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On subject

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Amsterdam’s empty clubs captured

Paradiso, Melkweg, Westerunie, Air, Bitterzoet, Chicago Social Club, Chin Chin, Doka, Radion, Jimmy Woo, Marktkantine, Panama, Club Nyx, Oliva, OT301, Club Church, Radion, Club Lovelee, Radio Radio – these are all venues in Amsterdam whose main function is getting people together. They have never been as deserted as they are now.

From popular hotspots in the city centre to dark basements on the outskirts of town, they all exist thanks to nocturnal gatherings of clubbers. In contrast to empty cafés and restaurants, these clubs feature hardly any tables and chairs and very little decoration. Normally, these spaces are mostly filled with people, like-minded revellers, packed tightly together, enjoying the sound of the music, the rhythm of the beat and dancing until the early hours.

During lockdown, photographer Joram Blomkwist (41) sometimes felt like a dog that couldn’t be walked. “I’ve lived in Amsterdam for 23 years, and there have been times when nightlife was really important for me. And not just for me. Nightlife serves a major social function for many people in the city.”
Blomkwist decided to search out these deserted clubs and capture them in photos. Over the course of three months he visited 19 clubs in Amsterdam with a cart full of photography equipment. He photographed every club from the same angle facing the empty stage, with lighting coming from underneath the camera. The result is a series of portraits showing arguably the most deserted locations of the past year.

This room is curated by:
Joram Blomkwist

Joram Blomkwist (1979) is a photographer from Amsterdam, Netherlands. His father worked as a set dresser for film and television, where Blomkwist spent many times in studios and on film sets. Influenced by this, he attended the Art Direction School. After graduating, Blomkwist assisted national and  international photographers. In those years his interests evolved from advertising photography (from the front) more to portraying the back of our consumption. Blomkwist researches, collects and photographs consumed or destroyed objects and shows the results of human activity.


Soundtrackcity Het huis van Amsterdam met dank aan: Gemeente Amsterdam West