OUR SELF-FULFILLING PROPHECY: About the Immediate Phase of Self-Consciousness of Youth Culture in the Techno Scene Author: Campara Rozina de Haan Student Nr.: 0909036 Education: Autonomous Visual Arts, Photography Wordcount: 4383
Institution: Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences Date: 09-06-2020
Faculty: Willem de Kooning Academy
Fig. 1. A sweaty raver at Pleasuredome, pictured on April 12 1997Credit: Getty Images, “DRUGS, DANCING AND NUDITY”, Josie Griffits, 2016, https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/gallery/2015/dec/03/slaves-to-the-rhythm-30-yearsof -hardcore-ravers-in-pictures
Because the truth is hard,
but the evening is soft. -
Foreword It has been a long and dynamic journey since I started my first study at Lifestyle Transformation Design in 2015. I have changed from majors and minors to highs and lows. All those changes and shifts helped me grow more and more into the ultimate image maker that I am today. After four years, completing the major Photography, I can finally say that I have found my own (visual) voice. I have learned that it has become my work ethic to start my projects from a personal perspective, and that my fascination lies with the human behavioral mind and philosophy. The minor Power Play helped me a lot for I could choose to focus my projects specifically on the underlying power structure of the DSM-5, the diagnostic manual for psychological disorder, which not only psychologists use to diagnose a mental illness, but also me, a somewhat hypochondriac if it comes to my own mental health.
I asked myself where to draw the line between seeing divergent behavior as problematic and look for professional help, and what could be seen as an actual strength to my own identity, and it has become my artistic goal to transfer these understandings to the outside world. This research and the work that has resulted from â€˜Our Self-Fulfilling Prophecyâ€™ have given me many new insights. I hope to inspire others, to think about the situation and problem I am talking about, and to take a critical look at their own role within their state of mind. I would like to thank everyone that has been an incredible assistance and support during this research and project. With in particular Golnar Abbasi and Seecum Cheung for being amazingly patient and inspiring throughout the whole process, and Bert van den Bergh for the thoughtful talks.
46 2.7 The Potentials of Light, Visual, and Sound Intervention 16 1.0 Research Questions Can I, as a visual artist, 18 Preface influence the self-conscious thought patterns of youth 22 2.1 Introduction of the culture in techno Depression Epidemic nightlife places with the use of image and sound 23 2.2 The Intermediate Phase manipulation? of Self -Consciousness 48 3.0 Conclusion 26 2.3 Escapism and its What is the relationship Relatedness to Techno between the techno night Nightlife club youth culture and the To what extent does intermediate phase of escapism play a role in the self-consciousness before techno nightlife culture? depression? 52 34 2.4 Techno Culture and the References and Bibliography Nightlife Experience What is the contemporary meaning of a techno night Attachments club under the youth Interview 1: culture today? Bert van den Bergh, 53 PhD Philosophy, 2020 41 2.5 Light and Visual Online Survey: Experience Anonymous participants To what extent do light and (Youth Culture; Techno visual features shape the Nightlife Enthusiast), nightlife experience of Rotterdam, 2020 youth culture? 54 42 2.6 Sound Experience To what extent do sound features shape the nightlife experience of youth culture? 12 Abstract
Fig. 2. Filmstill, Reflections on Light and Sound from: Christopher Bauder, Kangding Ray, “SKALAR”, WHITEvoid, KRAFTWERK Berlin, CTM Festival, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8-hxsm8lDps
Besides seeing the nightclub as a place to meet friends and have fun, and as an important scene for youth culture, it is one of the places for forms of mental escapism to take place: a habitual thought deflection to escape from one’s mind, thus self-consciousness. Self-consciousness could play a role as an intermediate phase before the eventual diagnosing of depression. Depression is a mental illness which one in five people will experience throughout their life. Not dealing with the power of self-consciousness means it could in extreme ways lead to symptoms of depression. This research argues that this form of escapism plays a role in the techno youth culture. Entering the nightclub can let one disappear into the dark for a while and relieve oneself from this state of self-consciousness.
I therefore ask: What is the relationship between the techno nightclub youth culture and the intermediate phase of self-consciousness before depression? To answer this question, I conduct an in-depth interview with Bert van den Bergh, writer of a cultural philosophical thesis of the ‘depression epidemic’, an online survey for techno nightlife enthusiasts, and research into the psychological and audiovisual dimension in relation to the cultural sense of belongingness and social behavioral norms. By answering this question I aim to inspire others to think about the self-consciousness thought pattern and its relation to escapism and depression. Providing an opportunity to take a critical look at one’s own role within their state of mind, and a more comforting future perspective.
Fig. 3. Filmstill, “Stare into the heart of the Sun”. from: New York-based multimedia artist Meshakai Wolf, 21 August 2017, https://www.youtube. com/watch?v=g4FyksElIj0, 2019
Main Research Question
1 What is the relationship between the techno nightclub youth culture and the intermediate phase of self-consciousness before depression?
Sub Research Questions
2 To what extent does escapism play a role in the techno nightlife culture? 3 What is the contemporary meaning of a techno nightclub under the youth culture today? 4 To what extent do light and visual features shape the nightlife experience of youth culture? 5 To what extent do sound features shape the nightlife experience of youth culture? 6 How can I, as a visual artist, influence the self-conscious thought patterns of youth culture in techno nightlife places with the use of image and sound manipulation?
Preface This research emerges from two individual interests: a love for the Rotterdam nightlife culture, and an ever growing fascination for philosophical methodologies on the difficulties of minds, such as those who struggle with depression. Adding these two interests together makes for a thesis that is not just a research venture for a visual end result, but also an explorative venture of myself. One night in December I observed a group of friends while smoking outside of the bar Perron. A place where mainly techno parties, so called raves, are being held. For those not familiar with raves: â€œtechnoâ€? is a catch-all term for any type of electronic music dominated by percussive rhythms and averaging about 120 beats per minute. During this night, I saw one young male sharing his depressive feelings with the rest, after that, more people quickly followed. Resulting in ten people in a circle talking experiences, without listening to each other. It seemed each one wanted to outshine the otherâ€™s stories with an even bigger one of their own. I realized then, after telling my own story, that I felt more alone than before. Therefore I fled back inside to continue to drink alcohol, dance and kiss.
As part of this youth culture, I face having to navigate through such confusing mind spaces on nights out, and I wanted to understand why. Why is this happening to us? Why is it that although we seem to thoroughly enjoy ourselves, more and more of us are finding it harder to get through the day when the week starts again? We experience symptoms of depression. But, I wonder if this problem is possibly easier to address and deal with than we momentarily think. My goal for this research is to answer these questions and to apply it to my creative project to experiment with the creation of an immersive experience. This research is meant to create awareness about the hazards of the continuous inner process of over-analyzing and self-reflection, especially at the moment we run to escape from those processes. This will happen through investigation of nightclubs as spaces where a lot of senses and experiences in life are intensified. Let visitors navigate through their chosen mindspace, to experience the observations and analyzes I made in this research. Making it possible for millennials to reflect once again and make them more aware of the issue I am addressing. .
I investigated the stated problem and research questions by using a mixed methodological approach. I used quantitative and qualitative research to create a more in-depth exploration, since the subject is quite complex and intimate. The quantitative research has been conducted by gaining generalisable knowledge through an online survey with the youth culture of Rotterdam. The qualitative research created more in-depth contextualisation through an interview with Bert van den Bergh. Integrating the mixed methodological approach with desk research, I have reflected on my own position and participation in the results of this research.
2.1 Introduction of the Depression Epidemic It is the 20th of January 2020 and I have just visited a lecture of Bert van den Bergh called ‘The Depression Epidemic’. A depression epidemic is defined by the sudden increase of diagnosed depression (Van Den Bergh). Van Den Bergh, a cultural philosopher, is specialized in the rise and popularity of the diagnostic term ‘Depression’. He, and his lecture, inspired me to start this research on depression and serves as the basis of the work you are about to read right now.
2.2 The intermediate phase of self -consciousness Why is that so difficult for us to recognize? Van den Bergh states that this is because we are supposed to be isolated (Van den Bergh). In this culture, we need a lot of friends, acquaintances and networks. However, in the end we have to be very much standing on our own as powerful and successful human beings.
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (American Psychiatric Association), a widely used tool for psychologists to indicate mental disorders such as depression. Van den Bergh stated that this highly used manual gives a poor representation of the actual meaning of depression. He said: ‘If you listen carefully to what is reported in the experience of the depression, it is not about extreme gloom; sadness or emptiness, but much more about existential isolation.’ Van den Bergh also stated that it is basically our neoliberal society that discourages our intrinsic values.
Since 2013, a 47% increase in major depression diagnoses can be seen, in millennials alone (Depression). According to the World Health Organization, one in five people will experience depression which now is more and more cited as the leading cause of disability worldwide (Depression). According to a report analyzing data of the BlueCross BlueShield Health Index (´Major Depression), diagnosis of major depressions are rising faster in youth culture when compared to other age groups. But, concerning the critical note of Van den Bergh, we may wonder if the (over-) diagnosis of depression is correct at all? Does psychiatry and online self-diagnosis cause people with an existential crisis to see themselves as ‘depressed’ while they possibly are not?
Our passion and dreams are misused for commercial goals and marketing which regularly seizes our work and daily life, resulting in a global depression outbreak. According to Van den Bergh we live in a hyperactive dynamic, positive culture and there is a black shadow because we are also dealing with the depression epidemic as he stated during my interview.
This critical question can reference to self-fulfilling prophecy: the case wherein people have an expectation about what another person (or the self) is like, which influences how they act towards others, which causes others to behave consistently with people’s original expectation, making that expectation come true (Aronson 53).
You could think that you are feeling alone, so you distance yourself from your environment as a response, thus you will actually become lonely. You could think that you experience feelings of depression, so you will focus on the experienced symptoms of depression, thus you will eventually become depressed.
The use of the term ‘intermediate phase’ within this research stands for the (unconscious) self-conscious thought pattern that the youth culture experiences on an individual level. According to Van den Bergh, this could be a behavioral sign, or even symptom, before getting the diagnosis of a major depression disorder. During our interview, van den Bergh talks about his own experience. He explains the moment before he became badly depressed: “I was very upset. I dug myself in and turned away from the world. Finding myself in philosophy. My idea was that if I dug deep enough, I would eventually get to the heart of myself. But what I actually was doing, was losing myself more and more ” (Van den Bergh, personal interview). At first glance, self-reflection or ‘self-consciousness’ is a very individual process, but it is actually very systematically built into our culture. Self-consciousness is defined as a way in which you are too much aware of what you are doing so you can no longer do what you actually want to do, because you are reflecting too much (Van den Bergh). From an early age we are trained to compare ourselves with others and strive to become the best. The older we get, the more ‘feedback’ or ‘performance evaluation’-conversations we have with parents, teachers, co-workers and employees.
Van den Bergh states that this movement of people who are very fanatic in measuring everything in themselves and even praise this, create exactly the effect we do not want to receive. We start self-reflection to grow into the people we are or want to become. However, when people get fanatical that way, they tend to increasingly lose contact with themselves, the world and others. According to Van den Bergh, this experience is what we call depression. It is like being in a glass bottle; everything that happens around you does not move you anymore. “Self-consciousness and potential depression is about that resonance” - (van den Bergh, personal interview). As far as van den Bergh is concerned, depression has to do with the loss of contact with yourself. It is about that very basic contact that is disrupted, and that can be greatly enhanced by ongoing social media usage, reflection and monitoring of things. Three things that are very included in our system. Likewise in our jobs, evaluations continue. All things have to be judged in output terms, all the time. This is something especially millennials with our current youth culture grew up in.
“– While you may want to become yourself, when you are actually losing yourself.” (Van den Bergh, personal interview)
2.3 Escapism and its Relatedness to Techno Nightlife Following the definition of Escapism by the website ‘Merriam-Webster’, Escapism is a habitual diversion of the mind to purely imaginative activity or entertainment as an escape from reality or routine (Escapism). A nightclub can be used as a means of escape. Another incentive to go to the nightclub might be to share one’s personality. It may be a place where individuals enjoy being true to themselves in a way that is different from the rest of their daily lives. According to the results of the online survey I conducted 63% answered to feel amazing, alive and relieved on a night out. Some even experienced the nightlife as an extension of themselves. The online survey consisted out of 9 open questions, and has been published on Facebook, Instagram and by personal invitation through Whatsapp groups. Participants were techno nightlife youth culture enthusiasts. It has been conducted in the last week of May 2020 (appendix). But what is this form of escapism? Together with Van den Bergh I came across the lyrics of Dutch singer Maarten van Roozendaal. He starts his first lines of the song Jimenez with: “I am the man standing next to me, and who watches me silently. If I talk too much and too loudly.” (Van Roozendaal). He is talking not about his voice of consciousness, but about a duplication of himself that turns off as much as possible not to see or hear anything. This can also be applied when standing in a techno nightclub for the whole night. It is not you who is on that dance floor, but a numbed out version of yourself.
Paul Chatterton (Urban Nightscapes 113) states that especially young people have a desire for fun and escapism, as of the economic hardship they have to face. For some young revellers the weekend and the evening are their time and space outside the rigours and rules of the workspace and the watchful eye of bosses. It is a sacred time for letting go and self-indulgence. Sofia Angelopoulou states in her thesis ‘Night Matters’ that one of the important elements of a nightclub are the dancers themselves, especially the amount of them (Angelopoulou 38). Angelopoulou says: “The rise of a communal entity from the course of the night is part of the floor’s ability to dissolve personal boundaries (38) . It may lead to a momentary loss of individuality.” (38). It is a kind of intoxication in which you dance with yourself. You disappear for a moment during the week. During a few hour set, one can travel through different layers of their own self, by introspection. The gradual change throughout the long-lasting techno songs, give a step-by-step exploration of the conscious and subconscious. You could say that during this state of trance you become an extended version of yourself, as one of participants mentioned during the survey. A nightlife experience can feel as if you divide yourself and another you is dancing.
Is that not what techno is all about? A loss, or escape, of individuality. Based on my own experience and other youth cultured individuals I have spoken to, I came to the conclusion that a techno nightclub can sometimes give the feeling of being in one of the most isolistic nightlife places. However, techno raves almost have an unspoken rule of being with a big crowd in a small space. Nobody is able to see each other, making it possible to let go of all your thoughts. Because if you are not in a big crowd, you could experience the conscious feeling of having too many eyes from your surrounders on you, creating a feeling of discomfort. Nevertheless, if you could become more aware of how you stand, dance and who you see, and sees you. You might suddenly find yourself. What happens then? This can be frightening, but also something very beautiful. The feeling of finding yourself could give a soothing feeling of being totally content with the person you are at that exact moment. Therefore, it creates an opportunity to finally live more in the moment and let go of self-consciousness, or maybe even depression.
Fig. 4. Filmstill, “The Show: Lost in Music”. A Collection of 500 Pictures Over 3 Decades from: Fullbleed, Curated by Gavin Mills. Photographers include Deon Chalkley, Dave Swindells, Kevin Cummings, and more. Exhibited 2016, https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=90&v=d6I6k6Li-Sg&feature=emb_title, 2016
Fig. 5. Two Guys Kissing by: Kiev Ro, “Extravagant Photos of the Underground Techno Scene”, Alejandra Cabrera, https://www.vice.com/en_uk/ article/xgq8zn/techno-trance-club-photography-kiev-ro, 2019
Fig. 6. Instagram Screenshot, “Putting the Crowd on Fire at @c_x_e_m_a.” Post by: Borshchmagazine, August 2018
Fig. 7. Filmstill, “The Show: Lost in Music”. A Collection of 500 Pictures Over 3 Decades from: Fullbleed, Curated by Gavin Mills. Photographers include Deon Chalkley, Dave Swindells, Kevin Cummings, and more. Exhibited 2016, https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=90&v=d6I6k6Li-Sg&feature=emb_title, 2016
Fig. 8. Filmstill, “The Show: Lost in Music”. A Collection of 500 Pictures Over 3 Decades from: Fullbleed, Curated by Gavin Mills. Photographers include Deon Chalkley, Dave Swindells, Kevin Cummings, and more. Exhibited 2016, https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=90&v=d6I6k6Li-Sg&feature=emb_title, 2016
“It will be later I see a dork in the mirror and I hate her There is something that does not want to talk But that’s over, over And if I don’t dance with time, she’ll dance with me andI have to move Yes, dancing in the club I fill a void And they kept silent for a while But I encounter the voices in my head I have sweat in my hands and pain in my head But since 2001, music has numbed me And I feel my feet, they take me” - (Froukje, 2020)
“I’m afraid of a new day So I dance until the pain eases And I know he’s waiting for me Because the truth is hard, but the evening is soft Because if I stay here forever The club is melting with sweat in my body I cannot resit life Tonight I have to dance, tonight I have to dance ” - (Froukje, 2020)
2.4 Techno Culture and the Nightlife Experience “Being let in means you are accepted, you belong. A night of decadence awaits” - (Hunt et al, 2010.) According to Le Corre, the nightlife culture functions in two certain ways. At first to create and confirm an identity and secondly to experience a feeling of belongingness (Le Corre). In contrast to other generations, youth culture of today attend parties and especially techno raves to live an experience. Subsequent nights of partying have become a way of life for many of today’s youth culture. Although it might seem thoughtless, the places we go to are not randomly picked. Le Corre stated millennials choose party destinations that look particularly designed for them, based on their identity, values and representation. Especially the audience of techno rave parties crave for possibilities that accompany their expectations and values. Goulding examines that the experience of a nightclub culture is linked to different types of behaviors that are related to fragmentation and identity (261). These include, among others, the need for escape. The rave culture is for the majority actually a “weekend” culture of hedonism, sensation and escape, and it is based on temporary experiences (Goulding 263).
In line with Le Corre the results of my online survey showed (appendix) that one of the main reasons youth culture go to a party is to be with their friends. Being at a nightclub on the weekend gives them a sense of belonging. As if they belonged to a special culture only a few know of. However, 11% of the participants said they felt socially insecure after a night out and 65% said they paid attention to what type of people are at the party when arriving, and what they wear. This suggests that there is an unspoken social behavioral norm of a specific image everyone needs to fit in. I can relate to this statement. I have felt insecure multiple times while going to these techno parties in Rotterdam, especially in the beginning I felt like I did not fit in. It felt like everyone knew each other while I did not know enough people and were not dressed as authentically cool as most of them did. I was too self-conscious and it felt a little bit like a fraude to be there. As a result I began to drink a lot and took some drugs with my friends. This behavior repeated itself multiple times. In the meantime I dressed ‘cooler’, while of course looking like I made no effort, and made more friends the more I went out. After a few weeks I finally felt that same sense of belonging like most were talking about. It feels like a collective cultural escapism we are all in together.
“I do think it really adds something to your life. It is not just the music, it is the whole ambiance of having a day / night out with close friends. When arriving you are with like minded and more often, friendly people. With whom you often immediately have some sort of connection. I have a perfect summary of why I would recommend going to a techno festival once in a while: Friday evening, feeling mentally exhausted. Another workweek behind me, once again one f ull of stress. Stress to perform, stress to fit in and what for? To support a system in which I don't feel at home, to live in a world where I feel disconnected from the people around me? After a small struggle I convince myself of what I already know, I need to go out & clear my mind. Yet on my way to the club, I feel tense & tired. Will this be the evening I'll feel to old to be partying? I arrive & enter through the door. In the distance I hear a shimmering bassline playing and immediately I feel all my doubt evaporating, this will be a good night.
Time to go to the dance floor, I don't want to waste any time. I look for a good spot, amidst the dancing queens. Immediately I start moving like a mad man, the music just feels so right, It's like an exorcism, deep in the night. Surrounded by people I don't even know, yet feel closer to than those I see every day. If only I could live in this moment forever. I close my eyes, finally I'm at peace again. The night ends after hours of blissf ul dancing. My legs cramped up, my mind empty. This was the mental reset I needed. I am ready to face that scary world again. I miss you clubs, you are my safe haven when times get tough. And boy, life is tough right now. There's so much fear & uncertainty and no opportunity to dance it all away. But don't you worry, once the situation of corona is all over, I will be the first to visit you again and I'll be the last one to leave.” (Visitors Experience Survey, 2020)
Fig. 9. People Dancing at the Hacienda in Manchester at a Popular Acid House Night, ‘Hot’ by: Kevin Cummins, July 1988, GettyImages 2020
Fig. 10. Filmstill, “Stare into the heart of the Sun”. from: New York-based multimedia artist Meshakai Wolf, 21 August 2017, https://www. youtube.com/watch?v=g4FyksElIj0, 2019
Fig. 11. Zuzanna Against Mirror, “Voyeurism On Itself ” by Campara Rozina, New York, 2018
Fig. 12. Filmstill, “The Show: Lost in Music”. A Collection of 500 Pictures Over 3 Decades from: Fullbleed, Curated by Gavin Mills. Photographers include Deon Chalkley, Dave Swindells, Kevin Cummings, and more. Exhibited 2016, https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=90&v=d6I6k6Li-Sg&feature=emb_title, 2016
‘The dance club is a hyperreal environment where individuals can escape and get high on dancing.’ (Bach, 2016)
2.5 Light and Visual Experience I always had a mesmerizing connection with the use of light, sound and space. The first encounter I had with an audiovisual experience was during the opening ceremony of Museum Night Rotterdam in 2008. This is not a clubbing nightlife experience, but very relevant to mention since it is one of the first public events I have experienced during the ‘nighttime’. The audiovisual organisation of Museum Night Rotterdam had occupied its outside space by placing different light points within the art route. One had to find its way by walking past different spatial projects and space-like visuals who were connected to ambient low sounds. The experience gave me a feeling of entering a completely different world. I felt extremely energetic and open to explore while becoming more aware of my surroundings and the connection to it. This feeling was mesmerizing and an experience that I will never forget.
Hyperreality is a world in which it becomes impossible to distinguish consciousness from reality through a simulation of reality (Hyperreality). Sofia Angelopoulou states: ‘Coincidentally, if one observes a club night during its course, one might find in its quite accurate representation of our society at large. The atmosphere, dark and filled with smoke and colored rays of light: the crowd, seemingly lost and captivated by the multisensorial spectacle of which they are both performers and watchers simultaneously.’ (Angelopoulou 23). The use of light is not aiming to clarify the dull space, but to create a new aesthetic environment, and a spatial involvement by joining a run of lighting impacts such as: strobe lights, neon lights, laster, side or video projections and intelligent disco balls that deliver a number of visual impacts (Angelopoulou 30).
In the survey I conducted I looked for the first eye catcher of entering a nightclub, and it became even more clear that I am not the only one so easily swept away emotionally by the combination of light and space (appendix). 66% of the participants mentioned that lighting is one of the most important elements that grabbed their attention when entering a club, as a participant said: “Especially if it is in combination with visuals, it then becomes a whole new environment which you enther where the whole ‘vibe’ is experienced”.
2.6 Sound Experience The audiovisual research studio Playmodes specializes in creating immersive installation nightclub experiences with the use of light and sound. A big inspiration during this research is their project called ‘Beams’: an audiovisual instrument applied during a festival in Las Vegas. The lights are reacting on the sounds coming from its closest source by adjusting its brightness, speed and movement. This establishes the effect of personal involvement with the event and a merging of all individuals and nightclub spatial and visual features. The walk across all 64 pillars brings the visitors in a pre-state of trance while going from place A to B. But the installation is not only about the light and color of the experience, it becomes more impressive with the combination of the hypnotic ambient sounds that are connected to the reaction of the light. This potentially creates more awareness of one’s influential power to its environment.
Hutson eventually concludes that raves increase self-esteem, release fears and anxieties, bring inner peace and improve consciousness among others (Hutson 71). It is proven that techno music can have a hypnotic and somewhat therapeutic effect on people (Hutson 71).
In the paper Technoshamanism (Hutson 53), Hutson explores raves as a form of socially produced spiritual healing. In his research Hutson talks about the concept of ‘technoshamanism’ as an understanding that describes the role of the DJ as the director of a spiritual journey that ravers experience through dancing (Hutson 54). In addition he states that Western perception of shamanic, a person who is thought to have special powers to influence spirits (Shamanism), practices often emphasizes the change of consciousness within our systems of belief (Hutson 54).
Andrei Tapaloga calls techno music a mental drug (Tapaloga). He explains that some visitors of techno music nightclubs experience the night as entering another reality; a place where the music feels like oxygen. The hard bass and rhythm of the songs lets out the emotions and feelings people have inside (Tapaloga)
Fig. 13 Light & Sound Immersive Space Installation. “BEAMS.” by: Playmodes Studio, LIB Festival, Las Vegas. 2018
But, is this an insightful therapeutic moment or merely a narcotic effect on our feelings and thoughts? According to a study exploring the biological responses to techno music (Gerra et al. 226), pleasurable music has been found to increase blood flow in brain regions thought to be involved in reward, motivation, emotion and arousal (Gerra et al. 226). The same activity as in response to other euphoric stimuli such as drugs, sports or sex. Particularly during raves, our bodies respond to sound at a very deep physical level, freeing the mind (Le Corre).
Fig. 14. Filmstill, An investigation into the interactions of nightclub visitors. “ Club Folk” by Tijs Struijk, https://tijsstruijk.com/, 2019
Fig. 15. Filmstill, Reflections on Light and Sound from: Christopher Bauder, Kangding Ray, “SKALAR”, WHITEvoid, KRAFTWERK Berlin, CTM Festival, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8-hxsm8lDps
2.7 The Potentials of Light, Visual, and Sound Intervention (Design Proposal) In this research I argued that the nightclub culture has a potential for interventions with light, visuals and sound. The studies consulted on the features of a nightclub culture and the experiential aspect that has mental and physical effects will be used in my design proposal. At which the nightclub is approached within an experimental, social and conceptual context. Hence the question: Can I, as a visual artist, influence the self-conscious thought patterns of youth culture in techno nightlife places with the use of image and sound manipulation?
This is why I will make a video (DJ) scholar. A combination of gathered and produced light, sounds and movie footage to evoke a heavy emotional reaction. The conducted insights from this research will be applied by focusing on the experiential aspects with creating an immersive experience. The video will trigger the discussed pattern of self-conscious thought behavior to encourage thinking. At the same time the individuals watching it unconsciously start analyzing their own behavioral thoughts in comparison with the subject of the video. As a result creating not only more awareness about the hazards of this continuous inner process of over-analyzing and self-reflection, but doing it during the moment we run to escape from it: through the investigation of the nightclub as a space where a lot of senses and experiences in life are intensified. Therefore the tone of voice of the video will be paradoxal, messy and overstimulated.
3.0 Conclusion Within this research I was looking for answers on what the relationship is between the techno nightclub youth culture and the intermediate phase of self-consciousness before depression. Altogether, depression has taken the form of an epidemic. The self-conscious behavior thought pattern of the youth culture could seem like an intermediate phase before the eventual diagnosing of depression. Whether this self-conscious behavior leads or is related to depression, seems rather a kind of in-between. Especially the youth culture seem to think they have been struck by this phenomenon. To relieve themselves from this self-consciousness, the youth culture chooses places like techno nightclubs to escape from these thoughts, accompany their hedonistic cravings, fit their values and expectations, and build ways to create their identity. This is the beneficial side-effect and maybe an underlying mechanism of going to raves. The euphoric experience of the music itself creates an opportunity to reflect on our inner selves, side by side with like-minded people. Subsequently it seems that raves are one of the places where this reflection on self-consciousness is more intensely happening.
Hence, the research of Hutson (54) where it is concluded that raves increase, among others, self-esteem, release fears and anxieties, bring inner peace and improve consciousness. This research also shows that there is indeed a social behavioral norm which concerns a specific image one needs to fit in to. The cultural and social aspect of the nightlife experience parallels the feeling of missing a deep connection with people, things and places while there is a desire for fun and letting go. Which, yet again, results even more in the feeling of insecurity by self-consciousness, and therefore subsequently creating a paradoxical sense. Conversely it seems that raves can improve self-esteem, a sense of belonging and improve consciousness (Hutson 54). This experience can even have a therapeutic effect on people and their bodies, as they respond to the techno sounds at a very deep physical level (Le Corre). In particular, with the combination of the â€˜rightâ€™ environment, lights and visuals the visitor can have a feeling of entering a new unstructured world.
References and Bibliography
American Psychiatric Association. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th, ed. American Psychiatric Publishing, 2013. DSM-V, doi-org.db29.linccweb.org/10.1176/ appi. books.9780890425596.dsm02. Accessed 7 May 2020. Angelopoulou, Sofia L.. “Night Matters Thesis.” Issuu, 7 Mar. 2019, issuu.com/sofiaangelopoulou/docs/sofia_angelopoulou__night_ matters_2. Aronson, Elliot., Wilson, Timothy D.., & Brewer, Marilynn B., Experimentation in social psychology. In Gilbert, Daniel T., Fiske, Susan T., Lindzey, Gardner, The handbook of social psychology (p. 99–142). McGraw-Hill, 1998, https://books.google.nl/books?hl=nl&lr=&id=-4InWCsra7IC&oi=fnd&pg=PA99&dq=Social+psychology.+aronson&ots=harz_S2lq7&sig=-_AgwDRtLSt9foUo8TFaXmZPKAg#v=onepage&q=Social%20psychology.%20aronson&f=false Bach, Nastasia. “Top 6 Studies on Techno Music (or What Academia Taught Us about Rave Culture).” DJBroadcast, 2016, www. djbroadcast.net/article/130868/top-6-studies-on-techno-music-what-academia-taught-us-about-rave-culture. accessed...Van den Bergh, Bert. “De gestolen stoornis: een cultuurfilosofische duiding van de ‘depressie-epidemie’.” (2018)
´´Depression.´´ who, World Health Organization, 2020, https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/depression. Accessed 7 May 2020.
Studio, Playmodes. “Beams.” Playmodes Studio, Sept. 2018, www.playmodes.com/home/beams/. Light and Sound Immersive Space, Audiovisual Instrument
“Escapism.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/escapism. Accessed 8 June 2020.
Tapalaga, Andrei. “Techno Music: A Mental Drug.” Medium, Unique Mindsets, 28 July 2019, medium.com/unique-mindsets/techno-music-a-mental-drug-9d3f9dfeb9a7.
Tossmann, Peter et al. “The use of drugs within the techno party scene in European metropolitan cities.” European addiction research vol. 7,1 (2001): 2-23. doi:10.1159/000050709
Froukje. “Ik Wil Dansen.”, Debut Single, Jens van der Meij, 2020
Gerra, Gilberto et al. ‘’Biological responses to techno music: new developments in the relationship between pleasure and drugs.’’ 2020. Goulding, Christina et al. ‘’Working Weeks, Rave Weekends: Identity Fragmentation and the Emergence of New Communities.’’ Consumption Markets & Culture. 2002, pp. 261-284, DOI: 10.1080/1025386022000001406.
Van Roozendaal, Maarten. “Jimenez.” De Gemene Deler, Theaterconcert, Coast To Coast Music Group B.V, 2012
Hunt, Geoffrey, Molly Moloney, and Kristin Evans. Youth, drugs, and nightlife. Routledge, 2010. Hutson, Scott R. “Technoshamanism: spiritual healing in the rave subculture.” Popular Music & Society 23.3 (1999). pp. 53-77.
Chatterton, Paul, en Robbert Hollands. “Urban Nightscapes: Youth Cultures, Pleasure Spaces and Corporate Power”. Google Books, Psychology Press, 2003.
“Hyperreality” Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2020. https:// www.definitions.net/definition/HYPERREALITY. Accessed 8 June 2020.
Corre Le, Tristan. “The Rise of the Experience Generation.” Millennials, Techno Music and Raves. the journal blog, 2018, https://blog. usejournal.com/the-rise-of-the-experience-generation-24e43df8d28c. Accessed 7 May 2020.
´´Major Depression.´´ bcbs, BlueCross BlueShield, 2020, https:// www.bcbs.com/the-health-of-america/health-index/impact-major-depression. Accessed 7 May 2020.
Van den Bergh, Bert. “De gestolen stoornis: een cultuurfilosofische duiding van de ‘depressie-epidemie’.”, 2018
Interview, Bert van den Bergh, PhD Cultural Philosopher, Senior Lecturer and Researches European Studies, Author doctoral thesis ‘The Stolen Disorder’ (2018), 22 May, 2020
Van den Bergh: I do see that a lot in your education. That you have to present yourself as a brand or venture and you have to continue work on your ‘corporate’ image.
We talked about each other’s work and the difference between making something noticeable and making something disruptive:
de Haan: Is there a difference between people in their twenties and thirties?
Van den Bergh: because if you have been made aware of how you do things, it’s actually an absence, you are mirroring yourself so much that you’re not yourself anymore. That is the link between your project and my work. It’s about that resonance: as far as I am concerned depression, among others, has to do with the loss of contact with yourself. It is about that very basic contact that is disrupted, and that can be greatly enhanced by ongoing social media usage, reflection and monitoring of things, which are both things that are very included in our system.
Van den Bergh: Well I think the younger people are the more they grow up with that virtual world that keeps comparing each other and yourself and the way you position yourself online is very different from people in their thirties. The older people are right now the more they are apart from the technological world. This makes it easier for them to distance themselves from the situation. While if you start in that world at the age of 15, 16, 17, you start growing your identity through that virtual world.
I immediately thought of this book ‘Happiness Industry’. It is about the government and big business selling well being. We get all kinds of ways to make us allegedly happy and our wellbeing privileg, while it actually has nothing to do with happiness anymore. it often has not even to do with well-being, it is a certain position in which we are put and that stand is very much a monitoring stand. Also in our work, evaluations continue, things have to be judged in output terms all the time. That self-reflection that is something individual, but actually very systematic builded in our culture, in many ways. But I think that that movement of people that are very fanatic in measuring everything in themselves and even praise this does exactly the opposite. You lose contact with everything when it gets very extreme, this is what we could call depression. You are in that glass bottle, so everything that happens around you doesn’t move you anymore. de Haan: About my point of view and generation: “that is exactly what I think is happening within my generation by the use of social media. You have to become a brand for yourself and keep it updated and sell it. Especially if you’re in the art academy.
de Haan: I believe this topic is maybe too difficult to approach in my project, what do you think? Van den Bergh: Of course you can address this problem, but maybe not the whole one. Mirroring is something you can do a lot with. In English this is also called self-conscious. It is that you are too much aware of what you are doing so you can no longer do what you actually want to do because you are reflecting too much. de Haan: Do you think people think too much about who they are, and what they do that depressed feelings arise? And if so, is that still a depression? Or is it something completely different and is the word depression no longer used properly? Van den Bergh: Yes, that is a very good question, the DSM definition has 2 main characteristics: extreme gloom and lack of pleasure. but my, and not only my, criticism of that is’ yes what then gets to the core of what is usually called depression ‘; or people who are really whole Depression is often very bleak, although not always, that younger people often do being annoyed instead of gloomy. but a kind of restlessness, what is missing in that dsm definition is that core of the elementary attunement that has been disturbed. there is a kind of gap between you and the world and you and other people. there is often a social fear, going to a party is hell.
Others are no longer inviting, often terrifying. why / because the whole elementary attunement is disturbed. there is no longer basic trust, even the relationship of yourself, there is a disturbance, your intuition is very disturbed. what is intuition? without you having to think about it oh yeah this is good for me, I will go into this, and it is disturbed with people with major depression, and da is very much enhanced with it constantly looking at yourself when you are an object, so to speak use an image. The doppelganger motif is nice in this one. That comes back with the mirror. de Haan: While I think with people who go to techno parties for the escape, that for the whole night continues. Because you are with a lot of people but actually everyone is dancing all night alone, there is still no connection with others. Van den Bergh: Why did you specifically choose techno? Is the area clearly visible and tangible? de Haan: I feel that this is the most isolistic place to go out. the rest is all the best socially, less drugs may be used. but if you look at a techno party everyone stands with their friends, but alone, and that goes on for 6 hours and then everyone goes home again. and during the evening itself there is much less contact with others. Techno also has certain beats that can work therapeutically. Van den Bergh: But a kind of a narcotic therapeutical effect instead of insightful therapy? Because techno and certain drug use is also a very standard combination, and that’s all part of the same intoxication. It is also a kind of intoxication in which you dance yourself. You disappear for a moment during the week. I have that association that instead of you dancing some kind of doppelganger, one kind of split from yourself, butI also know the opposite, a beautiful song by Martin van Roosmalen: Jiminez that starts with the line I am the man standing next to me, a very nice song. about one man who still listens when he talks too much. It’s kind of anger, it’s something without it becoming a kind of finger.
in me that watches over me. it is not the voice of conscience, not even that flight, the last line that sang in the show that she had cancer was six months later dead, that line loudly ‘that is still upright when I die’ there is something in me that also allows me to do the right thing over and over again, that is also a doubling, we all have a doubling in us, who sometimes thinks oh yeah this is wrong, that’s the right doubling, and we also have one that is yourself turns off as much as possible not to see and hear that, and that would be techno one kind of package with the music and how you get there with all sorts of appearances gone click or something. I really do have that idea, so I think to add it at just that moment and hold up that mirror, don’t know if they’re waiting for it but yes that is the beauty of your project, but you have to be careful that you are not talking the wheel stings without being moralizing. it has to be playful and surprising. de Haan: Yes, that is still a tricky thing, not to make assumptions about it Van den Bergh: Well you don’t have to make the link to depression directly, it can also be about the piece that precedes it. in your project that does not have to be whether that leads or is related to depression, but that it is rather a kind of in-between. but rik get it that it is difficult to shape it without it becoming a kind of finger. But in what medium do you think now? de Haan: Video in combination with sound and light. a kind of complete installation / experience. Hm, but that’s a good thing to look a little more in that intermediate phase. because I like it exciting and also because it is such a sensitive subject, I find it difficult to be good there to deal with. Van den Bergh: Yes because if you, but that seems to be your approach, you want in that ambiance of techno do something, and it can hardly be about depression on the spot, because yes it would sort of, yes, it has to be about that techno ambiance itself, that you are those people want to stand
still like oh yeah, and that has to do with what you just talked about? you lose in?. you can do something visual with that, right? Because it is already so much he / it seems something small, going to yourself while you are actually going the other way. things like that, if you can do something with that you already have a lot. and then you can say yes if it becomes very extreme depression has something to do with that. de Haan: Yes exactly! It will be about while you think you are yourself. while you may want to become yourself. when you are actually losing yourself. Van den Bergh: But that element is good, not morelire either. it is kind of a paradox. I am coming now closer to myself, no actually not. We live in a hyperactive dynamic, positive culture and there is a black shadow because we are also dealing with the depression epidemic, and it’s also a shadow because we don’t really knowwhat it is, the official definition is no good for me, we are actually fighting something we don’t know well. and why don’t we know it? if you don’t see depression as extreme gloom but as existential isolation, why is that so difficult for us to recognize? Because we are supposed to be isolated. we need a lot of friends. Acquaintances and networks but in the end we have to be very much on their own standing powerfully successful being. that’s kind of depressogenic. that is the ideal of the individuals in our culture, who tend towards depression. For me, the talent show also a symbol for that type of person. The language show is very popular, also with children, and as far as I am concerned entertainment education is out of sight this is what it is all about, you should only be in those spotlights, all those people you have had so much fun with disappear, and you end that and you feel alone. that happened to a participating program finalist, girl 13 depressed. I was very upset digging in and turning away from the world and finding myself in philosophy and deep in myself dug. The idea if I dig deep enough, I will eventually get to the heart of it myself. but what I was doing was losing myself very much and it constantly with the world and that coordination, so to speak.
So what to do and you could say that techno whirl is also a digging action. instead of tying you to the people you are around you when those people are turning yourself in. and yes i is also one nice literature that has to do with it, joran harie has written a book connections, which has also led to depression itself and when it was okay it is the whole travelled the world and visited all experts in the field of depression and interviewed. and he comes to the conclusion like mine. The core of depression is lost connections. and then he says somewhere when that feeling gets a little closer again, if I feel bad, people tend to buy something beautiful for themselves or an extra one take a sip or a pill, but I do something nice for a vein, because what I do then; I do something for another end I get back, but I recognize my connection with that person, so that idea of I must be independent, which is nonsense in the end, I let myself dependence, and that in itself is healing. that’s a small thing, but we know it all of them. you are going to spoil yourself very much to get a good feeling, with the feeling that once you get home you feel double rotten because it doesn’t help or you do it more and more and it becomes a kind of addiction. de Haan: Yes it can lead to yes indeed. you had also said somewhere that it is no longer a mood disorder but one tuning disorder. that very basic attunement is everywhere. Van den Bergh: I don’t have that myself one of my sources is this book. a German philosopher sociologist who has a book written in 2008 about acceleration. We live in a culture that accelerates very much in all kinds of ways. not only cars, airplanes, also that we have multiple relationships and so on. everything goes faster, it has become familiar with that. This book comes with a different one kind of explanation for depression. The title says it all; resonance. He is kind of someone who is in the tradition of critical theory works; error shell; aldomast; it is usually about alienation. our whole culture leads to alienation in many ways and that is lack of resonance.
And thereby does that mean; not just everything resonates in our culture: we become constantly addressed, tempted to do things, but that’s sham resonance, real resonance is deep connection with people but also with things that prevent you from doing what feels good and friction has acknowledged that you are both different, and different from the the other recognizes, but it is precisely in this that you get a relationship through which you learn from each other. which can be ok with an old chair you’ve been sitting on for 30 years and love even if that chair is one bit old and broken, it has become your chair. but we don’t really have that anymore, everything has become replaceable. also relationships, you keep going and you have a new one.
Visitors Experience Survey, Online Survey, SurveyMonkey.nl, Nine Open Questions Format, Techno Nightlife Participants of Youth Culture Netherlands, May 2020 1. What is the main reason you go to a nightclub? (i.e. friends, music, romantic encounters, escape life, dance, feeling of belonging) All answered friends, 18% added the extra note of just having fun, and another 18% added the note of escaping their serious daily life issues. 2. How do you feel before going to the location of a nightclub? 80% answered to be excited, 15% nervous, but the ‘good kind of nerves’, 5% answered to be unsure about how they feel. The 5% felt insecure if it would turn out to be a good evening. 3.How do you feel when you are experiencing your night out? 63% answered feeling amazing, free, alive and relieved. 24% answered that it would depend on what kind of drugs they had consumed and another 13% answered to be feeling mostly great, but also a bit of an outsider in comparison with the rest of the visitors.
4. How do you feel the week after a night out? 77% Answered that besides the hangover they felt satisfied, socially fulfilled and waiting for the weekend again. 11% Answered to have a feeling of guilt about their spendings, and another 11% felt socially insecure. 5. Does something about the club immediately grab your attention? (i.e. a crowd, special lighting, building structure, sound) 66% Answered that the lighting, visuals and overall ambiance is the most important element that grabbed their attention when entering a club. One said: “I do not like very light clubs, it is hard to feel confident to do what you want then ‘’. 22% said the building structure and DJ placement grabbed their attention and 12% noticed sound and music above other elements. About 65% added the extra note that they also thought the other visitors were important, they paid attention to what type of people were at the nightclub and how’d they look. 6. Have you ever had an experience where your senses were heightened, and you gained new personal insights? If so, please share the experience as well in the comment section. 70% answered that they did not think about anything, the nightclub is a place to “let go and forget anything”, while 30% answered that they became extremely insightful, and felt that some new conversations with people could be experienced as extremely insightful. Half of the 30% group mentioned become this insightful while being on drugs such as XTC and Speed. 7. Have you ever used your nightlife experience as a way to escape daily life personal issues? Feel free to elaborate 77% added yes, some of them noted with questions such as: “aren’t we doing this all?” and 40% added the extra note to use this form of escapism especially after a break up. 23% Answered to experience this extremely the other way around. They experienced the nightlife as an extension of themselves.
8. Have you ever used your nightlife experience as a way to escape daily life mental issues? Feel free to elaborate 65% Answered yes. With extra notes of experiencing depressing feelings due to a break up or the passing of a friend or family member. 20% Answered that going out helped their mental state of wellbeing and 15% Answered ‘no’.
... I miss you clubs, you are my safe haven when times get tough. And boy, life is tough right now. There’s so much fear & uncertainty and no opportunity to dance it all away. But don’t you worry, once this is all over I will be the first to visit you again and I’ll be the last one to leave.” “Happppppy”
9. Please feel free to add any other personal experience, stories or view on the nightlife experience of techno in combination with your emotions. “Feeling numb and happy, often in combination with drugs. Feeling included for that night.” “I do think it really adds something to your life. It is not just the music, it is the whole ambiance of having a day / night out with close friends. When arriving you are with like minded and more often, friendly people. With whom you often immediately have some sort of connection. I have a perfect summary of why I would recommend going to a techno festival once in a while. Friday evening, feeling mentally exhausted. Another workweek behind me, once again one full of stress. Stress to perform, stress to fit in and what for? To support a system in which I don’t feel at home, to live in a world where I feel disconnected from the people around me? After a small struggle I convince myself of what I already know, I need to go out & clear my mind. Yet on my way to the club, I feel tense & tired. Will this be the evening I’ll feel too old to be partying? I arrive & enter through the door. In the distance I hear a shimmering bassline playing and immediately I feel all my doubt evaporating, this will be a good night. Time to go to the dance floor, I don’t want to waste any time. I look for a good spot, amidst the dancing queens. Immediately I start moving like a mad man, the music just feels so right, It’s like an exorcism, deep in the night. Surrounded by people I don’t even know, yet feel closer to than those I see every day. If only I could live in this moment forever. I close my eyes, finally I’m at peace again. The night ends after hours of blissful dancing. My legs cramped up, my mind empty. This was the mental reset I needed. I am ready to face that scary world again...
Besides seeing the nightclub as a place to meet friends and have fun, and as an important scene for youth culture, it is one of the places f...
Published on Jul 1, 2020
Besides seeing the nightclub as a place to meet friends and have fun, and as an important scene for youth culture, it is one of the places f...