Episode 2: Sustainability

Transcript

Transcript

[Music]

Kerstin Meißner
Have you ever considered raving as an act of resistance? If so, how might you envision social justice unfolding on the dance floor? In our podcast series we will relate these questions to club culture's response to current events and how this wave of momentum can be used to elevate new ways of raving and experiencing club music. Curated and brought to you by Transmission aka Sarah Farina and Kerstin Meißner. Please join us exploring the politics of the dance floor featuring a diverse range of figures from nightlife's global ecosystem. Please feel invited to share your ideas after each episode. You can get in touch by email or social media. Together we are trying to deconstruct in order to rebuild and we are doing that in appreciation of one of our favorite spaces: the dance floor.

Sarj Lynch
Hi there folks! Welcome to the second episode of Politics of the Cance Floor podcast organized by Transmission. Today's episode is focused on the subject of sustainability in all of its facets and we're very excited to explore those facets today with our guests. I'm your host for this episode. My name is Sarj Lynch. My pronouns are they/them and I'm the co-founder and director of a project called Aequa. Aequa is a community for social equity, so we're basically a network of people who all believe that every person should have the chance to thrive in this world so that usually looks like hosting gatherings that are focused on things like mutual support collective empowerment and collaborative action and we're all working together to try to build the world that we dream of. I am Texas born currently based in Berlin and most days I focused on community organizing and facilitation and my role at Aequa. I have a long connection to the dance floor. I've been a DJ, I've been a promoter, I've done events management, I've been a volunteer and of course the very important role of dancer not in the same sense as one of our guests today but more like in front of the left speaker with my eyes closed kind of dancer. So I feel very privileged to be here today and have a chance to discuss this with our guests. So it's my pleasure to introduce them to you now and then each of them will let us know a little bit about themselves. So here today to discuss sustainability we have Avril Ceballos, we have Camille Barton and Konstanze Meyer. So we'll start with you Avril, can you please just introduce yourself, let me know your pronouns and what is your personal connection to the dance floor?

Avril Ceballos
I'm a mexican from Mexico city raised and born there. I've been living in Berlin for the past almost eleven years more or less. I go by the pronouns she/her. I've been involved in music let's say for many many years already in Mexco city. We used to throw some raves and parties back in the days and as soon as I moved to Berlin I started as a tour manager for a label called Cómeme and soon then over I took the label management for many years till the day that led us to create some platform as a radio because we are a very big community together with latinos but also people in Europe and Asia and the music that we were releasing wasn't representing the full community. So we we did the radio after that, we created also publishing and then also organically I co-founded with my partner Meri an agency with very distinctly sounds and it's called Futura, which we run also nowadays. So it's been a nice long journey working with music.

Sarj Lynch
Yeah many different roles throughout that journey it sounds like, thanks for sharing. We'll go next to Camille.

Camille Barton
Thanks. so yeah my name is Camille, I use they/them pronouns and in terms of my connection to the dance floor I've been dancing as long as I can remember started formal dance training at about three and in the last sort of ten years of my life was doing some professional dance work but now I'm more interested in kind of working with the body with dance and movement and somatics to kind of process trauma, but also to grieve to celebrate and rave culture was very important for me as a teenager in being able to work things out when I didn't have access to mental health support. So I've been on the dance floor working out for a long time and that's kind of segued into me taking DJing a lot more seriously, I go by AfroOankali and I'm very keen on playing ritual based music so bass that will kind of with poly rhythms and different frequencies that I find helps me get into a space where I can access healing, releasing trauma, releasing blockages and feeling connected to my body.

Sarj Lynch
Beautiful, can’t wait to hear more about that. And finally Konstanze.

Konstanze Meyer
Hi my name is Konstanze, I work with Friends of the earth Germany and also for the association Club Liebe and with our current project Clubtopia we actually try to make clubbing more sustainable ecologically friendly and climate friendly. I go by she/her, actually I was born in a small town in the eastern part of Germany and I live in Berlin since 2011 and well since I came here I discovered the great clubbing scene in Berlin. I'm a really enthusiastic club goer and really I'm not a music professional so I really have the the consumer perspective to music but since I've been going to nightclubs I've already always been wondering how we can make clubbing better and more climate friendly and that's why in 2013 I joined the association ClubMob which was a small organization that tries to make nightlife greener by just providing knowledge to event organizers and club owners and that's what I do until today with the current project Clubtopia, so we actually try to bring nightlife and sustainability together with knowledge, with exchange and by just getting people to talk about sustainability and by taking action.

Sarj Lynch
Sounds like what we're here to discuss today so we're really happy to have you on this podcast. So as we're at this very strange moment in history for many reasons and we don't really have access to this thing, the dance floor that maybe some of us took for granted, I'm just curious to know for each of you what does the dance floor actually mean to you, what does it represent? Konstanze do you mind actually tagging back in?

Konstanze Meyer
Well to me dance floor means sort of letting myself fall into the music and I'm also like yourself I'm someone often dancing with my eyes closed and I really love to just you know, fall into music and feel it with with every part of my body and let it get through me but I also like it the aspect of being surrounded by people who enjoy the music just as much as I do and who are there because they you know want to feel the music and want to have it in their body in a way and right now actually that part is really missing to myself and to so many people I believe.

Sarj Lynch
Just going to my first concert the other day or concert situation we could call it after this six month pause after you know 15, 20 years of going you really realize like what you missed like in your body you can feel it so it's pretty fascinating. Avril would you want to tell us a bit what does the dance floor mean for you?

Avril Ceballos
By now it's basically more or less my life, it has like on one side if it's something for example like a show I've been working with together with an artist. It means the last step of for the pyramid or the door to joy after working on a show. Then it's really like you see what you've been doing and you see why you do stuff and how things work in the scene and it's beautiful because then you're just there and let yourself go see your artists, listen to their set and then be super proud and things like this. And then on the other hand if it's something I go just for fun because I'm also an addict of loud music and dancing, it's then the beautiful part of just enjoying and letting all the stress dancing it, also means where I've met most of my chosen family, the people I work with where you hear a lot of stories and also funny thing is, it's the place I like to relax but it's also the place where I come to a lot of conclusions while dancing, it plays a lot of different roles.

Sarj Lynch
Yeah and Camille you told us a little bit already about what the dance floor meant to you but is there anything else you know that you've realized especially in this current pandemic situation that you were missing?

Camille Barton
I think although I've been dancing a lot at home I definitely miss being in front of big speaker stacks particularly subwoofers [laughter], I really appreciate the dance floor as a space where I can improvise be in my body kind of almost come down from capitalism in some ways, even though obviously club infrastructure exists within the economy in a very real way we're feeling that now. I think that it feels like respite in a kind of liminal space to have different kinds of interactions, to be a different rhythm and I feel like having exposure to heavy bass frequencies just do something to my body it kind of unlocks my joy, if I'm feeling joyful also can really unlock a lot of grief and I appreciate the impact that it has and the kind of collective energy that can be in a room when when loud music is being played and when people are really tuned in and our bodies are kind of communicating in a different way than they normally do and we're just producing or working or you know being in rat race mode so I think the dance floor is a very special place of respite outside of capitalism for me.

Sarj Lynch
Yes some kind of antidote there to this kind of society structures that we've fallen into for sure. I mean I think one thing that I've experienced is really having to explore in the absence of that kind of body experience what does deep listening feel like and kind of re-engaging with different parts of my music collection in different ways so we're really lucky today to have the chance to listen to tracks from each of our guests and actually Camille you have the first track for the day so would you like to tell us a little bit about what is the track, who's it by and what does it mean to you why'd you choose it?

Camille Barton
Sure, thank you. The track is called „Alone in the sun“ and it's by Beat Spacek and it kind of has this resonance and bass frequency that I speak about that really move something in me so I hope that people at home you're listening with a sub because it will definitely help [laughter] but it just transports me, it grounds me in my body and I really appreciate the lineage the fact that this music has really come from African heritage communities and has influenced so much underground club culture and this song feels very representative of that and those ancestors of electronic music.

Sarj Lynch
Great let's hear it.

[Music]
Artist: Beat Spacek
Song: Alone in the Sun

Sarj Lynch
Because this is a podcast you don't get the pleasure of seeing all of us chair dance so something the audience is really missing out on but thank you so much Camille for sharing that with us. I felt very sustained by the base. So today as we explore this theme of sustainability specifically how it relates to the politics of the dance floor, I'd love to hear from each of you what does sustainability you know this word we hear it all the time especially in the last decade more and more and more and I'm just curious what does it mean for each of you? How would you define it? So we'll start with Konstanze.

Konstanze Meyer
So sustainability for me it means allowing future generations to fulfill their needs and so first of all you need to think about those future generations and then not only about yourself and it also means taking care of the limited resources that we have and considering that there is no such thing as unlimited growth and of course sustainability means respecting the planetary boundaries. So of course you can always talk about the three dimensions, so ecological economical and social but what I would like to add actually is the cultural dimension which is also a little bit the reason why our project or why our initiative exists because we believe that culture as part of our social construct needs to be preserved for future generations so when you speak about nightclubs. That means that we need to protect those free spaces, protect them so that future generations can still create art and that people can still come together there. And it also means that we can use culture really as a vehicle to get sustainability across in every aspect and that we can for example transmit good ecological behavior to people that go to clubs be a good example as a club showing that you can actually change things and that it still is fun to implement sustainability in your club and you can still have a great club experience even if you have energy from renewable sources that the music isn't any less loud and that the experience is still as as fun even if you are a sustainable club. So really sustainability with the base of the ecological aspect but really with the important cultural dimension which is really important to us to really transmit sustainable thoughts by culture by music by art by everything that happens in nightlife.

Sarj Lynch
Great! Thank you. Avril would you like to tell us about sustainability for you?

Avril Ceballos
Sustainability has a lot of faces and we can talk about in different levels. I guess in general is how we can make our community or how can we keep in the long term what we call music scene or music industry something that has been growing in the past 25 years and has become something very structural but also when things tend to grow in many ways and we have to take care of those in a social way in a economical and of course like the part of of how we can keep it ecological and has like a lot of levels. I think also it's very important to keep also the especially the social side of it how we can take care of ourselves, the subject of mental health, how much we work and put effort on it and how we can keep it sustainable for the people who work inside and outside for. I can only agree with Konstanze on how the cultural and educational side is very important and that sometimes think many people see it just as a fun part but I think there's also many people who just work and don't reach this cultural or educational level and I think it's something that dancefloor as a music scene can bring into. And it's sometimes something that we're missing on how we can also keep the conversation going on on a healthy way.

Sarj Lynch
And Camille what what about for you, how would you define sustainability?

Camille Barton
I would define sustainability as practices that allow life to flourish. Avril was kind of saying I'll pick something up on this, that to me sustainability as a term has connotations that I associate with greenwashing with like the ways in the last 20 years or so the markets in the Western world have really tried to sell us certain products to make us feel as individuals that we're doing things to be sustainable without actually dealing with the structural issue of our economic system, which as Konstanze was mentioning is completely based on endless growth and as a result is not sustainable, it's not actually allowing life to flourish. So I think for me the deeper meaning of sustainability is you know what will make life flourish and I don't see that as limited to just recycling or kind of the basic facets of being environmentally sound as we've been sold it but much deeper things. Like how we care for one another as communities, how we integrate harm reduction, how we think about working conditions. So I think it has multiple facets for me but at the end of the day it's really about what is going to allow life to grow and continue in a healthy way.

Sarj Lynch
Yeah I mean I wonder if any of you has a thought on you know… we talk I feel like a lot of sustainability is a lot of don'ts what we ought not to do what we need to kind of rein in. Is there anything that someone feels you know I think as Camille was talking about care and community care, is there something that you feel are these kind of positive practices that we would integrate and also I think Konstanze you also talked about making sure that there's this fun part to implementing it, this lab aspect of it being innovative doing something new. Does anyone have a thought on kind of how do we continue to be generative in the way that we approach sustainability?

Camille Barton
There's two books I've been reading recently that have been really exciting for me in this moment One of them is „Pleasure Activism“ by Adrienne Marie Brown and another is „Joyful Militancy“ whose authors I'm forgetting right now I think Carla Bergman is one of the authors and both of these books kind of take an approach that's critiquing a lot of the ways we've been doing activism that's been quite rigid and focused on kind of don'ts and policing and having certain language. And what these authors are advocating for is kind of doing generative transformational justice work from a place of pleasure and from joy and from fun and arguing that there's an ability to create this overlap and that it's really important that we do because that makes it more sustainable and of itself. And picking up on what you said earlier Sarj, again this element of care to me that's really crucial if I think about social change and empowerment the root of that has to be kind of care and empathy and I think it's much easier to cultivate that in a community setting when you have trust and when you're doing something that you enjoy. I find it more difficult if I'm in a stressful situation or feeling like I'm being surveilled and not able to really operate from my full self. So yeah those books have been really inspiring to me to kind of pivot from certain ways of doing things.

Sarj Lynch
I can definitely echo that that I feel like this focus on centering joy cultivating joy is such an important part of creating sustainability in these communities. Avril or Konstanze do you have anything to add?

Konstanze Meyer
Actually I would like to add a little something because I totally agree with both of you we need kind of the the pleasure in the activism, actually love that concept and that's actually what we are trying to do but I would like to add that I think we cannot sort of push out the don'ts but I think they don't necessarily need to be something bad. Because eaving some things out being sufficient and thinking about what do I really need, how can I work with less, doesn't have to be something negative I think it's just something we should consider more positively. Leaving things out and really stripping it down kind of to the essential doesn't have to be something bad. So I think it's not necessarily that don'ts are bad it's just the way that we perceive them. We think that if we cannot do this thing or that thing anymore that we will lose something but we also win something and I think that's something we should always consider. Thinking about the dance floor, I mean I love colors I love decorations and lights and everything that makes you feel the music more but in the end when you think about it what is it that you really need to have a great experience on the dance floor? You might actually come up with a lot less than that what we currently see in the clubs. You know I love all those creative you know it's an art itself but sometimes I think we should also consider what do we really need and is it really a loss if we don't do it anymore.

Sarj Lynch
It's a great question. I wonder do you have any you know kind of concrete examples from your own experience as a consultant or working with clubs where you had a client or somebody that you worked with that was making a change and going more essential and doing less and actually changing that dance floor experience?

Konstanze Meyer
Well I think the example that always comes to people's mind is the plastic straws [laughter] something really a little bit in your face it doesn't even have that huge impact but it's such a powerful image these days not using straws. But if you talk to professional bartenders of course they will tell you of course you need a straw to consume this or that drink and you cannot live without it but we've seen so many night clubs who just don't give out any straws anymore and no one has complaints. So it's really something they thought they would get like a small shitstorm because they don't have any straws anymore but to be honest people don't really care, it's not that important but we always think that if we leave something out guests might react in a negative way but sometimes they just don't they just don't care and it's just in our habits and we just need to change those and you know try if it works without.

Sarj Lynch
I love what you just said about trying because I think that as we have to evolve the ways that we're living, the ways that we're creating, the ways that yes we're still producing I really think experimentation has to be like at the heart of this and just trying things out and kind of stop being afraid of this fear of not being perfect or not doing things as they've always been done so that's a really great example that we all saw it happen a couple years ago here in Berlin at least and I'm curious to see how things play out in the clubs and how it plays out differently in the underground versus in what the more kind of industry or the more commercial aspects of things. Avril I feel like you have really worked across like all these different roles in the industry and you've worked for big festivals, you've worked on underground labels with underground artists. I'm curious how do you feel this impacts especially the underground in this topic of sustainability, is there a special feeling there?

Avril Ceballos
Actually I think the more mainstream it gets the less conversation that is and that really affects for the people who are building stuff from the ground. I think also people who are like communities or labels or promoters agents who are smaller are more thoughtful about things. And then it's people who try to make changes and by making changes you always stumble to in mistakes and then you know the same community comes to … like it's easier to have somehow conversations sometimes, it's more difficult as well because having conversations means having discussions and having you can agree or not in things and I think there should be a connection in between the people who are doing the smaller things or the most underground or the most independent. We are missing a conversation with a mainstream, somehow because if there's only a part of the industry who is really taking care of looking forward for creating safer spaces or adding some diversity clauses in some contracts or talking about mental health and you do only this in one side of the industry then you know the rest is more or less like… there's not so much conversation. So for me sometimes working with smaller and bigger artists is how we can create these bridges in between the conversations that we all have to have. Name it the big or small fees how can we make it sustainable for everybody to be part of this scene because as it's growing we all have to… there's space for everybody so it's like if we're talking about letting in or is making spaces for all kind of intersectionalities and personalities and gender and everything. There's always a little bit pulling strings here and there and I think for me there's something missing in between all the players in the industry. Sometimes you feel very disconnected and it's normal I guess when something grows bigger. For me it would be really important on how when you see people trying to make changes that these grow across the whole scene even if we talk about bigger clubs and or bigger festivals and this whereas where comes a little bit the educational part I guess that for me would be something really interesting. And some festivals are doing it already, they're having much more panel discussions or they're creating these labs in the festivals where you see people coming into conversation and I think it's something that for keeping this scene alive and I mean now with the well we are all in like more or less in a forced holiday, somehow I think people are starting to rethink on how we need to communicate and I think that's one of the most important like the missing parts, that I feel there is such a big difference in between the underground and the mainstream and there's some links that are missing.

Sarj Lynch
Yes and I feel like what you brought up with the example of let's say gender awareness or race awareness we talk about diversities of lineups, is an example of how we've seen in some ways the underground holding the mainstream a bit more accountable to have those conversations over the last few years. So I think also the topic that you touched on of intersectionality is a great introduction to our second track which I would have the pleasure to introduce. It is a track that just came out last year actually and both sides of the record are amazing it's by Whodat and Viola Klein it was Workshop Records number 26. The name of the track is „Reprise AoUFC“and for me this is since I got this record something that I go back to time and time again if we talk about joy, if we talk about refilling the well or kind of recharging your battery with pleasure. This song and it's kind of gentle chug and it's very powerful vocal it's something that takes me back up to the energy that need to kind of keep having those conversations which can be very difficult at times. So with that I'll let you here let the track speak for itself.

[Music]
Artist: Whodat / Viola Klein [WORKSHOP26]
Song: Reprise AoUFC

The song samples a speech by Rev. Jacqui Lewis:

(….dismantles the images of the empire this procession, dismantles even our images of what power looks like did nobody think they were looking for a messiah on a donkey the old rules do not apply. This is a new kingdom and in this kingdom children matter and women matter, it's a children where men who are not making it matter. It's a kingdom where tax collectors and fishermen and shepherds and hookers okay and mixed race people that's what it says. I didn't make it up and the downtrodden at the meek and the lepers and the untouchables all have a place at the table of grace. This is a kingdom where the addicts and the wannabes and the thieves and the liars and the gay and the straight and the queer and the yes even the straight and the gay and the straight and everybody has a place in Gods kingdom where the differently abled and the disabled and the mentally ill are loved and cherished. In this kingdom everybody belongs, in this kingdom everybody belongs and everybody quite simply has enough, enough because there is enough, there's enough blessings to go around, there's enough love to go around there's enough healing to go around…)

Sarj Lynch
For me that track is a great kind of tour of this topic of intersectionality and I think when we talk about sustainability and specifically on the dance floor, dance music coming out of communities that were oppressed a lot of times in society and coming out of places where really coming from the margins. I think this topic of intersectionality is super important if we talk about environmental justice or any kind of climate justice so for anyone who might not be familiar with that term: intersectionality basically describes this interplay between different types of marginalization or oppression or discrimination that happens in society for people who have many different facets of identity. So for example if you are Black queer woman and disabled you might have a different and maybe even a more complex or more complicated experience of oppression than someone who is for example a white able-bodied woman. So to have an intersectional approach basically means that we're striving to perceive and to understand and to account for all those intersecting identities in the way that we interact with each other and the way that we're collaborating. I mean it sounds like from what we talked about so far sustainability is a very big job, there’s many many different assets that we have to tackle so I'm curious for this group what role does intersectionality play if we talk about environmental justice in the topic of the dance floor. Camille would you like to start?

Camille Barton
Sure, thanks. I guess the first thing I want to say is that „ecology is everything“, I've lifted this from an author I really appreciate called Aurora Morales who talks a lot about in urban settings the need for us to acknowledge that the environment is not just trees and plants and parks but also people and our social relations. So if we're thinking about environmental justice that's very much dependent on the relationships that different humans have with each other in urban space and so when I think about this in relation to the dance floor of how club culture or dance floor culture could link to and increase environmental justice, then I think we have to be aware of in the intersections of oppression people are dealing with and the different forms of power and dominance that are subtly just existing in many of the spaces we're operating in and how we can start to subvert that and kind of re-pattern that so it can be more inclusive. So I can give some examples of this. I think it's useful to acknowledge that with our climate catastrophe moment that we're in and may continue to be in for some time that massively links to migration and the so-called refugee crisis whether it's Syria for example what's not talked about so much in the Western context is that water shortages were a huge part of that crisis and why so many people needed to migrate and have come to various countries in the West obviously Germany being one of the european states to take in a huge amount of people. Something I find quite difficult since living in Berlin is that many migrants and working class people many BPOC and refugees are not allowed into clubs that's the kind of elephant in the room I think needs to be named is that if you look a certain way if you have a certain background you will not even be let into many club spaces. I think this is something that massively needs to shift especially given that many people coming here having escaped war or displacement for various reasons will have a lot of trauma and it's proven that dance is a great way to repatent that to kind of regulate the nervous system. I think it's important if we believe that we're an inclusive culture and society we need to have accessible club spaces and places that people can work things out through their bodies especially when there's going to be maybe lack of resource to access therapists or other kinds of mental health support and second to that if you then are going to have inclusive club spaces I think you need to have policies that protect people or at least support them if they do experience racism or harassment, whether that's sexual or otherwise. Many clubs in the city do not currently have anything in place and I guess are operating on the premise if it's Berlin we're all free, everything's fine but even in just living here for a year and and having come back and forth for the last four or five I've had many of my own personal experiences in clubs of discrimination and it's been a shame that there haven't been many systems in place to really navigate those situations and I think if you are someone who's juggling multiple forms of oppression and you're going to run into these things it's nice if clubs can have a a way of not just thinking it's a few bad apples but acknowledging that we're kind of all swimming in this sea of different discriminatory practices which we've inherited and learned from our ancestors and from the state. It’d be really good if clubs could take some action to provide more care so that people can be protected if that comes up. The last thing I'll say and I'll allow someone else to speak, it's the same for accessibility and disabled folks as well a lot of clubs in the city are not accessible a lot do not have the kind of layout that would allow someone in a wheelchair or someone who maybe needs to sit down regularly. There’s it's better actually here than London for that there are more places to sit but I think there could be more done to also really create a space that's super inclusive and allowing more people to have that experience which you know if we think of „ecology as everything“ then we're hopefully creating better social relations and ability to work together on a whole range of issues including environmental change and sustainability.

Sarj Lynch
Yes, I think those are super super important points that to speak to your point about the elephants in the room, if we're not talking about these things then why are we here but maybe I'm biased in that in that regard, that’s the core of the work that I do but… I'm curious to hear from you Avril in terms of sustaining those conversations kind of going back to what you're talking about before and that conversations being at the crux of how we move forward and how we adapt and how we evolve from the underground through to commercial music. Can you talk a little bit about your experience with what those conversations look like across different facets of the industry.

Avril Ceballos
We've been for example with the label Cómeme been doing a lot of work on supporting the Latin American scene we focused a lot on women at the very beginning. In general we created a platform for people who were doing music there that you know they don't have the means to come here. We always stay in the peripheria of like music but there's a lot of interest sometimes but then when the time comes to bring or support the people that there's not really any conversation there. For example if you have like big festivals going to Latin America or Africa and they do their editions there and then they come back to Europe and you don't bring the people back … like they keep us as something exotic when it comes to creating their own image, when it comes to support the scene then you know you're not really bringing them back. And that means that because the more marginalized communities stay in their countries because there's no the means for flying it makes a big difference. I think Europe in general across the main or underground scene it's by being very eurocentric. I think people stay here very in their own hub and being here where the industry really happens and like where the money is. I think there's a lot of responsibility as well from the Europeans and I don't even need to go that far as latin America or Africa like even countries as portugal or spain remain a little bit outside in the peripheria of the conversation, how the industry in general takes and leaves the different trends sometimes. How can we make all these voices be heard it's a question that we all need to discuss and how can we make a relation between the underground and between the mainstream and the underground and how we can keep everybody involved in a healthy way, it's a conversation that we all have to have and how it's a question.

Sarj Lynch
I think what I've loved learning through this pandemic is I think we've had this unique moment of connectivity in a different way and maybe even access in certain ways that whereas before you had to, you didn't have to … we often got on a plane to be exposed to have our music exposed to other people to other continents. This kind of move towards streaming and streaming based performances which is a topic unto itself, maybe has given a window into some places and some people that we might not have had a view on otherwise. Konstanze I'm wondering with all the work that you do with sustainability I imagine that flight patterns comes up as a big topic in kind of the bookings on your list and I wonder how for you has this pandemic and all the changes we've made as an industry in response to that are there any unique learnings there?

Konstanze Meyer
Of course what we see now or what we've seen at least at the beginning of the pandemic was that flights were heavily cut which is of course great for the environment and for our atmosphere and everything. However that's not the way we wanted the change to happen actually, we wanted more of a behavior change that came from within the industry, from within the artists, from within the way everything is sort of planned. I think the mobility aspect and logistics that's such a huge part of everything that happens in the music industry, that is to be honest that's even we don't have ready-made solutions yet, especially when we talk about booking and logistic is so difficult because we always kind of face those walls of „well you can't do it in a different way“. That's sort of like the argument that is often used „we can't do it in a different way because you can't operate a club without people from somewhere else“ and I know it's not a great perspective only having local artists playing in your club but I think we still need to talk and find better solutions to really this mobility aspect. Besides that I think what this pandemic has shown us is actually that people appreciate their culture and I think it got people talking or thinking about what it really means to them. Especially in Berlin we tend to have such a big offer with so many events happening every night and sometimes we sort of rush from one event to the other and try to catch everything and then by fear of missing something we jump from party to party and without really taking in what's happening and really appreciating the event itself and all the love that people put inside. So I think really not having any events at all might make people think about really their appreciation for the culture and also I think it's at least here in Berlin, there’s no doubt about what it means for the city for the whole society especially but also of course in an economic way. I think what this pandemic has also shown us is that change definitely is possible but you need some kind of emergency or some kind of urgency. Sometimes in campaign theory people talk about the crisis unity which is well a mixture of crisis and opportunity so you have something urgent happening and people see that something needs to be done, but they also have a window of opportunity to react so this is something I think we should definitely transmit to the environmental crisis and really underline how important it is to take action now and to do it right now and not waiting anymore. I think this kind of urgency or emergency needs to be communicated more and more and really we need to sort of shake people to actually have them act as soon as possible and I think that also this pandemic has shown the solidarity. So solidarity for venues for artists we've seen it by so many crowdfunding campaigns that were really successful and really people showing their support by giving their own money even if they don't have that much and I think we can transmit this aspect of solidarity not only to people but also to our environment. You know our planet needs solidarity as well because we depend on it so heavily and I think that's one of the most important aspect we can take from this crisis and really take the time to learn from it.

Sarj Lynch
Yes, I mean interestingly solidarity was also the topic of the first episode of this Transmssion „Politics of the Dance Floor“ podcast and you know this idea that Camille said at the beginning about „ecology is everything“ and how do we position ourselves in relation not only to each other as humans or as a scene but to kind of the world at large and one of the things that came to my mind as you're speaking and this idea of solidarity too, is solidarity with people outside of our scene that make it possible and if we think about flight patterns and we think about sustainability we also have to think about drugs actually and this as a part of the scene and something that can have positive and negative sides to it. Camille, I know that you have done some work specifically with drug policy and psychedelics and I wonder if you have a perspective on this topic specifically how do we look at building sustainable dance floor cultures that have respect for and solidarity with people in other parts of the world.

Camille Barton
Great question. I think about this a lot as someone that works in harm reduction. I think that it would be really wonderful of clubs in Berlin and hopefully in different parts of the world develop a harm reduction policy to have information available for people who may be taking recreational drugs around, what those drugs will do to them, what they should avoid mixing with other substances if they are going to take something and taking a little bit of responsibility even though it can still be a bit taboo despite how many how much drug consumption there is in this city. I know that certain clubs don't want to position themselves as admitting that that's happening even though it's very clear that is happening in every club but really if they're going to be responsible to their patrons into the community of people coming into the space. I think it is necessary to have information there and also plans in place of what happens if someone does overdose. You know we've all heard horror stories about people being thrown out onto the street when that happens or people being out of control of their bodies and being just ejected from clubs and I know that certain spaces I think like „Room for Resistance“ they have really great policies around harm reduction and what happens if someone is in a precarious situation. So I think there needs to be more thought and care around that generally but also responding to the mental health crisis that I think we're all collectively having right now in the pandemic and I think if and when clubs open again, I think we need to be mindful that many people might be wanting to really take the pain away by going on some serious benders rather than seeking support or dealing with anxiety in different ways. I think it would be wonderful if club spaces could be more attentive to this and provide again different resources or options so people feel like if they need to have a quiet moment or if they need to have a cry, I mean I would love a grief room in the club to be honest [laughter]. I could just go to and cry if I need to which has happened to me in raves and clubs before in various moments and I've often felt where is there for me to be and then you suddenly think „oh maybe I just need to be having more fun so I'll take more drugs“ and this is a kind of dangerous cycle. Another thing that I think works very well is to have whether it's an awareness team or some people who are clearly marked and visible in some way that people can go to if they're having a problem or people can go to if they are having a bad reaction to something. So I think these could be really good strategies to implement, but I think in terms of justice and transformative justice it's really crucial to be aware of the impact that drug policy has on certain people. Drug policies generally are used as a tool of racial and social control and are one of the main mechanisms as to why Black and brown people in a lot of countries around the world including the European context in the US context are incarcerated or harassed by police or stopped and searched or denied entry to clubs and given that the club's scene in Germany and Berlin too is very white-dominated. I think we need to be aware of how of what that dynamic means and how unhealthy it is that if you are a Black person in many clubs in Berlin people assume you're selling drugs. The amount of times I've been asked that clubbing out here that I've lost track, so I think there's a need to really get to grips understanding the impact of drug policy who gets to benefit from being seen as innocent and someone that wouldn't take drugs and whose bodies get automatically policed because they're associated with drugs and whose bodies will actually be incarcerated or fined or penalized and there's a whole other you know realm of harm reduction. Things we could talk about in terms of how if you're in a mixed group of people you can really protect your friends and ensure that you don't ask your black or BIPOC refugee or migrant friend to carry drugs for you, don't ever do that if you're a white person because it has very real consequences! So I think there's a lot there in drug policy but I think clubs have a role in creating care and creating infrastructure so people don't feel they have to do that if they're trying to work something out and that there are spaces people can go to to process emotions because I think we're all really feeling it right now in this pandemic and clubs can be a great space to grieve but I think it can also take a dangerous turn when people are just using substances to process and don't have any other support.

Avril Ceballos
I think for example in that regard it also it's a big conversation in between the communities because sometimes I guess there are clubs that cannot really have these policies of like informing about drugs because legally they are not allowed. So it's always very important that in your own community of friends when you party there's always somebody who you can reach out even if it's in your own circle. Like you keep everybody informed and for example in Chile or in Mexico and like in places that the violence is a little bit difficult in the cities they create these groups of which where they say like „okay I'm going home and I'm at this point and I go here I'm this high“ I'm not you know like so that you can keep track of your own community, if it's not the case that the promoter or the club can take care of you from beginning to end or they can make these support groups that you can do it in between your own group of people and then this way you also somehow once you're in the party people feel that there's something that people care for each other.

Sarj Lynch
Yes, it brings us back to this idea of community care and mutual aid and how when we don't see our institutions living up to let's say the standards that we might have or the dreams, we might have for the way we want this to look that actually it can start with us, that it can start with individual dancers, the people in attendance the groups of friends, so I think that's beautiful. Konstanze did you have something to build as well on this topic?

Konstanze Meyer
Yes actually I would like to add a little something and really it's adding because what Avril and Camille have said I totally agree that in Berlin, I think the Club Commission has started to do great work on both awareness and also on harm reduction when it comes to drug use and nightlife. They are really since many years, they are fighting for better information to be provided and really where people take drugs not in their daily lives but really where people take drugs and from the ecological perspective I would actually love that additionally to the information about which substances are harmful and what do they do to your body and how you should take them without harming yourself. I would really love more information also on the environmental impacts those drugs have. Not meaning that I want those information teams to tell people to stop taking them because I think that's not realistic but sometimes I think that people tend to sort of blend it out and not think about where their drugs come from and as far as I know there's no such thing as fair trade cocaine [laughter] or I don't know ecologically produced weed so it doesn't exist because there's no transparency at all, which is also linked to the legal issues. So people cannot be good consumers of drugs because they don't know where they come from but as far as we know there's a lot of bad chemicals involved natural environments are destroyed and also some part of the destruction is linked to the war on drugs. For example whole forest being burned down because the government believed that there are drug plantations there so really I would just like to be more information around on these terms as well and really to just people that take drugs to consider at least sometimes when they take those drugs.

Sarj Lynch
Yes, the same as you would I guess consider you know where does the food you eat come from what kind of things you put into your body is not just our nutrition but there's other things that people tend to put into their bodies so it's great to add this into when we think of consumption and it's ties to sustainability. It's something that can't be ignored if we're looking at the full picture somehow and and I do think that all of these examples really show that the importance of slowing down enough to listen to the experiences of people in your life who might be having different experiences or different perspectives than you to make sure that you're also self-educating and that you're learning and that you're seeking.I really loved hearing those themes of education awareness that are coming out from the group because that's really the only way that we can we make this happen. So we will take a moment then to slow down ourselves for our third track of the day which actually is from Konstanze. Do you want to tell us a little bit what's the track who's it by and why did you decide to play it today?

Konstanze Meyer
So the track is called „Wald“ so forest or wood and it's by the Lazy Lizzard Gang which is I believe a group from Berlin and they share a lot of their insights on nature and how they perceive it and they talk a lot about the environment and how we should treat it better. What I actually like about this song is that it gets me by my emotions and it gets me thinking and what I like is that it's very straight, very in your face it's no subtle message. It's really they tell you what is best to do, how you should treat the forest and how you should behave because you're just a guest and I really like it because I've felt that for many years artists have been too shy to actually put straight messages about the environment out there, maybe by fear of being considered as I don't know hippie or what you would call it but I think the time for subtle messages maybe it's over maybe we need more straight in your face messages like these and that really are understandable for everyone and that's what I really like about this song I'm looking forward to hearing it.

[Music]
Artist: Lazy Lizzard Gang
Song: Wald

Lyrics:
[Intro]
Millionen Jahre hier
meine Wohnung mein Revier
Mahagoni keine Ware
merkst du nicht, ich weine gerade

[Hook]
Junge fühlst du nicht den Wald?
Fühlst du nicht den Wald?
Mädchen fühlst du nicht den Wald?
Fühlst du nicht den Wald?
Sag mir, fühlst du nicht den

[Part 1]
Fass' nicht meine Bäume an
ich fackel auch nicht deine Träume ab
Was für Haute Couture
ich trag' ein Schuppenkleid von Mutter Natur/
von Mutter Natur
Das hier is' meine Wood
Lasse nicht zu, dass ihr daraus Scheine druckt
Benimm dich wenn du zu Besuch bist
Mensch du bist nur Tourist
Was für ein Bett aus Teak?
Junge ich bin LLG
Beschütze meinen Wald legst du Hand an
wenn nicht Rap dann mit dem Fangzahn

[Bridge]
Millionen Jahre hier
meine Wohnung mein Revier
Mahagoni keine Ware
merkst du nicht ich weine grade

[Hook]
Junge fühlst du nicht den Wald?
Fühlst du nicht den Wald?
Mädchen fühlst du nicht den Wald?
Fühlst du nicht den Wald?
Sag mir, fühlst du nicht den

[Part 2]
Er gab dir Sauerstoff und Früchte
und du lässt hier deinen Müll zurück
Habt Respekt vor dem Alter
400 Millionen Jahre vor euch war der Wald da
Spürst du die nicht die Stille?
Die Grüße aus dem Himmel
Das ist die Kraft des Waldes
wenn dein Leid milliardenfach geteilt wird

[Bridge]
Millionen Jahre hier
meine Wohnung mein Revier
Mahagoni keine Ware
merkst du nicht ich weine grade

[Hook]
Junge fühlst du nicht den Wald?
Fühlst du nicht den Wald?
Mädchen fühlst du nicht den Wald?
Fühlst du nicht den Wald?
Sag mir, fühlst du nicht den

Was für ein Bett aus Teak?
Junge ich bin LLG

[Outro]
Wald
Wald
Wald
Wald

Sarj Lynch
Thank you! You know as we listened I was just kind of like rewinding through all these subjects that we managed to kind of touch on related to the topic of sustainability, I guess what we know is that we couldn't talk about this that's not going to be any easy task, so I'd love for all of us to just have a moment to kind of think of there will be a time when we can return to the dance floor and what would we like it to actually look like, what might be manifested there if we have a more sustainable dance floor. What are some things that might be different or changed or evolved I'd love to hear from each of you … just a little dream of what you'd like to see. Avril would you like to start?

Avril Ceballos
Now that we got the time to slow down a little bit that when we go back we also are careful with ourselves and with the scene in general taking care of how we consume music. I think in the past years we've been all in such a rush and everything needs to be quick and everything needs to be fast and done and sometimes I see artists spending three years, two years, one year producing an album and then the album is out and it just it gets consumed in one month and then it's over. You know that we really take a step back and become a little bit more careful on how we how we consume and how we accelerate again the whole music at all levels. Also it has to do with mental health, how we create the conversations with each other, how we take care of each other, how we can always involve everybody who is part of the scene even though we're far away or close or even if we have different interests sometimes or the identities that we have, that can come into healthier conversations that we become a little bit more conscious of what we have created so far and what we need to to keep it healthy and safe.

Sarj Lynch
It's a beautiful picture, I hope that we can make it happen. Camille would you like to paint us a picture of your ideal dance floor of a sustainable future?

Camille Barton
Sure, I think my ideal dance floor would be kind of a little bit more intentional than what I guess we've we had before Corona. I'd really love to see a lot of care being implemented in the space whether that's around having access to water, having access to people who are available in case there is any kind of harassment or discrimination and people that are caring and open that you can speak to, who will support you to kind of mediate or speak on your behalf if you don't feel comfortable doing that. I'd also really love to be able to dance as freely as I would like without fear of anyone encroaching in my space or touching my body and unfortunately that's still not an experience I've yet to have in many public club spaces so it'd be wonderful if that could exist. Similar to what Avril was saying I think for me lineage is really important and I would love the Berlin club scene to fully acknowledge and embrace and celebrate the African heritage and Latinx queer roots of techno. I think that until that happens there is not going to be a full reciprocity or care given to people from those communities or for the music itself and the kind of techno dominance that we have in this city that's a very limited type of music that dominates so many clubs. I think it's a shame we're not feeling a whole spectrum of exploration and ways to move our bodies and be in communication with different music so I also visualize dance floors that have multiple poly rhythms and a genre fluid and really celebrating these communities where so much of underground club culture and dance music comes from.

Sarj Lynch
I would love to be dropped into those dance floors you just described. Konstanze, what would this future dance floor look like for you?

Konstanze Meyer
First of all I think this future dance floor needs a certain kind of perspective meaning that what we see right now is that clubs have very limited time in which they can stay in a certain place. So we really would like to sort of the political framework to change so that clubs can actually stay longer in a place so they can actually look into the future and actually plan ahead and really implement sustainable measures that really look into the future and consider what might happen in 10, 15 years because only if they have this kind of perspective they can really think ahead and plan ahead and look more on the long-term picture. With that of course those dance floors could be truly environmentally friendly meaning with energy efficient lighting heating cooling with a good waste management and of course with guests with artists with club runners and event organizers working together to make this work and to make it really happen all together and actually when preparing I thought of one visit that I had in a in a night club in „the world is yours“ and what I would like to add is another neon sign saying „the world is yours, so take care of it“ so that's part of the nightclub or the dance floor that I would like to see in the future.

Sarj Lynch
Yes, in all cases there is this intentionality awareness paying attention and this level of like ownership that we each take of the dance floor. There's something there and I think especially in Berlin there can be this feeling that you go in and drop all responsibilities but actually maybe something we did learn through this pandemic is that to have this survive and to be this beautiful healing life-giving thing that we've come to know it to be in some cases that we have to actually take that responsibility. We have to take a little bit of that ownership when we enter the spaces so with that I would love to ask each of you: what can listeners the people at home actually take away from this conversation? It's such a big and overwhelming topic, if there's one thing that you could recommend that would be like a change for somebody to make the next time they're on a dance floor, it could also be for the DJs, for the promoters - what can we do to move us towards this future?

Camille Barton
I think that using a kind of „Pleasure Activism“ framework and „Joyful Militancy“ framework I would advocate for listeners to really think about what they're passionate about in the club environment. wWhat would really get them going to think I could improve this or shift this or take some responsibility for making this more beautiful or maybe team up with a group of friends and talk to a promoter in this way or I think operating from something you feel excited about but would like to see some changes is a good place to start because there's so many things out there and it can be very overwhelming to feel responsible for all of them. So I think it can be more the path of least resistance to go with what already interests you and to have a really curious approach when you do bump up against things that you don't know, whether that's people of different backgrounds or lift experiences and just having an attitude of curiosity and compassion and trying to actively listen and learn and understand that we're all re-patterning and unlearning a lot of quite harmful ways of being, that aren't our fault for growing up in these situations but is our responsibility to try and shift if we are keen on doing so. So I'd say going with what really drives you and just trying to take responsibility for some aspect that you could improve will make more beautiful in your environment.

Konstanze Meyer
That's actually a great way to start and I'd say or I'd add that everyone should start maybe by having a look at their own actions and analyzing how they could or what kind of impact they have and then starting to change those and start with what you do yourself before maybe motivating other people to change them. So for example for dancers it could be to maybe reconsider their mobility behavior their drug consumption or the way they treat waste when going to festivals or clubs and maybe what kind of drinks they consume. For DJs of course it could be considering their traveling behavior or maybe even having a green rider when going on a tour. For the venues of course everything around energy. So energy production, consumption, waste management and then logistics of course. They’re all a lot of small actions that can be taken and I think that people shouldn't be afraid to maybe making mistakes but becoming a more ecological venue or becoming a more ecological a person is a constant process. It never stops and that's also something positive about it that you can always improve and you can take always take small steps to improve.

Sarj Lynch
Something to learn constantly which keeps us fresh and keeps us happy as humans ultimately. Avril, what about you? Anything specific recommendations you want to make for our listeners?

Avril Ceballos
Well I think both of Camille and Konstanze they've said it's basically what we should be taking care of. Be open, be ready to learn, be ready to listen, step back when we need to, step forward when we need to. if we see something that is not that it needs more justice on you know … also speak out but be ready also to learn and to step back. If you're a DJ that has the power to speak with promoters and get other people involved in the lineups please do! If you're a promoter that you think that you need to have a conversation with either the artist or the agents or I think it's just in general to be more open on how is the power divided and how we can share it and how we can make the scene more to take care of it more. In general I think it's just, it's a lot of work but it has to do with being open to learn and to talk and to move on forward in a positive way.

Sarj Lynch
This conversation has taken us so many places and I feel we covered a lot of ground in terms of the politics of the dance floor. Sustainability is like this key that unlocked like so many different subjects and I'm sure we could have dug into each one of these so much deeper and perhaps another day but I'm curious: does anyone feel that there was something missing that you would love to see discussed about politics of the dance floor in the future? Different topics beyond sustainability or related to it that we, if we had all day to be here what what else would you discuss?

Avril Ceballos
There's one thing actually I think sharing information is something that we are still missing in this industry it's still a blank sheet and we still need to write a lot of stuff and if you have information if you know how things work and somebody else needs some support or knowledge sharing is caring and this is something that we're missing quite a lot.

Camille Barton
Yes, I’d love to jump in on that a couple of things the one that's related to this though is I think a lot about digital security at the moment and the way that social media plays into that and I think we could be building community networks sharing information much more readily on our own terms if we start to divest from platforms owned by big corporations such as Facebook and Instagram. I know we're currently as artists very dependent, we feel very dependent on it but there are other options out there like Mastodon for example which allow you to set up your own private kind of social media hub that's almost like a community notice board. There’s no algorithm that generates what you can see or can't see, it's just all there and you can invite and choose the people that you want to be part of that and I think this is a really exciting prospect. Long term when I think about my ideal future I'm not planning to be dependent on these corporate entities much longer I think that's quite destructive for our communities and actually prevents us from being in solidarity and creates an air of competition. The other thing I wish we can talk more about and maybe another episode could be kind of I guess broadly around the Black Lives Matter movement and what this is bringing up around racial injustice. There’s obviously a big conversation around environmental racism and again the fact that Global North have been doing the most the majority of the emitting of harmful CO2 and other greenhouse gases and yet the brunt is really already being felt in the Global South and even in the West it's generally BPOC communities and migrant communities who experience toxic residues and the impacts of kind of industrial waste. Whether that's in the UK context or looking in Oakland where I used to live in California where children under the age of six like a third of children there actually I'm gonna backspace that, I don't know if it's a third but there's a documentary called „Oaklead“ being produced at the moment that’s, you can check out on Instagram and they've been looking at research for huge amounts of children that actually have lead poisoning like under the age of six and this is all across the US. So I think there's a link to be made between this awareness around racism and racial justice and how that actually links to the environmental movement and what it means to be in solidarity beyond statements but actually what action sustainable actions could look like and also in the music scene where we we might have seen a few statements here or there but again are they paying their BIPOC staff more ,are they representing certain artists, are they trying to book more people? That's yet to be seen.

Sarj Lynch
Thank you. Konstanze is there anything that you would wish to be covered in future conversations about politics of the dance floor that we haven't covered today?

Konstanze Meyer
Well of course at I’d like to talk even more about how we as part of the music industry can actually change the political framework more to actually to have a good framework which make it easier for venues, for artists to actually take those sustainability measures really to have good legislation. And of course as from the climate movement perspective I would love to talk more how we can make this movement more accessible because I also feel that it's really white dominated so far and I would love to hear more about how we can change that and make it more accessible to people with many different backgrounds.

Sarj Lynch
Yes and I think that thinking about this idea of who's leading movements, something we've learned from this movement for Black lives and really examining something that came up earlier in our conversation this idea of motivation. What is our „why“ when we go out on one of these topic, what is the thing that is motivating us to engage with them and just taking the time slowing down and actually engaging with that on a regular basis and with that sharing is caring. So we have one more song to share this one from Avril. So if you would like to introduce us let us know who it's by.

Avril Ceballos
It's by BADSISTA, she's an incredible unique producer from São Paulo from Brazil. This is a part of her one of the latest release. The self-released compilation, it's on her bandcamp. You can support her and I find it very funny because the title she uses is „Pinche Cabrona“ which is a mexican slang, an expression very specific for women who own things you know like with their lady bosses but not very very like it's just like two big bad words and that she uses it in her own releases. It’s beautiful how to see how when the South and the north connects not necessarily being the south and the north US or Europe and how the Latino communities have been mixing and sharing from words slang's knowledge and music. So I find it very sweet that that BADSISTA good friend used the „Pinche Cabrona“ as a title.

Sarj Lynch
All right let's hear it!

[Music]
Artist: BADSISTA
Song: Pinche Cabrona

Sarj Lynch
Thank you so much for sharing that. This has been Transmission’s Politics of the Dance Floor! I want to thank our guests so much for your knowledge that you've shared, for your vulnerability and everything that you've given us today to chew on. Thank you to HKW for hosting us and thank you to you, the listeners for staying tuned with us all this time. If you have been listening and your thoughts are running and you have anything that you'd like to share, you can get in touch with the Transmssion team learn more about them and see how this podcast develops at transmissionnet.org. They'll also be publishing their a toolkit with some of the resources from this podcast so all those great books and things that were mentioned. You can go find the links there on their website and yeah wishing you all very much resilience in the fight to build the sustainable future for our dance floors and for our world. I'm Sarj Lynch from Aequa and thanks for listening.