From the alternative to the liberalization of nightlife in Geneva: the “right to party” as an hedonist measure of the right to the City
Throughout the 1980s and the 90s, Geneva was known as 'the most squatted city of Europe'. For more than 20 years, the city has been hosting a large part of “alternative” culture in general, and a vibrant night culture scene in particular.
In 2010, in the specific context of reconversion and relocation of former alternative spaces, I was commissioned by the City of Geneva to produce a report on the situation of nightlife in Geneva. During this process, more than 1000 night birds were interviewed, in addition to 53 night venue owners.
Social, economic or cultural practices, as well as collective and private uses of the urban space vary between day and night. Even though specific subcultural movements or health and safety issues have occupied a large literature in Human Sciences in general and Cultural Studies in particular, the “Geography of the night” is nevertheless an underevaluated if not forgotten field of our discipline, as are generally the social or cultural value of human interactions in the city after dark. It is, yet, a window to question the fundamental issues in contemporary cities: social and economic integration (Right to the City), real estate policies, legislation and hyper regulation (Moral Panic), feelings of belonging and the possibility of randomly meeting people (Collective-Body-for-Fun), cultural production and reproduction and “real” creativity (productive disorder).
My PhD research project argues that people’s perception of nightlife in Geneva and its evolution within the last 30 years (liberalization and hyper-regulation), as embodying a specific positive and hedonistic approach of what they expect and seek for in interaction with other people in an urban context, might provide an empirical foundation for studying dispossession in the city.
Since 2011, I have coordinated the Great Council of the Night, a group of night venue owners and night professionals, night lovers and researchers, engaged in defending a diverse and vibrant nightlife in Geneva, by improving framework conditions.
Present position - PhD student, School Of Geography, University of Leeds, Contemporary art curator and coordinator, Electron Festival, Press and communication officer, group8, architecture and urban planning
Previous posts - Press and communication officer, Contemporary Art Center, Geneva, Assistant curator, FORDE, independant art space, Geneva
Qualifications & education
- 2007 - Postgraduate diploma, Critical Curatorial and Cybermedia Programme, Geneva University of Art and Design
- 2003 - Maîtrise in Geographiy, University Lyon II Lumière, France
- 2002 - Licence in Geography, University Paul Valéry, Montpellier III, France
- 2000 - D.E.U.G in Geography, University Paris I Sorbonne, France
- Coordinator for the Great Council of the Night, Geneva, www.grandconseildelanuit.ch
- Research coordinator for the Etats Généraux de la Nuit, a week of conferences on the question of nightlife, www.etatsgenerauxdelanuit.ch
- Co-coordinator of « Journey to the end of the Night », research on nightlife in Geneva in two parts realized for the City of Geneva – Culture Department.
- June 2011 - “Reclaim the City! Reclaim Nightlife!”, article in dérive, Urban Nightscapes, No44, pp 8-12, co-writed together with Virginia Bjertnes, Ethnologist
- April 12 2011 - Lecture at the Association of American Geographers annual meeting, Seattle, in the frame of the session on Nightscapes: Geographies of Urban Night
- May 18 2011 - Intervention as invited teacher, Geneva University of Art and Design Geneva in the frame of the Master TRANS Mediation and Art teaching
- March 1-5 2011 - Etats Généraux de la Nuit, a week of conferences on the question of nightlife. An event realized for the City of Geneva – Culture Department, in collaboration with the Association pour la Reconversion des Vernets (ARV)
- December 9 2010 - Lecture at the department of Geography, University of Geneva, cross discussion together with Luc Gwiadzinski, Geographer, teacher and researcher at the University Joseph Fourrier, Pacte Laboratory, Grenoble, France, President of the Center for Urban Studies
- 06.2010-01.2011 - “Journey to the End of the Night”, research on nightlife in Geneva in two parts realized for the City of Geneva – Culture Department, co-writed together with Eva Nada, Sociologist (University of Lausanne), and the Association pour la Reconversion des Vernets (ARV)
- 06.2009-06.2010 - Curator of the exhibition “salles des fêtes”, Bâtiment d’art contemporain (Geneva) in the frame of the Electron festival
- Mars 2010 - Project coordinator, “The artist as a researcher, creativity as a research tool”, Usine Kugler (Geneva), for the University Medical Centre of Geneva, Department of Neurosciences
- 09.2008 - “Nous voulons pouvoir faire la fête jusqu’au lever du soleil”, art petition, in collaboration with Genevan artist Frédéric Post, Galerie J, Geneva
- 2006-2008 - TOTAL PARTIES, party curating, Létage, Artamis, Geneva. Total Bright Party, Total Plastic Party, Total King Kong Girls Party, Total Acid Party
- 06.2007 - Everybody Dance Now, LP 12’ 3 music pieces dedicated to the dancefloor and essay on the dj figure in advertisement
- Since 2005 - www.raisonsociale.ch, website dedicated to party theory
Work and Education
- Since august 2010 Press and communication officer group8, architecture and urban planning
- Since august 2009 Contemporary art curator, Electron festival Geneva, Geneva
- 2007-2010 Press and communication officer, Contemporary Art Center Geneva
- 2005-2007 Postgraduate diploma, Critical Curatorial and Cybermedia Programme, Geneva University of Art and Design
- 2004-2006 : Assistant of Julien Fronsacq, curator at the independent art space, Forde, Geneva
- 2004-2005 Geography teacher in several Secondary schools in Geneva
- 2002-2003 Maîtrise in Geographiy, University Lyon II Lumière, France
- 2001-2002 Licence in Geography, University Paul Valéry, Montpellier III, France
- 1998-2000 D.E.U.G in Geography, University Paris I Sorbonne, France
- 1998-1997 Baccalauréat littéraire, Lycée Maurice Ravel, Paris, France
- 1997-1996 Lycée Français de Hambourg
- 1994-1996 Collège De Saussure, Genève
Reclaim the City! Reclaim Night Life! (2011), Dérive no.44, together with Bjertnes V. http://www.eurozine.com/articles/2011-08-03-berthet-en.html
Journey to the End of the Night. Research on nightlife in Geneva, (2010), together with Nada E., Association pour la Reconversion des Vernets, (ARV http://www.arv-ge.ch/) commissioned by the City of Geneva, Department of Culture.
Etats Généraux de la Nuit, a week of lectures on the question of urban nightlife, 2011, Geneva http://www.etatsgenerauxdelanuit.ch/
Association of Amercian Geographers, annual meeting 2011, Geographies of Urban Night session, Journey to the End of the Night - A research on the nightlife in Geneva, http://meridian.aag.org/callforpapers/program/AbstractDetail.cfm?AbstractID=34839
- Guest Lecturer, Gerrit Rietveld Academie, Amsterdam (NL)
- Masters in Critical and Curatorial Studies
- Masters in Geography