the need for communal spaces that foster self-expression and escapism. Thirty years since the UK’s Second Summer of Love, the evolution of acid house music can be traced from illegal parties to branded super clubs then into a global entertainment leisure industry. Celebrated in art galleries, museums and fashion runways, commodified rave stereotypes are revived as memories of pre–Brexit British identity.
While its origins are steeped in nostalgia for first time ravers, a new generation exposed to repeated mediated messages follow in its ideals, shaping new collaborative environments that promote social diversity and progressive attitudes. In our current political and technological landscape, the freedom and futurism that rave culture encapsulated is seen in opposition to our surveillance driven, social media fuelled contemporary lifestyles. Heralded not just as hedonistic activity, rave culture can be seen as an alternative form of resistance to neoliberal attacks on collectivity and a continued opportunity for rediscovering a community focused utopian vision.