Between 2013-2020, artist Julie Chovin photographed around 220 nightclubs in Berlin. She based her work on a « club list » published on the official website of the city of Berlin. The title, « The Place to Be, » is the slogan chosen by the city for its marketing campaign. For her book, Chovin appropriated the questionable title of this campaign and used the list as a starting point for her photo project.
The Berliner-by-adoption sought out the locations of clubs scattered throughout the city – from 1a Lauschgift to Berghain and Puro Sky Lounge to Zur Klappe.
But her photographs don’t document the interiors or residue of the night’s hustle and bustle. Her focus is on the exterior facades and entrances that line the streets and are often surprisingly inconspicuous. Looking head-on at the facades and locked club doors, Chovin photographs her subjects in daylight. Through this focus, the clubs become part of an urban environment rather than staged as places of raucous ectasy.
It is an everyday view of the urban club landscape that Chovin captures, documenting places that, in some cases, no longer exist-or soon will because they have become victims of the gentrification process. When she finished the series in early 2020, some clubs had already closed; today there are likely to be even more.
The book, with 220 color photographs, is accompanied by two texts: Boris Grésillon has written a short time travel through Berlin’s techno history, and Séverine Marguin describes Chovin’s club archive from an urban sociological perspective.
1. print, Vexer Verlag 2021
220 pages, 12.1 x 30 cm, Swiss sewn binding
Images and concept: Julie Chovin
Texts : Boris Grésillon and Séverine Marguin
Languages : german, englich, french
Design: Studio Daniel Rother