Masthead Issue 8 ~ Paris & Seoul Issue 8 ~ Cover Interview Hyukoh ~ pg. 36 Photographer: Dasom Han 한다솜 Stylist: Yohan Kim 김요한 Makeup: Yoonjin Kang 강윤진 Assistant: Downqmentary 정다운
End Page Artwork by Na Kim
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Editor-in-chief & Art Director Shannon Jager Editor Daniel Swenson Editor Julie Baldassi Copy Editor Kat Sieniuc Contributing Editor JIIN Distribution Disticor Printing Imageworks Created with the support of the Ontario Arts Council
Alexandra Caufin Amanda Macchia Anaele Pelisson Dasom Han 한다솜 Dominic Kesterton Downqmentary 정다운 Erin Reznick Freckle Seoul Harriet Lye Huda Hassan JIIN Jane Kim Jayde Perkin Jinju Pyun Joshua Anderson Kate Knibbs Lee Marshall Lennard Kok Louise Reimer Momomi Rala Choi Set Byeol Lee Shin Morae Sonja Swanson Sora Kim Spencer Judge Sukjun Ray Kim Veuxsavoir Yohan Kim 김요한 Yoonjin Kang 강윤진
double dot magazine Exploring the cultural and creative relationship between sister cities â&#x20AC;&#x201D; where they part and collide.
What is a Sister City? The modern concept of Sister Cities, conceived after the Second World War in 1947, was intended to foster friendship and understanding between different cultures and between former foes as an act of peace and reconciliation, and to encourage trade and tourism.
Table of Contents 16
Onggi ( )
Run With Me
Written by Sonja Swanson
I am here
Photography by Rala Choi
Photography by Momomi
Interview: Na Kim By Erin Reznick
Waiting and Missing
Illustration by Shin Morae
Keeping up Appearences Written by Kate Knibbs Illustration by Dominic Kesterton
Onggi Written by Sonja Swanson When I was eight or so, my family came to Korea for a visit and we stayed at my grandmotherâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s house. It was a traditional home with a courtyard and tile roof, but what I remember most is climbing up the narrow stairs to a small platform over the entrance, where my grandmother kept her earthenware jars, known as onggi in Korean. They were enormous, brown pots with rounded bellies, smooth to the touch, sun-warmed; I could have easily crawled inside one at that age.
These were hangari, a type of medium-sized onggi shaped like two parentheses curving around a space, a pause, a breath. ( ) And the smell — something nose-curling, which my child-self didn’t really like, but I couldn’t stop climbing up there to play and marvel at the jars. Onggi are used for storing food, particularly fermented foods. My grandmother kept doenjang, fermented bean paste, ganjang, soy sauce, gochujang, red chili paste, and salt, along with some pickled vegetables. Onggi are made of earth, so they breathe—they let just enough air and moisture enter and escape as dictated by the natural processes of fermentation. They are as much a part of Korean cooking as a frying pan or an oven is in the West. When storing salt, for example, over the months and years, a bitter solution of minerals called gansu sinks to the bottom and can be used for making tofu. What is left at the top is pure, white, and fluffy, like snow, for gentle seasoning. You can’t underestimate the value of onggi: fermented foods can last years, and onggi can last for generations. They were something of value to be passed on to the next generation, a food heritage tied to the land, the idea of being and belonging in and to a place.
Starting in the post-war 1960s, floods of Koreans began immigrating to cities, especially to Seoul, leaving behind farms and families. Today, 82.5% of South Korea’s population lives in cities. While onggi in the countryside were often placed in outdoor courtyards, or buried in the ground, people in cities living in multi-story buildings instead lined rooftops and balconies with their earthenware jars. Along with modern living, however, came modern eating, and companies making pre-packaged fermented foods in factories advertised their products as healthier and more sanitary. Peek into the pantry of an average city family today, and you will most likely find sauces fermented in a factory, not in an onggi. Seven years ago, my grandmother passed away and my parents traveled to Korea for the funeral. My mother later told me that while arranging things at her childhood home, she
discovered that someone had stolen my grandmother’s onggi. I could see that my mother felt both anger and helplessness—it’s not like we could have taken the enormous earthenware jars, brimming with sauces, back to U.S. with us. But it was still something we lost. A few years ago, I moved to Seoul and fell hard for this city. The pace of life, the mountains, the mix of high rises and low brick buildings all drew me in. Seoul is a city in constant flux, with almost every stage of its history written in steel and stone and wood between the highways and alleyways. In old neighbourhoods, you’ll still see some homes with onggi on their rooftops—people making food the old way. My landlady, Ms. Kim, is one of them. She led me up to her rooftop collection of earthenware jars. “I make my own soy sauce because I don’t trust the factory-made stuff,” she told me. And going a step beyond what home fermenters do, Ms. Kim doesn’t buy her pre-fermented blocks of soybeans, called meju—she starts from the bean itself, boiling, mashing, shaping and aging the meju by hand. Making these sauces is an immense amount of work, and it’s no surprise that fewer families within the last generation are undertaking it, especially with more women in the workplace.
One of my favorite old neighbourhoods, Daeheung-dong, is mostly populated by three and four-story buildings, constructed during the development drives of the ‘60s. It was harder to find the onggi than I remembered. And I was in for a rude shock—nearly all of the onggiowners I did find revealed that their onggi were, in fact, empty. They’d stopped fermenting foods in them years ago. “I can’t climb up those stairs anymore!” one lady laughed, a little ruefully. “You want to buy an empty jar?” a grandmother asked hopefully. It made me wonder how many of the onggi I had seen occasionally while walking around the rest of Seoul were actually empty. Recently, there’s been a small revival of home-fermentation, especially for making jang, Korea’s essential fermented sauces. Song Sun-ja is the founder of Haetsal Hangari, a program that sets up communal jang-making spaces for onggi here in Seoul. By creating communal spaces and providing the ingredients and training for jang-making, Ms. Song hopes that more city-dwellers, especially younger ones, will keep these traditions alive. I don’t know if we’ll still see onggi lining Seoul’s rooftops in fifty years. But I’ve signed up for Ms. Song’s next class and will be adding my own little onggi to my balcony very soon.
Run With Me Photography: Momomi Styling: Freckle Seoul Model: Sora Kim
Interview: Hyukoh 혁오 By JIIN I first met Oh Hyuk during the smouldering heat of Seoul’s summer outside a rock club in Hongdae called FF. Appearing from the bends of the city’s winding roads, Hyuk and his band, performing and releasing music under the name Hyukoh, rolled out of an all black SUV with dark tinted windows. Photographer: Dasom Han 한다솜 Stylist: Yohan Kim 김요한 Makeup: Yoonjin Kang 강윤진 Assistant: Downqmentary 정다운 Translated by Jane Kim & Sukjun Ray Kim
His skinhead haircut, complimented by his piercings and stick-and-poke tattoos, seemed reminiscent of a thug you might see in Hollywood films. His demeanour certainly supported his character, yet his quiet, amiable mannerisms alluded to a reserved, intelligent individual. I can’t even begin to expect anybody to accept the projection of such a genuine voice from such a haphazard appearance. 처음 혁오를 만나게 된 계기는 한 여름 FF라는 홍대에 위치한 락 클럽 외부였다. 서울의 굴곡져있는 거리의 끝에서 혁오밴드라는 이름으로 활동하는 혁오와 밴드맴버들이 새까만 썬팅된 대형차에서 내리는게 첫 인상이었다. 삭발된 머리와 문신은마치 영화 속 조폭을 연상시키는 듯했고 그의 몸가짐은 확실히 자신만의 캐릭터를확고하는데 성공적이었지만 그의 대비되는 조용하고 상냥한 태도와 행실이 그의 내성적이고 지능적인 속내를 비추는듯 했다. 그의 다소 험악한 인상과 달리 따뜻하고 부드러운 목소리가 최고의 매력인듯 하다.
J: The spotlight of western music culture focuses much on the activities of the U.S. and Europe, but not much insight has been given to artists based in Asia—what are some differences you have noticed be-tween east and west? In terms of mentality, production, content, branding and graphics, socially etc.? O: It’s natural to expect that western music culture focuses on U.S. and European activities. I don’t think that there is too much difference in methods of branding, graphic design, content design or sales between east and west. J: How does western culture influence you specifically, and what do you notice regarding how it affects your peers? O: Western culture has a lot of influence on me. Because our genre of music originated from western culture, it’s been a constant presence in my life that motivates challenge. J: Do you notice styles that may be apparent in western culture but new to eastern culture? In terms of fashion, design, and graphics? O: I don’t believe that there’s a genre that has not been exposed to eastern culture. However, contents with sexual code or queer culture have not settled down yet because it’s more conservative here. J: What is important to artists in
J: 서양 대중문화가 미국과 유럽쪽 음악에 스포트 라이트를 주는 반면 아시아권 뮤지 션들은 비교적 인지도가 낮은 성향이 있는데 프로덕션, 컨텐트, 브랜딩이나 그래픽 등등의 측면에서 동양과 서양 의 다른점이 뭐라고 생각하세요?
O: 우선 대중문화면에서는 현재 동양에서 향
유하고 있는 것들이 아무래도 서양의 것이 대부분 이기 때문에 동양의 컨텐츠가 큰 이슈가 되지 않는 건 당연한거 같다. 질문에서 동양과 서양의 브랜딩 방식이나 그래픽 등 컨텐츠를 제작하고 판매하는 대부분은 사실 큰 차이가 없다고 생각한다.
J: 서양문화가 혁오밴드에 미치는 영향이 있
나요? 그리고 동료 아티스트들에게는 어 떤 영향 을 미치고 있죠?
O: 많은 부분을 차지한다. 앞서 말했듯 우리가
하고 있는 음악의 장르가 결국 서양문화권의 것이 기 때문에 항상 곁에두고 자극을받는다.
J: 아시아권 문화에 아직 도입되지 않은 서양
의 스타일 – 패션, 디자인, 그래픽 등등이 있다면 무엇이라고 생각하세요?
O: 접해보지 못한 컨텐츠는 없을거다. 다만 섹
슈얼코드의 컨텐츠들은 아직은 보수적 인 이곳엔 자리를 잡지 못한것 같다.
J: 아시아권 아티스트들은 작곡, 작업 과정이
나 퍼포먼스를 통틀어서 음악을 만드는 과정에서 제일 중요한 요소가 뭐라고 생각하죠?.
O: 아마 각기 아티스트들 마다 다를 것이다.
내가 모두를 대표하진 않지만, 예술적, 음악적, 비 디오, 홍보등의 모든 요소가 중요할 것이다. 그 중 하나라도 빠진다면, 엄청난 손해일 것이다.
J: 혁오밴드의 음악을 사랑하는 사람들은 어
떤가요? 아시아의 팬들은 더욱 더 열렬 하고 언더 그라운드나 메인스트림이나 관계없이 지지하는 아티스트를 거의 숭배하시피 하던데요.
O: 그런 열성팬들이 어떠할까 라는 궁금증도
있지만, 동시에 무섭기도 하다. 우리팬들은 대부
It’s difficult to grow up with limitations. But at the same time, because we live in Confucian culture, it’s more or less natural. There was no specific training period. We just organized and created albums out of music that I wrote during high school.
Asia? What do they believe in, and what is most important to you in the process of creating music, whether that be during performing or writing? O: That will depend on each individual artist. I don’t represent the general but I would say that every part of the process is important: art, music video, music, promotion. Leaving even one part out would mean a huge loss. J: What are the people that listen to your music like? I have noticed that fans are much more loyal in Asia, having an almost cult-like presence to celebrities regardless if they are mainstream or pseudo- underground artists. O: I’m curious about those fans; I’m kind of scared at the same time. But our fans are calm and gentle. J: Are there some limitations to being an artist based in Asia? O: I have not experienced it yet. J: How does tradition and stigma translate in music, or life in Asia? How does it influence the way in which we network, talk, write or perform music? O: Orientalism, Korea’s architecture, four seasons, visual landscape and society’s attitude have always given me huge inspiration since I was young. Living a life in an accustomed place leaves you with a sense of emptiness. Life in Seoul is hollow. So it is good to make vacuous music. J: When people think of Korean music in the west, they think of either
K-pop or Keith ape, but having been to Seoul myself, I know there is much more to be shared - what kinds of things could you share with us that might not as well known outside of Asia? What do you think would be important for western culture to absorb in order to progress? O: It would be good to expose our music to the West and see what feedback we receive. Eastern culture has a lot of affection, what we call ‘Jeong’ (情). This is a big part of relationships. Because of it, emotions are heightened; when you’re happy, you experience extreme happiness; when you’re sad, you go through extreme sadness. J: I feel as if there are a lot of restrictions to kids in Asia to express themselves, where as it seems in western culture we take for granted the freedom and space to do, build and make what we want. Is this something that is true? What controls this? Could you tell me about growing up in Asia and some potential difficulties of making music there? What is the K-pop industry like? O: That is the saddest part. It’s difficult to grow up with limitations. But at the same time, because we live in Confucian culture, it’s more or less natural. There was no specific training period. We just organized and created albums out of music that I wrote during high school. We looked for
분 조용하고 착하다.
J: 아시아권 아티스트이기에 제한이나 한계가
있다고 느낄때가 있나요?
O: 아직 그런 제한이나 한계를 느껴본 적은 없다.
J: 동양 문화나 한국에서의 삶이 작곡이나 네트
워킹 등등 아티스트들에게 어떤 영향을 미치나요?
O: 한국의 건축이나 사계절, 풍경, 혹은 사람
들이 가지고 있는 전반적인 태도는 어렸을때부터 나한테 항상 큰 영감을 주었다. 서울이라는 곳에서 의 삶이 어느정도 익숙해지면 남게되는 공허함이 있다. 그래서 공허한 음악을 만들기 좋다.
J: 한국 아티스트중에 케이팝 그룹이라던가
키스 에이프는 해외에도 잘 알려져있지만 서울에 가본 결과 정말 많은 서양에 알려지지 않은 아티스 트들이 정말 많다는걸깨달은거같아요. 아시아 밖 에서도 알려졌으면 하는 요소가 있나요? 해외 진 출을 위해서는 무엇이 중요하다고 생각하나요?
O: 한국의 음악이 해외진출을 통해 여러 피드
백을 받는 것은 좋은 것 같다. 동양문화에는 정이라 는 감성이 있다. 정은 감성을 고조시키기 때문에 관 게에 있어 큰 역할을 한다. 행복은 더 큰 행복으로 다가오고, 슬픔은 더욱 극심한 슬픔으로 느껴진 다.
O: 동양에서는 서양만큼 개성이 허락이 안돼
는 문화나 환경인거 같은데 동의 하시나요? 그렇 다면 이유가 뭐라고 생각하세요? 아시아에서 자 라면서 음악을 선택한것에 대해서 어려움이 있었 다면 어떠셨나요? 그리고 대체로 한국의 연예계 에 대해 말씀해주세요 데뷰하기까지 트레이닝 과 정 그리고 무대에 서기까지 한국 가요계에 대해 설명해주세요.
J: 한계 속에서 성장하는 것은 어려운 일이지
만, 한편으론 우리가 유교문화권에 살고 있기 때문 에 어쩔 수 없다는 생각도 든다. 트래이닝 과정은 없었다. 그냥 고등학생때 썼던 음악들을 정리하고 앨범으로 만들었다. 공연은 여기저기 클럽을 찾아 다니다가좋은 기회로 클럽공연을 하게되었다.우
places to perform, and luckily found a club that let us. We are really lucky; it’s only been one year since our début. J: How do you think music is developing right now? What do you observe in what people like, and does that influence the way you write? O: It’s like fast food - it's created fast and sold cheap. No nutritional value. I can’t help but mind what people like, or where the culture, or this generation is headed. But, in the end, I just do what I want to do. J: I have to stress a point - it is evident that artists in Seoul have a path in which they can achieve mainstream popularity, yet do a wonderful job staying true to their aesthetics, their sound or intentions. Is this something that can be achieved with effort, or is it something that relates back to issues dealing with funding? O: I’ve always been interested in underground music culture. So I spent most of my time at home watching and listening to related things. Money is important but not having money doesn’t make things impossible. I think what’s important is how much time you put into it and how interested you are in the subject. J: Which artist do you respect the most or has changed the way the music industry works today? O: I would say, Paul McCartney. (I have his tattoo) Maybe, Adele?
리는 운이 좋은것같다. 우리는 데뷔를한지 1년밖 에 되지 않았다.
O: 이 시점 음악이 어느 방향으로 흘러가고 있
다고 생각하나요? 대중의 취향이나시대의 흐름이 지금 작사 작곡을 할때 영향을 미치나요?
O: 패스트푸드같다. 빨리 만들고 싸게 팔린다
(그럼에도 좋은 음악은 항상 나오는것 같다). 대중 의 취향과 시대의 흐름은 아무래도 신경이 쓰이지 만, 결국은 내가원하는 음악을 만든다.
J: 무엇보다도 강조하고 싶은 점은 서울의 아
티스트들이 대중적인 인기를 가질수있는데도 메 인스트림의 길 외에 자기만의 색깔과 스타일을 찾 는게 인상적인거 같아요.이것이 노력으로 달성할 수 있는건지 자금적 여유가 있을때만 가능한건지 궁금하네요.
O: 나는 예전부터 언더그라운드 문화에 관심
이 많았다. 집에서 언더그라운드 영상과음악을 보 고 듣는게 내 취미였다. 돈이 당연히 필요하지만 돈이 없다고 불가능 한것 같지는 않다. 가장 중요 한 것은, 얼만큼의 시간을 투자하느냐와 그 분야에 대한본인의 관심과 열정이라고 생각한다.
J: 제일 존중하는 아티스트가 누구인가요? 그
리고 지금 음반시장을 발전시키는 아티 스트가 있 다면 누구라고 생각하세요?
O: 폴 맥카트니 (타투도있다). 아델아닌가?
Waiting and Missing Illustrated by Shin Morae
I am here Photography: Rala Choi Styling: Veuxsavoir Hair & Make-up: Jinju Pyun Model: Set Byeol Lee
Interview: Na Kim By Erin Reznick After the industrialization of the 1990s, the importance of design became a priority within the South Korean national agenda. Implementing it as a tool to enhance international competitiveness, design strategy very quickly evolved from policy to everyday entertainment, making â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;designâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; one of the most frequently used terms in Korean daily life. The mass media increasingly featured programming revolving around design and these programs were very successful in convincing the
government and corporations to promote Korea as a world-class design nation. Former Seoul Mayor Oh Se-hoon declared in his acceptance speech, â&#x20AC;&#x153;[d]esign is a growth driver of the Seoul economy. We have surprised the world with the Miracle of the Han River and advancements in the I.T. sector. Now we would like to bring global attention to Seoul with strong design. [...] Seoul will send out the message that design is the power to change the world for the better.â&#x20AC;? When people discuss identity of a place, they are often thinking in terms of how that place affects the way they conceive themselves, or the way that other people perceive them. These ideas are frequently aligned with those of regionalism, social class, and cultural realm. But despite the governmentâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s intentions, many Korean designers feel that South Korea lacks identity in its designs, pulling influence from other countries and therefore leaving it without an attributable aesthetic. Seoul-based designer and artist Na Kim finds strength in embracing this lack of identity, and escaping the limitations that come attached with nationality. In fact, her work exceeds many boundaries, balancing influences between Dutch and Korean culture, notions of process and form, and practices in both fine art and design. After receiving her MFA from Werkplaats Typografie in the Netherlands, Kim quickly became noticed for her minimal, yet expressive style, exemplifying essential
elements of form. Her playful and engaging aesthetic, characterized by bold colours and experimental typography, has been seen in her magazine project umool umool, in editions of the renowned GRAPHIC magazine, and in numerous international exhibitions including Graphic Design Worlds at Milan Triennale Museum (2011), Millennium Magazines at MoMA (2012) and New Yorkâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Doosan Gallery (2015). I was lucky enough to chat with her through opposite spectrums of the day, as I was drinking my morning coffee, and her a glass of wine after a long night of work. We discussed the meaning of the role of the artist versus that of the designer, European versus Asian aesthetics and why national identity could actually hinder creative spirit.
ERIN: Where did you grow up? NA: I was born in Gwangju, which is a small city in the southern part of Korea. There aren’t many artists in my family, but I became fascinated with painting at a young age. I hadn’t enrolled in any art schools when I was young, in fact I ended up studying at a college of enginering. ERIN: At what point did you know that you were interested in design? NA: I really didn’t know anything about design at the time, but through my engineERIN:g program I felt a sense of connection between art, culture and design. I experienced an enhanced way of seeing and could practice those skills through drawing. Eventually I transferred to industrial design before studying graphic design in Seoul, then subsequently in Amsterdam. ERIN: Having returned to Seoul after living in Amsterdam, you must have seen changes in the city. Seoul is such a crazy place. There are so many creative neighbourhoods, and the city evolves so rapidly. Even if you’re away for three months, you can see obvious changes. I was away for seven years, so it was safe to say that my favourite bar was gone. NA: I think the city has changed in a positive way. Around 2011 or 2012, many people became interested in Asian, particularly Korean,
culture. I’m not sure why - maybe it was because of Gangnam Style or something. But in that moment, I saw parts of Europe being introduced to Korean culture with a lot of focus on Seoul’s local talent. That was definitely the biggest difference for me when returning to Korea. ERIN: You have been quoted saying that living in many places has made you beyond definition. How has relocating influenced your design? NA: Daily life is very important to me, and it greatly influences my work. It’s an obvious statement to say that everyone is influenced by their surroundings - where they live, who they meet, what they eat. I had lived in the Netherlands for a long time, especially as I was maturing as a designer, and when I look back on my time there, my influence has become harder to define. My work does have Dutch influence, but it’s difficult to pinpoint: was it the city that shaped my work? Or was it the trend in design at the time? Ultimately, I believe it was the city life. ERIN: Many Korean designers believe that Korean design doesn’t have a strict identity because they pull their influences from other styles. Do you feel that way? NA: I partly agree. To have no identity comes with positives and
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negatives but the more and more I think about it, I feel that it encapsulates a strong quality. When I imagine Japanese design, I conjure up an image of zen style. Perhaps something minimal with calm typography. When I think of Chinese design, I more or less coincide it with a very traditional idea - they have a sense for materiality because they can create good quality products for a low price. When I think of Korean design, no strong image comes to mind and I like that. You cannot define us. We can accept our diversity as our identity, and I personally believe that these ideas are reflected in parts of Seoul. ERIN: You recently spent six months in New York as part of a residency with Doosan Gallery. What did you think of New York? NA: That was my first trip to America, let alone New York. America is such a strange place because people assume that you already know a lot about the country, but that wasn’t true for me. When you think of New York, you think of the busy streets or the yellow taxi cabs but you cannot imagine what the reality is until you’re there. It was very different than I pictured it. New York is great because there is so much information coming at you every day, but it can be intense.
There are times when I need to feel cosmopolitan but I also love my quiet moments. To be honest, it made me miss Amsterdam. ERIN: Is your work received differently in the U.S. as compared to Europe or Korea? NA: Yes, I believe so. When I first arrived in Europe, people expected me to have some kind of an Asian style. I can’t avoid that, I’m Asian. I’m very fond of Swiss and Dutch design, not so much for the image or even the expression, but I enjoy the systematic approach to that style. At Werkplaats, people kept asking me why I was designing with a European aesthetic. I thought, what do you want me to do? Make a brush script or fold some origami? I have a strong affection for a sense of the grid, and I was thrilled to discover more of that in the Netherlands. When I moved back to Seoul, I had the opposite problem. People kept associating me with Amsterdam. And even though I’m obviously influenced by that style, I didn’t like that my name became synonymous with Dutch design. New York is such a huge market that I didn’t really think about how I was being perceived while I was there. My small exhibition got a lot of advertisement and I was just so happy to see people being
Quarterly Graphic MaGazine #9 SprinG 2009 WerKplaatS typOGraFie Special iSSue
KIOSK FORMS OF INQUIRY KINROSS, MODERN TYPOGRAPHY (1992, 2004, 2009) IN REAL LIFE FROM MARS PLACE IT DESIGNING CRITICAL DESIGN VISUAL POETRY KUMGANGSAN ROMA PUBLICATIONS 1— 90 EXTENDED CAPTION (DDDG) GRAPHIC DESIGN IN THE WHITE CUBE ON PURPOSE ISSN 1975-7905
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introduced to my work. I got a lot of offers for future collaboration which surprised me. ERIN: Most people know your work from GRAPHIC magazine. How did you get involved with them? NA: I met Kwangcul Kim, the editor of GRAPHIC, in 2008, just after I curated an exhibition in Seoul revolving around Werkplaats Typografie. This was the first show I ever curated, and the show quickly became popular. I look back on it as a very exciting time. After the show closed, he approached me to collaborate on a new issue extending from themes within the exhibition. That kind of commission seemed so intriguing because it was an alternative way to envision the exhibition so I signed on and; from there, made thirteen different issues. My work with GRAPHIC felt so rewarding because with most magazines, the design is based on the content, but with GRAPHIC the content is influenced by the design. I had full freedom in selecting the theme, contributors and aesthetic. ERIN: What are you hoping to communicate through your work? NA That’s tough. Many people have been asking me this conventional question: are you a designer or are you an artist? ERIN: The line between the
two roles has seemed to blur in recent years. NA: Exactly. I’ve always admired artists because they put everything into their work; their entire way of experiencing life is different. As a designer, people approach me with a question or a concept that I revolve my work around. As an artist, it’s up to me to ask those questions. Even though I create exhibitions, I still approach it as a design project. The attendees may view it as a more immersive experience, but for me it has always been about the design. I’ve identified as a designer but I seriously started to question that after my time in New York. I want to start using my work as a way to figure out what other people are thinking. I’d like to find my concepts from the outside world, rather than digging it out from within myself. I think that it can be process that can result in some interesting and socially relevant ideas.
Keeping up Appearences By Kate Knibbs Illustration by Dominic Kesterton
I lived in Seoul for eighteen months in my early twenties, teaching English as a Second Language to smart kids as I made dumb decisions. This is where I first learned about Korean beauty products, though my 250-foot studio apartment was not initially a den of cosmetic wonders.
I owned partly exploded blush pilfered from my sister, a tube of sticky Maybelline mascara, and a mostly-empty bottle of Aveeno face moisturizer. I usually “did my makeup” squatting in front of my narrow hallway mirror. I hadn’t worn makeup in college, beyond hasty swipes of concealer on my zits and the occasional poorly-applied squiggles of eyeliner for my “party look.” My routine deteriorated further after I graduated and moved in with my parents in a defeated post-grad fugue. Low-grade depression did not make me want to preen. Before I lived in Seoul, I prided myself on this careless beauty ritual. My mom, a petite blonde yoga instructor, is a vintage shopping genius with glossy makeup bags filled with YSL Touch Éclair and Guerlain bronzer. She’s fancy as hell. As a surly young adult, I knew I’d never look like my mom, so I decided not to try. I cushioned my sharp disappointment about not being glamorous by pretending that I was simply too intellectual and chill to care about products. This is the attitude I had before I went to Seoul, and I was about to learn that I had moved to the wrong country to be a sensitive schlub. I left for Korea in 2010. To prepare for the move, I made Hangul flashcards and downloaded some K-Pop
for my iPod Mini. I stuffed my Urban Outfitters’ clearance section clothes into a single grimy duffel bag to travel across the world. I had given myself a haircut in a style most accurately summarized as “John Lennon.” I also forgot to bring a hairbrush and spent the first few weeks clawing through my hair with one of the forks provided for my apartment by my employer, like some trash-ball Ariel. When I moved there, South Korea was on the brink of some major cultural crossovers, but they hadn’t happened yet. “Gangnam Style” hadn’t come out; Girls' Generation hadn’t gone on Letterman; nobody in America used BB cream. I barely knew anything about my new home —I’d been surprised to learn it had bitterly cold winters, foolishly assuming “South” corresponded to warmth. I’d noticed that every school I applied to insisted on a photograph and my height and weight with my application, and an acquaintance who already lived there told me that Korea was a looks-obsessed country, but I didn’t know what she meant. I figured it out soon enough. At the school where I taught, students told us what they thought of our appearances daily. If I wore makeup and a skirt, my students praised me as though it was totally normal for children to inform their teachers about
how attractive they found them —because to them, it was. “Small face!” was my most frequentlyreceived compliment, and one I never fully understood. If I showed up with my hair in a hasty messy bun, eight-year-olds would tell me I looked sick and tired. My Korean co-teachers were even more blunt. I lost fifteen pounds in my first few months teaching, a result of homesick anxiety and drinking so much soju and Cass beer that I’d neglect to eat. My newly-slender body was a topic in the teacher’s lounge, but even though I got skinny, I was not immune to criticism. “Why don’t you do your hair like Sib?” a co-teacher asked, pointing to my coworker, a beautiful, sardonic Brit whose winged eyeliner somehow never smudged no matter how late we stayed at norebang or how much makkoli we drank. I started tutoring adults on the side. They were not nicer. “You should get Botox,” one of my female students, a DJ with the most beautiful skin I’d ever seen, told me. She got out her special magnifying illuminated makeup mirror to show me the faint frown lines in between my brows. “Botox can be preventive,” she said. I was 23. “You are plump,” Mr. Kim told me as he leered at me from across his high-rise office, where I was supposed
to help him practice conversational business English. Our time together was brief. The neighbourhood I lived in when I first arrived was Bundanggu, an affluent satellite city to Seoul. Riding the impossibly clean subway line to work, I’d see women in five-inch heels and Birkin bags. It was a luxury-goods-obsessed neighbourhood, and the local mall had Louis Vuitton and Prada. I never set foot in those terrifyingly expensive stores, but in the boutiques I frequented, I faced a problem. Most of the clothes came in one size, a testament to the homogeneity of beauty standards. I couldn’t do the pants, but dresses normally looked fine—as long as I could convince the salesperson that I wasn’t about to Hulk-style bust out of the dresses in the changing room. Advertisements on the immaculate subway promised great changes through plastic surgery. The cheap prices and skilled surgeons have created a cosmetic procedure cottage industry, and you can get just about anything you want for a fraction of North American prices. One in five women in Seoul have had plastic surgery, according to The Economist. The “V-line” and “S-line” were oft-discussed beauty standards. I realize that all of these examples
make Korean beauty culture sound stressful, and in some ways, it was. The overwhelming and exacting beauty standards have caused real harm for some people in Korea, and I don’t want to minimize that. I was essentially a long-term tourist, and while my status as a foreigner didn’t exempt me from comments on my appearance, it kept me from taking them to heart. In fact, the bluntness appealed to me. I had already keenly felt unattractive in North America, and for me, it was oddly refreshing to hear my flaws explained out loud by others—I appreciated the honesty, and when I did receive compliments, I was able to enjoy them more because the critiques were so harsh. And because I would need a full face and body transplant to look anything remotely like the stars of Boys Over Flowers or the 2NE1 girls, I felt cauterized from the beauty standards. It was odd and unexpected, but living in a place where I was so far from the ideal felt freeing, and it allowed me to enjoy the positive aspects of the beauty culture without obsessing over its punishing emphasis on perfection. Instead of feeling cowed, I felt liberated. I adapted the step-heavy Korean skincare routine into a joyfully-applied hodgepodge of cleansers, exfoliators, serums, toners, ampoules, essences, and sheet
masks, purchased based on their colorful packaging. I didn’t pay much attention to the order they were meant to be applied in, but I slathered them on my face in a nightly ritual that made me feel less like I was warding off aging and imperfection and more like I was inviting beauty and play. The elaborate Korean skincare routine didn’t feel like a chore—it felt like an indulgence, and I felt like a fancy-ass lady. I hadn’t heard the term “self-care” yet while I was in Korea and I didn’t realize until later that I had found an angle into treating myself with more respect through the pursuit of the beauty standards that had once horrified me. I’d initially shied away from the traditional markers of femininity because I thought they’d look stupid on me, but in this place where I felt exempt from living up to those standards, this particular signal of femininity turned into a treat. I could take the time to look my best and it was a way of showing the world I was valuable, not that I was vapid.
Table of Contents 84
La Tour De Triangle
Getting Tangled in the Hijab
Written by Lee Marshall Illustraton by Lennard Kok
Study of Paris Youth
Written by Huda Hassan Illustrated by Louise Reimer
Lost in Translation
Photography by Joshua Anderson
Written by Alexandra Caufin
Interview: Raphael Garnier Interview by Amanda Macchia Translated by Anaele Pelisson
Written by Harriet Lye Illustraton by Jayde Perkin
Before You Leave Photography by Spencer Judge
La Tour De Triangle Written by Lee Marshall Illustrated by Lennard Kok
I was thirteen years old when I first visited Paris. It was the year of spaghetti straps and butterfly clips (otherwise known as 2000) and I was on a school trip with a group of other English-howling hooligans. At the Louvre, we saw the Mona Lisa, like a postage stamp in the distance, browsed the bric-a-brac at the flea market near the Moulin Rouge, and, of course, took the elevator up the Eiffel Tower. Excuse me. I mean: la Tour Eiffel.
At the top, we snapped countless pictures of the low skyline carved from Lutetian limestone. To help us remember, I suppose. To immortalize that oh-so-special moment we shared with millions of other tourists. The Paris skyline looks practically the very same now as it did then. But that skyline may be about to change. Paris has approved its first tower in over 40 years: La Tour Triangle. It’s a skyscraper that promises to be nothing like a skyscraper, and in fact, should mostly be invisible if everything goes according to plan. Herzog and De Meuron, the very same architects behind London’s Tate Modern and Beijing’s ‘Bird’s Nest’ stadium, created the Triangle Project. Ironically, the major selling point for Triangle seems to be the fact that no one will notice it. In artist’s renderings, the glass pyramid is so flat and reflective that it appears almost translucent. What’s more, it is positioned so that it will barely cast a shadow. Essentially this 180-metre structure will be unseen. You see, Paris has a short but bleak history with tall buildings. The Eiffel Tower — a 300-metre structure that is now practically synonymous with the city—wasn’t always beloved by Parisians. When construction on Eiffel began for the 1889 World’s Fair, a group of respected artists submitted a petition against the wrought-iron lady. The petition, published in Le Temps on Valentine’s Day, was the ultimate hate letter. It called the Eiffel Tower “monstrous” and “ridiculous.” It said the shadow would be “a blot of ink” on the City of Light. The Eiffel Tower was the tallest structure in the world for four decades, and to this day, remains the tallest structure in the city. However, where it was once called “barbaric” and “hateful,” it is now a symbol of love and light. After the Paris attacks in November 2015, it also became an international symbol for peace through the emblem created by artist Jean Jullien (and popularized in Facebook profile pictures everywhere.) For almost a century, Eiffel watched over Paris alone. Then, in 1973, Paris tried to tango with another tall building. This time, it did not end so well. La Tour Montparnasse, an office skyscraper, protrudes from the level cream stone city like a solitary 210-metre smokestack. It took several decades for the Eiffel Tower to win over Parisians, but the Tour Montparnasse never had such luck.
It sticks out like a sore brutalist thumb from the classical stone. And it is a major reason why opposition to Triangle exists. Triangle is almost a decade old but still exists only in drawings. The building has already overcome a lot, but the struggle isnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t completely over; the architects first conceived the design in 2008, but it was cast aside in the wake of the financial crisis. The project was revisited in 2011 only to be shut down by a city council vote in 2014. Miraculously however, the tower was approved for build in the summer of 2015 with construction to begin in 2017. Opponents of Triangle are certainly not done fighting to preserve the historic Paris skyline. Even if they win and Triangle never pierces the sky, there could soon be another skyscraper sprouting from the horizon. In 2010, city restrictions that limited buildings to a maximum height of 36 metres were lifted for areas outside the city centre. If they do break ground, Triangle could be the next Montparnasse and send Paris back in time to short building restrictions. Or it could, like Eiffel, usher in a new age.
Getting Tangled in the Hijab Written by Huda Hassan Illustrated by Louise Reimer
In 2010, many of us watched as the international community plunged into a widespread debate concerning the state of France and its interference in what citizens could or could not wear. The hijab, a traditional veil worn by Muslim women as a symbol of both faith and modesty, became a central player in this discussion of state security. By September of that year, the hijab found itself officially banned from being worn in public spaces across the country.
Political debate around the hijab wasn’t a new conversation in France, however. In September, 1989, three French students found themselves suspended for refusing to remove their hijabs in a classroom at a Creil middle school. By December of that year, the minister of education, Lionel Jospin, released a statement placing responsibility in the hands of educators to decide if the hijab could be worn by students on a case-by-case basis. As years passed, similar cases began to arise. Cities such as Picardy, Nantua, Mantes-la-Jolie and Lille all saw cases of young women protesting their right to wear their hijab in classrooms, each of which resulted in a student suspension. From 1994 to 2003 alone, approximately 100 female students found themselves either suspended or expelled from middle schools and high schools across the country for opting to wear a symbol of their faith in their own classrooms. Throughout the ‘90s and early ‘00s, as the state of France wrestled with the political idea of the hijab, the garment slowly began to appear in new mediums, namely the world of haute couture. While the hijab found itself overrepresented in the media as a sight of alarm for the French state, it was becoming recognized as an underrepresented market in fashion. For decades, haute couture’s biggest growing clientele was situated in the middle east and amongst its diaspora: more specifically, Arab women. In 1989, journalist Nicholas Coleridge predicted in his book, The Fashion Conspiracy, that as the Middle East experienced its oil bloom in the mid ‘70s, haute couture would begin to market itself to a new prospective buyer: Muslim women. That hypothesis was confirmed in 2011 when Reuters named Arab women from the Gulf as haute couture’s biggest clientele. In 2013, Fortune’s Molly Petrilla described the Muslim population as the next “untapped” market for the world of fashion. DKNY, Tommy Hilfiger, Zara, Oscar de la Renta, Chanel and Mango were only a
few of the brand names that began to catch up with this trend, as they unveiled attires targeted towards Muslim women in the Arab world, with emphasis on the holy month of Ramadan. Modesty was beginning to become embraced as an alternative method of style. Even new mediums exploring style and fashion, such as online blogging, helped emphasize “modest fashion” as a developing area of interest for fashion’s biggest consumers. As the state identified the hijab as a piece of political alarm, and the fashion world developed its newest market, the hijab began to emerge as a signifier of the exotic. In fall 2012, Lady Gaga wore an imitation of the abaya, with a pale pink bejewelled headdress, to a London Fashion Week show. One year later, news broke of Rihanna being asked to leave a mosque in Abu Dhabi while posing in an outfit that resembled the abaya. In September 2015, Christian Siriano featured a mock hijab in his Spring 2016 line for New York Fashion Week. By January 2016, Dolce & Gabbana became one of fashion’s biggest names to release a new collection specifically targeted towards Muslim women with modest wear. Indeed, the political suppression of the hijab has led to its widespread appeal in new mediums. This leads us to the how and the why of such an increase of political alarm revolving around the religious garment in France leading to such a spark in its attraction. As depictions of the hijab transition from the political sphere to the runway, it’s important to deliberate the relationship between politics and fashion, and how the two are obliquely intertwined. The hijab and the abaya have officially entered into Western fashion at a time when global Islamophobia is at its peak. The complexities of a piece of fabric has situated itself as a point of political discussion and couture. Getting tangled in this contemporary plight of the hijab should peg the question of how effortlessly a piece of clothing can interchange from the political to fashionable when worn in specific spaces by some bodies versus others.
Interview: Raphael Garnier By Amanda Macchia Translated by Anaele Pelisson
Raphael Garnierâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s art is easy to absorb but hard to explain. His illustrations are, in a sense, an oxymoron â&#x20AC;&#x201C; simple and consistent in colour and execution, but deep and complex in the ways in which they are constructed. Each piece lives within an ambiguous and bizarre world he has created, yet draws on the visually familar. His work is founded on texture and typography, blurring the worlds of graphic design and illustration with each new entity he conceptualizes.
Currently based in Paris and navigating the cityâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s changing arts scene, Garnier grew up in Burgundy, France, a city known only for its vineyards and mines. He spent his summers in the country, alone, utilizing his imagination to build huts, invent secret passages, and ultimately create a fantastical underground world that his current artistic endeavors closely mirror.
AMANDA: Where did you grow up? RAPHAEL: I grew up in the center of France, in Burgundy. I used to spend my summers in the French countryside at my grandparents’ house in a small village called Château. I spent most of my time alone, building sheds and fake weapons, inventing secret passages and exploring the woods. Around this time when I was surrounded by nature, I started to develop and feed my imaginary. AMANDA: What was your first experience with art? RAPHAEL: My first genuine ‘artistic emotion’ was Le manège enchanté (the enchanted marrygo-round). It was a French animation TV show, created by Serge Danot. Even today, it is still an inspiration. In fact, my principal motivation is to evoke visually rich and strong things with as few elements as possible. AMANDA: Why did you choose to pursue art, particularly illustration? RAPHAEL: Since the beginning, artists and poets fascinated me. So, I wanted to be part of
this big family. For me, studying art was the only way to move forward, to push my horizon further. I’m interested in several creative fields but illustration is not one of them. I mean, I create images but they are not illustrative. They don’t go with a text, they exists by themselves. AMANDA: how would you describe your art to someone who has not seen it? RAPHAEL: I build my visionary environment step by step. My work is, above all, formal. It is made for the eyes. It’s a language that requires decoding. My work is intuitive and instinctive. It’s a construction game, a graphic DNA. AMANDA: What is it like creating unconventional art in a city known for its traditional art scene? RAPHAEL: It’s like being alive among the dead. AMANDA: How have you noticed the art scene in Paris evolve over the years? RAPHAEL: Actually, I cannot really identify a Parisian art scene. AMANDA: How has Paris influenced what themes and images you illustrate? RAPHAEL: Paris is still a fantasy for me, and I live in this fantasy. AMANDA: How do you combine your past influences with your interest in the digital age? RAPHAEL: Digital tools allow me to work quicker. Nowadays, everything is displayed on screens. What I’m interested in is to make people believe, like an illusionist. Has this collection of drawings been made with charcoals or with Photoshop? Does this picture exist or is it a montage? I like this blur. AMANDA: What would you say to someone who does not understand your art? RAPHAEL: I would say it’s normal, I build a secret.
The Wild Written by Harriet Lye Illustration by Jayde Perkin
“Some time soon,” he said to me, “I am going to put my sex in your mouth.” I walked to the window, left him on the couch, and swallowed the bile rising in the back of my throat. “How old are you?” I asked, turning back. Then, “What? Why are you laughing?” “You must be young,” he smiled. His English was hobbled, but he tried. He had finger-thick lips. “Viens.” He smacked the couch.
His face was round and shiny; he wasn’t very attractive. We’d met at a lunch organized by a mutual friend and somehow, I’d ended up… well, somehow I was there. There was a skylight in the middle of the kitchen that was seasonally useless, both as a window and as a source of light: Paris in the spring is dull and damp. I looked up at it, my face welcoming, but saw nothing but a continuation of the gray stucco ceiling. I’d arrived six months before, in the highest part of fall. It wasn’t until I landed that I realized I had no plans: I just wanted to be there, and expected that everything else would fall into place as a result of my proximity. But there’s that saying, you know – wherever you go, there you are? I was still me, only now I was in this downhearted web of a city instead of the cheery, bland Maritimes. And now I was here, in this stranger’s apartment. For no reason, just a lack of foresight; I’ve never been good at seeing the wild in people. The walls were exposed concrete. There was a fireplace, a fire, no plants. Everything followed the hollow, lofty aesthetic common in cities other than this one. A large wooden trunk clunked in the corner, covered in rows of copper rivets. A rivet is a stud, an ornament with a circular rounded protuberance; they go on shields or vaults. How do
rivets, rivet? Was he riveted? Was I riveting? His head was another rounded protuberance. I had never been with a bald man before and from the start, I felt like I was gambling. Putting everything I had outside of myself and just hoping for the best. Or, the not worst. The only time I’ve ever been to a casino was on the night of my twentieth birthday. I won three dollars on a slot machines, and was prompltly kicked out for taking selfies. The recipe was simple – roast lamb with tomatoes – but he troubled himself with measuring cups for smoked Hungarian paprika and other unnecessarily fancy spices. He looked busy and important. I don’t know how he made his money. Some kind of online business; imports or exports. “Can I do anything?” I was nervous, shaking a little. “No. Stand there, let me enjoy you.
Enjoy your wine.” He grabbed my wrists and wrapped his arms around my back. “You’re beautiful. Extrêmement belle.” His belly was round, pressed into mine. It was uncomfortably warm. Almost maternal. “Oh. Thanks.” “This will be easy,” he said, then let go. I didn’t know what he meant. I rubbed the white marks on my wrists left from his grip. I picked up my wine and moved the glass the way I’ve seen people do it. A dance, a balancing. He turned back to his marble countertops and continued slicing, until he sliced his thumb in a struggle with one of those wriggly little tomatoes. He promptly stuffed it right into the hole of his mouth. “Is it deep?” I asked.“Yes, well, I don’t know.” His thumb was compressing his tongue, giving him a lisp.
“If you see white,” I said, knowledge giving me a new power, “then it’s not deep.” He pulled his thumb out. “I see white, that’s not bone?” “Show me – no. That’s a tendon. Bones aren’t white until you’re dead.” “Does this feel dead?” He pulled my hand down. “Excuse me.” I ran to the bathroom. I’d come from a place where I knew everyone and was now in a place where I didn’t even know myself. I looked at myself in the mirror, turned my head from side to side. I had lost weight since arriving and the spotlights above the mirror cast shadows under my cheekbones. I didn’t look beautiful, as he’d said, so much as different. He bit off the charred flesh before plating it. That it was still bloody inside was to be expected. “It’s good,” I said. “Mm,” he murmured. Mouthful of mutton, I realized: I had never seen his feet. I didn’t know if he kept them tidy. “Have I told you that you are beautiful? I am starting to fall in love with you.” I felt the gristly bits of lamb in my mouth. I turned my head and spat them into my napkin. Maybe ‘love’ had a different translation here. I wiped my mouth, he licked his lips. I put down my plate, he moved
towards me. He kissed the side of my neck, pressing his teeth into my skin, while I looked at the wall. It felt like we had been choreographed towards the inevitable. From above, from behind – or in front of? – it looks like lions attacking each other, it really does. It hurts and excites; it is animal instinct. Me, in the third person – me, the lion – knows exactly what she’s doing. It was over quite quickly. He panted, retreated. I lay awake, hungry. The sun was not yet up when I left. He was still sleeping, the sheets sweaty around his ankles. I told myself: It is a choice to be taken in that way, to give yourself like that. I told myself: this is what you wanted. He lived in Les Halles, the dead centre of the city, where grubby shadows sleep slumped against trees, where women in black leather are actually men in plastic sheaths. Bootlegged iPhones, fake Nikes, Happy Hour all night long. I heard that it used to be a market, but it’s turned into a graveyard of consumerism. I threw up in the garbage can outside his apartment. I reached Place de la Concorde at 5:45. I know this because it was there that the sun slipped out from the horizon and I could hear the metro doors unfurl. I didn’t want to go underground, though – I didn’t want to
disappear. The night was thin, and I wanted to float through it. Standing by the stolen phallus of the Obelisk, everything was perfectly out of my reach. The beetle-lacing of the Eiffel tower, gold domes and their spires, a grate around the Egyptian plinth to keep me from getting closer. I thought of the skylight in his apartment, how by the time he woke up the sky would have shielded itself again – the clouds dutifully knit themselves together by about 10:00 to shower the April-city. I stood there as the sun rose, as the city became watercoloured. The sun hung over the bridges, stippling the water with pink and dove-blue brushstrokes. It was perfect and I didn’t care. It was complete, finished, and had nothing to do with me. I walked on. The tops of the churches perked up the horizon. Two lumps, sleeping bags and tied rags, were in front of the closed gates to the Tuileries, at the top of which the Louvre loomed, speaking some kind of hypocritical beauty. Tulips were limply longing their heads along the periphery of the gardens. Everything in this city was beyond me. I was incubating my first cold of the season, I could feel it behind my eyes and at the top of my neck. I would sleep when I got home.
Study of Paris Youth Photography by Joshua Anderson
Lost in Translation Written by Alexandra Caufin
They say Parisians are among the worldâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s worst for shaming improper language. I can vouch for this. The last time I visited the city, I watched as my American friend stared into the eyes of a young, square-jawed server and earnestly stumbled through a series of questions about the menu. Quâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;est ce que dans cette plat? she asked, the syllables rolling out thick and unsure. Eventually,
the server coldly clarified, I speak English, okay? And although I am not a professional translator of sub-text, I do believe it was something along the lines of Please go stick your head in the sand and die.
Very quickly, the lesson was learned. Trying to converse in the city’s native tongue was our way of distancing ourselves from that lugubrious, backpack-toting, American stereotype that Europeans so disdain. But in fact, to mispronounce, mistranslate and speak in antiquated phrasing – Voulez-vous un autre verre de vin? – was, apparently, the greater insult. The struggle, it turns out, is not only real but universal. Just ask Parisian artist Camille Henrot, someone who has made a career of exploring translation and the power dynamics at the heart of communication – and by communication, I mean everything from the oral storytelling traditions of ancient societies to those automated telephone hotlines we spend hours on when we need a new modem or have to adjust our cell phone plans. Best known for her video installation Grosse Fatigue, a project that earned the 38-year-old artist the prestigious Silver Lion award at the 2013 Venice Biennale, Henrot has shown at galleries across the world including the Pompidou, the Louvre, the Palais de Tokyo, and the New Museum in New York City. Her work has been profiled by Vogue, The Guardian, and The New York Times. Critics have confidently called her one of 2016’s artists to watch. Despite her huge successes in the art world, Henrot explains in an interview with Bomb Magazine how her difficulties with language have impacted her experiences in New York City since she relocated there in 2012. “I always felt like language was a way to dominate people … especially as a non-English speaker,” she says. “I often feel very powerless and vulnerable here in New York. I can tell when someone is trying to intimidate me, because they will ask me to repeat myself two or three times...” Although translation proves to be a thread across much of Henrot’s work, her late 2015 exhibition Bad Dad & Beyond at New York’s Metro Pictures perhaps most literally explores communication as an act of pain and violence. For the show, Henrot affixed to the walls of the Manhattan gallery, retro-futuristic telephones in robin-egg blue, nursery yellow and dull office gray. Some of the phones were unreasonably phallic, resembling dildos and male genitalia more than actual devices for communication. When gallery-goers
picked up the phone receiver, a male voice asked a series of absurd questions, inviting users to “press five if your dog manipulates you with lies, contradictions or promises,” or “press one if your father has eaten any of his children.” In the next gallery room over, one of Henrot’s cartoonish watercolours depicted a man writing letters and ominously holding a dagger between his lips, another talking on the telephone while eating a female body. A coiled telephone cord was painted on the bottom half of the gallery walls and circled the room. Henrot explains that much of the show was inspired by exploring violent or cruel fathers – and by extension male authority – across various histories, cultures and nature at large. But in its innumerable references to telecommunications, the work also suggests that buried in even the most mundane forms of exchange is a much more complex emotional experience. Vogue called the exhibition “mesmerizing.” Two years before, Grosse Fatigue had taken on not the telephone, but the Internet as a vehicle of information exchange. It also, at its heart, was an experiment in translation, Henrot invoking origin stories and creation myths of different cultures into contemporary contexts. The video installation has since been shown at galleries across the world. It begins with an image of a desktop computer,
complete with a stock photo background of a night sky (you know the one) and a few hard drive icons in the top right hand corner of the screen. Two glossy books appear, both open to eye-catching spreads, one a contemporary art book, the other a photography book about African tribes. A pair of female hands begin flipping through the pages in sync with a pulsing electronic background beat. What follows is a collage of images and videos that was taken from Henrot’s research during her time as Smithsonian fellow, where she had free reign to explore the museum’s science and anthropology archives. The images continue to layer across the desktop screen, a dizzying array of open Internet windows, as an urgent voice tells a creation story of the beginning of the world. The voice-over is among the piece’s most potent acts of translation, Henrot working with poet and translator Jacob Bromberg to combine multiple ancient mythologies and creation stories (Inuit, Navajo, Judeo-Christian) into a unified spoken word poem that echoes over the collage of visuals. In a video interview with Collectif Combo, Henrot reflects on her own role as a cultural translator. “I found it interesting to try to
establish a large structure where sentences selected from these myths could be placed back to back, while still respecting the fact that sometimes it doesn’t fit together, it doesn’t work like a logical story,” she explains. “My initial reference [for the spoken word voice-over] was hip hop, for its universal dimension, the way it has become a universal reference … because you can hear it everywhere. Jay-Z is heard all over like Madonna never was.” Countless other translations pervade Henrot’s portfolio. In 2012, her Paris exhibition Is it possible to be a revolutionary and like flowers? explored cross-medium translation by representing the contents of a French library in the form of ikebana, an ancient Japanese art of floral arranging. In 2015, she released Elephant Child, an art book which translates her 2014 gallery exhibit The Pale Fox and the video installation Grosse Fatigue to the page. Practically speaking, cross-linguistic communication is a part of Henrot’s day-to-day life; she regularly works with a French-toEnglish translator on various projects. And yet, the title of her most infamous project resists perfect translation into English. “Grosse Fatigue” literally translates to The Big Tired, although in common usage, the phrase means “tiredness”–a clumsy term, rarely used in English. If it is true that most good art asks questions, Henrot’s asks if ancient and modern eras can converse with one another; if cultural belief systems can engage in dialogue; if linguistic systems can ever be truly translatable. And in a sense, Henrot offers two answers: On the one hand, her experiments often involve things lost in translation or various failures to communicate – the hotlines in their absurd, one-way communication, or Grosse Fatigue’s unique origin story that does not quite add up. On the other hand, Henrot engages again and again, engages in her own series of translations, and seems bent on proving universal communication as a genuine possibility. In her Vogue interview, the artist explains, “It’s interesting to talk about something that’s very universal, such as your relationship with authority, through something that is very intimate, like the relationship you have with your father. So perhaps it’s this relationship between the intimate and the universal that is the method.”
Before You Leave Photography by Spencer Judge Styled by Julie Cristobal Make-up by Gaelle Bonnot Hair by Tobias Sagner Model Liah Cecchellero
Issue 8 ~ Paris & Seoul
MP 70:7 61/72/3
NO. 08 $15.00 CDN
$15 | Â£10 | Summer 2016 08