Rave culture from the 1980s and 1990s was Europe’s last big youth movement. During this period of radical social and political change, rave, in its various guises, migrated around the continent from its epicentre of Great Britain, Belgium and Germany. As a movement, it enacted a desire to be autonomous, with a belief in tolerance and experimental living, all built around the latent energy of electronic music. As a music-based culture, it embraced self-practice, invention and unbridled creativity, arguably leading to the densest period in history for the diversification of music.
Energy Flash – The Rave Movement is the first museum exhibition for considering the rave phenomenon, as well as the social, political, economic and technological conditions that led to the advent of rave as an alternative movement across Europe. It will look at the ideologies as well as the aesthetics of rave, along with its effects on wider culture. As an interdisciplinary project, Energy Flash presents the work of visual artists in dialogue with many artefacts from the fields of design, literature and music, along with items from various personal archives, television documentaries and legislation.
Energy Flash looks at rave as a highly politicised phenomenon, considering it through the issues of autonomy, civil liberty, technology and creativity. In bringing together this diversity of material, this exhibition will look to argue that rave was inhibited due to its ambiguous place outside of neoliberal ideology. For many who felt failed by both the market and the state, raves opened up a third kind of space, which formed its own logic based on the collective. This condition of autonomy makes rave a key case study for those wishing today to imagine alternative forms of infrastructure for art and culture.
Energy Flash includes a substantial programme of events by artists and musicians taking place over the summer. Please see www.muhka.be/energyflash for more information.
Video on the occasion of 'Energy Flash - The Rave Movement' on display from 17 June - 25 September 2016.