Monday 7th September

| BY Paul Toner

Ten’s To See: ‘The Time We Call Our Own’ at the Open Eye Gallery

You will discover the beating heart to any city across its dancefloors. No matter where you are in the world, when dusk falls into darkness, the creatures of the night will show you the true inner workings of a location; often unveiling a totally different face to a place you might have thought you once knew.

Curator Adam Murray wanted to explore such palpable energies found in clubs, bars and people’s front rooms, in his latest exhibition. Opened last weekend at Liverpool’s Open Eye Gallery – previously home to Murray and Lou Stoppard’s acclaimed exhibition North: Identity, Photography in 2017 – The Time We Call Our Own celebrates DIY party cultures worldwide and the times, places and identities which shape them.

The exhibition comes at a rather apt time. Whilst most aspects of everyday life has been able to adjust to the ‘new normal’, nightclubs across the globe remain shuttered. Will we ever be able to hug our mates on the dancefloor or kiss punters in the smoking area once more? Only time will tell.

Untitled, DISKO Series, Pabradė, Lithuania 2001
and Untitled, DISKO Series, Tetėnai, Lithuania 2004

The Time We Call Our Own feels like a celebration of life before Coronavirus. Murray, who is also co-founder of Preston is my Paris zine and a lecturer at Central Saint Martins, brought together six nightlife-focused photography projects from all corners of the globe.

In South America, Mirjam Wirz follows sound systems that travel through the streets of Mexico and Columbia, where groups are united through a deep-rooted love for Cumbia music. Over in the Netherlands, Dustin Thierry’s Opulence series captures those of the Black Caribbean diaspora who identify as LGBTQ+, which the artist describes as a “living archive of feelings and gender expressions.” Through his work, Thierry aims to break the stigmatisation around LGBTQ+ identities within the Caribbean community.

Dance with Sonido Maracas, León, Guanajuat Mexico, 2015 by Mirjam Wirz

Whilst such communities may not be connected geographically, each photography project cherishes societies that counteract the ‘norm’. From Tobias Zielony’s portraits of illegal ravers in the Ukraine from 2014-16, to Amelia Lonsdale’s photographs of her New Romantic parents from back in the 1980s – each specific project allows us to use nightlife as an access point to the weird and wonderful world that lives outside our own and will leave you yearning of a time where we can dance together once more.

Top image: Opulence, Thaynah Vineyard at the ‘We Are The Future – And The Future Is Fluid’, Amsterdam, 2018 by Dustin Thierry. ‘The Time We Call Our Own’ is open at the Open Eye Gallery in Liverpool until October 23.

openeye.org.uk