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Subculture club

Exhibition set to celebrate and document diverse nightlife communities through a never-before-seen selection of photos

18 April, 2019 — By Róisín Gadelrab

A picture that was taken in 2000 overlooking Kingsland Road, Dalston, by photographer Molly Macindoe, which features in the Club Culture exhibition

THE remnants of many of London’s superclubs have long since been transformed into modern office blocks and retail outlets, most recently seen with the transfor­mation of the old Bagley’s buildings in King’s Cross into part of the new Coal Drops Yard haven for art students and young tech entrepreneurs.

Gone are the days when spaced-out clubbers wandered home dazed in the dawn under the old industrial arches, through the wasteland after a long night losing their heads to the direction of the DJ.

Likewise for Turnmills, no longer a pillar of hedonism at the gateway to Farringdon, a place where iconic turntablists cut their teeth and made their names, the building has been replaced by an arguably more attractive one, the contents melting into a row of corporate anonymity.

Still, while countless articles bemoan the stay-at-home millennial, less likely to be 24-hour party people than to Netflix Friday nights in, there is still a buzzing nightlife in London and clubs such as Fabric are testament to this.

So it’s probably about time someone rounded up a history of clublands of the world, and where better to host it than Fabric? Next week (April 25), for one night only, OurHistory, Logic and Fabric present Club Culture, a special exhibition celebrating and documenting diverse club communities and subcultures through a never-before-seen selection of photos from the OurHistory archive, displayed across Fabric’s world famous cavernous spaces.

Brought together by Red Gallery curator Ernesto Leal, Club Culture tells the untold stories in raw, vivid detail from a world of the forgotten city spaces that were dedicated to inclusivity, community, freedom of expression and the beat of the DJ.

Featuring carefully selected content, the exhibition spans decades and continents in a quest to document key moments in club history, highlighting the celebrated scenes and subcultures including: Berlin Techno: Tresor and After the Wall archive; Milan’s Italo Disco: Spaghetti Disco Archive; La Movida Madrileña: Madrid’s Club Culture 1978-1985; Soviet Hippies: 1970s Estonian Psychedelic Underground Culture; French Touch: A journey through French Electronica; Tokyo Punks: Up! Tokyo Punk & Japanarchy Today; USA Rave Culture: Tree Carr personal archive 1990-1994; UK Club Culture: Creativity, Freedom, Passion, Politics and Subculture.

Ernesto said: “Club Culture arrives as a statement made in opposition to the current all-pervasive view that is both ignorant and cynical towards the ethics, diversity and richness of collective histories – marginalised cultures that could not exist without the European collective conscience.

“What was so tragically coined and repossessed by the British as ‘Balearic Beat’ was, in fact, the music of La Movida. Balearic was never ‘found’, despite whatever ‘explorers’ may protest – and the myth of its discovery underpins the importance of this work in dismantling these histories, emancipating them and stripping them down for the people that originally forged them.”

Referring to two images taken by photographer Molly Macindoe showing what is now Shoreditch House, Ernesto said: “It was a party that was spotted.

Molly was known with the traveller communities so she headed up there. Molly cherished and kept alive the free party scene. She’s a brilliant artist and got access where others couldn’t.”

He added: “The London party scene and side of the exhibition is so unique, very diverse. It’s always had a vibrant gay scene, not to mention the free party scene, especially in the last 10 years where all the Italians and the Spanish have had their say in the scene, they’ve kept it alive and brought a European-ness to it all here.

“It’s the multiculturalness that brought in a whole new way of doing things. It’s always been diverse. That’s its power.”

Displayed alongside the exhibition will also be 10 prints created by young and up-and-coming designers. Submissions are now open via The Dots, and will be selected by Ernesto and a team of judges before the event.

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