MONØkult Submission: Clément Douillet

“Dreams of Mutation” from Grenoble, France

Mar 15 · 3 min read

About the Project

Psychedelic trance, or psytrance, is an electronic music scene born in the ’80s and now established as an “alternative” Western culture. Sometimes described as a “neo-hippie” movement, this scene also has been influenced by western’s underground genres (rave, punk, heavy metal, etc.) and by the mainstream occidental culture of the late 20th century.

This movement’s expression seems to be revealing hopes of transition, both societal and personal. The psytrance community promotes “spiritual transformation.” The “psychedelic experience” is praised for its transformative power; experimented at festivals or parties; facilitated by drug use or social rituals.

Echoing this “search for spiritual transformation,” many imaginary universes have blossomed in psytrance: extraterrestrial, post-apocalyptic, tribal worlds. This “spiritualization” attempt is also obvious in the use of many religious, sacred or philosophical symbols from different worships and cultures.

For example the sacred “Om” symbol of Hinduism, representations of Buddha or Indian Deities, the Jewish Tree of Life, the Chinese Yin-yang, etc. One other clear expression of this research for spirituality is the stereotyped appropriation of Native American cultural patrimony, which is often visible in festivals cliché costumes, dream-catchers, “Indian” face paintings, etc.

As an explanation behind this cultural pastiche is the fantasized “spiritual purity” that Native American cultures embody in the view of many western cultures.

These references to spirituality and this quest for transformation appear to reflect the modern crisis of Western societies: psytrance expresses the need for redefining our identity — by referring to spiritual symbols, by revering fantasized societies, and by employing art, drugs, self-transformation — this scene communicates global dreams of mutation.

All images by Clément Douillet.

About the Artist

Clément Douillet (France, b. 1993) acts as a self-taught photographer to produce research-led projects inspired by human’s reliance on nature. His emerging work explores various issues, such as human sensitivity, domestication, subcultures, tourism, and others.

Website:, Instagram: clementdouillet_

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MONØMANIA is a way of life; we’re a subculture of a subculture. Our «kult» section explores monochrome photography as a lifestyle and as a part of the creative universe since time immemorial. We publish exclusive artist interviews, in-depth photo stories, and special contributions & submissions from black & white lovers alike.

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