Snapshot of Plastic Dreams

How Olivier Degorce witnessed and involuntarily documented the electro scene in France

By Google Arts & Culture

Goa party, 1993 (1992) by Olivier Degorce

Olivier Degorce was 20 years old when he stumbled upon his first Acid House party around 1987/88 in Paris. It was a real shock. That music sounded like nothing his generation had ever heard.

Rave à la Grande Arche de la Défense, 1993 (1992) by Olivier Degorce

From 1991, he started carrying a very mediocre camera, sometimes a disposable one, with him into the raves.

No title (1993) by Olivier Degorce

He later used better quality cameras that could slip into his pocket, which allowed him to stay mobile. He was there to party like everyone else, he experienced the phenomenon from the inside. 

Sans titre, 1994 (1993) by Olivier Degorce

These raves were totally underground. The location was often revealed at the last minute via an infoline, flyers or word-of-mouth. 

DJ Gregory (FR), 1996 (1995) by Olivier Degorce

They were all incognito, the public and the DJs who couldn’t care less about fame – they were too busy trying to make the crowd fly. Bodies sometimes floated very high across the night. 

No Title (1993) by Olivier Degorce

Olivier rarely made more than a couple dozen photos a night, two or three of each DJ, sometimes only one. He was one of  the first to take photos so systematically, but his outlook wasn’t journalistic, he wasn’t trying to cover an event or do a report.

Rave à l'aqualand 2, 1993 (1992) by Olivier Degorce

Collecting portraits of these DJs whose records were only pressed at 100 or 500 copies fascinated him.

Rave à l'aqualand 1, 1993 (1992) by Olivier Degorce

 Some of these images were taken in places that weren’t designed to host parties (abandoned warehouses, industrial wastelands, barges) or in clubs. 

Sans titre, 1996 (1995) by Olivier Degorce

There, he often didn’t look through the viewfinder, taking photos on the fly and leaving the framing to chance. 

Sextoy, 1996 (1995) by Olivier Degorce

Other photos in the book Plastic Dreams (Headbangers Publishing 2018) were taken in a more intimate setting. He sometimes encountered DJs at Radio FG, at a record store or portraits would be commissioned by the press (Coda, Self Service, Crash, Novamag…) and he would take their pictures in the street, in hotel rooms or at the DJs’ homes. 

Somewhere, 1992 (1992) by Olivier Degorce

Tinged with a hint of innocence and an almost tribal spirit, this radical era marks the rise of a new sound, a new music. He spontaneously and compulsively photographed this time and kept these memories on dozens of film rolls as though to keep proof that they didn’t dream it all up.

Credits: Story

Text and photos by Olivier Degorce 
Photos from Plastic dreams, Headbangers Publishing, 2018
Special thanks to Dizonord, Paris
English translation : Alice Retif

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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