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Music

The morning after the night before

After all the lights, the pounding noise and the high spirits, two Hamburg-based photographers set out to discover what's left over after nights of hardcore partying in some of Germany's most well-known nightclubs.

The dance floor is packed, the music is pumping, the drinks are flowing freely and there may be some monkey business going on in the restrooms. It's the stuff of a typical night out in big German clubs - the subject of a photo series titled "Vom Bleiben" (What Remains) by Hamburg-based photographers André Giesemann and Daniel Schulz.

Visiting nightclubs in Hamburg, Berlin, Frankfurt and Offenbach, the pair took a sideways look at Germany's nightlife by photographing venues well after the party had ended. They say their pictures aim not only to document Germany's diverse club scene, but also to make people think differently about social spaces by capturing them devoid of people.

DW: How did you come up with the concept of the series?

André Giesemann: The series is the result of a rigorous development process, but in many ways it also evolved by itself. We were keen to catch a moment we had experienced ourselves many times before, and we wanted others to be able to share it. Initially, we wanted it to go in a completely different direction and simply to present an overview of the club scene in Germany. But we quickly realized that we could introduce an element of fun into this often laborious project if the idea of our 'extended living room' played more of a role.


How did you choose the clubs you wanted to shoot in?

On one hand, it was based on their relevance and architecture, and on the other, we wanted to present as broad a cross-section of clubs as possible - all of which tend to focus on electronic music. All of the clubs pictured combine the devotion to and history of four-four time!

Why did you decide to shoot in empty clubs after the party? Surely a venue full of clubbers would have given a better impression of the nightlife in Germany?

This is an issue we haven't only addressed with this project - it's been reflected in other works we've done. We've always been interested in what sort of impression is left behind in a social space once the people connected with it have left. Sometimes physical traces are left behind; sometimes it's simply the emptiness that remains.

What did you hope viewers would learn about German nightlife from your photographs?

This is a question that we generally only ask ourselves in hindsight and that doesn't really play a role during the actual work. The images of these places we compiled were only possible in the first place because we've personally been going to clubs for several years. At a certain point, though, we had the time and the courage to try to capture these familiar moments.

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What were the biggest surprises and disappointments you experienced during the shoot?

One surprise was the ability to remain both separate and part of the party in spite of the tricky technical preparations. A particular disappointment? Exposing a negative poorly!

We recently published a gallery about lost property in clubs. Did you stumble across any unusual items left behind?

Just the usual wonderful grime, which we know and love from our 'extended living rooms'!

After this project, do you still go clubbing, or are you sick of the sight of clubs now?

We're always excited by new venues, and they're springing up all the time. So it goes on, albeit increasingly without the camera. But we'd miss it all otherwise.

Interview: Gavin Blackburn

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