1001: Binary | Spring 2011
Literature 080 Mirror, Mirror, Through the Wall… Words by Basia Sliwinska 086 Pretty Words by Dana Coester 104 The Evolution of Luxury: Massclusivity and Uber-Luxe Words by Veronica Manlow 106 Nostalgia Words by Kristen Kreider and James O’Leary
Binary Contents Art 036 Just ‘cos she dances go-go, It don’t make her a ho, no Words by Christopher Thomas 045 Amir Chasson 058 Scent of Scagliola Peter Suchin and Michael Hampton
Music 136 Timo Maas
Fashion 020 HASKY Christos Kyriakides and Stelios Kallinikou 068 Post-Structure Edith Bergfors and Matthew Holroyd 118 Hit Me Baby One More Time Christos Kyriakides and Maria Kamitsi
Features 130 Truth/Lies 142 Istanbul
photo by sonja m端ller
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Editors - Literature Phil Sawdon and Marsha Meskimmon firstname.lastname@example.org
Editor - Fashion Christos Kyriakides email@example.com Contributing Fashion Editor Matthew Holroyd Editor - Art Christopher Thomas firstname.lastname@example.org Editor - Music Hannah Yelin email@example.com Editor - Features Rose Cooper-Thorne firstname.lastname@example.org For advertising opportunities, please contact the editor-in-chief at the address above. We welcome unsolicited material from our readers. If you would like to make a contribution to future issues then please email the editorial team at the addresses above. Stimulus Respond is published by Jack Boulton. All material is copyright (c) 2010 the respective contributors. All rights reserved. No reproduction without prior consent. The views expressed in the magazine are those of the contributors and are not neccessarily shared by the magazine. The magazine accepts no liability for loss or damage of manuscripts, artwork, photographic prints and transparencies.
Cover image by Edith Bergfors
Veronica Manlow Basia Sliwinska Dana Coester Kristen Kreider James Oâ€™Leary Fashion Edith Bergfors Matthew Holroyd Noriko Takayama Emily Pugh Emma DeClercq Owen Raffety Gonzalez Ally Imogen Ying Stelios Kallinikou Christos Kyriakides Andreas Zenios Angelos Pattas Andreas Andreou Maria Makri Gregory Maria Kamitsi Art Amir Chasson Michael Hampton Peter Suchin Christopher Thomas Vicky Gold Renzo Martens Boris Mikhailov Juergen Teller Music
Timo Maas Hannah Yelin
Features Nicholas Scaife Rose Cooper-Thorne For contributorsâ€™ contact details, please email the editor in chief at email@example.com.
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bi·na·ry Pronunciation: \ˈbī-nə-rē, -ˌner-ē, -ˌne-rē\ Function: noun, adjective Etymology: Late Latin binarius, from Latin bini two by two Date: First known use 1597 1: compounded or consisting of or marked by two things or parts 2a : duple —used of measure or rhythm b : having two musical subjects or two complementary sections 3a : relating to, being, or belonging to a system of numbers having 2 as its base “the binary digits 0 and 1” b : involving a choice or condition of two alternatives (as on-off or yes-no) 4a : composed of two chemical elements, an element and a radical that acts as an element, or two such radicals b : utilising two harmless ingredients that upon combining form a lethal substance (as a gas) “binary weapons” 5: relating two logical or mathematical elements “a binary operation” 6: of or relating to the use of stable oppositions (as good and evil) to analyse a subject or create a structural model e.g. the binary opposition of male and female (Joan W. Scott) Synonyms: double, bipartite, doublebarreled, double-edged, dual, duplex, twin, twofold Antonyms: single
HASKY Photographer Stelios Kallinikou Fashion Editor Christos Kyriakides Fashion Assistant Andreas Zenios Hair Angelos Pattas@BLOW cy using Alterna Hair assistant Andreas Andreou@BLOW cy using Alterna Make Up Maria Makri Model Gregory
Previous spread: trousers givenchy, vintage leather jacket worn up side down models own This spread: trousers givenchy, tshirt vintage acne, leather trousers worn as sleeves stylist own
opposite: tshirt vintage acne trousers givenchy shoes models own
opposite: vintage waistcoat customised by stylist above: shirt maison martin margiela, leather waistcoat vintage versace
opposite: trousers givenchy, leather jacket models own, shoes models own next spread: gregory - tshirt acne, trousers givenchy, waistcoat vintage versace dead man walking - all clothes models own, leather sleeves made by stylist
shirt yohji yamamoto
Just ‘cos she dances go-go, It don’t make her a ho, no. †
The art of manipulation: towards new formulations for critique in a post-political age. Words by Christopher Thomas
Featuring: Bret Easton Ellis, Vicky Gold, Jane Austen, Paul Davis, JJ Charleworth, Gerard Hemsworth, Lindsay Sears, Mark McGowan, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Bernd and Hilla Becher, Jacques Lacan, Catherine Lutz & Jane Collins, Susan Sontag, Michel Foucault, Jacques Derrida, Mikhail Bakhtin, Boris Mikhailov, Renzo Martens, Joseph Conrad, Juergen Teller, Jacques Rancière, Andrea Fraser, Matthew Collings, and of course Wyclef Jean† (who, it turns out, won’t be President of Haiti after all).
““You do an awfully good impression of yourself.” This is the first line of Lunar Park and in it’s brevity and simplicity it was supposed to be a return to form.” - Bret Easton Ellis, Lunar Park, 2005
“Are you an absolute fucking nut-job?” This is the fourth line of this article and the first question I put to Vicky Gould and, in its direct simplicity, it could have been a return to the norm. But I no longer knew what I wanted the answer to be. You see, there was a time when I wanted artists to be, well, not idiots but I don’t know how I feel about this anymore. The newly re-branded Vicky ‘Gold’ and I are talking about Jane Austen openers and Lunar Park and its brilliant opening and how Bret Easton Ellis puts himself on the line in that book more than in his other books and how brave that is but I don’t think she reads that much and I wonder if she’s really brave or just really indulged and whether that really matters. We’re talking about other stuff because Gold is still under a court order preventing her from talking about her work in which she screwed (over) the tutor with whom she was in love and made her BA degree show about it and it was the first show that Goldsmiths College have ever censored and the tutor Paul Davis nearly lost his job and art people have been gossiping about it ever since. She says she has a lovely selection of photos of JJ Charlesworth that I could use for the article but I tell her that I’m not so sure because I used to go out with his sister Marie Fleur and I’m still good friends with her and so I don’t know if it’s a good idea but then again Marie Fleur’s a grown-up and I’m sure it won’t piss her off because they are lovely picture so it’s probably OK and after all I can’t legally publish the Paul Davies ones so I tell her that I’ll think about it. It’s been a long time since a degree show generated so much art chat and the trouble is that seeing it was a problem for me that’s been bugging me for the last year and not bugging me like an itch or bugging me because it’s annoying like it might have bugged other people (like painter Gerard Hemsworth, head of the Masters in Fine Art at Goldsmiths, who described Vicky Gold’s work as “really rather unfortunate” or artist and Goldsmiths tutor Lindsay Seers who thinks that she’s a bit sick) but bugging me like I’ve had to re-evaluate Easton Ellis, B. (2005) Lunar Park. NY: Random House. p.3.
“If, Gold is indeed “a bit sick and simply playing out repeatedly her own psychosis but with no resolution”, is it possible for her work to function as critique?” what I want art to be and I don’t know anymore because I didn’t want it to be that. So I’m going to write this piece to think this through and if you’re one of those people that are bored of art conversations about who Vicky Gold is shagging now then don’t worry because there’s some other stuff coming up in Part 1 (maybe about photography as social exchange or something) but if you’re one of those people that watch internet videos about how sad it is that Vicky and Mark have broken up then you’re probably a twat but I might include some salacious gossip for you in Part Three anyway but then it’s possible that I might not because I don’t entirely know yet if there will be a Part Three but if I’m going to make it to Part Three then I’m going to have to stop writing like this lame impersonation of Bret Easton Ellis because these runon vernacularisms are a pain in the arse.
her own psychosis but with no resolution”, then is it possible for her work to function as critique? Does her own subjective involvement disqualify her critical distance? Or does the embracing of this compromised proximity represent, in fact, the most genuinely critical strategy and, if so, what would that mean for our idea of critique? In fact, what exactly does ‘critique’ mean anyway and is it even still important? As a way of beginning to address these questions, I am going to examine a contemporary tendency in photography, considering artists who approach image-making as social exchange and articulate in their work the structuring of power in, for example, documentary or fashion photography. Their explicit complicity in these industrialised modes of imageproduction allows an examination of the actual politics of photography. These artists work with photography not simply as a discipline but as a tool within a wider conceptual strategy to interrogate social processes. I will attempt here to sketch out an understanding of image-making as a transaction and, perhaps, the beginnings of an approach to evaluating the politics of that transaction. Part 1: The Camera Never Cries - Photography As Social Exchange “... In the assertion of their presence they [the subjects of the photograph] have erased the photographer and now, equally, erase the onlookers. Out of the frame they gaze out on an indefinable space in which only they exist.“ - Lindsay Seers, It Has To Be This Way by M. Anthony Penwill, 2009
Above: Vicky Gold, JJ Charlesworth and Vicky Gold (2010), courtesy the artist
What it means for art to be ‘critical’ or ‘engaged’ is, of course, a question at the forefront of contemporary critical discourse but is it important for Vicky Gold herself to actually know what she’s doing? If, as Lindsay Seers speculates in conversation, Gold is indeed “a bit sick and simply playing out repeatedly
Seers describes here what happens when a posed photograph is made: the subject of the photograph is able to assert some control, suppressing both the photographer and the actual act of photography. However she goes on to describe what happens next: “In the instant she depresses the shutter everything is changed. This sudden opening of the gate in the mechanism allows the photographer to slip through the gap to the space in front of the lens, the space
Seers, L. (2009) It Has To Be This Way By M Anthony Penwill. Lon: Matt’s Gallery.
“On one side of the lens is the decision-making power of the photographer and on the other side of the lens is the performative power of the subject”
that is seen. . . .Her presence is, after all, hidden in the photograph but dominant in the moment of photographing. The act of photography . . . differs entirely from the resultant photograph in that the photograph obscures the nature of the actual event.” - Lindsay Seers, It Has To Be This Way by M. Anthony Penwill, 2009
However it doesn’t have to be this way. In Part 2 of this article, I’ll look at particular artists that foreground the nature of the actual event of photography. The presence of these artists is as dominant in their work as it is in the moment of image-making. But first, I’ll attempt to map out broadly, in Part 1, an approach to understanding photography as a relationship. Moving beyond prevailing ways of thinking about photography (for example, either as a ‘decisive moment’ in the Bressonian sense, or as a ‘text’ in the Structuralist sense, or as an ‘object’ in the sense of the Bechers and the Düsseldorf school), we could understand the image as a transaction, constituted within the power dynamics of the relationship between photographer and subject. So what exactly is at stake in this image-making exchange? Just as Lacan describes “the mirror stage” in which the infant sees itself for the first time as other, the subject of a photograph is forced to consider themselves as other, as a double of the Self. As Catherine Lutz and Jane Collins argue, both mirrors and photographs create “a second figure who can be examined more closely than the original – a double that can also be alienated from the Self – taken away, as a photograph can be, to another place.” This dimension of photography – its ability to record something, reproducing a past moment in a different time and space – establishes a relationship where power is exercised by the photographer’s intentions, while the subject’s control over the use and context of the photograph being taken is often limited. Susan Sontag points out that photography turns people into objects that can be symbolically possessed. “To photograph people is to violate them by seeing them as they never see themselves. By having knowledge Lutz, C & Collins, J (1994) ‘The Photograph as an Intersection of Gazes: The Example of National Geographic’. In Taylor, L – Visualizing Theory, NY: Routledge. p. 363
of them they can never have.” So, on one side of the lens is the decision-making power of the photographer and on the other side of the lens is the performative power of the subject. Portraiture, for example, occurs through the negotiation between these two, where what is at stake is the production of identity. Foucault diagnoses the power of photography in its ability to “establish over individuals a visibility through which one differentiates and judges them.” This contestation becomes all the more significant through photography’s dubious but functioning claim to truth. Reproduction of the photographic moment is commonly related to the notion of truth, especially in the context of documenting, classifying and interpreting the past. Foucault, however, points out how archives (or collections of photographs) only appear to be coherent due to the historian’s (or photographer’s) selective choice. I don’t know who it was that once said that “the camera never lies” but I would love to meet them and find out how much of a plonker they feel now that it seems obvious that lying is the only thing the camera is good for. The single frame that photography produces fixes meaning only by repressing all other possible truths of that moment. Derrida explains that every text contains an implicit suppression of meaning, “by which an order is imposed on reality and by which a subtle repression is exercised”, as these suppressions of potential alternatives “exclude, subordinate, and hide the various potential meanings.” As obvious as this may seem, applying this understanding to the photographic text makes it impossible to ignore that reading photographs as truthful representations of their subjects is always misguided. Rather, portraits are made through a dialogical Sontag, S. (1979) On Photography. Harmondsworth: Penguin. p.53
Foucault, M. (1977) Discipline & Punish: The Birth of the Prison. NY: Pantheon. p.25
Foucault, M. (1978) Archaeology of Knowledge. Lon: Tavistock. p.138
Lamont, M. – ‘How to Become a Dominant French Philosopher: The Case of Jacques Derrida’ in American Journal of Sociology, vol. 93, no. 3 (Nov., 1987) p.590
transaction and are always the product of the negotiation between the intentions of the photographer and subject. Bakhtin’s analysis of speech, as being always specific to whom the utterance came from and to whom it was directed, is a useful paradigm for understanding the picturing of people, the politics of which is explicitly articulated in the specific works that I will examine in Part 2. Part 2: No Distance Left To Run - Complicity As Criticality My parents’ generation all remember where they were when JFK was shot. I suppose for my generation it was the morning (Eastern Standard Time) when history (if it ever had really ended) began again. The sky over Manhattan may have been bright and crisp on the 11th of September 2001 but in London it was raining. No-one had turned up for the press preview for Boris Mikhailov’s show at Saatchi’s old Boundary Road space so it was clear that the private view that evening would be a washout and not because of the rain. The black-Prada-clad girls staffing the gallery had said that a plane had flown into a building so I’d found a telly with CNN in the little pub down the road and I was holed-up there for a few hours with a bunch of cabbies who were convinced that the world was ending. As I left to walk back to the gallery, I wondered whether I should invite them over to see the show (because art chat with black cab drivers is almost always worth it) but then I decided that Boris Mikhailov probably wouldn’t cheer them up. One visitor to the exhibition was overcome by the bleakly historical weight of the moment and simply screamed continuously one long, loud, monotone, guttural scream that seamed to last all evening but probably didn’t. I don’t know what was going through his mind as his vocal chords were shredding themselves but I imagined that he was acting in desperate, hopeless protest at the rest of us sipping champagne in front of pictures of destitute Ukrainians whilst burning bankers were throwing themselves out of a skyscraper on the other side of the world. I would have liked to have spoken with him and
Bakhtin, M. M. (1930) The Dialogic Imagination. Texas: Univ. of Texas Press. pp. 272-274
Above: Boris Mikhailov, Case History (1997/98), c-print, courtesy Galerie Barbara Weiss and the artist
asked him what he made of Mikhailov’s ‘Case History’ photographs but you can’t talk to a guy who’s screaming. I guessed that he would not have liked them and that he might have felt the work to be repulsively exploitative. But it seems to me that it is in Mikhailov’s explicitly exploitative process that both the value and the ethicality of this work lies. The photographer’s methods are not hidden here. The sums of money (that we would consider to be paltry) that he pays his impoverished subjects are likely to mean a great deal to them and are perhaps why they appear so jolly whilst degrading themselves for his camera. The smiles on their faces as they get their manky tits out for Mikhailov’s lens make it impossible for us to be unaware of the presence of the photographer and the nature of the transaction that is occurring. The transparency of this exchange makes explicit the socio-economic inequity of the situation. This work is often criticised by photojournalists working in more conventional ways because it has no claims to objectivity. But Mikhailov avoids the pretence of detached accuracy in order to foreground the actual mechanics of bearing witness. Faced with their broad grins to camera as the subjects of the photographs show us their decrepit cocks, our voyeuristic role here is impossible to ignore and the economic and political reality of their situation
the delusional narcissist when surrounded by gutwrenching poverty for two years straight, the act never slips and the required fortitude is never shown. Instead, the performance serves only to create a work that precisely problematizes, through Marten’s ridiculous character, the construction of our role as spectators of African poverty. It is Marten’s complicity in the systems of representation that allow an examination of the image economy: “I am both the observer and the perpetrator of the African’s exploitation. I can never be the saviour or the emancipator because I am defined by the structures and institutions that exploit in the first place. I can’t even pretend that my presence would liberate - even though I lay bare the power relations of the image of poverty within the market economy. The one with the camera will always exploit because of the power relations inherent to taking, distributing and selling images.” - Renzo Martens interviewed by Frances Guerin, Artslant, 2009
Above: Boris Mikhailov, Case History (1997/98), c-print, courtesy Galerie Barbara Weiss and the artist
becomes clear only through the economic and political reality of documentary photography itself. Renzo Martens’ achievement is similar but possibly more profound, more committed, more difficult, more complex and on an epic scale. To make the feature film Episode III: Enjoy Poverty (2008), Martens spent two years living Joseph Conrad’s version of hell, following the route of Heart of Darkness (1902) in order to teach the good people of the Congo how to embrace their greatest economic resource, which it turns out is poverty (bringing more money into the region than gold, copper and diamonds combined, both in direct aid and in the service industry that supports charities and NGOs there). Remaining in character throughout his colonial mission, Martens simulates the form of a documentary movie to make an artwork that isn’t really about the Congo or even about documentary itself but about us (the liberal Western art audience) and the mechanics of spectatorship. The impoverished Congolese here are props in Marten’s script, as indeed is he. In playing the well-meaningly buffoonish missionary for long enough to accumulate the footage required for his presumably predetermined argument, the artist has put himself through a brutal feat of human endurance. Whilst it can’t be easy to play
Similarly, it is through Juergen Teller’s position as a superstar fashion photographer that he is able to examine the transactionality of image-making in this process of, essentially, selling insecurities to girls to encourage them to buy frocks. His precise and simple Go-Sees (1999) are made by photographing aspiring ‘new faces’ sent by their modelling agencies to ‘go-see’ Teller on-spec in the hope of being cast for a photo shoot. Without letting the models in, the pictures are made across the threshold of his doorway, in-between the control-space of the photographer’s studio and the comparatively open power-dynamics of the street. Eschewing many photographic choices (the way the images are shot is arbitrary and inconsistent), the aesthetic register of the work is sidelined in order to foreground the actuality of the transaction between photographer and subject, which is of course constituted within an industrialised structuring of power in the marketing of fashion. Speaking of what’s fashionable, I hate to be so predictable as to invoke Rancière here but it seems almost unavoidable: “An artist can be committed, but what does it mean to say that his art is committed? Commitment is not a category of art. This does not mean that art is apolitical. It means that aesthetics has its own politics,
Renzo Martens interviewed by Frances Guerin (2009), Artslant, http://www.artslant.com/ny/articles/show/4443
or its own meta-politics.” 10 - Jacques Rancière, The Politics of Aesthetics, 2006
Above: Renzo Martens, video still from Episode III: Enjoy Poverty (2008), courtesy Wilkinson Gallery, London and the artist
Above: Renzo Martens, video still from Episode III: Enjoy Poverty (2008), courtesy Wilkinson Gallery, London and the artist
Above: Juergen Teller, Go-Sees (1999), courtesy Lehmann Maupin and the artist
The artists I have mentioned here are not making work as an explicit part of any broader political struggle but, by accepting their complicity in various, potentially corrupt, systems of image-production, their work offers an analysis of the politics of pictures. We began with Bret Easton Ellis, so let’s return to his body of work for a moment: the value of his feminist critique of late capitalist society in America does not lie in any political argument that is articulated (indeed no explicit position is ever taken) but in the insightful accuracy of his analysis of internalised everyday barbarism. Vicky Gold has similarly given up an outside perspective, but in a way that offers a particularly problematic (and potentially radical) formulation of institutional critique. You see, institutional critique artist Andrea Fraser could well have made exactly the same work as Gold in the late ‘80s, seducing a tutor and then turning the tables on the structuring of power within the academy by making the illicit relationship the subject of her degree show. Except that Andrea Fraser would have set about the work with clarity in her aims and she would have known exactly what she has to do to achieve them. Gold, on the other hand, is as much a victim of university power-dynamics as she is a manipulator of them. As often happens when someone is in a position of power over you, she has repeatedly fallen in love with her tutors. Whatever the actual nature of their relationship, her tutor Paul Davis made a mistake and met his match. But whereas Andrea Fraser would have executed a predetermined critique of the institution, Gold has simply directed her own highfunctioning psychosis into an effective dramatisation of the distribution of power between students and tutors. Gold would have been a teenager on the day I was sitting with cabbies in Swiss Cottage, watching planes flying into buildings on telly and thinking about Boris Mikhailov. She wouldn’t have been able to vote when the 18-month process of drumming up public acceptance for the pre-determined invasion of Iraq and then Afghanistan in the face of overwhelming popular disapproval was executed with the predictability of a bad soap storyline. Hers 10 Rancière, J. (2006) The Politics of Aesthetics. Lon: Continuum. p.60.
is a generation that takes spin for granted (be it in government, music or art), born into a world where manipulation is simply the way of doing business, where politics can’t lead to salvation and where nobody is outside this process. Celebrity art critic Matthew Collings said something a while ago that really should be read in his sarcastic television voice: “Artists these days don’t seem to know that they don’t know much of anything about anything at all but they can, from time to time, be really rather creative.” From a post-critical generation that no longer believes that social transformation is possible, it is perhaps Gold’s directed response within the parameters of compromised and manipulative complicity that can actually function as a paradoxically honest model for critique today.
Vicky Gold merchandising, courtesy the artist
Francesca Woodman 17 November 2010 - 22 January 2011
Victoria Miro www.victoria-miro.com
AMIR CHASSON’s MID-DRIFT CONCLUSION: sandwiched between anticipation and retrospection 1) Why I Am Not Christian. 2) Eyeless In Gaza. 3) Green Three Dimensional Dimensional Topo Map Using Fishnet Lines. 4) Been Wrong In The Past. 5) The Trap. 6) Trying To Think But Nothing Happens. 7) I Doubt If There Are Half A Dozen Such Masterpieces In The World. (www.amirchasson.com) Amir Chasson’s work can be seen as part of Bloomberg New Contemporaries at the Institute of Contemporary Art in London, 26th November 2010 - 16 January 2011.
Michael Hampton, Tank (2010), courtesy the artist
Scent of Scagliola As both artists and writers, Peter Suchin and Michael Hampton discuss painting and the mythology of the artist. Christopher Thomas gets them going.
CT: Peter, do you find your prominence as an art critic restricts peoples’ perception of you as an artist? Could this be rooted in the conservative model of the artist as genius/freak/idiot-savant/monkey-in-a-cage? PS: Yes. The word “restricts” is right on target. The ideological fantasy of the artist as an exceptional person who works intuitively or like some kind of magic conduit between an imaginary higher plane and the audience militates towards the belief that the artist should be an anti-intellectual, un-reflexive figure. In contrast, the critic is supposed to be cerebral, intelligent, conscious and conscientious. This is one problem with being both an artist and a critic, people think you can only be one thing or have only a single specialism. This is a completely naïve idea of the issue. Many artists have been intellectuals too, and even the Romantics, with their ideas about emotion and feeling were intellectuals. The notion of the dumb artist is prevalent for political reasons, I think. On another level, curators, gallerists and people who are trying to sell works of art don’t need more artists knocking at their doors; they want critics to be critics or, more exactly, promoters of the artists the gallery supports. With the rise of Conceptual Art in the 1960s and ‘70s these apparently fixed roles were challenged, and rightly so. But now that Conceptual Art is mannered, a new academicism in fact, certain radical changes ushered in by Conceptualism have been deliberately – or perhaps one should emphasise conveniently – forgotten or suppressed. The idea of being an “expert” in just one field is a central “trope” of Capitalism. When applied to the art world one of its functions is to keep people in their place. Artists are expected to quietly do what they’re told; critics are also expected to keep in line. MH: The issue of psychological ‘splitting’ that Peter has raised is a noticeable hallmark of hi-tech consumer societies and, in its most extreme form, ‘compartmentalisation’ typifies the psychopathic personality. We seem to lack a binder for the pigment in the post-Nietzschean world and particularly since 9/11, which was an event that is still unfolding both on the personal and macropolitical level. After racking my brains I did come up with two cases of painter/writers, William Blake and Wyndham Lewis who both occupied rather marginal positions viz-a-viz the English establishment. Note I call them ‘cases’ rather than examples, which is because the taint of madness clings to anyone who goes against the establishment big time. So being a polymath is, in itself, suspicious, whereas in truth I think that both Blake and Lewis were driven individuals with metaphysical and ideological systems to maintain, hence the prolificity, the joi-de-vivre. Since the late 1950s the world of art has opened out considerably though. The old model of painting and sculpture has been blown out of the water, and replaced by two main sectors, “activism”and “design”. The preponderance of contemporary practitioners falls into the latter camp (and I include your Emins and Hirsts there) but for me the really significant names are those who have skilfully combined the two thrusts, such as Art & Language, Ai Weiwei, Pavel Althamer, Ruth Claxton, to mention a few. But “activism” and “design” are mere polarities, for an artist can be an activist on the formal level, whilst design can be subversive too, so it’s a complex framework and it’s shifting around all the time.
PS: But the trouble with stating that it’s all either activism or design is that this is another reduction. Even if these are just points on a spectrum, it seems a bit too neatly defined to me. The way Michael couches this as a kind of updating of painting/sculpture might be taken to imply that the earlier polarity was of a different order altogether and that neither painting nor sculpture were (or are) readable as themselves “activism” or “design”. The “activism” could of course be within, or constituted by, a given form as Michael suggests but then at a certain level “design” is “activist” too. Would “decorative” be a more apt expression here? CT: Or how about another reductive opposition: fantasy and reality? Speaking of which, painting has historically had a particularly intimate relationship with the romantic fantasy of the character of the artist. One of the interesting things about your ‘Scagliola’ show was seeing how two people that write about art (“cerebral, intelligent, conscious and conscientious” as you two sometimes are) negotiate not only the idealogical mythologies of artistic expression but also the historical construction of the discipline of painting itself. Are you at all either seduced or oppressed by the conventions of painting? PS: The question of being seduced or not seduced by the conventions of painting is loaded in a negative way, as though to be seduced is always to be a victim. The implication is that there are other ways to make art now than painting (and there are, of course) but one could just as easily be seduced by the manners and mores of Conceptual Art or any other kind of formal model. Conceptualism is possibly a very limited model of practice, having started out as an interrogative “form” but having become, in only 40 or so years, a new orthodoxy. At least we know painting can be, and has been for centuries, reinvented. That this is possible may be why one is “seduced” by it, if one is. All those people who say, or have said in the last few years, that “painting is dead” are stuck in the ideology of the avant-garde, of an obsession with novelty. This obsession with novelty, with always wanting to be involved in the latest thing, is nothing if not a kind of trap. I’m sure there are important reasons for “making things new” as well, but these hardly ever seem to be addressed now. CT: The problem for me with the label of “conceptual art” is that painting, sculpture and everything else has now been reconstructed beyond the neat parameters of discreet disciplines and within wider conceptual strategies, so now all art is conceptual art even if it is simply oil on canvas. The overused “conceptual” label therefore seems meaningless other than when used historically to refer to the specific Conceptual Art movement of the 60’s and 70’s. MH: Absolutely, but I simply wanted to emphasise how painting and sculpture were the twin peaks of modernism, and focused “aesthetic protocols”. No one can argue though that there haven’t also been measurable changes at the technical level (for example with the invention of acrylic paint). Far more crucial to the argument though was the implication that Design is the conscious manipulation of signs (Hirst’s The Physical Impossibility of Death In The Mind of Someone Living  being a great example of this semiotic game), whilst Activism is a form of political activity that took art out of the
“Conceptualism is possibly a very limited model of practice, having started out as an interrogative “form” but having become, in only 40 or so years, a new orthodoxy.”
Michael Hampton, Faggot (1999), courtesy the artist
Peter Suchin, Connotation Field (1999), acrylic on board, 61 x 76cm, courtesy the artist
studio and of course Gustav Metzger, the Viennese Actionists and Banksy would represent this development, which has ironically come full circle in so far as the landscape once dominated by the gallery or showroom has been joined by project space and public space, to say nothing of virtual space, as the realms of contemporary art. Speaking of seduction or oppression though is pertinent, in so far as there is a visceral, motor-sensory dimension to the practice of painting. I tried to explore this in the 1990s. My abysmal failure and decision not to keep any work from that period was simply the result of dissatisfaction with its end products and an understanding that painting was a sort of safety valve for my unstable personality at the time. So process was the key. Nevertheless the idea of being a painter, encrusted as it was with the mythology that has been talked about, still persisted, which was the point at which I began to build 3-D works from the rubble (as it were) or more precisely the paraphernalia of artist stretcher bars or bits of frame and so on (see image of Faggot ), leaving behind once and for all the desire for (and business of) representation and replacing it with a new series of constructed works that either used found material or relied upon subtle manipulations of the parergon, and often hinted at a lost, hidden picture or a fantasy that never came true. Thus was born the theme of the artwork as a plaque for a painting that was aborted or unrealized, what I call Post-Peinture. In a way these kinds of exercises hearken back to some of the paintings made by Mel Ramsden in the late 1960s and early 70s or the heroic phase of Conceptual Art, sometimes characterised by Art & Language as Modernism’s “nervous breakdown”. CT: The work that Michael showed in the ‘Scagliola’ show seemed to take on painting obliquely, through negation and through the absence of the referent. Peter’s work, on other hand, deals directly with painting’s history through a maximalist remixing of an excess of painterly references. Neither strategy would have been possible before the late 20th-Century expansion of the conceptual field of painting and sculpture. The disciplines with the longest histories have always needed to be killed-off in order to be expanded and that’s part of their dialectic character. So it seems to me that part of the seduction of painting (or at least the logic of its appeal) is actually bound up with the perennial or cyclical so-called “Death of Painting”. What could be sexier than being in a perpetual state of dying? MH: You could be onto something there, because presumably Thanatos will be yoked to Eros in your mind; endless reinvention. But I do think that painters
have been under particular pressure latterly to defend their work, mode and practice, if only to keep open a terrain in which to operate in the oh-sobusy and generically diverse kunst scene. On the lack of referent in my work though: well it is just symptomatic of the demise of any kind of transcendental referent, which is why I sometimes do outline drawings too, by making a cardboard template, and so on (in ‘Scagliola’ it was Vogelherd, some pencil paleo-drawings based on an ivory Ice Age carving of a horse). Outlines merely imply form and depth, but delimit hollow, spatial voids that do not sustain the perspectival illusion which is integral to mimetic painting. Any illusion is over before it has begun: playful, mute melting images that induce vertigo. Anyway, Peter, what do you think about “maximalist remixing”?! PS: Like everything else, painting is a historical phenomenon. It isn’t “timeless”, nothing is; however, it has been “around” for a very long time, and it will be around for the forseeable future. I would prefer to describe it as basic, rather than primal, and by this I mean that it is a “product” of the hand, of physicality, as much as it is of mind or thought. This may seem obvious but I’ve had a number of arguments with people who say painting is dead or definitely on the way out. They base their argument, insofar as it can be glorified with that term, on the claim that new media have replaced old media, and so painting is out-of-date and irrelevant. Michael’s rejection of painting appears personal, linked to what he refers to as his own failure rather than a belief in its ultimate demise. One doesn’t say writing is dead because we have computers and mobile phones; rather, the concept and practice of writing is changed by such technologies but it is still “writing”; in some ways painting is still being carried out through the use of computers. Two of my friends, Mik Godley and Derek Hampson, have recently made substantial bodies of work by applying drawing skills to, respectively, an i-Pod and a computer. Much of the time such technologies seem designed to mimic more traditional means (this is something McLuhan pointed out). As for actual painting, the layering, textural complexity and collision of physical actions (or rather, their results) can’t be mimicked, except very superficially, by electronic technology, which is, in any case, the technology of Capitalism par excellence. And surely that’s a problem in itself, and not a trivial one either. The mixing of painterly modes in my own work is something that is partly conscious and partly the result, I feel, of being in a culture in which it is impossible to escape being “influenced” by a glut of images and ideas. It’s inevitable that there will be “references” to other artists, other modes of painting within one’s own practice. I don’t believe one can escape this and I don’t want to anyway. The idea of the naive artist, of some such artist even existing in a culture with such an intense and inescapable means of disseminating imagery and information, is itself naive, idiotic even. I constantly rework my paintings until they no longer are reducible to any of the “references” I’m using or alluding to. Nietzsche remarked that in order to make something new one had to employ a state of forgetfulness. This could produce a repetition, unknowingly, of previous work and previous positions within the history of art but there’s also a second aspect to making work that involves a conscious, critical examination of what one has made, in this case a painting. I think of my paintings as, in part, revisions of previous artistic positions, but I don’t mean “revisionist” in the sense that this term is used within Marxist discourse, where it is employed to mean a conciliatory or merely mediocre adjustment of things. MH: I appreciate your nuanced take on why I have disavowed painting as an activity, while still being captivated by it. There are one or two artists I keep tabs on, such as Emily Allchurch and John Goto, who manipulate images of old master paintings one way or another and we mustn’t forget Komar & Melamid with their grandiose kitsch re-workings of Soviet painting. That said, and reading between the lines, it is the editorial function which has become exceptionally important for contemporary practitioners confronted by a globalised super-saturation of information and images, and this function now has to be regarded as more than an adjunct of creativity, but its actual
“Outlines merely imply form and depth, but delimit hollow, spatial voids that do not sustain the perspectival illusion which is integral to mimetic painting.”
diamond tip. PS: I agree that editing has become extremely important, but I suppose that Marcel Duchamp is (as usual) a precedent. I’m thinking of the readymades, but there are other instances of selection (and arrangement of the selected material) as being foregrounded well beyond the recent-ish fuss about us being in a “Postmodern” age. Walter Benjamin’s idea of writing a book made entirely from quotations is one instance; another is the work of Kurt Schwitters. There are surely others as well. Isn’t there an ideology of The New Now, another legacy from Modernism and the Modernist concept of the avant-garde? Such an interest would appear to be anti-Postmodern and pro “straight” originality. I believe there is still the possibility of newness in art but not because I subscribe to the model of the avant-garde; rather, there are always new contexts and new combinations of people and things, and new technologies too, or (and this is also an older trait) the moving of things from one context to another. Brian Eno has spoken in interviews about how all he ever really did was to take things from a fine art context and move them into one of popular culture. In saying this he’s being a bit unfair to himself, but I think his point is a very interesting one, in that it suggests newness as repetition at the same time. And this makes me think of Andy Warhol who, in fact, fits into what is clearly now a tradition of the readymade. MH: Well, if you’ll let me summarise: under scrutiny here are issues of provenance, ownership and fashion, with the old chestnut of “the new” as a gloss. So, within this framework I would assert that editing and remixing are more than just formal necessities but actually techniques of survival, identifying marks that might in the perverse rubric of capitalism become brands, or might likewise find space as subtle inflections in the written/ visual/sonic domains. Wearing my writerly cap I wrote a ‘story’ for Subtext, an anthology that accompanied ‘Chord’ (a major installation by Conrad Shawcross staged in the old Kingsway tram subway in the summer of 2009). This piece, called ‘The Kingsway Mystery’, utilised Oulipian constraints to achieve its end, taking tiny genetic snips from long-forgotten crime novels and magazines set in foggy London, along with dead dry journals about trams. All this stuff was compounded into a brand new ultra-disjunctive narrative, while Shawcross’s two rope machines slowly wove a massive hawser from 324 spools of coloured string deep underground. This is a kind of paradigm. Different sorts of co-existing methodologies, some that gain instant recognition, kudos and financial value, others that are only on the edge of the marketplace, mainly because they presuppose a slightly deranged readership, tolerant of such obscure bricolage. Perhaps only now am I starting to exhume the ideas buried inside the concept of ‘scagliola’; just beginning to sniff its scent!
Michael Hampton, Vogelherd (2010), courtesy the artist
“There is still the possibility of newness in art but not because I subscribe to the model of the avant-garde... there are always ... new combinations of people and things”
PS: What’s deranged is not the readership of Oulipian (etc) texts, but rather the ideology of realism and its participants, i.e. those people who always complain when they encounter writing that isn’t “readerly” (to use Barthes’ term), who always want a plain, clear, and “realistic” text. The texts that appear to be not deranged are worse than the apparently deranged ones; at least the latter foreground their nature as writing, not trying to be some pseudo-mythological fabrication that pretends to be a mirror of the real, to be a pure segment of reality transposed onto the printed page. At the very least the material that is made by people who are conscious that writing is a practice, a “making real”, and not a direct transposition, this material points to itself as a made thing. It therefore is a much less disingenuous mode of address than what conventionally passes for literature in this society. As for Conrad Shawcross, making a piece of work underground in no way aligns him what might genuinely be underground, hidden, or marginal. Shawcross is with a major gallery, and he is the progeny of some rather well-connected people. Having an as-it-were genuinely marginal text in the publication accompanying his work might just give him some “street cred”, might it not? I’m interested in how some artists get almost instantly taken on by well-heeled galleries as soon as they leave college, whilst other people, whose work could be defended as “better”, more relevant, more interesting generally, are ignored or, yes, marginalised. This is one reason why an actually critical criticism is important: to debunk false claims to relevance and status, claims backed by money, advertising, newspapers, and indeed by certain art critics “who know what’s good for them”, and so on. MH: About time for the art-ILL-ery. I gather, then, Peter that you don’t read The Observer colour lifestyle supplements? I recently visited the Frieze satellite show ‘In the House of the Nobleman’ and, mixed in among extraordinary works by Poussin and Hermann Nitsch, were some vile examples of what can only be called bling. Blingart by young hopefuls. You’re telling me that is the new sensation? Saatchi gone to seed. Harumph. Selling fake knock-offs to a monied wave of Russian art collectors? PS: Well being an artist is a career now, which is to say that it isn’t really about art any more. Of course it has been a “career” before, but the kind of things you refer to are just cynically-generated rubbish - much of the time anyway. They are based on the question “what should I do to be commercially successful?”, which is not a good approach to the making of art. It is more like product placement than art. Alan Yentob, in his horribly servile, fawning TV programmes, promotes art as just one more consumer product, something to make your house a bit nicer. It isn’t art, it is just marketing labelled as art so as to-up the prices and promote snobbery and social division. MH: Yes, I had to smile the other day when reading a piece in the paper (Metro, 29th October) about a former studio assistant of Tracey Emin, who has just been sent to jail for 16 months for faking Emin’s work. The substantive point is that his knock-offs were convincing enough to kid several collectors when he sold them on eBay for £26,000, which takes us back to what you were saying about the mysterious or not so mysterious but new school tie/network processes whereby one artist gets accepted and promoted by a baronial West End gallery, and is lauded by the media too, while others are left to rot in no-man’s land. In this instance the young faker was driven to it by spiralling debt. Still the judge in the case summed matters up nicely when he talked about the convicted man’s work as being “corny, unimaginative and over sentimental”. Now who does that remind me of? So in many cases art is just a cruddy conjuring trick now and, après-Duchamp, deliberately so or at least that’s how it must appear to many unqualified members of the public looking in. On the other hand there are still people out there willing to take risks and these are the ones to watch, at least until they become subsumed into the dealership system, that is.
Peter Suchin, Tempered, Distended, Folded, Suspended, acrylic on canvas, 139 x184cm, courtesy the artist.
Post-Structure Photography Edith Bergfors Fashion Matthew Holroyd Hair and Grooming Noriko Takayama Set Design Emily Pugh Set Design Assistants Emma DeClercq and Owen Raffety Gonzalez Models Ally, Imogen and Ying
Previous spread left: Blouse by Cheap Monday; trousers by Christian Wijnants Previous spread right: Body by Monki; buckets from a selection at Labour and Wait Opposite: Shirt by Weekday; skirt by Ikou Tsch큰ss This page: Body by Monki; t-shirt by Acne; socks from a selection at Falke
Left: Dress by Min채 Perhonen Right: T-shirt by Acne; skirt by Christian Wijnants
Left: Blouse by Weekday; top underneath blouse by Wood Wood; skirt by Maison Martin Margiela. Above: Pants by Damaris; t-shirt by Sunspel; socks from a selection at Falk
Previous spread left: Jacket by Spijkers en Spijkers; T-shirt by Margaret Howell; Skirt by Weekday Previous spread right: Dress by Sabrina Dehoff Opposite: Body by Damaris ; broom from a selection at Labour and Wait This page: Dress by Min채 Perhonen
Reflecting back in double time, the body’s binary codes wander in a glittering genderland. Words by Basia Sliwinska.
Mirror, Mirror, Through the Wall…
I’ll tell you all my ideas about the Looking-glass House. [...] the books are something like our books, only the words go the wrong way [...] how nice it would be if only we could get through into it [...] (Carroll, 1872: 125-127) The next moment, Alice, from Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There, found herself on the other side of the ‘Lookingglass’, where reality is nearly the same, just, as Alice says, ‘the things go the other way’ and ‘look different from beyond’ (Carroll, 1872: 126, 127). Everything seems different and possible; inverse. It is an enchanted space behind the real based on known and defined structures. When I think about ‘wonderland’, I instantly envisage a process of metamorphosing. I think about options available for the body, which emerge on the other side of the mirror. Here, I propose an inverse optical perspective on the concept of transforming gender in the mirror. Perhaps, in fact, Alice wanders in the genderland? ‘Looking-glass’ ‘Looking-glass’ reality utilises the metaphor of a world on the other side of the mirror in order to explore an ‘other’ reality. It is a threshold between here and there, a Baudrillardian ‘swallowed mirror’ – extending the binary structure towards a plethora of possibilities beyond dichotomies. The ‘Looking-glass’ allows transformations, hybridisations and becoming/experiencing something else. It absorbs and seduces the stripping of appearances or, paradoxically, it makes it possible to redress, trans-vest and explore what is ‘other’. The body can also enter into this enchanted realm of possibilities of ‘difference’ and gender. Alice wanders in the wonderland, where objects can extend their size, various creatures wear fancy clothes and white roses are painted red. Imagine now a song, Second Hand Rose, by Tina Benéz, a drag queen goddess. Listen to the cabaret like beats, mixed with pop and punk. Tina’s voice is sizzling; her sequined costume refracts light and bends reality. Everything is glamorous and divine. The other side of the mirror is full of colours and possibilities. There are countless options to transform the self into male-to-female, female-to-male, queer, trans, and hetero, amongst others; pure illusion of genderland. The mirror provides an invitation to travel – back and forth – in the imaginary space beyond dichotomies and binary logic. It embodies a realm that is the beginning of the formation of a new fluid identity. The subject is attracted by the image seen in the reflection, such as in the myth of Narcissus, when he falls in love with the representation he sees in water. The image’s erogenic effect seduces him, absorbing into its depth. Whilst the mirror embodies the space that the body of the observer occupies, it does not exist there. It is just the beginning of the
“The boundary of the mirror thus creates the body, making it visible for the self and for others. Its frame constitutes a duplicated image of the body.”
formation of the new self. The boundary of the mirror thus creates the body, making it visible for the self and for others. Its frame constitutes a duplicated image of the body – of the self and its reflection. In the figure of Narcissus the representation is so aesthetically pleasing that it can no longer function as a simple icon. It becomes Mieke Bal’s ‘mirroring as a mirror’; not a simulacrum, but a metaphoric substitution. Bal remarks that, ‘Leaning forward, Narcissus extends his body into our space’. (Bal, 1999: 246) In a way, he reverses the mirror phase, extending the imaginary body instead of the real one. The illusion or trompe l’oeil annihilates the real. It offers ‘the fragmentation of the body [...], the prosthetic illusion of wholeness that props the self up into existence, as a fiction, framed as a representation.’ (Bal, 1999: 246) The mirror encapsulates the threshold of the visible and the fictional. It offers a metaphoric substitution and a new ‘hybrid identity’ (Bal, 1999: 2), a theatrical fake, trompe l’oeil. ‘Trans’ According to Jean Baudrillard the body has been transformed from being a metaphor for the soul, then sex - to the current stage, when it can be anything. (Baudrillard, 1990: 7) In Baudrillard’s account, ‘this state of affairs is epitomized by a single feature: the transpolitical, the transsexual, the transaesthetic.’ (Baudrillard, 1990: 10) We have entered into ‘trans’ – the ‘Looking-glass’ of sex and identity. Instead of the previous realm of ‘explosion’, characterised by the outward movement, we are experiencing ‘implosion’, which merges and collapses opposing poles. There is no longer any female or male. It seems we all wander in the genderland’s garden, where roses can be constantly repainted in white or red. This is the logic of ‘trans’ and the mirror, deconstructing and destabilising gender binary. Here, we no longer have to stay on either side of the mirror. The boundaries are disrupted and fluid. The phallic law is abolished. Gender can be re-signified. Baudrillard suggests that ‘the orgy is over’ (Baudrillard, 1989: 46). He refers to the orgy of modernity, when sex was freed from any constraints. The current erotic culture no longer dreams the dream of liberation. Instead, it explores gender with its indefiniteness and possibilities to merge. Baudrillard calls this state ‘Gender benders. Neither masculine nor feminine, but not homosexual either.’ (Baudrillard, 1989: 46) Again, it is a realm of wonderland, where the body can extend or shrink – it can become excessive, baroque or carnivalesque. It constantly shifts its identity and appearance, both mirroring and transcending boundaries of sex and gender. The trans-body, as I propose to call it, can be best described as a mirror ball, covered in little reflecting surfaces that play with limitations and appearances. It disguises itself under this external glittering make-up, theatricalising its own image and inviting us to play the game of ‘hide and seek’.
“Everything seemed to multiply and transgress identity, body, gender and reality limitations.”
Jess Dobkin in her performance piece Mirror Ball at the Performance Mix Festival in New York City (2008-09) appeared on a high pedestal wearing a body suit covered in hundreds or thousands of small mirrors, reflecting each other and everything around. The artist was rotating herself in a circle to a pulsating, psychedelic disco beats, playing loudly, invoking the 1970s, when disco became the genre of the heterosexuals, gays and lesbians, blacks, Latino and other cultural and sexual groups beyond binary limitations. The mirrors, the music genre itself, the spinning around and the dance – everything seemed to multiply and transgress identity, body, gender and reality limitations. Dobkin literally turned herself into a human mirror ball – a glittering specular sphere reflecting light in multiple directions and displaying a distorted image of reality. She functioned as both the mirror and Narcissus, investigating corporeal and psychical vulnerabilities and boundaries. She offered a spectacle of ‘Looking-glass’ – reflecting, transforming and seeing all the possibilities. The glowing dots dancing around with Dobkin as a rotating mirror ball enchanted a reality somewhere between disco and baroque trompe l’oeil’s optical illusions.
Left: Jess Dobkin (photo by David Hawe), Mirror Ball, 2008-2009; performance piece, courtesy of artist. Right: Lynne Marsh, Ballroom, 2004; video still from video installation, courtesy of artist.
Lynne Marsh’s performance piece entitled Ballroom (2004), presented, even more literally, a living disco ball – the artist wearing a glamorous costume covered in sequins - suspended from a ceiling of the Rivoli ballroom in London. Marsh rotated with increasing speed, illuminating the space with myriad delicate beams of light. The reflections were whirling around, playing with the three-dimensionality and the spectators. The space was luminous and sparkling. Aesthetics of seduction and stylisation created a dazzling décor for the traditional realm. Was it real or was it a spectacle; a magician trick, a created illusion? It all seemed magical and ephemeral with soft music playing in the background and following the movement of the spinning body. Marsh bewitched an imaginary space, casting a spell on what is obvious.
She played with opticality and the image in the mirror reflection, inversing it into the ‘wonderland’. The ‘Looking-glass’ juggles with vision. It distorts perspective, inverses looks, gazes and stares back. When you stand in front of the mirror, you recognise yourself. You might see a woman or a man but you can also imagine someone else. You might be drawn into a world of possibilities. Suddenly, you can become your opposite gender, or someone in between or above, or perhaps both. The mirror invites you toward liberating gender, fluidity and transmutations. At the same time, it encourages going beyond heavily loaded connotations such as ‘she-male’ or ‘transsexual’. Some recently proposed pronouns, such as, amongst others, ‘ze’, ‘zer’ or ‘mer’, ‘ey’, ‘em’, ‘eir’ (Creel, 2010) or ‘hir penis’, ‘hes vagina’ (Quinn, Pissarro, 2010: 106) slowly appear to substitute the traditional linguistic constructs. Merger sexuality The merging of the male and the female also destroys other oppositions associated with the binary. Gender studies refer to binary or multiplication systems, distinguishing two or more genders. According to Judith Butler gender is situated within but is not restricted to physical sex. It transgresses genes’ markers, processing and performing various internal mechanisms. Gender goes beyond and through the traditional binary of the masculine and the feminine, which does not allow any trans- or cross- gender permutations. According to Butler, gender is a mechanism transmuting, naturalising and producing the female and the male (Butler, 2004: 42). Likewise, Hélène Cixous proposes the concept of an ambiguous and fluid sexuality. She remarks: I do desire the other for the other, whole and entire, male or female [...] Castration? Let others toy with it. What’s a desire originating from lack? A pretty meager desire. (Cixous, 1981: 262) The separation between the male and the female and the subordinating and repressing of the feminine with the masculine leads towards a ‘new sexuality’, what Cixous calls ‘merger type sexuality’ (Cixous, 1981: 254). It deconstructs sex and dissolves the differences. The emerging neutrality is liberated from phallocentric representationalism and annuls the dichotomy of the self and the other. As such, all oppositions forming the binary are erased. There is no uniform and homogenous, classified sexuality - male or female, presence or absence, language or silence, light or dark, active or passive, good or evil. This ‘merger type sexuality’ does not merge the masculine and the feminine together, but rather dissolves the distinctions and draws sexuality from any body and any time. Specular transformation So what exactly happens in the ‘Looking-glass’? Trans, fairy, queer, dyke, hetero, amongst others, go through towards fluidity and excess – the borderless and ‘other’ - challenging concepts of gender, sexuality and identity. The body becomes reversed into fantasy, as in James Bidgood’s film Pink Narcissus (1971). A male, lying on a lounge, dreams about other worlds, where he becomes the main character, transformed into a Roman slave boy or the keeper of a male harem. As with a stroke of a magic wand, he can become anyone and anything. The visual imagination is baroque and otherworldly. It invites us into an alternate reality existing in parallel – the ‘trans’ world. Everything is transformed into specular fantasy, where the boundary between here and there slowly annihilates. The film is a shameless celebration of excessive aesthetics and a paradise of vision. It creates a wonderland a bit like a patchwork quilt, where the real and the imaginary merge. Is it fake? Or is it the other side of the mirror, where binary is erased and personality
“When you stand in front of the mirror, you recognise yourself. You might see a woman or a man but you can also imagine someone else.”
with all its colours and possibilities is worshipped? Binary vibration, then – transformation. A full spectrum of possibilities as though, what Alice once said, ‘as for you’, [...] ‘I’ll shake you into...’ (Carroll, 1872: 234) Let me ask again then, what happens after the orgy? After the orgy, then, a masked ball […], diffusion of […] transsexual kitsch in all its glory […] where sexuality is lost in the theatrical excess of its ambiguity. (Baudrillard, 1990: 23)
References Bal, M. (1999) Quoting Caravaggio. Contemporary Art, Preposterous History, Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press Baudrillard, J. (1989) America, London: Verso Baudrillard, J. (1990) 2002 The Transparency of Evil, London, New York: Verso Butler, J. (2004) Undoing Gender, New York and London: Routledge Carroll, L. (1872) 1998 ‘Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There’. In Carroll, L. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, and Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There, London: Penguin Books Cixous, H. (1981) ‘The Laugh of the Medusa’. In Courtivron, I. and Marks, E. (eds.). New French Feminisms: an anthology, Brighton: The Harvester Press Creel E. R. (2010) Ze, Zer, Mer, http://web.archive.org/ web/20080418000432/http://www.apa.udel.edu/apa/archive/ newsletters/v97n1/teaching/ze.asp, Date accessed 30/05/2010 Quinn M. and Pissarro, J. (2010) ‘The Journey not the Destination’. In Marc Quinn. Allanah, Buck, Catman, Chelsea, Michael, Pamela and Thomas, exhibition catalogue, London: White Cube
after the mourners had abandoned thei ravaged room. A wooden spool with forlorn tail of blue silk th urine; jagged-tipped letter opener; spectacles with splintered ey domed glass inexplicably intact; cutjet glass vial of French per keys that inhabit these worlds like sentry, not broken but fore Audrey was there too, a figment in fading pictures that clun taste of sun, I caught the powdery, sifted hint in the shadows behind. At first she shimmered, bewildered when a room full o from her waxpaper sheath and gasped when it fell away â€” tra Her paper face, irreparably split brow to lips, was pale, gent
ir scavenging, I hread lay among ye-piece; locket rfume, itâ€™s slende ever separated fr ng to eachother s of cotton, vanil of sun flooded i anslucent shards tle, lovely, lost.
the shoe box in a quiet corner of the er of things broken: one-legged figer chain nor content yet its beautiful r snapped in half; and as always, the cks they guard still. of glassine. Deeper still, under the f something private, something left ed the shoe box to its brim. I slid her ttered like mica from a cave.
There was a story she told in the clothes she wore. She told it to my mother. My mother told it to me. Navy silk dress with flounce and smart polka dots, slender ankles in ribbon-tied shoes, trim grey flannel skirt with its crisp organza blouse, silver buckles at her feet.
When my mother told the story it was different. She wore a strand of coral beads and an embroidered peasant blouse. Her memories were dressed in cotton and skin: Cat-eye sunglasses. Cat-eyed gaze. Men fell in love with her.
if vials and tools and sundries hold the transferred weight of bodies, in clothing are their ghosts. I began to choose my garments more selectively, wore my motherâ€™s teen years on my back in leather and her motherâ€™s first love off my shoulders in a drape of silk. I tossed my cheap, modern, forgettable clothes, and donned the remnant lives of others.
It was the same year we fell i n love. 1929. 1954. 1989.
EXTERiOR, diRT ROAd THAT diSAPPEARS inTO THE WOOdS, dUSK . THE YEAR: 1954
Red-haired girl whispers directly to the camera. I was about to do something unspeakable. cut to automobile. Light streams in and illuminates her face for a moment. She lies motionless as the lid is closed extinguishing her in the dark. cut to wooden kitchen table in a stark room with peeling paint on the walls. Windows are crudely covered with black cloth. A white enamel bowl is filled with metal instruments and blood-tinged water. There was an old woman who lived in the country. A midwife. It was rumored she performed abortions for the wayward teens of proper families. It was expensive. You had to know someone who knew someone who knew someone. cut to a twirl of yellow skirt, full with petticoats, a dance of light in the dark woods. I remember exactly what I was wearing. I worried if I was pretty. cut to closeup of Red-haired Girl. Split-screen panels move forward and backward simultaneously. She is blindfolded. What did I imagine on that long dark ride? cut to woman reflected in mirror applying deep red lipstick. Her voice is casual. I donâ€™t know why I told my daughter this story in 1979. She was only 15. We talked about the dress I wore...I smiled and patted her hand. I told her I was sorry for telling her.
n c A R n A T E
One day i passed us on the freeway. it was 101 north of L.A., and inexplicably, i came upon the two of us, young lovers, headed in the opposite direction. So surprised was i to see us, i nearly swerved off the road. i twisted in my seat to look as we drove away in all directions with our stories heading elsewhere. .......... When our child died in April, it was an event that attached my husband to me like gravity, without which i feared he would drift up and out into the sky until i could see him no longer, a balloon that had escaped my grasp. That we could conjure up such a futile expression of life, chaos in every cell, was as if a storm had scattered the very dnA of us. days passed nonetheless. .......... Once, as children picking berries, we came upon a snake. My brave brother, who knew all the business of snakes, who had slept with boas, who had crept from canoes to take draped snakes from trees that leaned in from the shore, pinched the snake behind its head and lifted it in his purple palms. dead he concluded. i can’t recall who or how or why we decided to explore this creature, but it seemed now inevitable. it was to be very scientific, and i dashed inside our house for an assortment of knives. i closed my eyes when my brother cut that thin line down the lovely belly. When i opened my eyes, it was to silence and the terrible dissonance that stalls time into a clump of bewilderment, as when bad news is delivered upon uncomprehending adults clinging to what had just been, but was no longer. A tiny heart in the center of the snake lay quietly still beating. it was a wet trembling pulse the color of garnet, as if a ripe berry had fallen there. . . . . . . . . . .
i went weak at the knees and nearly fainted when i returned to your hospital room to find you bound by straps and gagged by tubes that coiled out from you like snakes, doctors frantic in their gestures that revealed the balloon was slipping, slipping... From your briar of needles and blood-filled vines, your eyes held mine, and we had no need to look away for the first time since we were lovers. We spoke like this silently, and it was as if we’d stepped outside the hospital room to that open stretch of highway north of L.A. while doctors tended to your body. Until there was no more talking, and our words fell away from us like pages being torn from a book. i gathered the pages up like an archaeologist and read the story backward: .......... Tomorrow we will pause on the stairs of a walkup apartment in 1989 as we once again make the path from kitchen to bed — though it is forever incomplete when we stumble out from under all the desire we’d cooked up at the stove with anchovies and garlic and the breadstuff of hunger and sink into the murmurings of a familiar story — a story being erased as it was told. . . . . . . . . . . At last your red truck with us, unwitting passengers in our present tense, faded from view, and Time — which had stretched out thin and taut and wavering — broke apart with the whoosh of a slingshot, and my memories like stones free of their stone burden went flying off into the desert. it was an act of faith to let them go.
From democracy to demigod, the dual faces of luxury are unmasked.
The Evolution of Luxury: Massclusivity and Uber-Luxe Words by Veronica Manlow
Luxury as an idea, and in its material existence, has split into two poles along the spectrum of the hyperreal: “new luxury” which is mass/democratized and uber or premium luxury that is not. Both offer a commodified spin on notions of authenticity, one to the masses the other only to the wealthiest. Today, luxury resides within an all-engulfing turbo-capitalist system of consumption. Developing countries cycle from “massclusivity” up through premium luxury at an accelerated pace. In hypermodern consumer-oriented society this need to satisfy oneself and to set oneself apart through status goods has reached unprecedented levels. The more luxury becomes accessible the greater the desire to raise the bar and to attain new levels of distinction, while simultaneously lowing it to expand its domain. Berry (1994) defines luxury as widely desired and in the category of things that meet basic needs related to physical satisfaction: sustenance, shelter, clothing and leisure. Luxury, in the sense that Veblen (1899/1994) and later Bourdieu (1984) used it, is first and foremost about class and social status, distinction and distancing. Conspicuous or understated, possessing luxury items displays wealth, privilege, taste and cultural capital. The existence of luxury pointed to the inevitable order of things, to the existence of fixed binary oppositions. At various points in history it served to differentiate sacred from secular, aristocrat from bourgeois, rich from poor. Custom, tradition, one’s relation to production, and sumptuary laws served to maintain boundaries. At the heart of a democratization of luxury are two processes: the demoralization of luxury - the progressive move from Stoic ideals favoring a rejection of desire and its pursuit in favor of vigilance and discipline to a vindication of commerce in modernity, decoupling luxury not only from negative associations but its traditional link to the highest stratum of society (Berry 1994); and the disengagement of fundamental organizing principles of society - production and affiliated systems of stratification resulting in a new social order based on simulation (Baudrillard 1993). Luxury has been stripped of political and moral content. Luxury is no longer by definition out of
reach for the average consumer, rather it is normal to desire luxury. No longer grounded in a system of production, and in a hierarchical class system, material signs of dominance are liberated. In the middle of the 19th century the ‘shopping experience’ is transformed and pleasure in consumption begins to be extended to the middle classes and beyond. The world of art and architecture that in the past served to elevate humanity because of associations with the sacred, with high culture and intellectual life, are pressed into the service of commerce that before occupied the lower rung of society. While the “court aristocracy made the whole of life a continuous spectacle” (Bourdieu 1984: 55) the new religion of triumphant capitalism introduced an aesthetic logic of beauty, theatricality, and luxury to what before was the cold logic of commerce. Marketing, the production of images and experiences, is infused in products and in stores which become palaces of desire presenting consumers with magnificent architecture, display windows, interior décor, display of merchandise, and spectacle. In today’s hypermodern context there is a global multiplication of luxury flagship stores, each one competing to be grander. Places of sale are transformed through their connection to contemporary art, architecture and design. The work of contemporary artists is showcased and presented, fashion shows are projected on huge screens, music plays in a mélange of high and pop culture that creates a fun shopping environment. These stores, should they represent the larger brands and conglomerates (e.g. Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Armani, Burberry), become sites of a total branded experience for a diverse public who find goods at accessible prices (Lipovetsky and Manlow, 2009). While these stores seek a wider audience they present in microcosm the binary logic of luxury: in the front of stores are entry-level goods - sunglasses, small leather goods (such as key chains), perfume, cosmetics and costume jewelry. As one progress through the store, displays of various collections are found, as are spaces for private shopping. Democratization of luxury forces a binary configuration. When signs are diffused widely and lose their meaning there is a counter-reaction.
“The Cartier lighter in 1968 finds its full expression in cheap Pierre Cardin pens and nail clippers.”
The Cartier lighter in 1968 finds its full expression in cheap Pierre Cardin pens and nail clippers. Lagerfeld designs for H&M. In a process of reification products are taken out of their original context of fine craftsmanship and are stripped down to logos and branded markers. New luxury goods encompass such mundane categories as beer, pet food, and household products. The existence of mass luxury spanning high end brands and basic ones that tout themselves as luxury, create a sense of confusion and a need not only for an elite pole with a return to some measure of authenticity, but for exaggerated forms of luxury that are clearly and decisively set apart from all other appropriated and/or illegitimate forms. A former affiliation with the “eternal” or at least the “enduring” has moved in the direction of luxury linked to the ephemeral world of fashion and trends, whether on the high or low end of the spectrum. Status and experience seekers, at both ends of this spectrum, are engaged in a race to acquire markers of distinction: a counterfeit Louis Vuitton purse, a Coach keychain, or the most expensive watch in the world, a 25 million dollar diamond encrusted Chopard timepiece. The uber luxe consumer is in no way spared from simulation. Chad Rogers who sells some of the most expensive homes in the world defines uber luxury in real estate: “Wait a sec, I thought I was in Beverly Hills, but everything I am seeing tells me that I’m in the South of France.” Indeed one might wake up in the South of France. One can vacation for a lifetime, circling the world (from which one has managed to escape) every 2 or 3 years on the Utopia, which in 2013 offers residents the possibility of visits to the most important cultural and sporting events: the Cannes Film Festival, the Grand Prix, the Olympics, the World Cup. Marat’s dire quote on luxury offers pause: “En amollissant et en corrompant les peuples, le luxe les soumet sans résistance aux volontés d’un maître impérieux, et les force de payer du sacrifice de leur liberté le repos et les plaisirs dont il les laisse jouir.” Today it is the simulation of luxury: the trinket, a pair of sunglasses or a counterfeit Louis Vuitton purse to which people sacrifice freedom. In a world where signs and codes proliferate, and perhaps the real substance of luxury is rather shallow, hollow, illusory
and superficial, even at the highest levels, how can one resist invisible chains that cleverly hide an economic logic which leads one to experience selfdetermination and indeed resistance though things? Activists in green, ecological, voluntary simplicity and other movements call for a “remoralization.” One plunges in or resists, that resistance being absorbed and reappropriated in an infinite process of invention of new branding models: eco-luxe, sustainable luxury, etc …
References Baudrillard, Jean. 1993. Symbolic Exchange and Death. London: Sage. Berry, Christopher. 1994. The Idea of Luxury: A Conceptual and Historical Investigation. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. Bourdieu Pierre. 1984. Trans. By Richard Nice. Distinction: A Social Critique of the Judgement of Taste. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Leach, William, 1994. Land of Desire: Merchants, Power and the Rise of a New American Culture. New York: Random House Press. Lipovetsky, Gilles and Manlow, Veronica. 2009. “The Artilisation of Luxury Stores,” Fashion and Imagination About Clothes and Art. Arnhem: ArtEZ Press. Veblen, Thorstein. 1899/1994. The Theory of the Leisure Class. New York: Penguin Books.
Hit Me Baby One More Time
Photography Maria Kamitsi Fashion Editor Christos Kyriakides
Blouse by Ann Sofie Back
Dress by Lutz
Blouse by Lutz
Top by Ann Sophie Back
Skirt by Chloë
Truth/Lies Words by Rose Cooper-Thorne
â€œEven though we are familiar with these world changing events and tragedies, the glimpses into the build up and background are chillingâ€?
A true labour of love, the new film from Producer Howard Goldstein KingKennedy is a painstakingly put together piece which defies genre, and creates what the film’s makers describe as a ‘unique event in cinema history.’ Unique it certainly is- the two hour film is entirely free from narration, allowing the archive material and never before seen footage of John F Kennedy, Robert F Kennedy and Martin Luther King to expose the truth for themselves, and the viewer free to come to their own conclusions. Whilst the editing might steer and set certain themes, there is no denying the raw power of your own imagination when presented with the footage. KingKennedy links the assassinations of all three men and reveals the intrigue and deception in high places that clouds the history of the era. JFK is quoted as stating ‘we do not do these things because they are easy, but because they are hard’ clearly an inspiration for the film’s production team-KingKennedy has been years of research and years of editing and yet is still not guaranteed a cinematic release. Documentaries traditionally struggle at the box office, add to this the fact that KingKennedy is not a documentary in the traditional sense and you have a genre-less film which most backers do not believe will be commercially viable. Goldstein expresses annoyance at the classification system KingKennedy is so much more than a documentary.’ ‘Its relevance goes beyond the people who were alive at the time-
these are leaders we have not seen the like of since and I hope they will be a source of inspiration.’ The film’s makers are currently canvassing for support for the film and hope to stream it on the internet in 2011. The actress Joanna Lumley has recently added her voice to its cause, calling KingKennedy ‘extraordinarily gripping.’ Adding ‘even though we are familiar with these world changing events and tragedies, the glimpses into the build up and background are chilling.’ The unique concept for KingKennedy evolved from the Director O’Rahilly’s lifelong fascination with the Kennedys and his fierce determination that the truth must be told. O’Rahilly is most well known for the creation of Radio Caroline which revolutionised radio broadcasting, and his far reaching ideas now applied to film cement him as a visionary in the entertainment industry. For further information on the film and its creators visit www.kingkennedy.com or twitter.com/ kingkennedyfilm
Timo Maas Words by Hannah Yelin
Timo Maas has been releasing music for over a decade, djing for nearly three. He has already undergone many transitions both in his life and in his music. Years as a young underground dj in Hanover in stark contrast with years of massive, sudden, global success. Periods of walking away from his music altogether followed by a return as an older, mellower Maas, proud father, prone to philosiphising, and still obviously taking pleasure in his work, as he says, “I really love what I do.” His music has almost certainly entered your consciousness one way or another, whether though samples of his tracks that pop up in all sorts of surprising places; his remixes of other people’s music – often disparate from his own; or the many tracks that crossed over to mainstream success. We meet in a building under some Shoreditch railway arches to talk about the many contrasts his long career has spanned. On now vs. then As sees it the big difference between the music scene now, and when Maas first arrived in it, is “the internet. It has changed the music business completely: distributing music and getting recognition for music. Yes, I did my first record in ‘94, but I started my first production in the late 80s, trying things out with some guys. And I’m djing since ‘82. For us it was to have the
“I’m 41 now and over the years I hate routines and just had to break a few routines and reinvent myself.”
record, the vinyl, some physical thing. All about the object. It was just a different time.” He sets the scene like he is telling a story, his enthusiasm tumbling out through syntactical idiosyncrasies and German accent. “Also, when I started DJs were all music producers. When somebody asked what you’re doing and I say ‘I’m a DJ’ and they’d say ‘DJ?’” He affects the quizzical incredulity of an imagined audience who were not only sceptical of his career choice, but disbelieved that it even existed. “These days it is a completely different thing and DJs are showbiz. But those times we were not even cool. We were just some guys. ‘What you do? You play some records and you get money for that?! Amazing!’ No one took me and any of the other guys seriously.” “Now I get more recognition, and people take me seriously for what I do. The market is just different now. It’s not about selling the hardware anymore. It’s just about getting the tracks and playing them and listening to this and that. There’s just so much more opportunities. It doesn’t matter how great ideas you’re having these days. You would have had the same idea a few years back, it could be something completely crazy. But there are so many opportunities now. Too many even. I’m a Leo, I like a challenge.” Hold up, Mr Maas, I beg your pardon? Because your star sign is Leo you say? “Yes I’m typical Leo.” He says, undeterred my cynicism for astrology, “I’m really ambitioned, is that the word? About the thing that I do. I do everything to fulfil my dreams. It’s a little bit more difficult, but I’m still here Sitting in London, flying around, having great gigs and releasing albums. So it cannot be so bad. What brings him here he laughs drolly, “I am in London exactly for making a bunch of interviews. I flew in this morning and am going to fly out this evening. One of those days.” On success vs. failure His press release asks of the 6 years of radio silence between releases “Where on earth did Timo Maas
go?” I put this to him. “Pictures, my last artist album in 2005, what happened since then? Everything really. I became a father. I was just living life. Pictures was not a commercial success. Not so much as the record company was believing in. Which was a shame. But by the end of the day that’s the music business and I have to live with that. I just needed to sort out some things in my life, something like that. To change the team, change the way of producing, just like spreading myself out into directions I always loved to work in and never had the opportunity to. “I was working in the underground. Coming back to where I was coming from. I came from the clubs. Playing on the weekend in the clubs these last few years. More and more with my own music. To feel confident with what I am doing, weekend by weekend. I’m 41 now and over the years I hate routines and just had to break a few routines and reinvent myself. Personally and also job wise. On easy vs. hard “I ask how it was coming back after those wilderness years. “It was very hard. It was very scary. It was very exciting. And things just came up that were so easy. But when you had a career that was really really successful – I don’t want to say now that by contrast I have no career or am not successful - but it was certainly a different level. You know, of course some people just need a little bit longer to get over their doubts. To get over doubts about myself. On public vs. private I ask about the doubts he’s had. To which he responds candidly, “I don’t want to be too personal but to find yourself. I needed some time to find myself. To identify myself. I think for everybody in the music business, it’s good to come back to yourself. To the person you really are. Not the person that everybody sees in you. The image. The image of Timo Maas. Well, I’m Timo, too. I am a man. I am 41 years old. It’s important too.
On commercial vs. underground Aside from the tension between public and private personas, he has had a number of different guises within his career, “I always hated to limit myself to a certain direction. So I started early 80s, as I mentioned, and I’ve been through many different parts of my life. Let’s say I was doing techno records on Bush Records, a big techno label in the 90s. I was releasing records over there - did this, did that - and was getting really cool recognition in this time. Then this guy comes in with a remix we’ve done in 99. And it changed everything. One remix. It was also underground. It was nothing to do with commercial success. But then the record was selling over half a million around the world. And is still licensed and sampled until the days of today. I wasn’t apparently my record so I’m not rich from that,” he adds flippantly, “but it was just a different point of view. I do like the music, but it is commercially successful. What the fuck?” “Same with the first album I was doing. It was never the intention. How could I know, that I was going to create a top 10 album. But it was working really well. The vibe was right. The sense of what I love about underground. I love baselines. I love simplicity in music, even though I love to create complex music. But a certain simplicity I really like and it was just working really well. But one recipe never works for the rest of your life so reinvention is a very important thing. And a very, very creative process. I think right now, to write a new artist album, that is quite a challenge after everything: the complete commercial success, the underground recognition and the coolness. And my challenge now is definitely not to produce a top ten album. My wish is that it would be like that,” he laughs, “but it’s not in the top of my head right now. For me, it’s to combine the cool music and working with vocalists can still be extremely cool. For me, I think it depends on what you are doing. So are there always different qualities, that differentiate underground and commercial music, or is it chance, what catches? “Sometimes it’s very close to one another. Commercially successful music can be so so close. Sometimes you add vocals on a
track that’s working amazingly and everyone thinks is coolest track in the world. You add vocals and it goes number one in England. Sometimes there is a bridge. You just have to find the bridge and it’s not too far away from each other. On Maas vs. Santos Santos is Maas’ studio partner and together they release under the name Mutant Clan. “We’re 2 very different guys but what sticks us perfectly together is our musical roots. Going back into the 70s, we are nearly the same age. The music that we were getting from our parents, and in both cases from our brothers, was more or less exactly the same. We were listening to Jean Michel Jarre, we were listening to Pink Floyd. Electronic harp music and shit like that. The differences are the tastes, the different points of view. Together we have 50 years of music training and knowledge combined in one studio. Of course this is very different sometimes. He shows me a lot of things, I show him a lot of things. It works well. On quality Vs quantity Quality is always important. Quality/quantity what is the difference? 98% is quantity, 2% is quality. I’m looking for the 2%. I want quality of sound, of ideas, in our production. You can’t increase quantity without compromising the quality. We are very quick at making music, not because we want to flood the market, not because we are compromising. But because we are having a moment of many ideas.” Sounds like a good working relationship. “Ja. Knock on wood eh?” On track vs. remix Many of Maas’ remixes have been a collision of very different ideas, where one track meets with another style altogether with artists like The Noisettes and Placebo. “I love remixing. I’d say that when I remix I put the same effort in as writing new music. On the Balance album there’s a good example in the remix of Placebo’s Ashtray Heart. That has nothing to do with the single, it’s just a complete different interpretation. Of course sometimes you shock people with a different interpretation, you open up people to
something that you didn’t like before. I like that. I ask what he thinks a good remix needs. “The perfect remix should pick out the basic vibe, energy and intention of the original song. But opens it up to a different market that never would listen otherwise. There’s enough tracks where nobody was interested, then the remix comes along and everybody is crazy for it. It’s still the same song, still has the same beat. I love it. The market has not been like it has been many years ago. Obviously so many people doing remixes and productions and so on. But for me, it’s still challenging. Thank goodness I have the good contacts and can get the Placebo parts and fuck around with that. And also I’m really happy with the result. On now vs. next Now he has his double mix CD, Balance coming out. “Possibly the most complete mix session I’ve ever done. From really slow and twisted, to really sophisticated even to techno and acid and pure club music.” He’s also working on the next artist album for release next year. As well as a new release for Mutant Clan. “Started in April also the “Sound of...” thing with Rockets and Ponies, with the beautiful looking guy on the right there, Johannes (points to his associate easting a sandwich). I ask what he’s trying to achieve with his new label Rockets and Ponies. Deadpan he tells me “the times couldn’t be more worse to starting a label than they are right now, there’s really no sales, of course. But we are all trying to achieve at least 3 Ferraris in different colours and a nice house in Miami.” “A flat for me in London would be fine,” mopes his PR. “A flat in London?,” says Timo. “OK, I’ll take your Ferraris then.”
â€˜If one had but a single glance to give the world, one should gaze on Istanbulâ€™.
Alphonse de Lamartine
Perhaps the most evocative border there is, the Bosphorus Strait cuts through Turkeyâ€™s northwest, defining the boundaries of Eastern Europe and Western Asia. The result is a cohesive city awash with contradictions. Where new entrepreneurial energy collides with the traditional melancholic air, and where the gulf between possibility and reality seems to be at its most pronounced. Images by Nicholas Scaife.
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0 and 1 17 www.stephanieschneider.de
Maison Martin Margiela www.maisonmartinmargiela.com
Ann Sofie Back www.annsofieback.com
Margaret Howell www.margarethowell.co.uk
Carolyn Massey www.carolynmassey.com
Matthew Miller www. matthew-miller.co.uk
Cheap Monday www.cheapmonday.com
Minä Perhonen www.mina-perhonen.jp
Christian Wijnants www.christianwijnants.be
Sabrina Dehoff www.sabrinadehoff.com
E One Six www.eonesixlondon.com
Spijkers En Spijkers www.spijkersenspijkers.nl
Eley Kishimoto www.eleykishimoto.com
Elliott J Frieze www.elliottjfrieze.com
Hannah Marshall www.hannahmarshall.com
Wood Wood www.woodwood.dk
Ikou Tschūss www.ikoutschuss.com
Yohji Yamamoto www.yohjiyamamoto.co.jp
Labour And Wait www. labourandwait.co.uk
next issue. . . legend . . january 2011 .. . . www.stimulusrespond.com
The Binary issue of Stimulus Respond, November 2010.