|| the difference between the door and ‘the door’


Bouncers are pretty… reluctant when it comes to being caught on camera. Or videotape. Or anything else that could identify them. But necessity is the mother of invention, so I decided to depict club doors at daytime. I’ve been taking pictures in Berlin, Lisbon, Paris, Freiburg, Rotterdam, Stuttgart, Marseille, Vienna, and Manchester over the last two years. No bouncers, no revellers, no privacy issues, just the smell of past nights and the fascination with doors and doormen.

As you can see, the doors are fairly diverse: some of them attract more attention than others, some lead to nightclubs in the basement, others to nightclubs high up in a building, some can be found in city centers, others are far out at the fringes of cities, some indicate what kinds of venues they belong to, others don’t. These are 40 doors in 9 different cities in 6 different countries and still, they all have at least two things in common. First, they belong to the very few doors of the city that open up at night while the rest of the city literally closes down (see also Sheraz Khan‘s and my project here and wait for our article in an upcoming issue of scapegoatjournal). Second, these doors work as architectural doors as long as the clubs are closed, but the architectural door and ‘the door’ aren’t necessarily identical as soon as the clubs are open. Doors distinguish between an ‘in front of the door’/’outside’ and a ‘behind the door’/’inside’. Consequently, ‘the door’ of the nightclub is not the architectural door but bouncers – who might, but don’t need to stand next to the architectural door. This is also mirrored in language use, when revellers refer to bouncers’ decisions as “tough/serious door” or when bouncers refer to their job as “working the door”. Bouncers are living doors that open or stay closed after an individual decision, they are doors that interact with those in front of them and check who passes through them. This means, the doors that you can see at daytime might be wide open at night, but they will still stay closed to revellers as soon as the bouncers say “not tonight”. And… other than architectural doors the living doors can also go inside and chuck you out (for further information see also my sooner or later upcoming PhD thesis…).

So, who of you is able to identify some of the architectural doors and who made acquaintance with the living doors? I’d love to hear/read your stories.

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