In light of Jenn's Nylon article on Dublin's DIY music scene being on newsstands globally this month, it seems like a good time to catch up on some Dublin-related posts. To start, above is an inspiring short film, Roll Up Your Sleeves: A Documentary About Do-It-Yourself Counterculture.
The 27-minute documentary, created in 2008 by 23-year-old Dubliner and DIY enthusiast Dylan Haskins, discusses DIY ethics in music communities and beyond. This is a particularly timely week to check out the film: Haskins just announced over the weekend that he is running for Irish Parliament; he discusses his involvement in DIY music communities on his campaign website. "We write the future and we should stop telling ourselves that this is all beyond our control," he explains urgently in his campaign video. (Serious DIY politics in action -- hell yeah.)
As for the documentary -- it starts by highlighting non-commercial all-ages spaces in Dublin, like Seomra Spraoi and now-defunct Hideaway House, and then follows Haskins to DIY venues and 'autonomous social spaces' in 13 European countries. (During summer 2007, he was on tour with US folk punk band Ghost Mice while shooting the film.) It's an interesting look into the state of DIY culture in Europe, where squats and social centers are more popular than basements and warehouses.
The trio first drives to Le Fouloir in rural Nantes, France, and then continues on to social spaces and backyards in places like Aalborg, Denmark; Genoa, Italy; Cologne, Germany; and Brighton, England. Interviews reveal the radical roots of these social centers -- in one interview, volunteers at a Braunschweig, Germany space explain their experience squatting in a long-abandoned building, spending 6 years in court, and finally having the government sign the building over to them for 30 years. (For free.)
The film does an excellent job of highlighting the sophisticated politics of DIY music scenes and the ways that DIY participants analyze the culture and societies they exist within. In the film, Haskins interviews Ian MacKaye, The Ex, author Ellen Lupton (who discusses the complications of being "sort of DIY" versus "off the grid"), and others. Lupton explains how the values of DIY surface in other aspects of life, further than just art -- for example, she suggests that the sustainability movement is a DIY movement, because it is all about "taking control over your own consumption and output."
A large part of the documentary is also spent discussing the relationships between political systems and DIY communities. (What happens when the government starts to see a social center as a space that could be more valuble as a commercial asset?) All of this is set to a sing-along punk soundtrack of bands like Lemuria, Defiance Ohio, the Ex, Heathers, and Adebisi Shank.
Roll Up Your Sleeves is a must-see for anyone interested in DIY -- as is Haskin's political campaign website, and his campaign video, posted below. For a physical copy of the film contact email@example.com, but I probably wouldn't expect a response until after the Irish Parliament elections on February 25. If you don't live in Ireland but want to support this campaign, you can donate here.