The dancefloor is the heart of an illegal rave, but the life that circles around the speaker-stacks is the muscles, nervous-system, and brain of the free party scene. âOUT OF ORDERâÂ by photographer Molly Macindoe is an amazing journey through the bloodstream of this writhing sub-culture as it flows beneath the skin of mainstream life.
Rammed with images taken from 1997 to 2006, this thick but beautifully presented book gives us glimpses of frequent blurred peaks and occasional desolate troughs, mirroring the hyperactive music and the sometimes draining life-cycle of constant partying; it is these inherent contradictions that Macindoe captures in the beautiful, laughing faces glowing against bleak urban backdrops. The shots of people lounging about, grinning, gurning, and wearing comedy wigs, ooze with the closeness that grows between party crews when they spend hours chatting shit around bonfires and dancing \’til they drop. The horrific lines of armoured riot-police at the 2005 Czechtek show the extremes people find themselves in when really all they want to do is party.
It seems churlish to pick favourites from a selection that rewards repeated viewing but some shots demand immediate attention. The care-free pierced and grinning raver, and the shouting women with their dog (both taken at parties in Acton, North London), are stunning photographs that absolutely capture the essence of being there. The image of daybreak over Millharbour (with roof-top dancers and smokers silhouetted above an estate agents banner proclaiming âSite acquired for redevelopment ââ Luxury Apartments and penthousesâÂ) is just a funny picture. One spun-out geezer even mirrors Macindoes photographic action, in the most overt reference to her position as participant/observer.
Some of the sequences overwhelm the senses, none more so than the series of shots taken at an immense party in Barcelona in 2000. In many ways the centrepiece of the book these pictures seem to be the distillation of everything Macindoe is trying to share with us. Beginning with an establishing shot of the massive abandoned warehouse complex, then through the fuzzed snatches of peak-time to the early morning view of the crowd and immense slabs of speaker-stack, and the days hanging around on-site afterwards, laughing and playing on the beach, before finishing off with dreads and deedy-boppers silhouetted by a beautiful sunset; this is what it’s all about.
\’Out of Order’ is an exceptional piece of documentary photography that captures a way of life lived by hundreds of thousands of people around the globe, made all the more emotive by dating from the period just before ubiquitous camera-phones. This timing gives the pictures more than aesthetic value; they are evidence of a sub-culture observing and recording itself, of the tribe stomping out a statement about its place in the world, making this an absolutely essential book for social historians and party-heads alike.
All words Bert Random, all photo’s copyright Molly Macindoe. Bert is the author of \’SPANNERED’, an illustrated novel about free-parties, freaks, and friendship – for more info & to grab a copy go here.
For Molly’s website (and to place an order for her book) go here.