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Winner of the AIAS Student Research Honor Award.

This research focuses on La Ruta, a spontaneous rave itinerary that took place along the Spanish coast during the 1980s, in the context of a country that was exiting a thirty-six year long fascist dictatorship. Despite pioneering rave culture in Europe and having taken place during a culturally and socially significant time within the Spanish transition to democracy, La Rutahas been relatively unexplored, erased from most rave accounts and banalized locally, only to be remembered through stigmatized narratives of Spanish media. This thesis seeks to defamiliarize the retold narrative of denigration through which La Rutais normally characterized, by resituating it both as one of the precursors and catalysts of the global rave movement of the late 80s and 90s and as an intrinsically transgressive movement in the country’s process of cultural and social democratization.

Building on interpretative frameworks and drawing on Deleuze and Guattari’s Assemblage Theory, I probe La Ruta as an assemblage of drugs, music temples, parking lots, roads, electronic music, DJs, ravers, cars—mounted by a conviction for becoming other and grappling with the past. In most accounts of raves, space is often rendered a listless container of activity, vacant wasteland to be reappropriated, or mere destination at the end of the journey. Alternatively, this account of La Ruta conceives raves, not as sites of autonomous escapism, but rather formatively as sites of hybridization, where space and time were contested, subverted, and reappropriated.

After setting the scenario of the global rave movement and Post-Franco Spain, the following thesis takes the reader on a reenacted route,postulating from oral histories, archival photographs and documentaries, detailing vivid musical experimentations, and above all, reliving the motley transitory moments that brought the journey together. In motion, we follow the collective nomadic ritual of ir de ruta (going on a route) that had recommenced a stationary country and marked a generation.

THERE THERE architecture