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Talks | THE FUN Conference on Nightlife as Social Practice

Launched in 2011, MAD’s signature program THE FUN Fellowship in the Social Practice of Nightlife has championed NYC artists working in nightlife. Elevating this under-supported practice through individual cash awards and logistical support, THE FUN Fellowship not only gives these artists the opportunity to develop their own practices, but also seeks to raise awareness and spark dialogue around nightlife as an art form.

Marking the third anniversary of this innovative program, MAD is pleased to present THE FUN Conference on Nightlife as Social Practice. Occurring over the course of a weekend, THE FUN Conference on Nightlife as Social Practice explores the growing dialogue around participatory, social, and collaborative arts practices and their relation to nightlife.

Presented in tandem with the publication of the book THE FUN: The Social Practice of Nightlife in NYC, THE FUN conference gathers together a variety of voices in nightlife through panel discussions, lectures, and special projects that explore the intersection and positioning of nightlife in relation to social class, New York City, other social practices, and the fine arts. 



tickets are available per panel, or as a full conference pass which allows the holder into all panels as well as the keynote discussion

Click here to purchase a full conference pass

or, click on an indvidual panel on the right, or below, to purchase a single ticket to that panel.




Friday, November 8th, 7:00 p.m.
Keynote Speaker - click to purchase tickets for this panel only

Saturday, November 9th, 11:00 a.m.
The Pleasure Ritual - click to purchase tickets for this panel only
Within the context of the nightlife environment—constituted by a gathering, or collective body with powerful political potential—aspects of sound, fashion, and other visuals can be enhanced and diminished to create a space where the limits of language are mitigated and by aesthetic and chemical communication. Panelists will illustrate the ways in which the ritual form of the party might engender new political possibilities, aided by artistic forces.

The panel will include FCKNLZ, Rob Roth and SPECTRUM and will be moderated by Victor P. Corona, Department of Social Sciences, Fashion Institute of Technology.


Saturday, November 9th, 1:00 p.m.
You Deserve a Drink Ticket! The Art of Hosting click to purchase tickets for this panel only
Within the social turn lies the hospitable turn. The role of host, whether in a public, private, or semi-private setting, is predicated upon concern for both the aesthetic and ethical consideration of his or her guests. Considering the merits of nightlife as a parallel emergent practice to socially engaged artwork, panelists will evaluate the production of visual, kinesthetic, aural, and gustatory stimuli to create immersive social environments. With consideration to the historical symbiosis between art and nightlife, and the contemporary correlation between hospitality and utopia, panelists will discuss the criteria upon which these practices might be artistically, politically, and sociologically considered and critiqued.

The panel will include CHERYL, Earl Dax and Ladyfag and will be moderated by Jake Yuzna, MAD.


Saturday, November 9th, 3:00 p.m.
What Ever Happened to Flyers? Nightlife Post-Internet - click to purchase tickets for this panel only
Bringing together seasoned and emerging nightlife practitioners, What Ever Happened to Flyers?: Nightlife Post-Internet will address the impact of widespread internet-based party promotion on contemporary nightlife scenes. Speaking from various levels of engagement and familiarity with web-based and analog platforms, panelists will consider such questions as: What does it mean to move the exchange of information outside of physical space and into cyberspace? How does this affect the visibility of nightlife networks to the general population? Does the virtual social space of the internet alter the physical architecture of nightlife venues and the shape of its constituent communities?

The panel will include #TOP 8 Friends, Marie Karlberg, Patrik Sandberg, Frankie Sharp, and Stewart Uoo and will be moderated by Jenny Schlenzka, Associate Curator, MoMA PS1.


Sunday, November 10th, 11:00 a.m.
States of Excess and Undress: Fashion, Performance, and Taboo in Nightlife  - click to purchase tickets for this panel only
As Roland Barthes has written in Fashion, A Strategy of Desire, “The body which is completely covered can be deemed erotic by a society. Eroticism is linked to contrast in norms in any one society.” In this vein, to what extent can the dominant perceptions of nightlife and queer-friendly spaces as overly eroticized and overly hedonistic be attributed to the essentially non-normative, subcultural natures of these events and environments? Panelists will consider how nightlife art practices can affect the fundamental pathways for inscribing or erasing dichotomies between acceptable and taboo behaviors and lifestyles.

The panel will include Cameron Cooper, JUDY, Leo GuGu, WOAHMONE and will be moderated by Kristen Galvin, Visual Studies Program, University of California, Irvine (UCI).


Sunday, November 10th, 1:00 p.m.
Brooklyn and Beyond: After the So-Called Death of Nightlife click to purchase tickets for this panel only
The NYC party has undergone a number of transformations in its form, content, and demographics over the last several decades. Arguably, the most germane shift has been in its geographical dispersion. Central to this discussion is NYC gentrification, and the subsequent and inevitable scattering of cultural producers. Altogether locational shifts have left the nightlife world with a problem of nostalgia for a golden age of nightlife in a bygone past. Panelists, representing a variety of forms of engagement with nightlife, will address the so-called “death of nightlife,” discussing forms of innovation and evolution in nightlife practices, from the live/work space to the one-off event.

Panelists include Paddy Johnson, Art Fag City; Sophia Lamar, Secret Project Robot, Silent Barn, and Gerry Visco.


Sunday, November 10th, 3:00 p.m.
No Dancing Allowed: Government Regulation of Nightlife click to purchase tickets for this panel only
Policies regulating nightlife in NYC, called cabaret laws, have a colorful history. Enacted in 1926, many of the laws have since been amended, and some have been removed—including one that stated club musicians “must be of good character.” But the majority of the laws has remained intact. Largely unenforced for decades until 1997, cabaret laws have since vastly impacted the landscape of nightlife programming throughout the city. The diverse panelists will include experts in public policy, law, hospitality, and nightlife production, to offer broad perspectives on the status of nightlife regulations and their impact on communities.

Panelists include Hattie Hathaway; Greg MillerDirector, Dance Parade; Aaron Solomon, OVEDlaw; and will be moderated by Michael Musto, Weekly Columnist, Out.com



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