Accepted Paper:

The co-production of VJs, lightning technologies, and imaginations of city nights  
Michel Massmünster (University of Basel)

Paper short abstract:

To discuss how VJs are co-produced I focus on knowledge, social networks, lightning technologies, and aesthetic experiences. The persons assembled by this can be located in a pop-culture discourse, where the celebration of corporal experiences goes together with the eventisation of cities.

Paper long abstract:

In social sciences city nights, lightning and night-time practices have often been addressed under the aspects of control and loss of control. As I will argue, it is helpful to overcome this dichotomy in order to analyse the persons assembled around new lightning practices. In this understanding lighting technologies don't lead to a change of night-time-practices, as the history of nightlife is often told. But human entities, practices, technologies, atmospheres, and imaginations of city nights do interact while changing together.

In an ethnographic research I followed visual jockeys (VJs) engaged in lighting practices in nightclubs and at unauthorized parties. The VJs are co-produced by knowledge and skills conveyed by local art schools, a network of other creative workers supporting each other in projects, highly flexible day-night cycles and working rhythms, and new lightning technologies. The self-declared aim of the VJs' practices is an intense experience of the here and now. With this they fit into a pop-culture discourse, where the celebration of corporal experiences on the dancefloor goes together with the eventisation of cities. Cities use the means of pop-culture and the creative class to stay attractive in the global competition of economic locations. Therefore I am also interested in aesthetic experiences to understand, how concepts of personhood change together with contemporary lighting practices and technical innovations, how they motivate nighthawks to enliven the night, and how they fit into location policies of the city.

Panel IP04
Collaboratively assembling persons