In the mid-1980s, a revolution was brewing in Chicago.
In a club called the Warehouse, one DJ birthed an entire genre. Frankie Knuckles, the club’s musical director, introduced the world to house.
Thirty years ago, the house revolution arrived in the UK. In the clubs of London and Manchester, and in dozens of empty fields around the ring roads on the outskirts of the capital, a vanguard of DJs and fans took Chicago’s music as their own—and its impact is still being felt today.
‘The Second Summer Of Love’, a new four-part film project between Gucci and Frieze, traces the rise of electronic music and rave culture around the world. The unique documentary films from visionary filmmakers focus on key electronic music scenes from this era. From techno in Detroit and Berlin to acid house in London and Italo-disco in Italy, these films explore the roots and global reach of this revolutionary youth culture and the social and political histories at the roots of these scenes. Each documentary will be accompanied by a 60 second prelude film featuring Gucci collections.
Award-winning filmmaker and artist Wu Tsang directed the first film in the series. ‘Into a Space of Love,’ is a magical realist documentary that explores the legacies of house music rooted in New York underground culture. The film is accompanied by a prelude film capturing a night out set against the backdrop of 80s NY club culture, directed by Adam Csoka Keller and Evelyn Benčičová.
In America, the first rumblings of acid house began around 1984. It took its cues from Chicago, full of sub-aquatic bass and the unique, aggressive ‘squelch’ synthesizer sound that has become emblematic of the genre. By 1988 acid house had exploded – and with it came an extraordinary new youth movement. Radical new asexual fashion, bleeding-edge music, and, of course, a wave of new drugs changed culture forever – and even threatened public order.
Over in the UK, acid house played out as a culture that lived not only in city centre clubs, but also in areas less commonly associated with radical art. The music, the unlicensed raves, and the drugs spread like wildfire, thanks in part to a steady stream of DJs bringing back tunes and experience from Ibiza. By the end of the ‘80s, acid house had united a generation in ecstatic dance – the youth were having their very own (Second) Summer Of Love. The powers that be were terrified. The government cracked down on illegal raves, even as acid house became the dominant force in musical culture.
The film series The Second Summer of Love will explore the roots of acid house and the rave movement, and its impact on contemporary culture.
The films will recount crises and serendipities, the power of the amateur, and the pure passion of breaking new musical and societal ground, while capturing the visceral energy and spirit of the era. These stories all speak directly to lived experience in 2018. As technological progress marches on, as social inequalities and gentrification increase, as minority voices fight to be heard, they gain in relevance with every passing year.