One of the project my boss gave me is to transcribe a few interviews done with a group of famous Christian musicians. These musicians are committed Christians and they collaborate with Asia's who's who pop-stars. And as I was transcribing just now, I came across this remark made by one of the musicians when he recalled his clubbing experience,
[The surreal-ness that nightlife] gives me a sense of everlasting realness that doesn’t end. Everything seemed solid and exaggerated... a fake reality. For example, you can instantaneously become best friend to a total stranger in a club, and the following day, both of you remain strangers to each other. [The alcohol] makes us feel very light and easy-going at that moment but when we bump into each other in the car-park the next morning, we simply don’t recognize one another. It’s rather pathetic and superficial. (Kenn Chua)Being someone who is interested in theology yet harboring nightlife as a recreation, I can totally sympathize with what Kenn said.
Yes, nightlife exaggerates everything. Clubbers come out in stunning outfits and make-ups. Everyone suddenly look outstandingly attractive. Blasting musics and discotheque lighting establish borders on the building's floormap. Bouncers became the territorial markers of this space. And the DJs are the high priests.
Such world has its own language and mannerism. People groove and move in patterns that only exist in MTVs. Laugher and tears come with certain rythme and tone. Handshake as greeting gesture is replaced by affectionate hugs. Public-Display-Affection is not disdained in this social circle. Everyone seem hyper-realistically happy. Everyone unconsciously submerged into this simulacra.
And you wonder how I take this as a recreation?
I appreciate this simulacra not as a space where everything are exaggerated. Contrasting that, it is a spot within the real and secular world that experiences transcendence.
In this space, music and lighting don't stay merely as music and lighting that occupies the ears and the eyes. Here, music coupled with lighting commands movement. And I don't mean only body movement. They move us away from being too obsess in ourselves. And we need such movement. Such liberation.
Perhaps it is strange but people in the club, as I observed, are transcended from cold individuals into eschatological creatures. They generally seemed more warm, friendly, and accepting. People actually smile more in the club than they normally do. And you don't even feel isolated, or worst guilty, even if you don't feel like talking after introducing yourself. The music override the awkwardness. In such space, people are liberated from excessive normalcy and hollow pleasantry. Isn't this a picture of re-creation?
Let's face it. This simulacra is critiquing the real world. For one, it shows us that we can actually do better to live with one another. Like all simulacra, this imitates reality and provides a better parallel. If there is nothing substantial about clubbing, do you think this industry can exist until now?
People craves for transcendental experiences. And it doesn't need a club owner to know it.