Streaming or Dreaming the dancefloor? – New histories of electronic dance music

Dr. Anita Jóri
Streaming or dreaming the dancefloor? – New histories of electronic dance music

Online seminar, English, 2 SWS, 2 ECTS
Wednesdays, 10-14 h, app. bi-weekly, 8 video sessions: 11.11., 25.11., 9.12.2020, 13.1., 27.1., 10.2., 24.2.2021 plus a field research date (tba)

Movement and music are intimately connected. Dancing on clearly regulated and metronomic music seems almost natural in respect.
Disco brought hedonistic club dancing to masses in North America and Europe in the 1970s. Together with dub, hip-hop and synth-pop, disco had a huge impact on the later developments of electronic dance music. In the 1980s DJs and producers in US cities such as Detroit, Chicago and New York began to experiment with electronic beats and created and formed their own scenes of techno, house, electro and garage. These scenes were born in gay African American communities that is oftentimes forgotten to be highlighted in the histories of electronic dance music. The ‘90s raves generated huge audiences for these underground scenes and at the same time the first mainstream elements also hit the movement. By the early 2000s, raves became more professional and were merged into club culture as “rave-club culture continuum” (Anderson, 2010). The popularity of electronic dance music and club cultures continued in the 2000s, but with a different, often profit-oriented, profile. Packed and sweaty underground clubs with strict door policy; festivals with more stages, focusing on different genres; illegal outdoor events and warehouse parties; and even shows with mainstream star producers have become part of this culture. However, now these events, where people could enjoy themselves, dance and let go of their daily problems, are on hold during the COVID-19 pandemic. Streaming platforms of DJ and live sets started to entertain us during the lockdown and online clubbing became a widespread phenomenon.

With the help of popular music studies, the seminar discusses different histories of electronic dance music by introducing diverse musicians and communities, instead of listing the most popular positions. We will also reflect on the actual situation of the scene and critically examine the possibilities and obstacles of this period. Furthermore, we will also try to speculate about the potential futures of electronic dance music cultures after the pandemic.

Requirements for the ungraded Studium Generale credits: Active participation is expected from the students and they will also be asked to read different theoretical and philosophical texts for each seminar session.

Anita Jóri is a research assistant at the Vilém Flusser Archive, Berlin University of the Arts (since October 1, 2016). In 2010 she finished her master studies in history, pedagogy and applied linguistics at Eötvös Loránd University (Budapest, HU). In 2017, she finished her PhD thesis “The discourse community of electronic dance music”. During her studies she received different scholarships in Prague, Vilnius, and Berlin. Earlier as a research assistant at the University of Pécs (HU) and Macromedia University of Applied Sciences (Berlin), Anita Jóri took part in different research projects. Moreover, she was a lecturer in media studies (2013–16) of the study programme “Communication in Social and Economic Contexts” (seminar title: “Visual and Artifact Analysis through the example of Electronic Music“) at the Berlin University of the Arts. She gained her first work experience at the Vilém Flusser Archive as a scholarship holder of “Erasmus+” (2011/2012), later as a project coordinator of the "Vilém Flusser Residency Program for Artistic Research" in cooperation with "transmediale“, festival for art and digital culture (Berlin). As a linguist, she is interested in Flusser’s early works on language and language philosophy, in particular his structural (intercultural) analysis of languages and language families.