Arnis Balčus. The Scene

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240 pages with 8 page insert, 21×29 cm, 180 photos and more than 30 illustrations
Hardcover with vegan leather, offset printing
ISBN 978-9934-8754-9-6

Compiled and edited by: Arnis Balčus
Design: Alexey Murashko
Photos: Arnis Balčus
Drawings: Dāvis, Kristiāns, Strauta, Vents, Arnis
Printed at: Jelgavas tipogrāfija
Edition: 400
Publisher: Kultkom

Out on 14 February 2024

This book is a visual study and statement about the alternative subculture of young people in Riga, which its author calls a Latvian cultural phenomenon. The Scene is the community that has formed around the concerts held by young alternative music groups, such as Nikotīņi, Pauls Raimonds and ŠŅK in Riga’s alternative music clubs Depo and Republika, sometimes also in the underground venues Lastādija and Ādmiņu 4. Although this community is often referred to as the young punks, many of its participants associate themselves with goths, black metal and hardcore fans, while some want to remain outside categories or free of labels. Attaching such tags is associated with a broader societal vilification they face daily, such as negative comments from passersby about their appearance and clothing style. The Scene reached its peak after the pandemic; more and more music groups emerged and concerts became widely attended. The Scene went from underground to becoming a Latvian cultural phenomenon and grew larger than ever before. At present, one could say that we are a punk powerhouse. The Scene is not just about music, it is a platform for socialisation, creative activities, and some even call it their home. However, behind the impressive makeup and aggressive music, lie the problems of modern youth: the desire forself-affirmation; the search for the meaning of life; identity issues; mental health problems; as well as complex interpersonal relationships, including conflicts, suicide attempts, and violence. The body is the only thing thatthese young people possess and it becomes not only a means of asserting their identity, but also a tool of protest. Alongside music and art, self- harm, tattooing, gender fluidity, sexual self-determination, and antisocial behaviour are forms of resistance against the feeling of inevitability that one cannot change anything in this world.

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