Spain’s lost generation of young women partying like there’s no tomorrow

Reading Time: 6 minutes
Image © Bree Zucker
Image © Bree Zucker

That sense of nihilism is part of the story and is visible in other images; a bruised thigh, a vomit-filled sink and a portrait of a crucifix-wearing girl slit six times with a knife. These elements of darkness connect to the conditions in Madrid. “Because of the economic crisis, people gather in the city so it’s like the plague years, like a city under siege. But when they get to the city, there’s nothing there for them so it’s like a big gathering where people just go out and party. It’s a kind of Bacchanalia, a form of hysteria that is filled with love and darkness. It’s a search for beauty and freedom in a world that lacks that at times.”

Many of the pictures were taken at night. One shows Boli lying on the roof of a car. To one side stand two men, one looking directly at Bree, the other giving her a sidelong glance; there’s a mixture of bewilderment and aggression in these looks. These are men watching a woman performing for an audience knowing they are not that audience. The men want their worlds to meet but it’s never going to happen.

This culture clash of expectations is not accidental. “I like the collision between the different worlds of day and night, between the city and these liminal places,” says Zucker. But the collision is also between different generations, different genders, different values. At times, it is only hinted at but it is still there. As with the gazing men, there is a subtext of violence ready to explode, a part of a wild collective unconscious Zucker wants us to feel gathering in her night time world.

“This world is both marginalised and mainstream. Is being gay mainstream anymore? Because it’s been talked about so much it has been pushed back even further in a way. There’s a secret unwritten history of Spanish youth that is part of the Spanish unconscious. This is the history of the repressed desires that breed below the surface, the layers of the social unconscious. It’s a social history but also a psychological history.”

First published in the November 2013 issue. You can buy the issue here.