As The Sun Rises, the Tale Of The Night Disappears

Daro Sulakauri

2018 - Ongoing

Tbilisi, T'bilisi, Georgia

In the early years following Georgia’s independence from the 200 year-long occupation under the Soviet Union (1990s), we suffered from unprecedented political and cultural turmoil, which took its toll on everyone in the country. Evolving into different directions and taking on various forms, the damage affected several generations. Embedded in a variety of contexts from history to traditions, religion and uncertain future, the clubbing scene and techno culture came as a liberation. Developed mainly in Tbilisi of the 2000s it soon grew into a subculture, which embodied more than music, dance or nightlife. Among others it became instrumental in creating grounds for a dialogue among the youth or between generations. It became a symbol of united youth in an otherwise conservative and divided society.

The photo project is an interplay between the three major themes: ravers, techno clubs, and the city. As a form of collaboration and true dialogue, I asked the people featured in the book to create a personal narrative describing what raving and clubbing means for them, and to write it out by hand on their own photo. These handwritten notes are deeply personal thoughts, penned by the ravers from all walks of life, who describe their experiences and connection with raving, clubs and electronic music.

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  • "I remember my first experience in the club, there was so much emotion and energy in one space. Dancing was always a way I could express myself, it enabled me to say what I felt. The dancing movements gave me courage to convey thoughts I could not dare to speak about with words. When you listen to the waves of the music, you never know which inner self and character it may awaken. Every morning when I wake up and look in the mirror, I try to see the character that emerged during the night and I try to dress accordingly.
    It all happened in the club, for the first time ever I was what I wanted to be without pain and shame. Every club night is a fairy tale, and when the sun rises the tale of the night disappears. But, every morning a new member is added to the family, another character for another magical night". Luka Khutsishvili, 20 years old.

  • Mateh:
    "The start of my club life was funny and important at the same time. Funny because I was 13 years old and everybody thought I was a girl ... that was the only reason I was allowed to attend the nightclubs. But going to the clubs gave me an opportunity to escape from the spaces I did not feel comfortable in. The environment gave me the space to feel what I wanted to feel, and to give what I wanted to give. Any discomfort I had in the outside world, was much more appreciated here than I had ever imagined. For me, club culture is one of the motivational points for the future".

    Mateh, Datuna (friends):
    "From the very beginning of our friendship, it was clear that we had common interests: such as a shared outlook and vision on many social issues. It was also revealed that we both had a “Club Life” addiction. Although we had different initial experiences, right away we unified our approach to club culture".

    "My Club Life started with my sex drive and for a long time Club Life associated me with my sexual act. Today the underground space occupies so much space in my life that I wouldn't say exactly what Club Life is".

  • "Sometimes I think I was born with an embedded protest in my heart. Since childhood my father has called me a 'padajigatsil', he thinks I'm scandalous ... the truth is no one can control me and it's what everyone around me always tried to do, my family and even my friends who were constantly striving to control me. Wherever I went, I was wrong everywhere, no one understood me and I understood no one. My life was a scream, with constant fights and getting kicked out of school.
    The only bright spot was music, and because of the music I started searching for myself. Until September 2017, I was living with a dream to one day flee Georgia. On September 17th, 2017 I first set foot in Bassian club and felt relaxed for the first time. I felt like I was in the right place, and here, I wasn't extra or misfit. There was nothing negative left in me, everything was filled with light, colors, hope, hope that I would too someday become free like them. That is exactly what club is for me, freedom. Freedom of emotions, feelings, thoughts, body and soul. It is impossible to explain what I feel about this place / until now, as if I never existed as if I never danced.
    This photo was shot at the most magical event, the show 'Horoom night’, when I performed one of the Burlesque shows at the club. Every Horoom night is a different planet, it's a fantasy, and you can't find one like that anywhere. Here I am wearing an ordinary show look, except for my shoes, I can’t dance in such high heels :( .
    Sofia Akhrakhadze (Sophie Mcqeen) 21 years old. I'm learning about strategic communications. I've been a crazy fan of Shannon Genmanotta since age 11, I love putting looks together and bassiani".

  • "I was 5 when my parents passed away, I was raised by my communist grandparents.
    When I first went to the club...This was the escape from the prison. Then I discovered that I was a dancer and now I can not leave without it". Nia Gvatua, 28 years old, owner of the only gay bar in Tbilisi.

  • "What is electronic music for me, rave and clubbing? ... It's hard to talk about something that is an integral part of my soul and body. Music has unlimited opportunity, it is often a means for me to communicate, to help speak without words, it is a living organism, my faithful friend. It gives me tremendous energy and happiness.
    Raving and nightclubs make these feelings 100 times stronger. Everyone here is like you, everyone understands yours. You are one big family. Techno-community, a place where everyone cares about you, everyone is happy here. A place where you could be - You. But, most importantly it's a place where you receive help from everyone around you, which enables you to help you find yourself.
    The club is an escape from problems, hatred, aggression, lots of phobias, an escape at least for one night. Your favorite artist who plays for you with great passion and love -- and sees that you also feel that love -- that's when happiness is born.
    I can not express with words the emotions, when in the morning you are leaving the club, everyone is super tired, but still smiling. I'm happy to be a part of all this".
    Lena Grdzelishvili, Head of Iternal Audit Department.

  • "Me and my club scene relationship started 10 years ago, when I was 14 years old, it made a huge impression on me right from the start. I felt I could be my true self here. So, every weekend I had to escape from home at night and come back early morning right before my parents woke up. My father was a priest, so you can imagine what radical changes it made for me during my teen years and how much experience I have collected through the years. From a closed framed orthodox thinking, I realized I could spread my wings and free myself from the stamped fairy tales. It is a great pleasure to get together before going to the club, where we roam pop music, drink tons and add details to our looks. :D
    Today I am interested in DJ-ing, I am devoting all my energy to this. I am happy I found something I will never grow tired of". Ana Gogiashvili, 22 years old.

  • "Fortunately, there are dark places in my country where there is a great deal of light. This light gives me the right to express myself. For this there is my holy Friday. It’s holy because I am waiting for it all week to take off the mask I am wearing, that helps me to fight for existence. There is no other way around it. The biggest discovery in Art is music. At the club you can hear the music differently, in a very special pleasant way". Bacho Msye, 21 years old, actor/student.

  • "I was 17 when I first went to the club. I was lucky and the guards didn't notice that I didn't look like my 22-year-old brother, since I had his ID. As far as I can remember, I loved dancing. If I drank alcohol, I would dance more slowly. I am 24 now and I like to dance sober. I sometimes go to Horoom night to see friends. They were surprised when they saw me dressed as a woman. Some didn't even recognize me. I had to explain to a few people that I am not a trans person, that wearing women's clothes is fun for me. I am a free man and I fight against the patriarchal order. The process is theatrical, but the risks are real and frightening". Under the nickname Realurbansally, a 23 year old former raver and a new drag queen.