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THE FUN Conference on Nightlife as Social Practice
Museum of Arts and Design
New York, NY
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THE FUN Conference on Nightlife as Social Practice
Launched in 2011, MAD's signature program THE FUN Fellowship in the Social Practice of Nightlife has championed NYC artists working in nightlife. Elevating this under-supported practice through individual cash awards and logistical support, THE FUN Fellowship not only gives these artists the opportunity to develop their own practices, but also seeks to raise awareness and spark dialogue around nightlife as an art form.

Marking the third anniversary of this innovative program, MAD is pleased to present THE FUN Conference on Nightlife as Social Practice. Occurring over the course of a weekend, THE FUN Conference on Nightlife as Social Practice explores the growing dialogue around participatory, social, and collaborative arts practices and their relation to nightlife.

Presented in tandem with the publication of the book THE FUN: The Social Practice of Nightlife in NYC, THE FUN conference gathers together a variety of voices in nightlife through panel discussions, lectures, and special projects that explore the intersection and positioning of nightlife in relation to social class, New York City, other social practices, and the fine arts.

Friday, November 8th, 7:00 p.m.
Keynote Speaker

Saturday, November 9th, 11:00 a.m.
The Pleasure Ritual

Within the context of the nightlife environment constituted by a gathering, or collective body with powerful political potential aspects of sound, fashion, and other visuals can be enhanced and diminished to create a space where the limits of language are mitigated and by aesthetic and chemical communication. Panelists will illustrate the ways in which the ritual form of the party might engender new political possibilities, aided by artistic forces.

Saturday, November 9th, 1:00 p.m.
You Deserve a Drink Ticket! The Art of Hosting

Within the social turn lies the hospitable turn. The role of host, whether in a public, private, or semi-private setting, is predicated upon concern for both the aesthetic and ethical consideration of his or her guests. Considering the merits of nightlife as a parallel emergent practice to socially engaged artwork, panelists will evaluate the production of visual, kinesthetic, aural, and gustatory stimuli to create immersive social environments. With consideration to the historical symbiosis between art and nightlife, and the contemporary correlation between hospitality and utopia, panelists will discuss the criteria upon which these practices might be artistically, politically, and sociologically considered and critiqued.

Saturday, November 9th, 3:00 p.m.
What Ever Happened to Flyers? Nightlife Post-Internet

Bringing together seasoned and emerging nightlife practitioners, What Ever Happened to Flyers?: Nightlife Post-Internet will address the impact of widespread internet-based party promotion on contemporary nightlife scenes. Speaking from various levels of engagement and familiarity with web-based and analog platforms, panelists will consider such questions as: What does it mean to move the exchange of information outside of physical space and into cyberspace? How does this affect the visibility of nightlife networks to the general population? Does the virtual social space of the internet alter the physical architecture of nightlife venues and the shape of its constituent communities?

Sunday, November 10th, 11:00 a.m.
States of Excess and Undress: Fashion, Performance, and Taboo in Nightlife

As Roland Barthes has written in Fashion, A Strategy of Desire, "The body which is completely covered can be deemed erotic by a society. Eroticism is linked to contrast in norms in any one society." In this vein, to what extent can the dominant perceptions of nightlife and queer-friendly spaces as overly eroticized and overly hedonistic be attributed to the essentially non-normative, subcultural natures of these events and environments? Panelists will consider how nightlife art practices can affect the fundamental pathways for inscribing or erasing dichotomies between acceptable and taboo behaviors and lifestyles.

Sunday, November 10th, 1:00 p.m.
Brooklyn and Beyond: After the So-Called Death of Nightlife

The NYC party has undergone a number of transformations in its form, content, and demographics over the last several decades. Arguably, the most germane shift has been in its geographical dispersion. Central to this discussion is NYC gentrification, and the subsequent and inevitable scattering of cultural producers. Altogether locational shifts have left the nightlife world with a problem of nostalgia for a golden age of nightlife in a bygone past. Panelists, representing a variety of forms of engagement with nightlife, will address the so-called "death of nightlife," discussing forms of innovation and evolution in nightlife practices, from the live/work space to the one-off event.

Sunday, November 10th, 3:00 p.m.
No Dancing Allowed: Government Regulation of Nightlife

Policies regulating nightlife in NYC, called cabaret laws, have a colorful history. Enacted in 1926, many of the laws have since been amended, and some have been removedincluding one that stated club musicians "must be of good character." But the majority of the laws has remained intact. Largely unenforced for decades until 1997, cabaret laws have since vastly impacted the landscape of nightlife programming throughout the city. The diverse panelists will include experts in public policy, law, hospitality, and nightlife production, to offer broad perspectives on the status of nightlife regulations and their impact on communities.


Museum of Arts and Design (View)
2 Columbus Circle
New York, NY 10019
United States



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