Life After Sundown: Disco Architecture in the Global City | Features | Archinect, By Alan Ruiz, Feb 7, 2017
Samuel Delaney describes the disco as one site of “inter-class contact,”² rehearsing a now familiar understanding of the dance floor as teeming with the possibility for alternative forms of sociality. In this sense, the disco is the heterotopia par excellence, a space outside all other spaces. While Michel Foucault located the heterotopia in sites of control such as the colony, prison, or psychiatric hospital, the disco certainly might also qualify as a space for “individuals whose behavior is deviant in relation to the required mean or norm.”³ After all, it was people of color and queer bodies that not only popularized disco culture, but also found respite inside them from the racist, homophobic and hegemonic ideology of urban life. We might then consider the dance club as a space in which non-normative subjectivity was produced relationally through collective social formations. For many, the disco was a space of becoming. Yet, while the Dionysian narrative of the disco is well rehearsed, we might also consider the disco as a post-industrial site of unproductive labor. It was a site for a kind of spatial practice of self-making where a body could be mechanized by electronic BPMs, while still navigating the disciplining of a routinized, assembly line production, scored to the repetitive and mechanic pulse of Detroit techno.