ICA: Detroit Techno City

A new show in the ICA's Fox Reading Room explores the history of Detroit Techno, a revolutionary movement that brought a new elegance and futurism to club music

Detroit: Techno City, at the Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA), is Britain's first exhibition dedicated to Detroit techno.

Detroit techno stands as one of the seminal movements in electronic music. Emerging from the city's late 1970s discos and radio shows, it brought a newfound elegance and futurism to nightclubs. Although America was slow to embrace the genre, it quickly became popular in Europe, running alongside the emergent rave scene.

The genre was inaugurated by the Belleville Three, a trio of school friends from the eponymous town, some 30 miles outside Detroit. The triad became obsessed with the funk and disco played by local DJs such as Electrifyin' Mojo. Soon DJing themselves under the name Deep Space Soundworks, the Three began to combine Chicago house with the robotic rhythms of Kraftwerk and a Detroit-inspired sense of post-industrialism.

The Belleville Three – Juan Aktins, Derrick May and Kevin Saunderson – gathered momentum throughout the 1980s, coming to define the genre now known as simply techno. By the end of the decade, they had been joined by a second wave of artists such as Jeff Mills, Carl Craig and the British-born Richie Hawtin, each of whom took the sound in a different direction.

Detroit: Techno City is accompanied by a season of online content on NTS Radio, the Dalston-based online station that focuses on musical diversity.