GOTH: romantic darkness

Goth is the most iconic subculture in the world. Public historian Tomas van den Heuvel takes you through two centuries of cultural history full of dramatic, ominous, and morbid manifestations of this dark counterculture.

The imagery and tropes that underpin goth are much more widespread and influential than we realize. Originally a youth culture stemming from 1980s post-punk or new wave music, the very word now conjures up images of dark glamour and strange hauntings, moonlit cemeteries, macabre fashion and bats leaving the bell tower. Gothic is everywhere, ranging from visual arts and design to architecture, literature, film, and video games.

In this lecture, Tomas van den Heuvel gives a working definition of “the gothic”, highlights examples of it in our popular culture, and explores its relationship with society. He argues that the emergence of gothic is closely bound up with the anxieties and realities of modern life. The goth phenomenon raises profound questions about identity, performance, style, and authenticity.

Tomas van den Heuvel, M.A., is a public historian and assistant curator at Design Museum Den Bosch. He studied History at the University of Exeter and Public History at Royal Holloway, University of London. Recently, he co-curated the exhibition GOTH – Designing Darknessabout the history and impact of the goth subculture.

Exhibition Design Museum (Den Bosch)
The exhibition GOTH – Designing Darkness is currently on show at Design Museum Den Bosch, until 18 April 2022.

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