Contributors Editor Fatima Banglawala Sub-Editor Leyla Rose Creative/Art Director Ana-Beatriz Hoyos Multimedia Editor Sophie Turner Contact email@example.com www.afterdarkmag.wordpress.com Advertising For advertising enquiries, email firstname.lastname@example.org Distribution and Stockists If you are interested in selling After Dark email us at email@example.com Graphic Designers Raeesah Patel Back Cover Poem T.S Eliot The Hollow Men After Dark, issue 01 ISSN Published in December 2016
CONTENTS 07 Tristan Und Isolde Fatima Banglawala
09 Latex Sophie Turner
13 Explore Ana Hoyos
15 Bound Fatima Banglawala
21 Passerini Sophie Turner
27 Restaurant Leyla Rose
33 31 Flesh A woman scorned Fatima Banglawala Fatima Banglawala 47 Around the world Leyla Rose
51 Infamous five Sophie Turner 55 The Krampus Leyla Rose
39 Polo D Ana Hoyos 53 La Pianiste Ana Hoyos
There is a certain modern nostalgia in new ventures. It is as though the outcome is transparent, yet there is an obstacle obscuring the outcome. The tease of risk tickles every fragment of the pursuit, yet there is a delirium of triumph that echoes. There is a great amount of knowing, yet a tremor of unknowing. A monsoon of success, yet a glint of failure. Even still, a blanket of prudence coats every new venture. There is a warning to be cautious, to be aware, but isn’t there something so very erotic about the notion of peril? Isn’t there something so very articulated about the proposition of chaos? Isn’t there something so carnal about the suspense? It is amongst this wave of nostalgia that After Dark was created. The origins of this creation were freight and wary, but the passion has been strong since conception. The first issue of After Dark is timely – December, the time of the year when former events become antiquated, and there is a silent resolution for an avant-garde approach for the upcoming new year. Every piece in this issue is a tranquil nod to new beginnings. I delved into the perplexing underground world of Japanese Rope Bondage and discovered the complex art that is Shibari/Kinbaku. How one can be so unaware of the concealed world we live in! But all is bared in this interview with the majestic founder of Japanese Rope Bondage night, BOUND. In a zeitgeist where this performance art is being permeated into the mainstream culture, we took advantage of the atypically candid sphere. Beach Blanket Babylon is not a restaurant you may be accustomed to. It is an invitation to a sensory dining journey, resting amidst the gentrificated area of Shoreditch. Our equally exotic Leyla Rose treasured the sensuality of its unique ambience as she indulged in their hallmark dishes such as king prawns with autumn slaw. Perhaps it may be a quintessentially tropical Christmas after all. As we head towards the profound prospect of prosperity, photographer Polo D heads towards the same. With his work soaring to popularity throughout social media, he has featured in exhibitions such as Thessaloniki 2016 (Greece), featured in luxury magazines such as Vogue Italia, and has even been entered for the prestigious photography award – the Lensculture exposure award 2017. In a world where mundanity is the only constant in life, After Dark is an assurance to the titillating world of stimulating intrepids who seek the unknown. We are the darkness that guides you through the light. “Between the motion and the act, Falls the shadow.”
Tristan Und Isolde
A death in romance, a romance in death Text by Fatima Banglawala Tristan Und Isolde opens the season at The Metropolitan Opera, New York in a new production by Mariusz Trelinski (director of Iolanta and Bluebeards castle). A closer look is taken at the morbidity that surrounds the haunted revolution that the Opera remains to this very day. The influence of Richard Wagner’s Tristan on the Operatic society is prodigious to this very day. Since its Munich premiere in June 1865, it is arguably the pinnacle of 20th century classical music. Many claim the Opera formed the groundwork to move away from common practice harmony. Whatever the opinion, there is one fact that rings sincerely – the influence of Tristan on the Operatic society is prodigious to this very day. How did this masterpiece conjure such influence? How did it command such attention? How did it translate into the society we reside in today? The answer is clear – it is the story of lovers, and there will never be a society where this concept becomes obsolete. Based largely on Gottfried von Strassberg’s romance, the story is of a thwarted love – an archaic obstacle of Isolde’s promised marriage to King Marke. The sole means in order for them to unite? Death. It’s this very prerequisite of despair and desolation that narrates the harrowing tale of Tristan Und Isolde. The value love was impressive in the eyes of Richard Wagner. Tristan itself was composed under strain on this very region of his life. This strain is continuously reflected throughout his Opera. Wagner had fled Dresden due to a warrant of arrest issued in his name after his participation in the Revolutions of 1848, leaving behind his troubled marriage of 30 years with actress, Minna Planer. When in Munich, he began an affair with the wife of a wealthy Joseph Albert - Ludwig und Malwine Schnorr von Carolsfeld - Tristan und Isolde, 1865f.
silk trader, Mathilde Wesendonck – the muse of his Opera. He was an amorous lover – this much is clear, yet his Opera is inflicted with pain and longing. This is discernable throughout the prelude of Tristan. The harmonic suspension of the nonchord creates a tension that requires a release – thus, radiating an unadulterated desire in the most ominous fashion. Perhaps it was the stagnant atmosphere of 1857-1859 that compelled Wagner to compose the melancholic Tristan. It was an era where Arthur Schopenhauer’s pessimistic philosophy of love was at large. Unlike Richard Wagner, success with women eluded Schopenhauer. Despite his perception of ‘love’ as concept that was anything but trivial, he denied that it brought happiness. Instead, he argued that it was a concept conjured by society in order to capitulate the subconscious biological need to reproduce. He called it - ‘The Will to Life.’ It was Wagner’s infatuation with the cynical views of Schopenhauer that inspired the conception of Tristan. He personifies his relationship with the concept of romance with an unfinished sequence of cadences. The anticipated climax of these unfinished sequence of cadences is eventually granted in the ultimate ‘Liebestod’, coinciding with the devastating death of Isolde. Tristan is death in the form of romance, and a romance in the form of death. Wagner himself had foreseen Tristan. In a letter to Franz Liszt (16 December, 1854) he wrote: “I have devised in my mind a Tristan und Isolde, the simplest, yet most full-blooded musical conception imaginable, and with the ‘black flag’ that waves at the end I shall cover myself over – to die.”
Latex The new leather? Text by Sophie Turner An obscure concept that was once lost in the crowds of the fetish underground, now resuscitated by contemporary fashion
Latex is known as a ‘second skin’ with its thin layers. For many years it has been associated with fetish and BDSM clothing. But now in 2016, it has taken on a new role as it has been seen on many celebrities at events and shows during the past year. This includes the likes of Beyonce, Rita Ora, Katy Perry and of course the infamous Kardashian/Jenner family. As it is seeping into the mainstream, online brands such as Asos and House of CB have been selling collections containing latex and latex brands have started to release pieces that are more likely to be worn to a bar, rather than at a fetish club. Latex first moved into the fashion industry at the beginning of the 1900s. It was used for corsets and was widely advertised. In the 1960s, it started to make its name within the BDSM community with much discretion. The 1970s saw the first real break into high fashion appearing in Vivienne Westwood catwalk shows. This led to more widely available latex clothing. In the next couple of decades latex clothing became a lot more popular but still had a heavy influence on fetish activities. British latex designers Dix and Leafie McKinney started their business back in 2010 and has been hugely successful. We spoke
to Leafie about how their business has developed over the years: “We find inspiration from a wide range of places, I love vintage designs and Hollywood glamour of the 30s so I go for frills and patterns. Dix loves horror films and steampunk so his ideas are more technical and utilitarian. Generally though our customers are female and a lot models who want pieces for photoshoots or events. They started Fetasia Latex in October 2010. Leafie was petite and she found that a lot of the latex available didn’t fit her. “We started making a few pieces for myself, Dix’s technical background meant that he is very precise when making it so we got a good name for ourselves for our high standards. We began to get orders and we expanded from there.” The growing trend in the latex fashion industry is a double edged sword. It means there is more competition which is exciting as they come up with new designs constantly. However they consider latex on the high street as quite bland in design and very high priced in comparison to what they make customised to fit perfectly. Leafie spoke about the downsides of high street latex. “Latex takes a lot of looking after, it will last years if you care properly for it, but I haven’t seen high
streets or magazines pointing this out, so people who are new to latex may be put off by this lack of prior knowledge if they get stuck in a piece or stain it because they are wearing perfume for example”. Many brands are now starting to adapt to make latex more appealing to a wider audience. There has been a high demand in affordable, wearable latex garments. Latex designer House of Harlot is one of those brands. House of Harlot have seen their pieces in publications such as Vogue Italia and Playboy magazine. The current head of brand Iris Trika told us a little about her upcoming collection that is made for mainstream fashion: “I am having a fashion show this month launching a new easy to wear, lower price simple mini-dresses line. I am doing it mainly as it suits better to the mainstream fashion. Non fetishists do not go for complicated stuff.” Other brands such as Atsuko Kudo and William Wilde are making a name for themselves in the Latex clothing industry, dressing some of the biggest names in the industry. Lady GaGa wore latex to meet the Queen and Anne Hathaway told Allure magazine in 2012. “The suit, thoughts of my suit… It dominated my year,” in regards to her Catwoman role in the Batman
blockbuster. This is not the first time that bedroom garments have made a break into mainstream clothing. Underwear as outerwear was another trend making its way into the fashion world a few years back and is still going strong now. Who knows what is in store for the future of latex in years to come. It may not be for everybody but latex is slowly dominating the fashion world as we know it. Latex is a very delicate material that needs to be worn with caution. Here is a guide on how to best care for your latex items: •
• • •
• • •
Always use your full hand when placing on latex. Using only the fingers can leave permanent marks Be aware of any jewellery, watches and/or sharp nails as it may tear the material. Never pull on the latex, approach gently Using talcum powder, silicone based gel and lubricant can help to get the latex onto the body Always wash latex after use Latex can stain from the use of perfume or aftershave Approach with caution as some people can be allergic to latex
London esoterically Text by Ana Hoyos
The New Design Museum W8 6AG With the architectural grace and talent of John Pawson behind the design, the establishment leaves those who walk through its doors inspired. Showcasing the brilliant works of designers like Alvar Alto, Christian Louboutin and Marcel Breuer, the museum’s new venue and location maintain its esteemed title as the world’s leading museum devoted to contemporary design in every form, from architecture and fashion to graphics, product and industrial design. Sunbury Antiques Market TW16 5AQ The Sunbury Antiques Market at Kempton Park offers a distinct experience and a vast selection of rare and exclusive antique pieces with over 700 indoor and outdoor stalls. Considered one of Europe’s most premier antique markets, traders from all around Europe come together every second and last Tuesday of the month to sell antique furniture, household objects, taxidermy, fashion accessories and even plants and outdoor furnishings.
riosities and oddities. On the top floor lies Sloane’s room he shared with his wife which he designed to resemble a shrine. All the rooms below the bedroom he filled with objects that amused his bizarre, obsessive, almost morbid yet undoubtedly creative tastes. London’s underground sewer tours Tour begins at Abbey Mills If you are looking to explore the city’s hidden charms in an unconventional way- London’s underground sewer tours provide a perfect mid- week adventure for urban explorers who wish to experience the Victorian era’s astonishing ‘cathedrals’. The tours may not charm everyone-as it does require a fair amount of physical effort in tight, dark spaces- but many who have completed the tours have believed it to be ‘’thrilling’’ and come out with a better understanding of the thought and skill put into the underground sewage system by the Victorians.
The Black Friar Pub EC4V 4EG What better way to end the week than with a drink at one of LonSir John Sloane Museum don’s most famous art nouveau WC2A 3BP buildings, the Black Friar Pub. Kept intact since the death of Built in 1875, the wedge-shaped architect Sir John Sloane the building is ornate with mosaics, museum offers visitors a look into decorative balconies and black the private life and his eccentric friar sculptures. Offering not only passion for peculiar antiquities, its beautiful historic interiors and a furniture, paintings and sculptures. large outdoor area that will be sure Located in Lincoln’s Inn Fields, the to entertain as you wait for the house from the outside suggests tube right across the road, the pub a more reserved interior but once also has an endless selection of fine inside, it is filled with infinite cuales that are reasonably priced. New Design Museum, Photographs by Helene Binet
BOUND The secret life of Shibari uncovered Text by Fatima Banglawala A shrouded world of exhibitionist dexterity is finally unveiled. BOUND shares its complex outlook on the art of Japanese Rope Bondage
Photo Credit: Bound UK
It is not an unknown fact that Japanese culture has been influential to the Western world in many ways. They have provided us with sushi, origami and sake – but more importantly, the art of rope bondage. Originating from the country’s martial art of Hojōjutsu, the fundamental skill of tying a knot has evolved into an erotic performance technique – Shibari. Although it was founded simply as a decorative symbol of power, but after emerging into Western terminology in the 1990’s, it is a term associated to both sensuality and sexuality. There is an emphasis on the importance of arousal in the power it provides. Today, it provides a foundation for the Western BDSM scene. Bound UK is an organisation that honours the origins of the performance art. They focus on connection between the model and the Nawashi (rope master). Highlighting the history between Shibari and martial arts, Bound believe it is a skill that brings self-discipline, efficiency, effectiveness, confidence and a sense of self-awareness. Fluent in the language of rope, Bruce Esinem - founder of Bound UK - discovered the exhilarating talent of Shibari whilst travelling Japan. He became determined to expose this underground world to the UK – hence, Bound was formed. Since 2012, it has remained a revolution for the performance art nightlife in the UK. The inspiration behind its detailed construction was taken
Photo Credit: Bound UK
from another major event Bruce used to run – the London festival of the Japanese art of rope bondage. “It was an annual event, and the first of its kind in the UK. It materialised the foundation for BOUND – the same idea, but on smaller scale and a far more regular basis.” As many entities are in life, BOUND was a concept that experienced much revision.Where once, in the origins of BOUND UK, Bruce governed the organisation independently, now he manages it with his partner, Nina Russ. Bruce credits her uniquely creative vision for fusing the establishments vision with her own unique innovation. “Since she [Nina] infiltrated the process, she has really taken it by the horns. Previous to her arrival, it was more of a disorganised open mic night than anything, but she has helped transform it into something that is much more professional.” They now boast the top performers from across the globe at their events – Romania, France, Canada – a variety of acclaimed artists from a variety of countries. But despite their unique vision, Bound reflects a world that is still associated to the BDSM community. Despite the history between both cultures being perpetual, Bound refuses to endorse the concept. Shibari may have developed within the bounds and confines of the Japanese underground culture – but Bound wants to unfetter these confines. It was performed in strip clubs as an adult cabaret type of event, but now
it has gained respectability as a cutting edge performance art – and that is a vision that both Bruce Esinem and BOUND want to promote. “Why bury such a thrilling piece of art in the fetish underground?” Bruce says. His stance on the controversy is clear – Bound own a perspective that is not of a pornographic nature in any way. It is identical to that of nudity in fine art. Their aim is to exhibit tasteful shows of a high quality, to a crowd of like-minded people who are able to remove it from the ‘fetish’ subheading. The world of Japanese Rope bondage may still be foreign to those who don’t spend time in the underground nightlife of London, but in its art form, it is a concept that is becoming increasingly conventional. The permeation of this art into mainstream culture has already commenced – certainly since the influence of Bound. It has appeared in almost seven music videos – the most notable so far being Primal Scream, 2013. Nina Russ performed and modelled, and Bruce did the rope work. It has even been adopted by the fashion industry with designers such as Tom Ford using it as part of their adverts and editorials. Recently, they did a 14-page spread with the infamous Ian Marcus for LOVE magazine. Nevertheless, Bruce’s true ardour lies in his online Shibari tutorials. It was established 18 months ago, with the intention to provide the highest quality of learning for his students – regardless of their location.
Bruce originally produced a DVD for Shibari tutorials some years back – the first of its kind in English. But it was due to the consistent questions asked by students that inspired the solution of online tutorials. “Deciding to transfer online is the best decision I have made ever. We now have the flexibility to include a lot more things – the option to include text and be more interactive with the audience using question and answer sessions. Students may send their suggestions for the next video, and the ease of access makes the learning experience far more rewarding.” BOUND’s teaching style used to be in a recipe manner in the past, but since then Bruce has come to a conclusion. “I realised that Shibari is not just about putting a tie on somebody, it is about how you put that tie on, and the feeling it generates. In the same way that dancing with someone can be completely different depending on the way it is done and the flavour it is done with.” He compares it with the art of Argentinian Tango. A master of dance may perform in a mechanical manner, yet someone who may not be performing the steps accurately will exude a raw passion that is much more entrancing to watch. And that is what Japanese rope bondage is about. That is how it should be done. Rather than simply putting a pretty pattern on people, at Bound, you are taught to do it with raw precision and passion combined.
Photo Credit: Bound UK
PASSERINI Harbour House, London, SW10 0XF Passerini.com A European luxury interior retailer fusing contemporary fashion with traditional class
Overland Sofa: Brand: Capital A favourite is this piece by the infamous Italian brand. Couture to traditional perfection, this is a sofa that can mould any house into a home. The low backrest and inviting length provides a place to relax and sense of comfort. The hardwood frame assures that it follows contemporary trends, but there is a choice of cotton velvets and nubuck leathers that allow you to customise it to tradition.
Photo Credit: Passerini.com
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Marlon Desk: Brand: Galimberti Nino Created by brand Galimberti Nino, the Marlon desk stays true to the brandâ€™s philosophy â€“ creating styles based on the history. This desk has four classic kidney shaped drawers. Choose from two types of wood finish based on your personal preference. Ash wood or Santos Rosewood. Where the Ash wood is trendier, the Rosewood provides a touch of tradition. Customise to your liking with a choice of handles and leather. 33
Photo Credit: Passerini.com
White Fox Throw: Brand: Norki In perfect alignment with the winter season that approaches. This luxurious blanket of white fox fur yells outlandish decadence in an understated way. The designer throw may have been made in France, but the fox fur is prime from Finland. With a cashmere lining that leaves no room for the outside cold.
Photo Credit: Passerini.com
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Argent Suspension: Brand: Terzani
Klose Armchair: Brand: CAPITAL
Deriving from the French term for ‘coins’, the Terzani Argent Suspension is a cluster of silver metal discs. It is made with the intention to evoke bedazzlement for its viewer. The Florence-based brand tries to reflect the glitz and glamour of the Florentine culture. The Argent suspension performs impeccably, and with linear sizes available in Small, Medium and Large, you can choose to be mesmerised to whichever degree you fancy.
A statement armchair is a necessity for any home – and this classic upholstered Klose armchair will turn any living room or home office into the perfect solitude. With its hardwood frame and wooden legs, it is a traditional piece. Tailor it to perfection with a selection of velvets and fine leather available to play with. There is a choice of finishes for each metal part and the legs of the chair – choose from black or bronze lacquer.
Photo Credit: Passerini.com
Photo Credit: Passerini.com
BEACH BLANKET BABYLON
Beach Blanket Babylon Quintissentially British Text by Leyla Rose
Since opening more than 10 years ago, Beach Blanket Babylon has quickly become one of the swankiest places to eat in Shoreditch. Its impeccably high quality menu – from mussels with white wine and cream to lamb rump with tabbouleh and smoked aubergine – and the impressive venue has proven just how popular it is. We caught up with Tomer Amar, general manager of the Beach Blanket Babylon in the hip area of Shoreditch. The original Beach Blanket Babylon opened more than 20 years ago in Notting Hill. Throughout the 90s, it was the place to be and today, it still is. The success of the first restaurant led to another branch opening in Shoreditch. This artsy, trendy neighbourhood is an up and coming spot in London’s food scene, and it comes as no surprise that Beach Blanket Babylon is doing so well, with last year seeing them become winner of the Diners’ Choice Award 2015. Born to Moroccan and Libyan parents, Tomer grew up in Israel. Being brought up in a multicultural household certainly had an impact on his love for food and especially with North African heritage, food is a large part of his culture. Friday night dinners meant various tasty dishes spread across the table. When asked where his passion started, he explains his close relationship with his mother, where a lot of time spent with her was in the kitchen, learning the craft. With plenty of red velvet, this place charms customers with its trademark style of French bohemian decadence. With a champagne
lounge and club downstairs which is packed on the weekend, you might just find yourself brushing shoulders with artists and local celebrities. The cocktails at Beach Blanket Babylon are well known for being the best in the area. The charmingly named drinks, such as the ‘Babylon Cooler’, ‘Ginger Spice’ and ‘Hanging Gardens of…’ boast an interesting mix of ingredients. A popular choice with customers is the wonderfully exotic ‘A Walk in Shoreditch’. The sweet flavour of Amaretto mixed with dashes of dark rum mingle nicely with coconut and passion fruit juice, bringing you a taste of the tropics topped with a hint of fresh lime and pineapple. Although famous for its cocktails, the food at Beach Blanket Babylon doesn’t disappoint. The globe-trotting menu features an array of British brasserie classics. Described as British food with a twist, the menu boasts seasonal dishes such as goats cheese and pumpkin tart, sea bass with king prawns and autumn slaw, and cured beef fillet with horseradish, watercress and chestnuts. Tomer describes how they put a strong emphasis on using local ingredients sourced from local markets. Comprising of four floors and a roof garden, this chic dining space is sure to charm you with its, exposed brickwork, bold artwork, cosmopolitan cocktails and delectable dishes. 19-23 Bethnal Green Road, E1 6LA
40 Photo Credit: Beach Blanket Babylon
A Woman Scorned “Another beer?” the bartender asks, I nod my liquor-intoxicated head, His curly locks remind me of the body in my trunk and A giggle escapes my lips Lips that he was touching only hours ago. I run red painted fingernails through my crimson hair Where he was running his hands not even a few hours ago. The burning liquid runs down my throat The throat he was kissing just a couple of hours ago. Such a waste of a fine man, I sigh, But he deserves it! I only asked for one thing, After giving him everything! But he refused, Said he wouldn’t sacrifice his marriage Yet he didn’t care just a few hours before Didn’t care when he spent endless nights with me, But I cared. I cared. I cared. More than he did. I belonged to someone Who belonged to everyone, Who couldn’t return my love And that was his sin. A sin he is now paying for. Fatima Banglawala Illustration Credit: Raeesah Patel
An idosyncratic outlook on the human body Review by Fatima Banglawala
Flesh is a genius curation; an exhibition unlike others of its kind, it narrates a profound tale of the representation of flesh. The divergence in scopes of each and every artists’ oeuvre is incredible. There is 17th century Dutch Golden age work such as Samson and Delilah (1609-1610) by Pieter Soutman, yet its neighbour will be a contemporary piece such as Driving the blind (2014) by Rachel Kneebone. The exhibition is thorough with its theme of juxtapositions. Lynda Benglis’s Vittorio (1979) is also featured, and despite its hard exterior created with gesso, plaster, cotton, gold leaf and chicken wire, it is reminiscent of flesh – soft and vulnerable. Laura Turner, Senior Curator of Art at York Art Gallery and cocurator of Flesh – a collaboration with Dr Jo Applin from the University of York – emphasised the importance of the exhibitions
distinct mannerisms. “Flesh is not just about the nude female form, as many people may assume from its name. It is something that is animate, yet inanimate. Something that is bodily, yet animal. Something figurative, yet abstract.” Like every exhibition before it, like every exhibition after it – Flesh is an exposition of current issues in society. The zeitgeists controversy surrounding the human body is an apparent concern that is investigated by Flesh, but there is also a particular prominence on the treatment of animals. Berlinde De Bruyckere’s Mu Deer (2011) sculpt is evocative of this topic. It is a moving exhibit, the magnificence of the deer’s carcass is emanated greatly, yet there is something very startling resonated in its presence. The vulnerability and anguish of the animal is reflectively raw – reflectively as raw as flesh. Perhaps from an
34 Photo Credit: York Art Gallery
Photo Credit: York Art Gallery
utterly different century – The 15th century Baroque period to be exact – Frans Snyders ‘A Game Stall’ (1618) is parallel to the same speculations. “I think it is interesting to see how people react to work that is so exceptionally raw. It is almost impossible for every respective piece in this exhibition to fail to evoke emotion, and that is due to its authentic depiction of life. Take the Still Life piece by Sam Taylor-Johnson, for example. Her gruesome depiction of the death of a hare is equivalent to a horror film – but that is life. We die, and we decompose. It is about the human condition, if anything, and that is the overarching theme of Flesh.” A frontrunner of the exhibition is Ron Mueck’s ‘Youth’ (2009). The hyperrealistic sculpt is of a young, black man holding up his t-shirt to display a bleeding wound. It is the calm agony of his expression that is so palpable, and the attention
to detail from the texture of his dark hair to his rugged toenails is immaculate. “I love ‘Youth’, it is one of my favourite pieces from the exhibition. It’s a piece that showcases how broad of a spectrum this investigation into Flesh really is. I’m hoping people aren’t simply going to enjoy it – I want it to raise questions and think about the human body on a deeper level.” Flesh is at York Art Gallery in York until 19th March 2017
37 Photo Credit: York Art Gallery
POLO D A contemporary revolution Text by Ana Hoyos
“Moody, dramatic and a bit sarcastic. I want to feel some kind of melancholy,” describes French photographer Polo D about how he likes his images. “Deprived” is how the 33-year-old artist describes his style, and he certainly does not crave admiration or approval of his work. Executed effortlessly, Polo’s work is a visual journey through the wild and wicked. Polo reminisces to a time when he would feel a simple pleasure from exhausting endless amounts of film and playing with disposable cameras. From being introduced to his first DSLR camera five years ago, Polo D exhibits an exceptional technical skill and a trained eye for the unusual that is far from amateur. On the outside, his presence is uplifting and good-natured-but Polo’s work suggests a more somber demeanor brewing inside. The photographer mentions past criticism he has received online saying “They’ve told me I must be missing love in my life, that I should be ashamed.” Does he feel a need to conform? The answer is an assured no. “I’m happy to see my photographs are not appreciated by all. I am quite a joyful person but some of my images can reflect quite the
Photo Credit: Polo D
opposite. My style is moody and my photos are unsaturated, you can say they’re dark and so is my taste for paintings and drawings.” Along with his curiosity towards remote and unconventional locations, the nude female form is also a particular muse for the French photographer. Primarily drawn to the beauty and grace of the female body, Polo believes a nude photograph is not only timeless, but can be used to achieve a diverse range of emotions. “Nude women are captured by so many photographers to obtain so many different styles of photography, from super fine art photographs to cheap porn calendars. Nudes are very diverse, and it can sometimes be kind of tricky. Some photographs can be so artistic in their composition that your eyes don’t even stop on the body but rather absorb the whole image itself, and there are other images that are more raw-you would almost say crude or vulgar.” Capturing the essence of beautiful women and naked slender figures is only a fraction of what the photographer aims to accomplish behind the lens. Polo also sets out to travel the world in hopes to document the hidden
Photo Credit: Polo D
details of foreign cultures. As a French native currently residing in South East Asia, he finds himself travelling frequently around his adopted home city where he contacts local models beforehand to organize shoots. “I like to capture people in their own environment. I love weird, abandoned places where I might have to trespass to enter but thankfully the local people I work with show me secret places I would have never found myself. I live for the social side of photography.” His striking black and white photographs illustrate the highlights of his life in Thailand. From street vendors and monks to strip clubs and boxing rings, the images are filled message and emotion. Although heavily influenced by his colourful South East Asian surroundings. Polo also believes a lot of his ideas stem from Popular Culture and trends influenced by the media. In his new photo series he deemed Pokémon Gone the photographer addresses violence and weapon using a symbol that has constantly met our eyes on the screens of our phones and tablets- a Pokémon. Although the artist believes he lays out his perspective of today’s world through his photos, his mission is not to preach or incite change. “I don’t want to change people’s minds, I just want to show my vision of the world we live in. I don’t want to embed some political message into my work. I just want to show how events in my life have affected me, even unconsciously. I want to show how a certain song made me feel, how hard I laughed
Photo Credit: Polo D
to a joke or how much I enjoyed a certain film.” When asked about his success, Polo D is humble about his talent-a trait that makes him even more admirable. “I am quite proud when magazines known worldwide recognise my work.” First delving into photography after working as a videographer for several years, Polo is always looking for change and a new outlet to express himself. As an artist, he complains his creative fervor can lead him into an unstable path. “I am a passionate person- I would say too much sometimes. As for right now, photography is my main passion but I know I can put down my camera one day if my heart guides me to something I adore more just like I have done in the past- I am always looking for the new, for the unknown.” Although proud of his accomplishments and consistency, Polo believes he is always chasing new projects saying “I have a bad tendency to look at my photos too often to a point that they become boring to look at. At least it always keeps me motivated to look for new ideas.” Polo D is a photographer, an observer and an enthusiast but most importantly, a world citizen. Blessed with booming wanderlust and a fruitful creativity, the French photographer is brave, wise and an exciting new talent for the photographic world. Relatively new to his practice, Polo offers an engaging take on abnormality, sexuality and his odyssey while remaining a strong influence to those who seek to explore their artistic potential.
Around the world in 9 peculiar diets Text by Leyla Rose
1. Sunlight diet, China According to this diet plan, you’re required to skip one meal a day and in return, you should look up and face the sun. If this is not bizarre enough, it is recommended that you gaze upwards for precisely 44 minutes. Supposedly, this diet does wonders for your body as it slims your waistline by curbing your appetite, helping you get a better night’s rest and funnily enough, improving your eyesight. You’re probably wondering about the theory behind this diet. By exposing themselves to the sun, people are absorbing solar energy which acts as fuel. In China, dieters cover their bodies because pale skin is preferred over tanned skin, which crosses out any vitamin D benefits. People have claimed that this diet works, but experts don’t recommend it as it could initiate eating disorders and eye damage. 2.Long breath diet, Japan Japan is known for its diet crazes. This particular one originated when Ryosuke Miki started practising breathing techniques to ease his back problems. He discovered that he had lost weight in the process, and with this, he created the Long Breath Diet. It involves you posing in a specific position and inhaling for three seconds before exhaling aggressively for seven seconds. The science behind this? The increase of oxygen in the body by breathing can burn fat. When oxygen reaches fat molecules, it breaks them down into waste product, so the more oxygen there is in our bodies, the more fat we burn. It also increases muscle strength and metabolism. But
Richard Godfrey, chief physiologist at the British Olympic Medical Centre, is rather skeptical. He said: “Medium to high intensity work out - such as rowing, brisk walking, or running over a long period is the only way to burn up fat and elevate metabolism. Deep breathing and gentle exercises for five minutes a day is not going to burn up enough calories to transform body shape.” Whether or not it works, it’s never a crime to breathe! 3.Werewolf diet, Latin America Celebrities such as Madonna and Demi Moore are testament to this diet which is also known as the Moon Diet. Basically, you eat according to the moon’s phases. The main rule behind this is a 24-hour water or juice fast during the full moon and new moon phases. This diet is based around the concept of gravity. The human body largely consists of water and the moon is known to influence water. Therefore, the gravitational pull of the moon on the water in our bodies helps us detoxify and lose weight. Some advocates of this diet claim it’s possible to lose up to 6lbs in 24 hours. Health experts aren’t so sure. British Dietetic Association spokesperson Jeanette Crosland, said: “If indeed the effect of the moon is to reduce the water content of the body, any effect is temporary and true ‘weight loss’, the target of the weight reducer, is the result of losing excess body fat, not water.” While some advice sounds sensible, such as eating fresh, seasonal fruits and vegetable, linking it to the moon seems a little far-fetched.
4.The Sandwich diet, Spain When you think of sandwiches, you don’t think of diets and losing weight. Meat, cheese, spreads and sauces wedged between two carb-filled slices of bread doesn’t exactly scream out skinny. This diet is simple enough; replace one meal a day with a sandwich. The catch: all the food that you eat for that meal has to fit in one whole-grain sandwich. You can use two slices of wheat, multigrain or rye bread. But bad news: you can’t have any sides like fries or wedges, no desserts and no soda. Does it work? Dieters have claimed you can lose up to 13lbs in a month. It’s also a great way to control your portion sizes. True or false, we don’t think this diet sounds too bad. Out of all the bizarre diets out there, this one seems like the breadwinner! 5.Kangatarianism, Australia Kangaroo meat is one of Australia’s global exports since 1959. Kangatarianism is a vegetarian diet with the addition of kangaroo meat. Compared to other meats, kangaroo meat is a healthier option, being low in fat but high in protein and is a good source of iron and zinc. Advocates of this diet also choose it for the environmental benefits, as kangaroos live natural lives, eat organically and are fair game, as they roam free and are killed humanely. But before you load your plate up with roo meat, be aware that in 2013, researchers found that a substance called L-carnitine is associated with arterial plaque leading to cardiovascular diseases. This compound is present in all red meats but especially high amount in kangaroos. Professor Kerin O’Dea, an expert in nutrition at the University of South Australia says “there is no visible fat on kangaroo meat, and the fat it does have is mostly polyunsaturated. Lamb and beef, on the other hand, are much higher in visible and saturated fat.” All in all, kangaroo meat is the healthiest meaty
option, if consumed in moderation. 6.The Fork diet, France Despite being surrounded by cheeses and pastries, French women are known to be very svelte. This eating plan encourages weight loss by restricting the consumption of foods that require you to use a spoon, knife or your hands, to eat with. It also doesn’t allow snacking. There are two ways to approach this diet: the Strict or Gentle plan. The Strict plan allows you to only use a fork to eat and prepare food, whereas the Gentle plan allows you to use a knife to prepare your food. Does it work? Yes, many people have agreed that you can lose weight by following this diet. But at the same time, it has been frowned upon because it eliminates many healthy foods which you can’t eat with a fork such as fruits, nuts, soups, stews and yoghurts. The idea behind this diet is to eat meals in moderation but to limit your intake at dinner, although let’s be honest: it may turn into a creative challenge to see what food can be eaten with a fork! 7.Cabbage Soup diet, America For many years, this particular diet has been very popular with diet fanatics. It’s a quick fix and is very effective. You spend only a week eating unlimited amounts of cabbage soup, which makes up your staple diet for the week, but you are also allowed certain foods such as fruit. Cabbage soup has almost zero calories, it’s no wonder this low-fat, high-fibre diet is favoured by brides-to-be or by holiday makers. Cabbage on its own is also healthy, as its packed with antioxidants such as vitamin C. Although it may be healthy on its own, this diet isn’t recommended by health professionals. “The diet is void of essential nutrients such as protein, calcium, and B vitamins,” says Lona Sandon, RD, who is a spokesperson with the American Dietetic Association.
The Infamous Five nightclubs to note Text by Sophie Turner
XS If being surrounded by celebrities and mega moguls is what you enjoy, XS nightclub is a perfect destination for booze fuelled enjoyment with a touch of luxury. The club is inspired by the curves of the female form, and its extravagant, elegant interiors makes a night at the venue an experience. With DJs like Diplo, David Guetta and Dillon Francis performing every day of the week, the club attracts a great variety of people looking for fun on the Vegas strip. BERGHAIN Pumping techno from two state of the art sound systems into the walls of the abondoned power house turned nightclub, Berghain proves to be one of Berlin’s most exclusive and extraordinary nightclubs. Club goers wearing black latex and adorned with whips and gags can wait several hours to enter the club as security is strict, but once inside are enlightened by the selection of DJs that grace the establishment. Holding up to 1,500 people, Berghain is a europhic paradise for those who wish to explore Germany’s dance scene. ZOUK As one of the most prestigious clubs in Asia, Zouk nightclub in Singapore offers five different nightclubs in one and proudly owns its own art collection and LED light display. The club aims to propel Asia’s music scene - and it certainly has done as it secured a place in DJ Mag’s top 10 nightclubs in the world. The club, focused on glamour and high end technology, has introduced Singapore to the
world’s biggest music artists as well as the best progressive, trance and house music tracks. If you are ever travelling through Singapore, a weekend night out under the colourful ceilings of Zouk is a must. GOA Known for it’s intimate atmosphere, Goa nightclub in Rome remains one of the most advanced and progressive clubs in the city booking hundreds of musical legends throughout its opening years. With a brilliant soundsystem and an alternative vibe, the club attracts dance music enthusiasts looking for a smaller space, alternative vibe and deeper beats. Hidden in Rome’s Ostienso neighbourhood only feet away from lively Testaccio, Goa is not only a historic landmark but a place to discover and enjoy the world of underground house and techno music. LA GUACARA TAINA Located in a natural salt mine in the Dominican Republic, La Guacara Taina is an astonishing earthly wonder with a Latin twist. It provides a very unique experience, a cool escape from the outside heat and salsa, merengue, and Latin pop music until the early hours of the morning. The club not only plays Latin music as it tries to cater to all of its varied party goers with dedicated nights to house, hip hop and electronic music. Entry to the club is amongst the most pricey in the country, but most visitors believe the wild energy of the venue and a chance to spot a celebrity is worth the extra cash for a night at La Guacara Taina.
La Pianiste the struggle between love and power Text by Ana Hoyos
Director Michael Haneke explores themes of power, control and repressed desire in his soul-stirring film, The Piano Teacher. Actress Isabelle Huppert delivers a notable performance as Erika Kohut, an uptight, single, middle aged piano teacher living under the authority of her domineering mother. Intensely dedicated to her practice and to Schubert at a prestigious conservatory in Vienna, Erika proves to be a ruthless teacher to her almost sheeplike pupils. Hiding behind an icy, detached disguise, Erika’s repressed emotions are expressed through her secret grotesque sadomasochistic tastes. Passionate, demanding and degrading during the day, Erika’s true colours are revealed early on in the film as she pushes and belittles her students, then takes refuge in the late afternoons frequenting pornographic bookstores and even mutilating her own genitals with a razor blade while her mother innocently prepares dinner in the next room. Huppert’s cinematographic brilliance, which won her a best actress award at Cannes International Film Festival, is exposed through her effortless rehearsal of Erika’s unorthodox habits which one watches in an agonizing, uncomfortable amusement. It is not until Walter Klammer (Benot Magimel)- a young, attractive and confident student comes into the tortured teacher’s life and tries to seduce her with his persistence and his insincere claims of love that Erika’s weaknesses and obsessions become apparent. As predicted by Erika’s stern demeanour, she initially rejects the infatuated student, which only attracts him even more. Once Erika caves in to
Walter’s amorous pleas, the two engage in an almost poisonous romance that spirals into a somber, miserable outcome. Walter quickly finds out Erika, a rigid perfectionist, is unable to give herself to him in any conventional, romantic way and applies the same strict rules in her sexual relations as she does in her rehearsals which in turn leaves the young student disillusioned and disgusted. Walter - left stunned and repulsed - proceeds to listen to Erika’s rules she set out for him in the form of an intricate letter requesting pain, degradation and bondage all in a space where her mother should be able to hear but not be able to interfere. Haneke aims to delve into Erika’s breaking heart as she soon becomes a desperate mess after Walter rejects not only the letter but the idea of any further interaction- and achieves a disheartening sympathy from his audience. Unpredicted and shockingly tragic, the climax scene is hard to stomach as it crosses a line between practiced sadomasochism and violence. As Walter beats Erika then rapes her, Haneke evokes a question - “Isn’t this what she wanted - or is it not?” Although it possesses not a hint of lightheartedness, The Piano Teacher, in all its grace, walks us through a journey of pain, emotional turmoil, and Erika’s infatuation with Schubert’s somber chords serenating what seems to be a profane ecstasy. The film is certainly not for the weak-willed but will leave a newfound empathy for the obscure world of sadochism and the meaning of the power and control it provides for many.
54 Franz Schubert, Austrian Compose, oil on wood by Gábor Melegh, 1827
The Krampus an evil revealed Text by Leyla Rose
A dark furry body. Bloodshot eyes. A mangled face. Giant horns. Half-goat, half-demon torso. Bells jangle as this terrifying beast tramples the streets in search of his prey, striking terror into the minds of all those unfortunate enough to encounter him. Meet Krampus, the dark side of Christmas. Although prevailing in Austria and Germany, Krampus is quickly making an upsurge in contemporary culture, particularly with people looking to celebrate in a non-traditional way. In America, Krampus parties, art shows and beer crawls have penetrated the culture. Here in the UK, celebrations have never been held before until last year with the first Whitby Krampus Run. In Austro-Bavarian Alpine folklore, Krampus is the demon who punishes naughty children and carries them away to his mountain lair to be tortured. His name originates from the German word krampen, meaning claw, and he is thought to be the son of the Norse God of the Underworld, Hel. The legend surrounding him is centuries old. In fact, the tradition dates back to pre-Germanic paganism. In the 12th century, the Catholic Church tried to eradicate the celebrations that grew the around the belief as Krampus bore resemblance to the devil. Fast forward to 1934 when Austria’s conservative Christian Social Party also failed to wipe out the tradition. Krampus emerged stronger and was here to stay. Krampus shows up on the eve of December 5, known as Krampusnacht. He can best be described as an alter-ego to the benign St Nicholas. On this night, the pair visit houses together, with St Nicholas giving out presents and sweets to good children, while Krampus snatches up the ones who have misbehaved. Modern spins on the tradition began to emerge throughout Austria and Ger-
many, with countries such as Slovenia, Hungary and the Czech Republic joining in. On Krampusnacht, celebrants get dressed as the wicked beast.They take to the streets for a Krampuslauf, a Krampus Run, where onlookers are chased through the streets by these demons. Krampus parties, balls and festivals are becoming more prevalent in other countries in Europe and America. LA Krampusfest, a multi-venue sell-out event is heading for its fourth year and includes art exhibitions, choirs and street parades. Al Ridenour, the director of LA Krampusfest, says that they do strive for some authenticity, inviting those “knowledgeable in the tradition to present public lectures and slide shows, as well as contribute articles on the topic.” The Krampus parties have quickly become a mix of role-play, fetishism and heavy metal with a dash of booze. Costumed guests wear lederhosen and dirndl and enjoy Stiegl beer. Krampus themed burlesque shows come complete with a ‘Krampus Spankery’. A custom originally aimed at correcting and controlling bad behaviour has somehow gotten out of hand and unshackled a kind of anarchy. It is not uncommon for people to get injured at Krampus Night, when males dressed as Krampus are notorious for sexually harassing females when dressed in costume. It seems as if once the mask is on, usual boundaries fall away and many feel that the sadistic tradition has no place in modern Austrian and Germanic culture. With the Krampus film from Universal Pictures showing in UK cinemas last year and the catching on of trends encouraged by the internet, how long will it be before Krampus obsession becomes a hype in the UK? So have you been good or bad this year? You better watch out, the horrible haunt could be watching you.
Nikolaus and Krampus in Austria. Newspaper-illustration from 1896
Between the motion And the act Falls the shadow