Thank god for academia. Cultural scientist Johan Andersson has published a scientific article about Berghain and its effect on the sexual behaviour of its guests. He analyses how the architecture of the former power plant, the irrepressible music, the lighting effects, the other guests and drugs combine to affect the sexuality of visitors, both queer and straight.
…you’re probably wondering why someone would write something so blindingly obvious in a scientific article.
Andersson is a lecturer in human geography at King’s College London and says he has frequented Berghain for 17 years.
If you’ve ever been inside the club, you’re probably wondering why someone would write something so blindingly obvious in a scientific article. Maybe for his next piece he can explore how the interweaving of branches, the soft mossy undergrowth and pleasant natural light all combine to give bears an overwhelming urge to shit in the woods.
Transcending sexual and gender boundaries
Andersson writes: “The proximity to other bodies in confined spaces, marked by excess libido, music and empathy-enhancing drugs, can all create an environment where sexual categories are temporarily transcended.” Sexuality becomes even more fluid at sex-positive parties attended by queers and straights, especially at Berghain. At Berghain’s Klubnacht, Andersson argues that sexuality is located in the club itself rather than in people’s bodies – evoking Michel Foucault’s dream of an avant-garde gay culture.
Andersson argues that sexuality is located in the club itself rather than in people’s bodies
Andersson cites the unique architecture of the club, the sparseness of information, the surrounding wasteland, the limited images that have leaked out and the extremely tight door policy as reasons for the club’s mythos. After all, it is a cathedral of techno with a flawlessly tuned sound system and a truly unique crowd atmosphere. (Did you know that already? I think we knew that already.)
It should be mentioned that the countless articles written about Berghain (including Andersson’s and the one you’re reading now) have absolutely contributed to the club’s rise. It’s easy to ride the wave of Berghain, to write about this special place, to analyse it scientifically, or to bash it.
Other clubs are alright too
Don’t forget: Berlin is full of other clubs and party spaces where you can find experiences similar to those offered by Berghain – where people might suddenly feel attracted to someone of the same sex and want to explore their sexuality. Where drugs, lights and good music combine in extraordinary ways, not to mention the handy dark corners where pretty much anything goes.
Too much hype about a place is never good. Berghain’s first-time visitors might start thinking they’re in a sex-positive paradise where they don’t have to fear any discrimination or assault as they explore their sexuality. We wish that this were the case, but the fact that even this club – perhaps less so than others with designated awareness teams – is not a perfect safe space becomes clear to most at some point, sometimes painfully so.
In the end, articles like this one probably don’t do Berghain much good either.
More on the topic
Artist Joseph Marr designed Berghain’s Klo-bar, and here he gives us a glimpse into the club. Does your Berghain experience only consist of waiting in the line? Best of luck next time. Rejected wtih no back up plan? Our condolences. Here are a few other parties to try (updated every weekend).