photos: Chris Phillips for Pornceptual
Pornceptual – “That’s a party? With that kinda name? In Berlin? – Oh Gosh!” – I know plenty of people who would already pass just knowing these banal facts; driven by an opinion, formed by nothing more but hearsay. Fetish, leather, sex, queers, techno, darkness; the associations are clear. I, on the other hand, seem to be constantly driven by an insatiable fascination for everything that’s outrageous. So, I went, more spontaneous, than elaborately planned. Well, I got everything mentioned above – yet still, my first Pornceptual was far from what I expected. One night in between naked skin, electronic beats and sexual liberation made me philosophize about what’s queer, what’s compliant and that weird thing called “normal”.
“And what piece of clothing are you gonna take off today?”, the skinny bouncer asked, a crooked smile on his face. His outfit consisted of an old Soviet uniform – without anything down below, of course, just tight leather hot pants. I looked around; the line behind me appeared like a collection of bizarre characters. I already felt very entertained by this; Berlin, just like you’d imagine it. Admittedly, at first I had to realize that I was not truly a newbie to this world. I am queer, I have been to many queer parties – but a party that is this kinky and sex oriented was still on the to-do-list. The facial expression of one of my friends reminded me of how deeply this Berlin party scene has already influenced me. While I was showing a broad smile, her face said something like: “What the fuck am I getting myself into?”
And so we entered, a parallel society, dancing ecstatically in an old factory – that rather smelled like the basement of my high school at times. But that’s what you gotta endure, when you want a rave, I guess. Despite my optimism outside in line, inside the venue my viewing patterns got stressed on a whole other level. The curious characters started taking their clothes off even more: Asses here, breasts there, leather straps, thongs, corsets or even… nothing really. I thought Berghain trained me, yeah, well, it didn’t! Naturally, no one forced me to public nudity, so I kept my clothes on, as did my friends, as did many others; still, I felt like a prude. Like I had my grandma sitting on my shoulder, screaming: “One cannot just do that! Dress yourself!”. And on the other side it’s the new Berlin me, nonconformist, agitatedly yelling: “Why? Who says so!? And who the fuck is this strange one anyways?”
Deeper and deeper I got into this world where our social rules and norms on sex, fashion, and conduct seemed to be turned upside down. And as time moved on, the banality of naked bodies became embarrassingly clear to me. There was nothing more to it than my eyes being inexperienced in seeing what they saw. Yes, the crowd was weird, queer, naked, but gloomy? Or even sketchy? No one stared at me, annoyed me, or just grabbed me – I was surrounded by an overall feeling of relaxation. Do whatever you wanna do, just let everyone else do the fucking same! Did I really want to get all the full-frontals I got that night? – No. Did I have to see three guys sucking each other off next to me on the dance floor? – Not really! Did I really have to look, or did they restrict me in my deep-house-seesawing? Not in any way! I just kept on dancing. And, of course, I ended up taking my shirt off, due to a mix of freeing myself from clothing conventions, adapting to the new society around me and somehow trying to deal with the insane sauna-like temperature on the main dance floor. In the beginning my friends were oh so determined to keep their clothes on (“I’m really not in shape!”) – but they fell like dominoes. Because, let’s face it, when you sweat and dance clothes are freaking annoying. That’s just a fact!
When the sun began to rise all the glory slowly started to fade. The light shone mercilessly through the rare windows of the venue. The mysterious naked bodies suddenly appeared limy and all I saw was floppy, white wieners. In order to not destroy my memories, I left. When I walked outside, I felt free, asking myself why it is so hard for so many people to understand and accept this kind of freedom. It all seemed so easy. But, I mean, how do I talk about this night without everyone directly thinking that I am losing myself in bizarre bunker-sex-gatherings? This is really not an experience easily shared – but I mean they need to know. This is the way to go!
The TV tower stood against the morning light, cars rushed by – an odd scenery, way too real. On my way to the subway, the first pedestrians came my way, tucked in coats and long pants. I chuckled – Ok, this sexual revolution definitely has a long way to go and most likely a pansexual-porn-rave is not everyone’s way to get there. I was pretty much predestined to find my own personal freedom in this kind of night out. Will I come back? – Yes! Will I take my shirt off right from the start? – Definitely! Will I switch from pants to shorts? – Most likely! Will I get fully naked though? – Kind of doubt it. There still seems to be that grandma sitting on my shoulder at times, screaming: “What will the neighbors say?” But let’s all take this revolution one step at a time and fight that inner granny garment by garment.
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The next Pornceptual party takes place on July 30th and it’s the third anniversary edition!
Text: Andy, photos: Chris Phillips
Andy D. studies communication and film studies at the Freie Universität. He is a classic Neuberliner: born close to Düsseldorf he got drawn to this crazy city like a moth to the flame. He is a part-time music maniac, wannabe film expert and aspiring writer, always eager to find new stories in this inspiring whirlwind of a city.