"MORGEN IST DIE FRAGE" – Current Issues of Berlin’s Club Culture

Dr. Anita Jóri
“MORGEN IST DIE FRAGE” – Current Issues of Berlin’s Club Culture

Online seminar, English, 2 SWS, 2 ECTS
Wednesdays, 10-14 h, bi-weekly, 7 video sessions 21.4., 5.5., 19.5., 2.6., 16.6., 30.6., 14.7.2021

With the help of the research results of cultural studies and popular music studies, the seminar will discuss three current issues of Berlin’s club culture: 1) gender imbalance, 2) gentrification and commodification, and 3) the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

Berlin has an iconic position in the history and development of the global electronic dance music scene. After the Berlin Wall came down, hundreds of empty spaces were used for (illegal) events, and Berlin became one of the capitals of electronic dance music. Since Berlin was extraordinary in this early development, it could also be a home for the newest ideological streams and trends. One of these discussions is the question of gender imbalance within the male-dominated scene. Therefore, the city gives home for different activist groups, organizations and networks that aim to challenge this imbalance and support female* and non-binary musicians. These activities will be examined during the seminar.
Another important current issue is the fact that the local club culture has been placed at risk by gentrification and property investments. Around 100 clubs were shut down in the last 10 years, and many are under continuous threat. We will also analyze some of the club closing cases and take a critical look at the political decisions behind them in order to understand such processes.

On top of these issues, since March 2020 the local clubs have been closed – except for their gardens in the summer – due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the local club culture moved to online platforms and virtual clubbing became a widespread phenomenon. Empty clubs have turned to be streaming locations, exhibition spaces or even COVID-19 test stations. We will also discuss the possibilities and dangers of this phase for club owners and visitors alike.

Literature (readings include excerpts from): 
Collins, N./ Schedel, M. / Wilson, S. (eds.): Electronic Music. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press (2013).
Darchen, S. / Charrieras, D. / Willsteed, J. (eds.): Electronic Cities. Music, Policies and Space in the 21st Century. New York: Palgrave Macmillan (2021).
Holmes, T.: Electronic and Experimental Music. Technology, Music, and Culture. New York: Routledge (2020).
Thornton, S.: Club Cultures. Music, Media and Subcultural Capital. Cambridge: Polity (2003).

Requirements for the ungraded Studium Generale credits: The participants of the seminar will be asked to read different texts to each seminar session, take active part in the discussions and eventually hold shorter presentations.

Anita Jóri is a research associate 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.