Technics, Precarity and Exodus in Rave Culture


  • tobias c. van Veen McGill University


Without a doubt, the question of rave culture's politics – or lack thereof – has polarized debate concerning the cultural, social and political value of rave culture not only within electronic dance music culture (EDMC) studies, but in disciplines that look to various manifestations of subculture and counterculture for political innovation. It is time for the groundwork of this debate to be rethought. Ask not what rave culture's politics can do for you; nor even what you can do for it. Rather, ask what the unexamined account of politics has ever done for anyone; then question all that rave culture has interrogated – from its embodied and technological practices to its production of ecstatic and collective subjectivities – and begin to trace how it has complicated the very question of the political, the communal and the ethical. This complication begins with the dissolution of the boundaries of labour and leisure and the always-already co-optation of culture. To the negation of ethics, community and politics, this tracing calls for the hauntology of technics, precarity and exodus. And it ends with a list of impossible demands demonstrating the parallax gap of rave culture's politics.

Author Biography

tobias c. van Veen, McGill University

tobias c. van veen. b. 1978, is doctoral candidate in Philosophy & Communication Studies at McGill University, a turntablist, renegade practitioner of the technology arts and director of sonic interventions since 1993. His next publication, Afrofuturism: Interstellar Transmissions from Remix Culture, is forthcoming from Wayne State University Press in 2011.






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