Hi! I'm a Canuck with Peruvian/Columbian roots, doing the doctorate dance at U of Chicago. I do work on "minimal" techno/house, nightclubs, and the social scenes around them, with an emphasis on Chicago, Paris, and Berlin. I like stuff. Do you like stuff? Awesome.
t’s been ages since I’ve posted on here, and I’m both saddened and frustrated that it’s taken the anniversary of the Pulse Orlando massacre for me to get back to writing about these sorts of issues. The shootings at Pulse, a gay club in Orlando, Florida, USA, took place exactly one year ago, when I was working on a book manuscript about intimacy, belonging, and affect on the (electronic music) dancefloor. As the summer went on and the shockwaves from the attack continued to reverberate within queer Latinx/QTPoC, I found myself writing a very different epilogue to the book than I had planned. I’m still putting the finishing touches on the manuscript, but I thought I would share an excerpt from the epilogue, which recounts the aftermath of the Pulse shooting and begins to reflect on what that might mean for queer public intimacy, shared risk/trauma, and historiography.
I learned of the Orlando massacre right after returning home to Birmingham after a week spent teaching at a summer school in Prague. After the plane landed (more…)
ed Bull Music Academy has posted their roundup of best music journalism for February 2014, and my article for Resident Advisor, “An alternate history of sexuality in club culture” was included. Yay! In academia, it’s very easy to come to the assumption that nobody reads your writing and/or finds it relevant, so it’s nice to hear that this has made an impact.
o, last week, an article of mine was published on Resident Advisor, entitled “An alternate history of sexuality in club culture.” It’s success was truly surprising—especially considering that the whole thing ran well over 8,000 words long! Despite its exceptional length, one of the hardest challenges I had in writing this article was to keep it short(er), because there was just so much to write about. That’s also a good thing, in the sense that it means that there’s still a lot to say about queer nightlife and club culture, but I was especially pained to have only included a few brief quotes from the fantastic email-interview I did with Terre Thaemlitz/DJ Sprinkles. Despite being a very busy producer, speaker, alternative historian, etc., she was immensely generous with her time, answering all of my questions in great detail. It seemed a tragedy that most of the interview wouldn’t make it into the RA article, so I’ve arranged to have the full interview published here (more…)
ast week, I organized a two-day conference here in Berlin, which took the affective dimensions of urban soundscapes as its central theme. Running November 7th–8th at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development, the conference featured a mix of scholarly presentations and discussion panels that included professionals out of Berlin’s local music scene, as well as music/sound-related evening events (see the conference program at the end of this post). I’m still recovering from the whole thing (as well as from an opportunistic flu that jumped into my body as soon as the conference came to a close), but I wanted to post some of my impressions of the conference, while they are still vivid in my memory. Considering the vanishingly small operating budget and a similarly tight planning period, I’m somewhat amazed I was able to pull it off at all.
Plans for this conference first arose last July, (more…)
“Serve Yourself” says the caption over this urinal in Strasbourg, France.
he image of the industrial economy as a great machine oiled by the sweat and blood of its workers has been a common trope for Marxist and anti-capitalist writers. Much has changed since the industrial revolution inspired such metaphors, but the costs of lubricating social processes remains a relevant issue in these post-industrial, accelerated, and uncertain times. Based on the last two decades of social and cultural studies, one could gather that the world we live in is becoming increasingly fluid (Bauman) and mobile (Urry). But what enables social and cultural “matter” to flow at increasing rates?
a Mission has been a big part of my life here in Berlin since last summer, but strangely enough it’s taken me nearly a year to get around to writing about it on this blog. Maybe I wanted to wait until the first round of multimedia craziness emerged from this performance art collective / music label / magazine, before I started crowing about it. Maybe I was too shy about discussing my own creative work. No, wait…I remember why: I was on the academic job market last fall, which meant that I got nothing else done.
La Mission is a lot of things, including a satirical doomsday cult, a music label, a magazine, an art collective, and a group of dance-music-lovers with a very dirty sense of humor. La Mission’s identity is perhaps best summed up by cult-leader El Jefe’s manifesto/sermon, “The Sermon for the Steps of the Ziggurat in our Hearts,” published in our first La Mission magazine: (more…)
Front cover of Musical Performance and the Changing City (2013), edited by Carsten Wergin and Fabian Holt.
ikes! It’s been embarrassingly long since I last posted something on here. If you’re still reading, thanks for not abandoning this blog out of boredom. As you might have guessed, things have been very, very, very busy over the last few months. The last major post I had put on here had been about all of my troubles getting a !@#$ing residency permit for Germany, and I’m happy to state that this has been more or less resolved—although not precisely in the manner I had intended.
In any case, I have a great deal of updates for this blog, far more than I can fit into even a week of daily blog posts. It’ll take me a while to get through the backlog, but I should post the two most important pieces of news first: 1) I have another publication fresh off the presses, and (more…)
The trash collectors in Berlin have an excellent sense of humor.
Nothing makes you feel quite as alien and precarious as waiting in an immigration office, especially as you wait for a Beamter/in (clerk, officer) to make a decision about your future in Germany—based, it seems, primarily on their current mood and digestive health. And yet, one of my interviewees once claimed that she never felt more at home in Berlin than when she was at the Ausländerbehörde (immigration office), the Bürgeramt (citizen’s registration office), or the Finanzamt (finance and revenue office). And she has a point: when the process is successful, there is a sense of satisfaction and membership that you can get from interfacing with the behemoth that is German bureaucracy. But, as a foreigner in a foreign land, you remain at the mercy of this bureaucracy and the many people that work in it, and that sometimes means that your experience is far more alienating than welcoming.
Much of my research here on so-called “techno tourism” and music-related migration to Berlin has revealed the ways in which recently-arrived people manage to feel at home here, even before they have spent enough time to “integrate” culturally. But my recent experiences with Germany’s Ausländerbehörde has reminded me of how fragile this sense of being “at home” can be (more…)
At last month’s AAA (anthropology) panel on “Transfrancisco” (queer/trans San Francisco), someone rightly pointed out that a lot of recent queer ethnography/theory has been moving away from urban centres and onto rural/small-town queer life. But who’s been thinking about queer suburban life in the meanwhile?