25.4. - 1.9.2019

Exhibition curated

by Bogomir Doringer

frei_raum Q21 exhibition space
at MuseumsQuartier Wien

Tue-Sun 1-4    4.30-8 pm   
Admission free


Dance is understood as a way of socializing, as nonverbal communication, as an art form, as ritualistic practice. Still, one would hardly look at dance floors to understand what those dancing individuals and crowds are expressing or why they are moving. How does the dance of people in clubs reflect the socio-political environment and struggles of individuals and groups? How do the Rave-o-lution in March 2018 in front of the Georgian Parliament in Tbilisi and antifascist protests in Berlin during the same month relate to ancient Dionysian rituals, and why does the “soundtrack” to these events come from the drums of African Americans?

Clubbing during the NATO bombing of Belgrade (Serbia) in 1999 introduced Bogomir Doringer to dance as a coping mechanism and as a political phenomenon. Wanting to understand these powerful yet uncanny memories, in 2014 he started to film clubs from a bird’s-eye view, striving to document variations of collective and individual choreographies worldwide. In this quest, he discovered two different forms of dancing: that of entertainment and that of urgency. Clubs are seen as a ground for ritualistic practice and as experimental spaces that employ different audiovisual art forms. Some clubs are able to transmit activist and spiritualist ideas, and so form an influential counterculture. This culture is appropriating abandoned architecture and reanimating dead city zones.

If we understand how these spaces change or appear in times of uncertainty, it could help us to understand crowds better. The rise of crowds seems to fluctuate as a reflection of the actual political climate. By researching dance floors, the project sensed the return of politics to club culture in Western Europe and the urgency of such gatherings after the recent rise of right-wing tendencies. In the past few months, various protests have adopted the rave format, like Rave 4 Climate (Paris), Brexit Protest Rave (London), against gentrification (Berlin and Rotterdam), Free Human Rights Open Air (Vienna) etc.

The exhibition aims to establish the definition of a “dance of urgency” that arises from the emotions that occur in times of personal and collective crisis. Such dance empowers individuals and collectives. With the help of interdisciplinary participants, it extracts knowledge from dance culture with a uniting and strengthening quality, and because it can also perform as a political body when necessary.


Chiara Baldini (ITA), Jan Beddegenoodts (BEL), Irina Birger  (NLD), Heather Dewey-Hagborg (USA), Shohei Fujimoto (JPN), Nikolaus Geyrhalter (AUT), Frédéric Gies  (FRA), Kélina Gotman (GBR/CAN), Dan Halter (ZWE), Dimitri Hegemann / TRESOR (GER), Sampo Hänninen (FIN), Cornelius Harris & Mark Flash / UNDERGROUND RESISTANCE (USA), Andrew Herzog (USA), iN Club (AZB), Damien Jalet (BEL/FRA), JAZAR CREW (PSE), Liese Kingma / Club Commission Berlin (NLD), Rafael Kozdron (POL), Yarema Malashchuk & Roman Himey / CXEMA (UKR), MAMBA NEGRA (BRA), Pedro Marum (PRT), Moniker (NLD), Naja Orashvili & Giorgi Kikonishvili / BASSIANI (GEO), Francesco Pusterla (ITA), RECLAIM CLUB CULTURE, Paata Sabelashvili (GEO), Derek Sivers (USA), SPACEMAKER (NLD), Anna Vasof (AUT), Ari Versluis (NLD), Anne de Vries (NLD)