What makes the perfect house party? An excellent DJ? Free flowing tinnies? That conversation you have with a total stranger who you’re not entirely sure was invited in the kitchen at 4am? Or could it be all of the above, and everyone sacking off their phones for a few hours. Instead of ‘gramming every moment, you now have no excuse not to talk to people, and no reason not to show of your very worst dance moves.
This is what Karolina Gilon thinks. The actress and model was tasked by Desperados to come up with an idea for their latest ‘Epic Parties Imagined by You’ (previous bashes have included raves in hot airballons and the world’s deepest dance-floor). She was fed up with people constantly pulling their phones out on the dance floor, so decided to get rid of them entirely. “I’ve been in parties where everyone has just been on their screens” she tells me, “and I thought what if our phones could make a party instead?! I just want to dance, talk with my friends and that’s it.”
To make her idea a reality, Desperados found an abandoned block of flats in the middle of a quiet residential area in Warsaw, Poland, and turned it into the ultimate party location. From the outside the building looks bleak, with bemused locals walking their dogs accompanied by faint music and flashing lights leaking out of the apartment, but inside the flat has been decked out like a more upmarket version of a uni house party. A cosy kitchen has been transformed into a bar, the living room is full of brightly coloured mismatching chairs and the pièce de résistance is the living room, which has been totally transformed into a dance floor.
Attendees are told to relinquish their phones at the entrance; but mobiles aren’t out of the equation all together, as in order to fulfil Karolina’s request to make phones part of the event 2,000 smart phones are stuck to the walls of the main room, creating the largest ever video light show at a party. As local DJs Last Robots spin house tunes the screens illuminate the room in a synchronised, putting on an impressive show that runs through animations that accompany the music. Every half an hour huge confetti cannons go off, blasting the revellers in green and orange ticker tape.
“When you see the crowd and everyone has their phones up, it’s a shame when they don’t dance!” Bert of Last Robots tells me in between sets, “It was fantastic to be a part of a generation that never used their phones, because we had mobile phones but without the cameras. So I remember when people danced without their phones,”
And you do notice the difference. People are happier to head to the dance-floor, less reluctant to go and introduce themselves to strangers and not embarrassed about their hair getting a bit messed up because they’ve been pulling some serious shapes.
Karolina is pleased with the outcome: “When you have a phone it’s like “oh my god sorry I have to record something on my Instagram!” and now I’ve seen that instead people are dancing all the time!”
And she’s right – although you do feel like you’ve regained use of a lost limb when your mobile is returned to you at the end of the night, you find yourself more involved in the party going on around you without it. When I ask Karolin awhat three things make her perfect house party she tells me: “good music, good people and good alcohol”; but maybe it’d be worth adding a fourth: not a phone in sight.