Plastic Dreams is a 540-page photographic ode to the Parisian club scene of the 1990s. This visual book contains over 400 photographs taken between 1991 and ’99, along with commentary and longer essays in both French and English. Sheening, 35mm snapshots of unkempt dancers share double page spreads with rare portraits of formerly fresh-faced DJs, like Juan Atkins, Carl Craig, Miss Kittin, Laurent Garnier and Sven Väth (to name only a few).
The spy behind the lens, Olivier Degorce, steals in and out of studios of the likes of Radio FG and Nova. He has eternalised the raver inside so many Parisians who might now be sitting behind desks.
Mr Olivier is indeed a phenomenal visual artist, who has exhibited his photographic work and his sound pieces in many galleries and art centers in France and abroad, including Sweden, Copenhagen, Vienna, Maastricht and London. Despite also being a great writer, here he steps aside and lets twelve of his contemporary Parisian authors write the commentary. Their essays are fascinating. Even so, the power is in the images, some of which are so discrete that I found myself exasperated, unable to break through the page and into the moment.
Plastic Dreams has impeccable club-scene pedigree. The project was masterminded by Pedro Winter, more commonly known by his suburban nickname, Busy P. Busy. He is the owner and founder of Ed Banger Records, a French electronic music record label and subdivision of Headbangers Entertainment that focuses on house (particularly French house), as well as alternative dance, electro, hip hop, nu disco and synth-pop.
The book was released last month, and true to the techno-fuelled lifestyle it chronicles, Plastic Dreams refuses to sell-out to (or via) the profiteering, mainstream booksellers, adding to the mystique of Paris’ affair with rave culture. And rumour has it there might be a copy hidden in Rough Trade on Nelson Street, perhaps it’s a matter of asking behind the counter…