To Rave is Divine

The Shadow Life of Raving in Milan

  • Text: Julia Cooper
  • Photography: Piotr Niepsuj

It’s the deindustrialized locations that lend themselves best to raving. Architectural exoskeletons of buildings that once were full of people and their work—beautiful ghosts, just like exes. Tonight, the warehouse is lit blue and there’s just dance. Your yoga teacher is always saying be present, let go, drop your shoulders, and tonight you just might. Surrounded by strangers, at the furthest point you’ll be from Monday morning, the call to dissolve into anonymity rings out. It’s the sweet, second life of raving.

12:08 AM

An untethering from time and a floating into space. Entering the party just as the clock tips over into tomorrow, circadian rhythms will be thrown off-kilter. It feels so good to not want balance.

1:42 AM

A sea of heads and shoulders floating, almost indistinguishable from one another. Music—deep, resounding, constant—comes in waves and welcomed twitches. Being lost in a crowd feels better than standing out. Didn’t someone famous say that?

2:37 AM

The iPhone screen says twenty to three, it’s glowing there, but just a blink ago it was midnight. Time is suspending itself, elongating one moment then quickening the next. And how long has this song been this song?

3:59 AM

Tinder is really just proof that people need to be together. But what if it’s proof that people will end up alone?

4:01 AM

When did I have that water? It was delicious.

4:43 AM

No one can tell anyone apart. All of us, alone together. So, anonymous but not lonely.

6:00 AM

If you never leave the rave, then the weekend will never end!

7:35 AM

The seats in this taxi are the softest. When to come back? The calendar on this phone is showing a string of busy weekends, so you scroll. You push the weeks—then full square months—up with the flick of a thumb. You scroll, and scroll, and scroll. You scroll until years themselves have passed. Be present, let go, drop your shoulders.

  • Text: Julia Cooper
  • Photography: Piotr Niepsuj
  • Styling: Valeria Semushina
  • Model: Valeria Semushina