Rave (The Nineties)
© 2021 WERNER AMANN
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SEHNSUCHTSSCHWEISS: RAVE TECHNO SAVE THE ROBOTS ACID LOVE
The 1990’s: After the fall of the Berlin Wall, spontaneous and sometimes illegal underground parties were held in empty buildings. Former East Berlin was one of the birthplaces of German Rave and Techno, which also had musical roots in Detroit. In a relatively short time, a new youth culture exploded globally, inventing its own rituals. I was soon in the middle of it, documenting these events. It felt like a perfect symbiosis. The camera permitted me to take part, keeping a distance and coming very close at the same time. The invention of the ‘after hour’ and the ‘after-after hour’ meant that I was able to shoot 12 to 16 to sometimes 24 hours, capturing the synthesis from day to night to day.
The whole phenomenon gathered around the idea of a never-ending beat. Compared to other music and youth cultures, techno and rave appeared socially and politically careless, and to some, it was a hedonistic provocation. Another thing seemed to be different though, too: An embrace and fascination of technology. Synthesizers and computers were used to create one’s own room, a temporary, social-hedonistic space apart from the rest of society. And, everybody was invited to enter. In contrast to this technophile culture, the feeling of 80’s Germany was darker, more critical and fearful. Techno and electronic music lovers embraced the now and the future. Often, they were sustained by chemical or psychedelic drugs.
To me, the photographs show both the party and the expressions of a time and decade that, from today’s view, might seem too hopeful and possibly naive. When I look back at the pictures and faces, I do not only see a new musical phenomenon with which I am still connected intensely, but I also see the hope of the years after 1989, in which a newfound optimism was tangible. A lot seemed possible, and it was. To me, clubs and raves are laboratories for the future and visionary places where different people from different backgrounds can come together and continue to inspire. The photographs are taken mostly in German cities, with some also in New York, and a few in Italy, Switzerland and France.