Viewport width =
February 26, 2007 | by  | in Opinion |
Share on FacebookShare on Google+Pin on PinterestTweet about this on Twitter

Wellington’s own Online New-Weekly: neonsleep.com

If you’ve been going to many electro and indie gigs around Wellington, you’ll probably have noticed a shift in the action.

It’s no longer all about the music- it’s about the people that attend. Wellington-based website neonsleep.com has been documenting partiers from various gigs with a prolific “partyphoto” section. As well as advertising gigs, neonsleep’s photographs capture the zeitgeist of the party. And if the photographer is there, the people seem to come.

Welfe, the founder and photographer of neonsleep started the site after a 2005 meeting with Mark, the founder of thecobrasnake.com, who was taking photos at a “rad underground party in a New York loft.”

Welfe realized that no one in Welly was capturing “all the rad people going to these shows…dressing up and going crazy”, so he set up a partyphoto section on his site. He tries to capture the essence or peak of the party (and its “ugly dregs at the end”).

Partyphoto’s aim is about making the experience of a live gig more ‘interactive’ and less focused on the band alone. DJs, band members, prop makers and designers are all involved with “creating new things to do when the sun goes down, (exploding piñatas and giant party explosives occur regularly)” and then taking photos of it.

Critics of the partyphoto section of neonsleep.com point out that it’s photos of the same scenesters posing in crazy outfits every week, and that it’s turning these non-rock stars, non-actors and non-models into celebrities. Maybe it is, but who really cares? Most of the people in the photos are there for the party or music and Welfe only goes to see bands he likes. Some people jump in front of the camera while others run away, but with two million hits per month (that’s 10,000 visits) it’s pretty popular.

But what’s the significance of all this? In media speak, it’s the consumers interacting with the producers of the music via the media – neonsleep – an online new-weekly for Wellington, which re-situates the viewer inside the media, rather than outside it. By advertising bands through photos of their audience, Welfe, while embracing his “inner paparazzi”, is increasing the interactivity between the audience and the band.

Neonsleep.com elevates the band’s status by helping transform their gigs into exciting media-fuelled experiences. Neonsleep believes “when international acts come over they must freak out… cos we tend to outshine the band.” If we were to put even more media studies on you, we could say that neonsleep.com is a po-mo media spectacle, with neonsleep as both the creator and the flaneur on the city streets observing it, an “analytical connoisseur of the urban fabric”. But unlike the theoretical flaneur of Walter Benjamin’s Paris, Welfe gets into it. Hardcore.

Whether or not you believe it’s a good idea to make the audience the stars of the show, at gigs neonsleep’s popularity is very interesting in terms of its new-media implications. Having your photo on “partyphoto” can heighten your level of coolness if that’s something you’re concerned with, although most people we talked to said they used the site to look at their friends and see what went down at the party last night. It’s Wellington – everyone knows everyone anyway – and if you’re a self-respecting Wellingtonian you’ll probably spot acquaintances wasted on the d-floor.

Maybe it is self-indulgent but it’s a sign of the times, and with the way things are heading, more and more people are going to get their 15 gigs of fame.

Share on FacebookShare on Google+Pin on PinterestTweet about this on Twitter

About the Author ()

Comments are closed.

Recent posts

  1. An (im)possible dream: Living Wage for Vic Books
  2. Salient and VUW tussle over Official Information Act requests
  3. One Ocean
  4. Orphanage voluntourism a harmful exercise
  5. Interview with Grayson Gilmour
  6. Political Round Up
  7. A Town Like Alice — Nevil Shute
  8. Presidential Address
  9. Do You Ever Feel Like a Plastic Bag?
  10. Sport
1

Editor's Pick

In Which a Boy Leaves

: - SPONSORED - I’ve always been a fairly lucky kid. I essentially lucked out at birth, being born white, male, heterosexual, to a well off family. My life was never going to be particularly hard. And so my tale begins, with another stroke of sheer luck. After my girlfriend sugge