ADS4: Party Animals
The events that I investigated were attended by leaders in government. Many of these events should not have been allowed to happen […] the senior leadership at the centre, both political and official, must bear responsibility for this culture.
—taken from Sue Gray’s Investigation into alleged gatherings on government premises during COVID restrictions
This year, ADS4 set out to better understand the logic and political potential of parties—how human collectivities can be an affront to capitalism, a form of opposition, provide a collective escape from drudgery, a sanctuary from oppression, a chance to transcend.
When one class, or ethnic group or gender, rules over a population of subordinates, it comes to fear the empowering rituals of the subordinates as a threat to civil order and social hierarchy. Indeed, the history of raves, free parties, festivals, and carnivals is a history of resistance. Conversely, the essence of the Western mind, and particularly the Western male, bourgeois, heterosexual mind, lay in its ability to resist the contagious rhythm of the drums, to wall itself up in a fortress of ego and rationality against the seductive wildness of the world.
Yet, as we have seen as the year has progressed, parties also have the power to entrench existing, iniquitous social relationships—serving a banal elite who think they are above the law.
As the pandemic has waned, and collective gathering has (after two years apart) been legalised once more, we have been presented with an opportunity to rebuild civic life in more egalitarian ways. Ways that—despite the government’s withering wine stains, the puke, the brawling, the dodging out of sight of CCTV cameras at 4am—involve certain parties who are not usually invited. Ways that overcome the ableism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, racism, classism, ageism, and speciesism that have defined mainstream partying historically. This, we argue, is fundamentally a spatial question. The projects produced this year explore, each in their own way, what that might mean for architecture.