– ABOUT BOGOTRAX FESTIVAL –
“Every possible of the individuals is then
a shadow that gives a sound.”
Kierkegaard – in Repetition.
In between a cancerous tumor and the form of a new life, the echo of the city is reproduced through the name of the festival: Bogotá, cold and warm, nasty but full of life and colours. Wasn’t it Allen Ginsberg who that said, “Bogotá was a cancer of the soul”? No, no, it was a Colombian poet, Gonzalo Arango, the founder of Nadaism. Ginsberg would have probably said it was simply a cancer… Unsatisfied with the impressions the ‘’Sud Lands’’ gave to the North American poet, one can be puzzled by what has to be the curse of a soul to be touch by this malefic and material form of biological immortality, i.e cancer1. Sounds like Gnosticism: an immortality against another, immortal dead cells against spiritual life: blessing and curse being deeply mixed.
[Read more →]
There have always been gatherings of people who want to let off steam – and there always will be. Our generation seems to prefer massive speakers and bass that shakes your chest to tie-dye and Rock through your parent’s gramophone. For me though, underground events have always been interesting because of the spaces they were in. Abandoned warehouses were brought back to life with an echo of their industrial past; factories next to beaches were blasted with the music of machines, a soundtrack to what that place had now become.
[Read more →]
Rave as Confrontation –
Marching Against the CJB in 1994
I read a review of a club night recently in my local free paper, The Islington Tribune. To capture just what a great place this club is they wrote that it is “filled with the kind of happy campers you could imagine filled a field in the ‘90s – but less crusty – it specialises in delivering the kind of electro disco beats that send buttoned-up city types into an air-punching frenzy.”
The funny thing about the above sentence is that it perfectly captures the shift from rave as a force to be reckoned with (the crusties who actually LIVE in the field – Yuk!) to a pleasant night’s entertainment for ‘buttoned-up city types’. It is not misty-eyed nostalgia to recall that rave music – as a bottom up musical and social revolution – really did disturb the status quo for a bit back there. They even brought in laws to deal with this menace!
[Read more →]
The rise and repression of the free festival movement in the UK and some intersections with radical anti-politics.
This article is based on a series of talks held in Basel, Berlin, Graz and Rome in 2007, and has been revised for this issue of datacide.
It doesn’t attempt to present a definitive history, but follow some tracks of contamination and inspiration. Some readers will already be familiar with some of the described historical frames, others not at all. It was written in a way that should be accessible without prior knowledge in terms of the facts and factoids, but under the assumption of an understanding of the validity of counter cultures as possible antitheses to the capitalist culture industry.
It also leaves out many other strains that contributed to this antagonism, such as left communism, surrealism, lettrism, the situationists, communes, sexpol, anti-psychiatry, neoism etc, as it focusses on the festival.
“The festival is apt to end frantically in an orgy, a nocturnal debauch of sound and movement transformed into rhythm and dance by the crudest of instruments.” (Roger Caillois, 1938) [Read more →]
towards an (anti-)history of rave
“The awareness that they are about to make the continuum of history explode is characteristic of the revolutionary classes at the moment of their action. The great revolution introduced a new calendar” (Walter Benjamin, On the Concept of History, 1940)
We are all familiar with those superficial overviews of ‘popular culture’ in which the same clichéd images are used to denote entire social movements – a few naked hippies at Woodstock standing in for the 1960s counter-cultures, a couple of Mohicans for punk and some gurning ravers in smiley t-shirts for twenty years of electronic dance scenes from acid house to breakcore. In this way history affirms the status quo by suggesting that nothing fundamental ever changes, and the multiple possibilities of negation and creation opened up by these movements are denied.
[Read more →]