In 1912, French sociologist Émile Durkheim coined the term “collective effervescence” to describe the exultation felt by a unified group of people within religious environments. There is perhaps no better term to describe the near-transcendent camaraderie felt by partygoers who attended the very last club night, Cocktail D’Amore, at Berlin’s Griessmuehle before the venue closed its doors to the public. In the words of one reveller, whose response was cataloged into an online guest log hosted on Facebook, the final event “was the most similar thing to a party in a world headed to the apocalypse, whose guests were raving like they’d die tomorrow.”
Ten years ago, Cocktail’s Italian founders Giacomo Garavelloni and Giovanni Turco, a duo known as Discodromo, initiated the vanguard of Berlin’s queer, sex-positive club nights and helped shape the city’s audacious anything-goes ethos. Earlier this month, what was a multi-year run of open-minded community and libidinous dancefloors in their home Griessmuehle came to a close–but, of course, not without a proper bacchanalian going-away bash. Now, the crew is searching for another location, something that is more and more difficult as Berlin’s clubbing landscape drastically changes.
The ephemeral, ever-evolving nature of clubbing–from the singular night itself to the party series to its hosting venue–is an inexorable fact that makes the rose-tinted memories made within this culture so powerful. Berlin’s venues, in particular, are notorious for their no photos policy, but sometimes documentation is the only way to properly mourn the bereaved.
What is it to truly live for the moment? And what does this look like? From the hours of 8 to 9 AM on February 3rd, we sent photographer Gil Corujeira into Griessmuehle to take one last, long look back. In the following images, he captured all the post-party detritus and the bittersweet end of an era.
Gil Corujeira is a Portuguese photographer based in Berlin. His work focuses on portraiture, fashion, and sub-culture. Follow him on Instagram @gil_corujeira.
Published February 17, 2020. Words by Whitney Wei, photos by Gil Corujeira.