Shifting Basslines

Please scroll down to find all episodes (release date: June 4)

Shifting Basslines is dedicated to creating awareness, sharing knowledge, and diving into the complex relationship between the planet and raving. It is an ongoing multidirectional and collaborative project developed and created by researcher and curator Kerstin Meißner during her research fellowship at the Research Institute for Sustainability - Helmholtz Centre Potsdam. It aims at initiating change, aka shift basslines, through storytelling, dialogue, and other creative outlets. The project centres on a podcast series that covers the following topics: spaces and mobility (Grounded Travel On Space Ways", episode #1 curated and narrated by Nono Gigsta); data and digitalisation (Clouds Are More Than Water, episode #2 curated and narrated by Sarj Lynch) and bodies and emotions (Dance Floors As Portals, episode #3 curated and narrated by Camille Sapara Barton). In an additional episode (We Can Not Do It Alone), Kerstin is interviewed by feminist researcher Cara New Dagett and shares some thoughts on her motivation, the purpose, and ideas behind Shifting Basslines. 

Why connect rave culture and sustainability? 

By understanding rave culture as a complex ecosystem the project takes a holistic approach to initiating change. In tending to our emotions, letting ourselves feel, learning about different ways of doing things (e.g. slow gigging and grounded travel), and understanding the patterns of our behaviour (do we really need to upload every DJ set?), Shifting Basslines focuses not solely on counting emissions. The project wants to offer an additional perspective to the current understanding of climate change. Don´t get us wrong: reducing emissions on both, big and small scales, is inevitable to stop global warming. And we all have a role to play in this: we need to change our lifestyles, our consumption, our ways of being with the planet and each other. We need to resist our compulsive desire for more and cultivate generative ways of living. Dance floors can be powerful spaces for this - to connect with ourselves and others in ways that society doesn't leave much space for elsewhere. It is through our bodies - movement, sweat, sonic frequencies - that we can allow ourselves to feel and transform. 

The podcast as a journey - from outside in In each podcast episode, we will follow the - literal or imaginary - journey of one curator into the different angles of sustainability within club culture. Transdisciplinarity (working across academia and so-called civil society) and transformation are the guiding principles of this research project. Understanding and creating structural change requires those who are connected to local communities and who practice the knowledge they share. Grounded in collaboration, both in theory and practice, this project would not have been possible without the contributions of all involved: Nono Gigsta, Sarj, and Camille, who created powerful storylines by diving deep into the complexities of rave culture through spaces and travel, digitalisation, and our bodily sensations. Opashona Ghosh, who created beautiful visual artworks that remind us of the optical illusions of magic eye publications: guiding us beyond the surface and inviting us to see more each time we are looking. Yuliia Vlaskina, whose sound design evokes the ephemeral yet tangible reality of a sounding world in flux. Saverio Cantoni, who supported the project with creating access as an ongoing practice. Sarah Farina, who guided the editing with a lot of care and highlighted each of the narratives' uniquenesses.

Transparency note from Kerstin Meissner “I tried to produce this podcast with a net positive focus, limiting emissions as much as possible while generating valuable insights and ideas. Still, our work modes included the recordings of each episode, the use of digital apps, numerous emails, cloud storage, some video calls, and (grounded) travels and physical meetings that caused CO² emissions. These emissions have been compensated through Atmosfair. Although compensation is controversial, after consulting some colleagues who are more experienced than me, I decided this is a minimal effort for me and might help decarbonise the planet, even if just a little. 

Other resources needed and used during the making of this project include but are not limited to: personal time and energy, the regulation of emotions, and the challenge to navigate a project on sustainability (and ultimately climate and social justice) while witnessing the accelerated heating of the planet, acknowledging the violent histories of nation-states, militarisation, and humanitarian catastrophes that cause acute and transgenerational trauma globally. This includes but is in no way limited to the suffering in Congo, Sudan, Eritrea, Ukraine, and Israel/Palestine, as well as increasing restrictions on expression of criticism of Israel’s warfare in Gaza, it’s settler colonialism in the West Bank and solidarity with Palestine in the German cultural, public, and academic landscape. As a curator, I tried to handle these complexities with care, illuminating my own shortcomings and biases, while acknowledging the limitations of this project at the same time. 

Our work is constant, ever-evolving, and rooted in liberation and the stubborn vision of a livable planet and future for all. We believe in the connection of all humans and more-than-humans. Sustainability is climate justice is social justice. No life is disposable.

We hope you feel inspired while listening. Thinking about the impact of human behaviour on the planet can be tough. Please be gentle with yourself when engaging with the content we are sharing with you. Take breaks when needed, play your favourite record, or drink some water. If you have any questions or would like to contribute to this process, please reach out to We welcome feedback on this project and learn from you! All transcripts are linked in the respective episodes.”


Shifting Basslines was supported by the Fellowship Programme of the Research Institute for Sustainability - Helmholtz Centre Potsdam. Special thanks to Achim Maas and Judith von Pogrell for their support. 

Editor's Notes "We Can Not Do It Alone"

General Resources (find more links in each episode):