Ignite Welcome to our first issue of Ignite. Were you one of those kids who couldnâ€™t wait to grow up? I certainly was. Yet the older I get, the more I want to be a kid again. This magazine is that see-saw where we will balance mature thinking with youthful spirit. We hope that with our mix of photographs, illustration, and words, we will shed a fresh and intuitive light on stories from around the world. We want to provide a platform that offers seriousness, but without too much weight. We want room to play seriously. On this issueâ€™s roadtrip, our major stops are seeing the evolution of Roller Derby, flying with the fellas of the Parkour Generation, playing I-Spy at the whimsical home of Rufus and Molly, getting swallowed by the hostel in Notting Hill, reminiscing over hardcore teenage hearts, and chasing four incredibly intriguing runaways. These stories share underlying themes of home and sense of self. So pop in the mix tape, put on your black hoodie, grab your running shoes and get in. Enjoy!
Monica Pedraja Editor
Printed in the UK Seacourt Ltd, Naturally Responsible Print Proud to be counted amongst the top environmental printers in the world Horspath Industrial Estate Pony Road Cowley, OxfordOX4 2SE Direct: 01865 788377 Office: 01865 770140 Mobile: 07806 487961 email@example.com Weâ€™re online! www.srslyplayful.wordpress.com Front cover: Carrie Hitchcock Back cover: Adriana Monsalve Opposite page: Adriana Monsalve Copyright ÂŠ 2013 Ignite magazine Ignite is a quarterly published magazine
Max Houghton, Ian Denning, Ben Edwards, Harry Hardie, Emma Bowkett, Kate Edwards, Kit, DisorderLee, Marilyn Monroadkill, Mimika Mayhem, Run Roller Run, JR, Ven, Cynic, Ichi, Rufus and Molly Dan Edwardes, Steve McKee, Alex Pownall and Steve Moss from Parkour Generations, Pastor Paul, Delvis/ easyJet, Mikeida, Kari, Former scene kids in Illinois, The month of February (black history month in America) Alberto, Rosio, Teresa, Christina, Charles, Rahim, You!
There’s a street called Roby Avenue. It is quiet, green, and interesting. On one side you’ll find immigrants and on the other you’ll see the elderly.
48 9 22
Brutiful Girl Roll through time with Roller Derby girls
Early Works Contributions by the staff to promote this upcoming exhibit
Rufus and Mollyâ€™s Explore their creative home
Mother A life in the day 32
Run Free How London becomes a playground
every issue 9
Fact? Every issue we challenge a fun fact
Hostel Delve into a place where the white walls turn into monsters
Back to Square One Meet the runaways
LXC A collection of mini memoirs from hardcore music living teenagers
My Turn My Turn Nadja experiences the parkour discipline herself
Black Rhymez Brilliant slam poetry
Have you heard ofâ€Ś JR? Find out about his world wide project
Global Citizen Get to know the amazing renaissance man, Ichi
Monica Pedraja Editor
What city do you want to play in? Chicago. I’ve lived there 6 years from the suburbs but have yet to really explore it. And I want to explore it before other cities. There are so many neighborhoods; different people to meet, different cultures to soak in, different foods to eat.
Have you ever been stuck? My beautiful sea foam bike’s tires blew out twice in one week. I never felt so stuck in the middle of summer. Why would I want to take the bus or el when I have this awesome bike to ride in the summer?
Roller Derby name? Little Monster
Nadja Wohlleben Picture Editor
Have you ever run away? Do you want to? and where to? I ran away from boarding school when I was thirteen years old. I hid at a friend’s place in the attic – his mom covered up for me. When the police was searching for me after three days, I decided to go back. I took a Taxi for 90 German Marks (a lot at that time) from Cologne to Bonn, which the boarding school ended up paying because I had no money on me. Although they were relieved when I came back the headmaster was understandably super pissed. I wasn’t allowed to leave over the weekends anymore and had to do penalty chores for the next two months. I travel a lot, some of my friends ask me why I always run away, but for me it is not running away, it is running towards. There are so many places out there to explore, adventures to be lived, and people to be met. When I travel I run towards all of this. Running is about freedom, about breaking free, escaping limitations, and seeing the bigger picture. As I throw myself out into the wind I often feel closest to my true self.
Describe your childhood playground: Carrie Hitchcock Production Editor
Aww it was the best one! It was simple. It had a silver slide - straight down, none of the spins and tubes. It had a couple swings, the sandbox, and then my favorite thing... the Springy Piggy!
What city do you want to play in? I’m not so interested in the place I’m playing right now as much as who I am playing with! So that said, I really want to play in Loma Linda, CA, because I want to play with my best friends and my sister. And the place where I can have most of my best friends all together in one place is Loma Linda.
Have you ever run away? Do you want to? and where to? I spent alot of time running away when I was younger. After 30 years in the same place I’m ready to run away again, to Cuba, Haiti, and Thailand, but this time I want to have somewhere to come back to.
What city do you want to play in? Chang Mai Adriana Monsalve Art Director
Thibault Sallé Graphic Designer
What city do you want to play in? I wanna play the guitar in France, in this suburb of Paris. Improvising crazy lyrics I would wake up my friends while Flo would prepare some “super lait”. It is a mix of milk sugar and whisky.
Have you ever run away? Do you want to? And where to? Before, but I don’t run away anymore.
Have you ever been stuck? Everyday in the tube
Favorite game? “Where is the lion?” A game me and my friends made up, kind of like I-Spy.
For every issue, we compile a dedicated playlist that contain songs loosely connecting to its main features and the concept of seriously playful.
Rivers and Homes
• J.Viewz • Macklemore and Ryan Lewis
• Yeah Yeah Yeahs
• Local Natives
• Delta Spirit
• The Kinks
From Finner In The Room Where You Sleep Age Roadrunner Paper Thin Walls The Freest Man 101010 Dreams Today Soco Amaretto Lime
• Brand New
• Of Monsters and Men
• Dead Man’s Bones
• Lianne La Havas
• Joan Jett and The Blackhearts
• Modest Mouse
• Tilly and the Wall
• Sleeping At Last
• Cold War Kids
We challenge our readers too! Send us a picture of your attempt, and weâ€™ll feature you on our website firstname.lastname@example.org
Itâ€™s impossible to lick your elbow
Photography and text by Monica Pedraja
No one enjoys being the kid picked last in gym class. It’s embarrassing, and your self-esteem gets lower and lower. That’s not how it’s run in Roller Derby. Roller Derby gives participants a second home; an escape. It’s where everyone feels welcome. It’s where they get to be tough and sexy. Roller Derby is a contact sport that is dominated by women (but not closed off to men), where they race around a track with the goal of the “jammer” passing the other team’s to score points. The best part? Getting to bash one another to let their “jammer” through. Loads of hip checks and body checks involved. It’s a unique sport that has evolved from the 1930’s and is now under consideration
for the 2020 Olympics. But for those that participate, it’s more than a sport. For women, and particularly the London Rockin’ Rollers, derby has changed their lives. It’s become a platform for gaining confidence, empowerment, and uncovering hidden power. Skating dates back to the 1880’s as a form of leisure. In 1935, it transformed into a sport when Chicagoan Leo Seltzer promoted his idea of the roller marathon: twenty-five teams racing around the track to the equivalent distance from San Diego to New York City. It became known as Chicago’s Transcontinental Roller Derby. Two years later, sportswriter Damon Runyon, suggested it become a contact sport, which would become the basis for today’s sport. This entailed two teams racing trying to out-skate the other using tactics, speed, and lots of pushing. This new framework transformed the sport to an entertainment spectacle, similar to today’s World Wrestling Entertainment. Events of WWII led to the decline of derby’s popularity due to skaters enlisting and focusing on war. When the sport was revived in the early 2000’s, in Austin, Texas, skaters took matters in their own hands rather than having promoters in control. Creating their own rules and organization, skaters aggressively worked toward ensuring a “do-it-yourself” approach. Creating this environment allowed free range of how matters were dealt with, rules regulated, and a new sense of community. The attitude of the sport also evolved from sweet and charming to sassy and gritty glam. This new wave of the sport attracted lots of attention, and the participation rapidly rolled in from all social spectrums. Women from all backgrounds- mothers, lawyers, students – they all curiously stepped into “fresh meat” training and opened a new chapter in their lives. The London Rockin’ Rollers accepts nearly all who try out and have proven to be a welcoming and strong community. Walking into a practice, the atmosphere is exuberant; it’s absolutely contagious. Joan Jett and the Blackhearts’ “I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll,” is blaring through the speakers, everyone is dancing. But the minute the whistle blows, all attitudes turn serious. Girls get in position; game faces on, and skates ready to blaze. Bravery and sweat stream off their muscles as they speed past one another. Confidence and strength fuel the hip check that sends girls to the floor. Makeup smearing
and pads reeking. On the sidelines, coaches egging on the girls, and teammates shouting “Hit a bitch!” reverberate around the hall. This is only a practice bout, yet the enthusiasm rarely calms down. The bond this community has is vividly apparent and the temptation to join only grows stronger. Adding to the sense of community, the women are also encouraged to create a skater name, which may create an alter ego as well. There’s 04 Fox Sake, Marilyn Monroadkill, Princess Paincakes, DisorderLee, and Monica Lewhipsky just to name a few. The registry, twoevils.com, guarantees skaters their own individual name. For some, the name manifests the inner badass and allows them to feel more comfortable in the game. DisorderLee, part of the London Rockin’ Rollers, describes, “Your derby name can reflect something that was in you already that you maybe were afraid to let out, or you can hide behind it before you ‘become’ that person.” The league, London Rockin’ Rollers, one of two in London, has a vast variety of participants that make up this powerful community. There are women of all ages spanning different backgrounds, contrary to what some believe that all who join are tattooed, lesbian feminists. Mimika Mayhem, a single mother of two teenage boys, joined so she had something to do as her boys grew older. Roller derby gave her something to do for herself and “has been my savior and a massive source of my happiness.” For Run Roller Run, a university student, joining was “life-changing.” It has pushed her boundaries, “I never had many female friends and felt very uncomfortable with groups of women- spending most of my time with 60+ chicks makes you get over it pretty quickly. I’m more dynamic, confident, and happy with myself. It’s empowered me to do so many interesting things and help people do things. Basically it’s allowed me to become the best version of me.” And for both women, LRR has provided a second family. Roller Derby offers an outlet for participants; a world away from their routine. A place to blow off steam after a brutal day. It gives them an alternative way to discover new realms of their capabilities. It gives them a reason for hitting a beautiful bitch.
GIRL seriously playful
Run Roller Run
Photography and text by Carrie Hitchcock
There’s a rampant squirrel stealing nuts, a shy crow hiding in the ceiling rafters, an affectionate dog, numerous indifferent cats, and a cockerel whose farmyard crowing regularly punctuates the slow-moving time. The room is stuffed with curiosities, artifacts, plastic tat, antiques, pictures, little notes, art works, nifty hooks, and clever contraptions, all ordered into typologies, all contributing to a glorious whole. Part museum, part pathology, it’s all delightful fun. This is the home of Molly Micklethwait and Rufus White, and represents their major collaborative work of art. They’ve both got a taste for slightly peculiar things, and come from families of collectors, “For us, this is how one lives, it’s not unusual or odd. We like to rescue things. Things have a memory. Nothing here has a value in a monetary sense, but they have an emotional value. The value of things
is to do with their story, and once you understand their story they come alive, it’s multi-layered.” Most of their collection is housed in ‘the factory,’ “one of the war-time backyard factories that there were lots of in East London.” They think it was a handbag factory and it’s one of many bits of land and outbuildings that Molly’s family acquired over the years as neighbouring houses sold off their gardens. The factory is the hub of this little community where, in amongst the towers of treasures, artists and eccentrics weave their existence, coming and going, hanging out, creating, sharing, sometimes living, but mostly working. Rufus, a silversmith and graphic artist, has a workshop where treadle wheels and belts, fashioned from old dentist drills and sewing machines, power his tools. Behind is Molly’s studio where she ‘plays with mud,’ making delftware clay tiles and sculptures. “We’re not setting it up as ‘this is a community,’ but within what we do there are going to be lots of periods where that naturally happens. It’s our family
home and we have various people under our wing, like Lucinda who comes and does stone carving here. We both work from home, and there’s a lot to be said for having other people around who are here to work. You get that cross-pollination of ideas.” They want the place to be self-sustaining and hire it out for film and photography location shoots, “It’s hilarious when the house is over run by models and haute couture.” They rent out rooms to itinerant artists in the main house, a large Victorian Gothic, one of three built in 1842 for the wealthy merchant bourgeoisie. The original occupant, Charles Jamrach, also had a taste for the unusual; he was a dealer in exotic animals and curiosities from around the world. Today, whether from wartime bombing or post war planning, there are gaps in the street, like missing teeth, filled with modern institutional buildings and flats. Walking behind the house it’s like stepping into the countryside, there is a substantial garden with a lawn, vegetable and flowerbeds, a large pond and small woodland. Hidden behind the copse, work is in progress to turn several outbuildings and a fire pit into a performance space and mini theatre as well as a ‘Mamma House’ (to accommodate visiting Mammas) and an underground roundhouse. The place is physically and socially a work in progress, “As materials arrive, things evolve.” An extension to the factory has been
regenerated into a conservatory with an open kitchen using waste materials from the building site next door. They find that they often have an idea, and the materials just arrive, “Chance keeps throwing them at us.” The factory runs along one side of the garden, and behind it, next to Molly’s studio, is a strip of land where they have plans to build a series of small studios set up specifically for short-term use. “The aim is to host a variety of small scale events, varying and not having to rely on any one of them so it can be organic and fit in with our lives, and versatile so we’re not bombarded with a lot of people all the time.” Events could be anything from food experiences to cinema, music and theatre and hosting visiting artists from different disciplines to work on projects, workshops and exhibitions. The ‘pop-up community’ or ‘little village’ idea ties in with Rufus’s vision of setting up a “Backwoods Guild of Master Craftsmen”, although the members “must have a sense of humour, no boring fuddy-duddies.” The place is a work in progress, constantly evolving in the fertile environment that Rufus and Molly are creating and re-creating around them.Their ambition is to remain fluid, unfixed, so as to be able to respond to whatever resourses, be they animal, vegetable or mineral, that come their way. “We don’t want to tell anyone what to do or how to do things, we just think it would be good if we could be selfsustaining, or live off grid or things like that, but it doesn’t matter if it doesn’t work out that way.”
Photography by Nadja Wohlleben
“Champions keep playing until they get it right.” BILLIE JEAN KING
“We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.“ GEORGE BERNARD SHAW
"There are no limits. There are plateaus, but you must not stay there, you must go beyond them. A man must constantly exceed his level." BRUCE LEE
Take a Leap IGNITE contributor Nadja Wohlleben practices monkey moves and explores if she has hidden superhero abilities as she participates in a parkour class in London. “Just jump over the gap from this projection on the wall over here, then grab onto that rail once you reach the other side, push your feet against the wall to bounce off the impact, then pull yourself up the railing positioning your hands like this. Next, jump over the banister while freeing one hand so you can move your feet over, land smoothly on that spur and continue running the route this way.” Errrrr, okay, sounds complicated but looks quite simple! I think to myself. This is one of the exercises that Chris, our parkour teacher, on a playground in Kilburn, London labeled as “easy.” Each exercise has three levels of difficulty: easy, medium and hard, depending on the movement performed, as well as the specific location and route chosen. As so often in life I should find out soon enough that things are not always as easy as they seem. What looks like an effortless movement, demonstrated with cat-like grace by Chris, turns out to be a true challenge. Yet I wanted to try out “my wings,” experience that bird-like freedom which leaping over the city’s rooftops seemed to promise (well, or at first somewhere closer to the ground). I wanted to go over the boundaries and limitations that big city life applies on us, learn how to use urban surroundings as a playground rather than perceive them as limiting. Also, I wanted to find out if maybe, just maybe I’d find any hidden superhero abilities dozing inside of me. The highly athletic discipline of parkour – that involves running, jumping and skipping over buildings and any other obstacles – was developed out of military obstacle course training. Parkour in its present form was created in the 1980s in France by the “Yamakazi” group, which consists of Sebastien Foucan and eight other original members. The group went on and invented freerunning, evolving it from parkour and including combinations of gymnastics and acrobatics moves. According to its creator Foucan, “freerunning is the art of expressing yourself in your environment without limitations: It is the art of movement and action.» He explains that freerunning developed from parkour when he started making it more individual, adapting moves to each person’s strengths and weaknesses. The group also starred In the 2003 TV documentary, “Jump London,” where they carry out death-defying stunts as they leap over 14 of Britain’s most famous landmarks. The group explains that freerunning is about being free in towns and cities that are designed to contain them. For the practitioners, freerunning is not just a game. This is their discipline and it has become a way of life: “It is a way of beating your fears in real life,” Foucan says. “The obstacles we encounter in free running stand for the ones we have to conquer in real life” (roughly translated from French by the author).
So here I am: running around in circles on a playground in London Kilburn, jumping over small obstacles like seesaws and swings, and balancing across rails. After warming up with a few playground rounds and stretches, we start to get in the flow: my fellow classmates and I become more daring with each round, getting faster and more confident in our movements. I learn the most important lesson quite early on that day: I discover that besides the obvious physical challenge the true challenge is mental. I realize that I am able to balance on a very narrow rail close to the ground without a problem, but have difficulties balancing on a much wider rail on top of a swing nine feet above the ground. From the playground we move on to other locations, each site presenting diverse opportunities for specialist moves and different levels of risk. At a housing complex we balance on posts that are spaced at intervals of three feet, forming a circle around a lawn. At first I fall off after only two posts, desperately trying to avoid falling into the dog shit that is spread all over the grass. But then I begin to get a grip (literally) and manage to do half a round. After several tries I’m finally about to finish a whole round, when suddenly I see a street lantern in front of me instead of a post, with the next post standing another three feet behind the lantern. How on earth should I get over to the other side? Chris sees me struggling and comes to help. He explains that I have to jump onto the lantern, clutch around it with my hands, position my feet on the wider, lower part, climb around to the other side and then either leap or stretch my leg out to the next post. I feel almost intoxicated with excitement as I manage to do it (it remains questionable how elegant this looked from the outside, but I felt like a cat as I was clinging onto the post). We run on to the next station: a park with a big fallen oak tree and black and white zebra stilts, where we continue to play. I can’t help but admire the skills of some of the guys in the class – many of whom are only in their teens – as they seem to hover effortless over the stilts. After a few hours of parkour practice I suddenly begin to see possible routes appear on a mental map of my surroundings in front of my inner eye. It kind of feels like I am watching the world through 3D glasses. Was I beginning to understand parkour, was I beginning to see parkour? It is way too early to say that, but I enjoy having discovered a new way of looking at the surrounding urban jungle. I liked surprising myself when I successfully managed to overcome obstacles that I thought were impossible for me to take on. The next day I wake up feeling every single muscle in my body aching (even some strange muscles in my lower arms that I didn’t know existed), but I am happy. Parkour proved to be a full body workout, for sure. Beyond that I realize that parkour is a mental defiance. It is the art of taking hurdles in an elegant way, of running free, of always finding a way to reach ones goal, of overcoming physical and mental barriers, no matter how impossible they might seem to conquer.
Photography by Monica Pedraja
Mother Photography by Carrie Hitchcock
a life in the day
This is my daughter when she was six, and I wanted to show snapshots of my life as a mother.
It’s 4:00 pm, my roommate sleeps, and the room is dark. Cleaners’ve just finished their job in the bathroom. It is calm, and here, the smell is less horrific than in the ridiculous, stifling study-room, so I’ll write these words in here. People often ask why I made the choice to live in a hostel, as if it was a choice. At the beginning, everyone had the same god damn words in their mouth. They’re gonna stay two weeks, find a job, find a flat, and then leave. But from fleshy lips the naïve sentence is barely pronounced in English. Working as a waiter while having a Spanish, Italian, or French master’s degree might be frustrating but who would give any job to someone that doesn’t understand a single word of the spoken language? This place has become, for the moment, very secure. Most people are from the middle class, nothing really to worry about, they are here to work, study, have fun or because they are completely lost. But at least a lot of them speak French. In Notting Hill, the brownish facade of my building makes it look like a black spot on white skin. The former hospital can greet about 300 people of my kind. Part of us are in an open debate about the allocation of financial benefits in London, some are students or want to learn English. Others are here on holiday or trying to find themselves.
Photography and text by Thibault Sallé
I’ve been living here for two years. It feels like I’ve been in a coma for so long. It doesn’t mean I have no life, laughs, and pain, no joy, dreams or tears, but step by step my hand-writing does not meet the white walls to write a story. They could tell the experience of the ones who slept under their protection. They have seen so many waves of the same sort of people: of guys shining or breaking down, speaking a million languages except for the “Brit” one. I’m lucky to have the biggest little box in which I’m living; we don’t own our space though. The hostel seems to have swallowed me. He is chewing us ‘till he can spit out our guts when we don’t pay the rent. For sure, the journey will not leave us unchanged. I used to think that throughout the white corridors special souls were walking. Each of them, for a moment taken down to the monster, paused in a bubble to restart, to go further, or to go back home. One by one, room by room, we make our path down through life in one way or in another. In the eyes of the new ones, I can see my younger self and today, hope to look like those who left, but we ought to make our proper choices.
“So yes I know you are French, it’s written on your forehead, but can you say ‘Hi’ instead of ‘Salut’? And no you shouldn’t assume that I want to be a friend of yours, and get drunk in Piccadilly. And no, I don’t suffer from a kind of illness that makes me a weirdo, I’m just trying to make it in London.” I have no time, rather I don’t take the time, to move out from this place, even in this claustrophobic sense of overwhelming solitude, I keep meeting new people. Without emotions they pop in and pop out in my life, like we are part of a TV show. The French somehow continuously make a mark here, always close to my sensitive ears, growing a stream, so far overflowing. Sometimes, rarely, but surely today I wish to flag the distance that separates me from my further aim, whatever it is. Today I met the ease of a sweet blonde French answer that will leave in few weeks and will make me closer to indifference.
Charles, my first friend in London, told me that after he left the beast, he had the feeling to live again. He shared a scandalously messy room with another of our mates who moved out. Once he told me that the third bed was cursed. It drew in people, they either turned into a drug addict, had financial problems, had issues adapting to London or from the very beginning were simply creepy.
They had Omar. He found a first job but got sacked. Found a second oneit was too much and gave up. After that, he spent 3 months in his bed watching TV while eating junk food. He didnâ€™t speak a bloody word of English but fucked a girl near dustbins in front of the church. Charming. Then there was the ghostly white vegan Eastern European guy. Charles thought he was a serial killer. He never figured out whether or not this fragile and depressive young man was looking at him or the wall. A Frenchman was friends with the housekeeper. The latter was a sort of fourth roommate, sleeping in the room instead of working. Keeping, cleaning products, mop and bucket of dirty water in the room. The art of laziness. The CIA dude from Alaska. Ex-soldier who fought in Iraq. He had a chat with my two friends, left his luggage on the bed spent the night in a hotel, had another chat, a second night out, took his belongings and left. The last roommate was a drug addict who smoked his brain away, lost every possible thing he had, including his keys five times in two months.
I myself had a bunch of crazy-fucks as roommates. Some people may also think I’m strange but it does not matter whatsoever. As long as you have the feeling to learn, as long as I make sure my mind is open and my journey is useful, then my personality becomes stronger. I’m about to depart to a new stage of this trip which is life. I’m not really quite sure of who I was before or who I am right now, but I feel more confident in my choices and very much turned towards the future. In the end it’s really not that bad, it’s just a matter of what you make out of it.
Adriana plans to continue this project. To all runaways, she is looking for you.
Photography and text by Adriana Monsalve
Running away is something most of us have thought of doing at some point in our lives. It is a quick reaction to chaos and a rapid escape to freedom. It starts when we are young, can lead us into adulthood, and can follow us all the way to the other side. Running away manifests itself in so many different ways that itâ€™s hard to pinpoint where exactly it is stemming from. Why do we run? Are we really running away or are we the chasers of something so grandiose and so vast that we must keep running in order to reach it in this lifetime? What follows are the stories of 4 drastically different individuals whose stories are tethered to each otherâ€™s by the thinnest thread. This is where the runaway lives. It is not a place, it is a way of coping.
Mikeida, 10. London, UK
“If I ruin something, I’ll get into trouble, then I’ll just start crying, and I’ll slam the door and stuff...”
“I want to run past the station and down probably into someone’s garden or a park. I want to be myself. I just want to be myself.” The gut reaction to run away is something Mikeida experiences every time she is under-minded or blamed for doing something wrong when she is just being herself. She is a young girl and has some of the same worries that most kids have, such as being sad when her hamsters die, but it’s not those worries that bother her. Mikeida and her mum, Annita, recounted one of the moments in which Mikeida wanted to run away after an incident involving her grandmother. “There was a time, when we were going out for my sister’s birthday, and my mum told Mikeida to go change her top because it needed to be ironed. Because Mikeida likes her independence, I think she felt that she had chosen the clothes, and did not want to go change it.” During the interview, Mikeida began to cry. She continued to cry throughout and did not catch her breath until after we had finished. She was fine when she was telling me about her hamsters and when she gets into trouble, but this was agony. As soon as her mum mentioned the grandmother and the top, the tears began. Annita explained how she was quite similar when she was a child, from 8-10 years old.
This feeling of being undermined comes from a place of perfection. For her, there is no such place, she just wants to be Mikeida.
“I was like that as well. If I felt responsible for another person’s upset, that would upset me. If I had done something to annoy someone else I would be tearful as well. When the hamsters died... it’s a fact: the hamster died. Something like this... questions who you are as a person. This is who I am... am I in the wrong? Am I in the wrong for being the way I am? So you question your whole way of being...but you come to terms with it as you get older. But when you’re younger, it’s hard to process. I always tell her, ‘you’re fine the way you are, you’re perfect the way you are, Mikeida’.”
Pastor Paul King Brown, 50. Stanford-Le-Hope, UK
â€œSo I saw God as a bad person: angry, violent, aggressive... just like my father personified.â€?
“People tell me that I’ve always felt the call to be a Pastor but I’ve ignored it my whole life. No one was more surprised than me that I became a Pastor. It’s like God had asked me 100 times and I just said yes at the 100th time.” Paul King Brown is the Pastor of two churches in London, Kennington Community Fellowship and London Live in Notting Hill. This is the story of how a man started out as a business man in advertising at a 10 million dollar company and ended up being a Pastor. “I ran away from God because I had a bad image of fathers, and God is a father. I didn’t want to be connected to a person who was mean and I thought God was mean, and that came from my childhood. I was brought up by a very abusive man. And when I was 18 I found out he was not my father. I didn’t see the need in looking for my real father. I was already disappointed, why meet another human being that’ll disappoint you? My father who raised me loved his other children but hated me. I didn’t want to be associated with what I always called a “Punitive God” - God of Punishment - because I was always punished by my father.” “Eleven years ago at the age of 39, I met my real father. That was in September, and three months later my marriage broke up in December. When it broke, I crumbled, and I needed to go to God. I went to God, and it was the most amazing experience. The only reason I needed to go to God was because I had met my father. I’ll never forget, we were at this party, I looked across the room and my dad was there. He called me over to his friends and he put his arms around me and said, “This is my son, this is my son” and I was really quite emotional about it. I remember when I started to do baptisms, it reminded me of when Jesus was baptized, and God says, ‘This is my son with whom I am well pleased. ‘Cause my dad is saying “This is my son, and I’m really pleased with him.”
of God has only been in the last 7-8 years. I have this whole new experience of God, and it’s of that which I am preaching, of that which I am living, of that which I am trying to empower. I meet people all the time who are running. And I’ve learned that the person we run away most from is ourselves. For me running is quite normal. Being still, having a sense of peace, having a sense of wellness in one place is quite a gift of which I haven’t quite sorted yet. But I don’t feel that I am running away from God. I feel very at peace. I talk to Him all the time. It’s quite the opposite. I live on my own so... if God is all you got, you discover that God is all you need.”
“So now as a pastor when I talk about God’s arms being wide open, these are huge images to me. My experience
Delvis 28. Zurich, Switzerland
â€œEveryone was talking about me, everyone was rejecting me. I needed to get away to a place where nobody knew me.â€?
“As a child I always knew I wanted to run away. I used to draw my plan. I was eight years old and I had a little bag in my closet ready to leave at any time.” Delvis has been running for 10 years. She has run away 14 times for 14 different reasons. “At 18 years old my parents separated. My mother had a double life; she would treat me and my brothers really fun really free. But when Dad was around, because she wanted him back so bad, she would treat us really awful. So I told my mom, “I’m leaving tomorrow” she said, “Why don’t you leave today?” “Because I’m not stupid. Why would I leave today? I don’t have anything with me, I will leave tomorrow.” “So the next day I went to school and never came back. I stayed with my grandmother until I found something stable. I found my own apartment and lived my own life starting at 18. Everybody thought I would fail that semester. My high school boyfriend said “You will never be able to learn English. You will never be in the architecture school, because it’s just for smart people.” “I had to prove to him that he was wrong, and I had to prove to myself that I was smart enough to be able to do those things.” This marked the beginning of Delvis’ 10 years of running. Her running has taken her across the globe, from the Caribbean to all over the United States of America, then to Turkey, Korea, the UK, China, back to the UK, and finally to Zurich, Switzerland. Her other escapes have been born of similar reasons. Although I would love to chart all fourteen times, the following is the most telling. Delvis was getting married. The wedding was 1 month away. She knew something was not right. She found lies and things left unsaid. She tried to stay quiet and go forward. At the end of two weeks, she was a wreck. Four days later, Delvis told Sammy “We cannot get married.” Delvis got on a plane and left.
The next four years followed the same beat. New country, new school. Old relationships, new accolades. She climbed a cliff, and went in search of a mountain. There was nothing she couldn’t do. She always picked up and found a new way. The beat carried her all the way to Switzerland, and somehow.. the beat changed. She found resolve in Switzerland, “This time I didn’t wanna run away. Normally I run away from guys, I run away from the situation. But this time I’m going to face it. I need to face it. I cannot keep running away. Situations cannot dictate where I go. I want to know what it feels like to confront something.. what do you get from it? And if I decide to stay in a place... how much am I going to gain from that?” Delvis is planting roots. She has made this place her home.
Lawrence/Hubert, deceased. High Wycombe, UK
This is a man who ran away from his country in order to immigrate into another one in hopes of a better life. It’s the story of immigration. Lawrence Williams assumed a wrongful identity, the identity of his younger brother Hubert, in order to run farther and chase his dream more intensely. But the real Hubert is still alive in St. Vincent and on this side of the world he is dead. Lawrence Williams made the UK his home in the 1960’s. He left the tropical breeze of St. Vincent behind him, never to return again. Lawrence had a little brother named Hubert, only a couple of years younger than him, but these ‘couple of years’ would make a huge difference in the lives of these two men as they grew older. He wanted to get out of St. Vincent, Hubert was happy to stay. The problem was that there was a law, in order to immigrate out of St. Vincent you had to be under the age of 25. Lawrence was 27. So, he took on his younger brother’s identity and officially became Hubert Williams. Hubert Williams moved to the UK and settled in High Wycombe. He loved cars. He never married, but he was a very loved and a well liked man. Because of the use of his little brother’s identity, he had to work longer than he actually should have, retirement came 4 years later than intended. No one knows why he didn’t change his identity back to the original once he arrived in the UK. Hubert Williams passed away in December of 2012 at the age of 66. He was really 70, and he was really Lawrence. But at the funeral and on the death certificate it says, “Hubert Williams.” Why did Hubert never change his name back to Lawrence? Why did he never get married; everyone says he was a very loved man. Was Hubert chasing something other than a new land? Nobody knows the answers... only Hubert. Hubert and maybe Lawrence.
Upon much reflection with runaways I realize that I am one too. Maybe not as blatant or as obvious at first, but there are parts of me that I would like to try again with more wisdom this time around. There are even more parts of me that I would like to stay hidden forever and never be reminded of their embarrassing existence. Running away will fix these situations. Through listening to all the runaways I have learned that it’s easy to run, you heal faster and forget quicker and you can start again from zero. But the down side to that is just as great as the upside - you have to start again from zero. Do you know how much energy it takes to start something new? It’s exhausting. It is the newness of something masked until it is old again. Once you master the newness, you are ready to run.
early works April 5th-28th at the Newspace Center for Photography, Portland, Oregon Fall 2013 at the Rayko Photo Center, San Francisco Curated by Laura Moya and Laura Valenti Jelen, Early Works is an upcoming exhibition exploring images made by contemporary photographers when they were children. Showcasing along the west coast of the US, these images and personal narratives take a glimpse into the honest imagination of a photographer’s youth and examines how that vision has evolved their identity as an artist. What is brought into question is not weighted on age, but more of the mind. The innocent mind is honest and intuitive. It is fresh and often times unbiased. Studying their young images, photographers
allow themselves to self analyze, taking a retrospective look not only at their daily life but how they saw their world. Further, it allows them to look at who they are now as an artist. Working professionally, have remnants of these young eyes resonated in their work today? To promote this exhibition, we’ve asked our staff to dust off their photo boxes and uncover their own early works they have taken as children and share the image and its tale as the exhibit asks of their participants.
Looking at this image now, floods of childhood memories rush through my head and I feel a bit nostalgic. It is the very first photograph I have ever taken. At that time, in 1986/87, I was four years old and living in Los Alamos, New Mexico, USA with my parents. One day we were wandering through Santa Fe National Forest when I spotted this young deer standing close by, observing us curiously, rather than in a scared way. I pointed it out to my parents in excitement. My father was a dedicated physics professor but in his free time he was also a passionate photographer, taking his Nikon FM with him almost anywhere he went. I don’t know why he decided to hand me his camera and told me to take a picture in that moment, but he did. My mom later glued the 10x15 print into what should become my first photo album, and wrote the caption “selbst fotografiert!” (“self photographed” in German) underneath. -Nadja Wohlleben
According to my parents, I was four when I took the picture and I obviously don’t remember. I joked that the reason why I framed the picture like that was because at the time I wasn’t so tall and that the camera must have been almost bigger than my head. Even with a 50 mm. I just like to see my parents like that. It reminds me of my later holidays in the Alpes or the Pyrénées. We would take long walks on the mountain, soak in the smell of the pastures, I remember the snow huntings and going for the highest spot we could with my father. -Thibault Sallé
Somewhere in between the age of five and six I fell hopelessly in love with the idea of having a dog. I had to have one. Nothing would be right in the world until I owned my very own. Sadly for me, my parents said we could not have a dog, we didn’t have space for him or a fence for him to run around in. We lived in a small house with no backyard. My mom tells me I would cry in agony to have this dream come into fruition. I remember some nights, not being able to sleep because I was so sad, and I could feel this little pup in my arms. I wanted to fall asleep with him so badly. That was like the ultimate Utopia for me at six years old. A year passed. Still no puppy. For my 7th birthday my parents decided to give me a close to life sized stuffed animal Doberman Pincher. I named him Nosey, and we were inseparable. There was no where I would go that Nosey wasn’t trailing right behind me on his leash that my parents bought at a real pet store! My first grade teacher, Mrs. Flynt, said it was Ok for me to bring him to class everyday. The other kids were not allowed to have toys in class, but for me she made an exception. The older kids in school would make fun of me, they would say Nosey was fake, and that I was so weird. I couldn’t have cared less, because to me, Nosey was real. Me and Nosey could conquer the world together. After a while Nosey got old... his feet couldn’t hold him up so well which made it hard to pull him behind me on his leash... it felt more like dragging. And I couldn’t bare it... I felt so sad to see Nosey this way. When I turned nine we moved to a big house that had a big backyard and a fence! I just knew my dreams were about to come true. Happily for me, they did. When I came back from camp that summer, my parents had a two month old beagle waiting for me. It was the happiest day of my life! I named him Pirimpo, Piri for short (pronounced like ‘Petey’). All my dreams came true, we really were best friends, we took naps together and ate together, we really did conquer the world together. We had similar temperaments, we really were inseparable. -Adriana Monsalve 56
I took this picture with my Barbie 110 film camera, and I have no recollection if it. Discovering the envelope “Monica took these,” was astonishing in itself. This is my grandpa with my older cousin, Shawn. My grandpa was a doctor and went by the nickname, “Doc.” He was an amazing cook, loved watching the game show, “Jeopardy,” and loved to tickle me. Because my own father mysteriously strayed, him and my grandmother would rotate every six months and fly to Mundelein, IL from Manila to help my mom raise me. He was my father figure. He also loved baseball caps; which is hilarious because I can’t remember ever seeing him watch baseball. But he wore one every time we went out. Guess he just liked the style of it and wanted to seem more American. When I was younger I was incredibly shy and held back showing affection to family; still unsure of why. I even held back saying the words “thankyou.” But knowing I had to show respect, I improvised and would tell my grandpa, “T.Y.” From then on, that was our little inside joke. We’d always say “T.Y,” and then “W,” for “you’re welcome,” to each other. He past away in 2000, when I was 12, and there was one moment when I was sitting next to him in the hospital, and he whispered to me, “T.Y.” Love ya, papa. -Monica Pedraja
My friends at Trinity School, Atlanta, Georgia I took this picture of my school friends in February 1969 when I was in sixth grade. I still remember all their names. I was 11 years old. Anne Somerville, my erstwhile best friend looks troubled, and I still feel guilty because that was the year that I was a poor friend to her. I wanted to be friends with the older seventh grade girls and was neglecting her. She was hurt, I know, even more so when I took Nannette Newman to Scotland with me for the summer holiday instead of her, and paid the price because I had a nasty time instead of a nice one. There was nothing wrong with Nannette, but I hardly knew her. I also feel guilty about Peggy Garret, the fat girl on the right. I wasn’t horrible to her like the boys, and many of the girls were, but I failed her in respect of friendship. You see we’d had a previous connection. When I was five my father lived next door to her family and we played together when I visited him in the summer. When we rediscovered each other at school I didn’t want to be friends with her because she was fat and unpopular. My overwhelming memories of school friends are tinged with guilt. Because as a child I was forever moving, I left Atlanta in eighth grade and lost contact with all of them. Now I wish I could see Anne and Peggy and say sorry. -Carrie Hitchcock
Hailing from Chicago, the pop punk band, Fall Out Boy have resurrected themselves from the graveyard of hiatus bands and come back with a vengeance to save rock and roll. With a new album being released in April and a world-wide tour, Fall Out Boy have not only resuscitated themselves, but also the teenage hearts of thousands. The teenage hearts that wore Converse, who wandered the halls of their high school deep in search of that one group who enjoyed the same sounds and felt connected. These teenage hearts are now reaching their mid-twenties, embarking on a new chapter- finding their place in adulthood. I own such a heart. As a teenager growing up in Lake County, Illinois (LXC), I found my home in a sea of black. Black hoodies, black eye-liner, black sneakers, black guitars, black everything but our souls. Music was our collective escape from suburban life of shopping malls and the popular cliques in high school. Every weekend was spent carpooling to the local venues, watching our friends play their music, and then congregating in the Wendy’s parking lot for late night snacks like chocolate frosties and five piece chicken nuggets, while sitting on the hoods of our cars recapping the night and watching the guys dance as if still in the mosh pit. This formative part of our lives was filled with hot and sweaty town center halls, ear splitting jams, and the smell of stale smoke on our clothes. All that mattered was music and camaraderie. We belonged, and we felt infinite. It was here that home was not a physical structure, but the people you surrounded yourself with and the music that tied us together. Reading Fall Out Boy was releasing a new album after 5 years of silence I sent myself into “throwback” mode, listening to music of that time and flipping through my photos of friends. It dawned on me how strong our group was and how far we have come (taking a master’s degree in London, living in LA and working as a genetic counselor, studying medicine in Pennsylvania). Discovering Jason Lazarus’ Come As You Are project, my fledgling idea of doing a photographic project on this is now on full throttle. The following pages present images and words collected from friends that take a look back to a pivotal time in our lives. The images, though filled with faces familiar to only myself and my friends, the experiences can resonate instinctively with many other former teenagers. We know you’re out there.
Photography and text by Monica Pedraja
I had a small group of friends. We weren’t really considered “popular,” were kind of the outsiders. There was a small group of juniors and seniors that were in bands at the time. We got a hold of one of the flyers for a local show and started attending almost every weekend. I showed up to one of the shows with a disposable camera and took pictures of one of the bands just for the fun of it. This is where it really started for me. Before I knew it, I had found my place, where I felt at home.”
“We stalked those high school halls dressed in black, hoods up, glaring through eyeliner. We danced in parking lots, sipping shakes and stealing fries. We were the kids with the 35mm cameras, mysterious friends with stripes in their hair, and loud music blasting from our cars. The rest thought we were weird. Crazy, even. But in those moments between sets, when cigarettes lit up the night sky and our sweat became part of the air, when we knew we would come home smelling like smoke and grease and everyone on that fucking floor, we belonged.
THE ONLY THING THAT GOT US THROUGH MOST DAYS WAS MUSIC” FALL OUT BOY
When I was 14 and 15 years old, I was awkward and confused about everything. Getting to know the people that I spent time with during my years in the local music scene threw me through loops that I would love to forget, but unfortunately I can’t seem to. To start, music provided me with an escape from my over-baring mother, my bi-polar older brother who loved to torture me and from my own worst enemy at the time, myself. Struggling with depression from a very young age, the music seemed to speak to me and told me it will be okay, you aren’t the only who hurts. “
“At 16 we weren’t in someone’s basement getting hammered and playing video games. We were in a sweaty room beating the shit out of each other and loving it. Every Friday and Saturday night was an excuse to scream as loud as you could next to your best friend and let out every negative, hateful emotion you had built up. It didn’t matter if things at home sucked or if you were failing math. For those three or four hours at a local show, the only thing you had to worry about was a ride home at the end of the night. Local hardcore gave me an opportunity to express myself no matter how odd or violent outsiders perceived it to be. “
“Hardcore isn’t just music, it’s a way of life. As cliched as that sounds, it was a very common saying for those of us who grew up in the LXC scene. The scene stood for friendship and brotherhood, and I do believe it shaped many of us into the successful adults we became. I played drums in a local band; and my bandmates were my closest friends. We did everything together. It was through them and the scene that I gained the confidence that I have today. I still hold a lot of the traditional hardcore values. I value my friends, my family, and overall my community.
When you really break it down, what we had and some still have is a network we created through friendship and creativity. It’s meant more to some than others, for some of us have moved on and some of us are still here. One thing that is for sure in my mind is that everything I’ve been lucky enough to be a part of and experience I never thought was possible until it happened. Hardcore has given me my best friends. It’s given me a life I didn’t think I would have growing up. It’s given me an out to some situations that would eat some people alive. It’s given me everything that makes me, me. For that I’m truly thankful and will do whatever it takes to make srue that the generations after me will be able to find those same opportunities and experiences that I hold so close to my heart. That’s where I’m coming from. That’s what I’ll never forget. “
Looking from the outside in, I can see where many could assume that violence and hatred were the cornerstones of the hardcore scene. They couldn’t be more wrong.”
Adriana always felt something was missing in her life. Though having strong Colombian roots, she was influenced more by the African culture, having grown up just outside of Washington D.C. A year after her grandfather passed way, she discovered the missing piece. On June 29, 2011, at 27, Adriana discovered her great-great grandfather was 100% African. It finally made sense, and she felt complete. This past February, she decided to celebrate America’s Black History Month by writing a poem every day. Each issue’s “Black Rhymez,” will include one of these poems.
feb. 06 Black queen ..black queen What do you dream..? Do you dream of your childhood? Do you dream of your home? Was it left far behind you..? Was it burned and unknown? Why are you here? Are you looking for someone? Maybe you’re dreaming to find your black prince. I been there, I done that, I dreamed that dream too. I got it, I lost it, I raised my white flag. I surrendered to love, I surrendered to suffer. I had one. I had both. I said I was fine! But you can't love hard and expect no growth. Because underneath the mask, above all the rhymes, if you look inside - I was lying under oath. So black queen black queen don't stop your quest. Keep running keep searching, open your chest. Let the bad things go and keep hold of the good ones! Stay soft, stay light, take off your bullet proof vest. Cuz if it hurt you, it's supposed to. If it doesn't, then you’re stronger. You don't need the artificial to help you stay alive. Black queen black queen we come from the same blood.. keep pumping keep pushing, welcome the flood.
Photography and poem by Adriana Monsalve
An artist turns the world inside out Photography and text by Nadja Wohlleben The artist
Thumnails: http://www.jr-ar t.net
JR is an anonymous French artist who calls himself an “urban activist” and regards the world as the “largest art gallery”. Since the beginning of his career as a graffiti artist in Paris it was JR’s ambition to bring art into the streets to also reach people who don’t go to museums. An artist unlike any other, JR uses a combination of photography and street art, pasting large prints of his black and white portraits in public spaces around the world to raise awareness about issues like freedom, identity, commitment and limits. JR showcases his pervasive art on buildings in Paris, walls in the Middle East, broken bridges in Africa, or rooftops in the ghettos of Brazil. At each location community members take part in the artistic pasting process, becoming creators themselves. French journalist and director of Beaux Arts Magazine Fabrice Bousteau labelled JR as «the one we already call the Cartier-Bresson of the 21st century,” while the newspaper Le Monde described his work as «revealing humanity.» The project In 2011 JR won the TED prize, an annual award given to an exceptional individual who receives “one wish to change the world.” JR wished: «I wish for you to stand up for what you care about by participating in a global art project, and together we’ll turn the world inside out.» Thus, the global InsideOut project was born, a unique participatory art project that alters messages of personal identity into pieces of artistic work, which are displayed in public spaces around the world. Anyone can participate by digitally sending images to JR’s crew, who then print and send them back as posters for the co-creators to exhibit in their own communities. In September 2012, 78,602 photographs had been printed as posters for 4,456 projects in 9,564 different locations worldwide.
Ignite playing InsideOut This is where IGNITE comes into the picture, literally! The entire IGNITE team took black and white portraits of each other and sent them to JR to have them printed. Subsequently we plastered the posters in Leake Street Tunnel (also known as Banksy Tunnel or Graffiti Tunnel) a passageway located in London’s Watergate area, where graffiti artists can legally display their street art. Banksy transformed the tunnel into a legal graffiti space during the «Cans Festival» that he organized in 2008. IGNITE had plenty of fun during our little street art action and we are very proud and happy to be part of this amazing worldwide art project!
Eiichi Shimasaki, performance artist, inventor, musician and film-maker, was born on the 12th of May, 1974 in Osaka, Japan. He has played in bands since he was fourteen years old and worked repairing shoes and designing accessories until inventing Ichi in 2003. He now tours his unique one-man-band performance all over the world. His hand-made instruments are ingenious multi purpose contraptions, like the stilts he uses for entrances and exits turn into a double bass and a banjo.
Where do you feel at home?
What three people would you want to have dinner with?
He is married to singer-songwriter Rachael Dadd, they have one child and live in Nagoya, Japan and Bristol, England.
Photography and text by Carrie Hitchcock
What do you regret?
What’s your favourite film
If you could have any super power, what would it be?
What’s your favorite smell?
What experiences have shaped you?
What scares you?
What book has changed your life?
What would you do if you were king of the world?
Next issue: We will be exploring playgrounds around the world, tackle the issue of bullying, see Nadja soar as she base jumps, and slow-dance at “proms,” in South Africa.