Published on: De School
Being in spacious surroundings means being able to unfold. Being in boundless surroundings means being able to transcend.
In contemporary club culture neither happens commonly and the spectrum of reasons for this constitution is broad. Regarding space: the city development departments, whose work is never done, densify cities, close gaps and transform open or unclaimed spaces. Not necessarily because they want to, but because they have to. And look, over there, the always threatening gentrification lurks around the corner, stretching out its money-colored hands for all the tempting investment opportunities. Clubs inevitably (need to) try to minimize their financial risk, opting for smaller locations in attainable areas, restricting their options to branch out and develop far-reaching visions. More often than not, this leads to overcrowded and underperforming places, with an abundance of the famed, much quoted and urgently needed “nooks and crannies“ – which consequently withdraw the actions of their visitors from supervision, allowing them to be spaces of retreat in the hectic, bustling and sometimes overwhelming environment of a nightclub.
Of course, having a busy dancefloor is important. But what's more important, is being able to let your hair down and express yourself in any way you want. This is where house music has its roots, right? Clubs walk a fine line between providing an environment to lose control in and being professional institutions that need to fulfill regulations, meet expectations and turn out a profit. How can one succeed in walking this tightrope? To begin with, remaining idealistic helps. Being a wide-awake dreamer helps and, most importantly, spending time on your own dancefloor unquestionably helps. The ambivalence of said dancefloor is paradoxe: it is meandering within altering states, constantly evolving and zigzagging between being bustled and void. That, of course, also depends on the DJs playing, but at least the periods at the very beginning and the very end of a night are usually defined by said blankness, without that being a negative connoted observation and it is crucial to value this variation. A comparatively empty dancefloor can feel like an invitation, it seduces the dancer with the promise of space and freedom, and the possibility of (helping to) building a vibe from scratch, being part of something bigger than oneself; if the dancefloor grows bigger around you, you will too – you should try it sometime.
The above stated examinations and general contemplations about boundaries and space in a club are closely interwoven with another element for a resonating experience: time and its expansion during a night (day) (night) out. The brackets don’t imply that longevity is a necessity for the aforementioned boundlessness, but having the possibility is. To not being forced to squeeze the whole energy of a night into few and fixed hours, but being able to go with the flow, stretch out sets, remain spontaneous and leave room for improvisation. Cram in as many artists (and dancers) as possible and you will most likely get an incoherent, fragmented and unsatisfying experience, at least if you are looking for something more, something else, something holistic.
Defining these aspects as crucial for a rewarding stay in a club is of course subjective, very much so, but still: there are places out there which make an effort and try to provide such an environment, go find them. Come with dreamer, and hear all proper. Hear angel trumpets and devil trombones. You are invited.