Monday, July 21, 2014

rave afterlife

Nathan Jones writes about the rave-inspired-art exhibition E-Vapor-8, showing at the Site Gallery in Sheffield until August 17th, picking up on its themes of nostalgia-for-something-you-never-lived through  and the spectral persistence in popular memory of cultural peaks long since passed.

"It features a series of haunted works opening onto the “death of rave” -- and what that death means, when it happened, and if it is still happening, are the most interesting questions provoked by a visit. 

"The notion of cultural 'Afterlife' enters the fray as surely and convincingly as a sweaty-metallic-render 3D blade drifting though green wireframe. Afterlife is a zeitgeist topic – Transmediale’s Afterglow theme explored an afterward of an already exploded digital scene; Mark Fisher’s term ‘Hauntology’ connected Derridian theory to underground music/artists like Al Qadiri and Maria Minerva; and the recent New Death exhibition at FACT featured works such as Jon Rafman’s installation, depicting an indecent internet-accelerated-libido as a kind of end-of-the-world-is-now scenario....

"[Curator Francesca] Gavin's insistance that the exhibition ‘examines the utopian ideas surrounding rave before its failure’, seems to ignore what the artists in the show might consider the actual moment of rave's failure....   it would be nice to have a chance to review the impact of a novel like Irvine Welsh's Maribou Stalk Nightmares on this generation, or reflect on how current novelists such as Tao Lin use prose style to echo the afterlife of re-illusioned rave and drug culture.

"The best works in E-Vapour-8 exist as echoes a UK club culture with more ambiguous relations to capitalism and politics than the radical and resistant Acid House rave. The void left by the hedonistic lifestyle is a simulacrum in a work like Faramawy's, for the void left in our lives by the death of the hope of capitalism, and our continued afterlife within it - like a club we're forced to keep revisiting even though it's too expensive the DJs are shit and people keep getting shot."

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