Accepted paper:

"Beautiful people": collectively performing the psytrance festival ethos


Leandros Kyriakopoulos (University of Thessaly - Greece)

Paper short abstract:

The paper explores exclusion and technical and aesthetic mimetic as a crucial dimension for the enactment of the 'successful' psytrance festival ethos. An ethos that is intelligible through an affect of collective engagement - the product of which is natively recognized as 'beautiful people'.

Paper long abstract:

Psytrance festivals belong to the lineage of rave parties which flourished in the late eighties as a novel apparatus for dancing entertainment. Psytrance culture, in particular, is a manifestation of sixty's psychedelic aesthetics, youth nomadism, drug consumption, music innovation and the soundcrafts. Since the early nineties and the popularity India's famous coast, Goa, acquired due to its emblematic affinity with the above developments, psytrance festivals have become the ambassador of the euphoric, colorful and wandering qualities this culture embeds as phantasmatic possibilities. In this context, 'beautiful people' is a vernacularism and a native appreciation of a wide affective state that reveals the materiality of psytrance culture's spectrum. At the same time, 'beautiful people' belongs to a tank of allegories functioning as an appetitive element that engages the subject to the utopian appeal of a joyful connectedness. What I want to argue is that 'beautiful people' is not a given experience of the festive collective, always alternative to the 'grey' everyday life of urban existence or successfully resistant to the supposedly alienated character of modern social affections. It is rather a repetitive performative product whose failed outcomes reveal the exclusions of the subjects whose presence threatens its aesthetic and affective affinity - the subjects that are not able to confirm the psytrance ethos. A product of enacted technical and aesthetic mimetic of the apparition of the free, adventurous, out of social and cultural norms figure, that implicitly renews the psytrance festive' s spectrum of intelligibility and recognizability.

panel P39
'Alternative' beauty in 'alternative' communities, scenes and subcultures