Electronic Dance Music (EDM) has become a global phenomenon, with its roots tracing back to the techno scene in Detroit and other cities. In recent years, the genre’s origins have been celebrated and preserved through various initiatives and museums, such as the Museum of Modern Electronic Music (MOMEM) in Frankfurt and Exhibit 3000 in Detroit.
MOMEM: The World’s First Museum Celebrating Techno
Opened in 2021, MOMEM is the world’s first museum dedicated to the celebration of techno music. Located in Frankfurt, Germany, the museum gives the genre an official home and showcases its rich history and cultural impact. However, the establishment of MOMEM has sparked some controversy within the techno community.
Exhibit 3000: Preserving Techno’s Detroit Origins
In 2002, Underground Resistance, a Detroit-based music label, opened Exhibit 3000 to prevent the story of techno’s Detroit origins from being lost or erased. The label transformed the building that houses their studio into a rudimentary museum, showcasing the history and influence of techno music in the city. The techno community became fiercely protective when the mayor of Frankfurt claimed that techno had its origin in the city, leading to debates about the genre’s true roots.
Female Pressure: Addressing the Patriarchal Whitewashing of Techno
Female Pressure, a global consortium of women, nonbinary, and trans-electronic-music artists, wrote an open letter condemning what they saw as the patriarchal whitewashing of a genre created by nonwhite and queer artists. This highlights the ongoing struggle for recognition and representation within the electronic music scene, as well as the importance of preserving the genre’s diverse origins.
Techno and Detroit: The Continued Neglect in the U.S.
Despite the growth of the National Endowment for the Arts budget in the U.S. since 2016, it is still dwarfed by the German cultural ministry’s budget of €2.3 billion. This anemic funding of the arts in America means that the institutions memorializing the country’s cultural exports, such as techno music, often look like scale models compared to their European counterparts. This disparity highlights the need for greater support and recognition of the genre’s origins and its pioneers in the United States.