Fashion 014 We’ve Gone Commercial Photography Edith Bergfors
028 Steps Photography John Kilar
080 Shielding Words by Jack Charter
044 Flashboy Photography Janneke van der Hagen
090 CSI Pie Words by Janis Butler Holm
056 Space Attack Photography Johannes Gierlinger
091 Rob Ward I
076 Yes, No, Bye Photography Mickael Valli
098 TRINITY Words by Christina Lovin 102 Rob Ward II 104 Escape Group
076 Jungle Photography Janneke van der Hagen 108 Swimsuit Issues Photography Neven Allgeier
106 Illustration by Atalya Laufer 116 Strange Attractors, Strange Repellers Words by Molly Beth Seremet 120 Rob Ward III
Architecture 022 Sher-e-Bangla Nagar, Bangladesh Words by Zoe Berman Images by Naquib Hossain 038 Yoyogi National Gymnasium, Tokyo Words and Images by Gordon O’Connor-Read
Art 052 Thanks for Listening Chris Watson by Alan Dunn 064 Foreign Investment 070 Ragged Kingdom - Jamie Reid Ben Parry
Features 092 A Man To Pet Photography Morgan O’Donovan Styling Andreas Koumas
Illustration by Atalya Laufer
photo sabine volz
ISSN 1746-8086 www.stimulusrespond.com
Editor in Chief Jack Boulton firstname.lastname@example.org Editors - Literature Phil Sawdon and Marsha Meskimmon email@example.com Editor - Fashion Matthew Holroyd firstname.lastname@example.org Editor - Architecture Rose Cooper-Thorne email@example.com Editors - Art Alan Dunn and Ben Parry firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com For advertising opportunities, please contact the editor-inchief 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) 2011 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.
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Cover image by Betty Jackson Contributors This Issue Neven Allgeier Edith Bergfors Zoe Berman Janis Butler Holm Charmie@creammodels Jack Charter Alan Dunn Show Fujimoto Foreign Investment Johannes Gierlinger Ellie Gill Matthew Holroyd Naquib Hossain Iris Julia@eastwestmodels John Kilar Andreas Koumas Sotiris Lamprou Atalya Laufer Rui Liu Christina Lovin Gordon O’Connor-read Morgan O’Donovan Ben Parry Thanasis Petroyiannis Johanna Prange Jamie Reid Anthony Romero Sabine Ruitenbeek Sabine Molly Beth Seremet Jillian Soto Anna Valli Mickael Valli Janneke Van Der Hagen Lara Verheijden Alexander Von Dreis Rob Ward Chris Watson Note on the last issue: The photo Jamie and Ram-Mans, in the piece entitled Stick It to the Ram-Man, should be credited to Hidden Dingbat Collective. Apologies for this oversight.
THE GREEN RO OM TH E C OM P O SI NG RO OM S 201 2 R e s i d e n c y - R i c h M i x 3 5 - 4 7 Be t h n a l G r e e n R o a d , L o n d o n E 1 6 L A W W W. T H E C O M P O S I N G R O O M S . C O M
weâ€™ve gone commercial
Photography Edith Bergfors Fashion Matthew Holroyd Hair Show Fujimoto Make-up Ellie Gill Model Rui Liu
Previous spread: Black trousers and bra Ann Sofie-Back Opposite: Ribbed top Ann-Sofie Back
Previous spread: White blouse Ann Sofie Back Opposite: Black dress Cheap Monday
Sher-e-Bangla Nagar, Bangladesh
Words by Zoe Berman Images by Naquib Hossain
It’s a wonder that Sher-e-Bangla Nagar as it is now known, or the National Capital of Bangladesh, was ever built. Rising out of the flat plains of Dhaka this series of monumental buildings that house all the parliamentary activities of Bangladesh is widely considered to be one of the 20th Century’s greatest architectural masterpieces. Yet for all its monumentality and its ordered, classical architectural arrangement it was born out of and was built during a period of political and social chaos. The significance of the buildings is inextricably intertwined with the national and political struggle of the Bengalis. In 1947 Pakistan separated from India and was divided into Eastern and Western regions, 1000 miles apart and lying on both sides of Northern India. In a bid to overcome the difficulties that the government faced in trying to govern two fractured countries the president Ayub Khan decided to build two national complexes – one in West Pakistan in Islamabad and the other at the former capital of East Bengal, Dhaka. The Dhaka project came to be designed by Louis Khan only after it was turned down firstly by Le Corbusier, who was too busy with other projects and then by Alvar Aalto who was too unwell to take on the commission. In a career marked by bitter disappointment and a splintered personal life Kahn’s design would become without question his magnum opus. Sitting on the eastern banks of the Buriganga River on the lower reaches of the Ganges Delta the city of Dhaka rose out of a topography of, as Kahn described, “a plain of vegetation and soil.” On to a blank canvas of a thousand acres of land that is subject to seasonal flooding Kahn was to masterplan a grand scheme that would include the National Assembly Building, Supreme Court, hostels, offices for government ministers, diplomatic enclave, a hospital, schools, a library and prayer hall. The essential heart of the building is the assembly chamber, placed at the centre of the arrangement from which the other supporting buildings radiate outwards, reflecting heavily on Kahn’s inspiration drawn from the plans of Renaissance centralized churches. Around the assembly chamber rise a series of serving buildings that house the offices, prayer room and circulation spaces – standing independently and self-defined yet collected together around the core to form a “society of rooms”. In a telegram to his clients sent in 1964 Kahn described the arrangement like that of a chessboard – the “buildings must be in a good position on the chessboard. For its symbolic value no building must be in the wrong place.” Kahn’s early exploratory design sketches for the assembly hall continually refer to the roof of the Pantheon in Rome, with its hemispherical dome punctured by a single oculus through which a shaft of light falls. Kahn’s final design for the roof is composed of a series of parabolic concrete shells creating eight enormous clerestory openings that allow natural light to fall from above into the central government chamber. The play of natural light and shadow is fundamental to all of Kahn’s work. The massive geometric volumes of shuttered concrete that make up the buildings external walls are regularly punctured by arches, circles and triangles that allow natural light to fall into the enclosed spaces within. The lack of glazing in these apertures creates a play between what is internal and what is external space, and gives fluidity to the transition one experiences moving from the landscaped gardens to the
sheltered circulation spaces before entering the enclosed interior chamber at the heart of the complex. For Kahn the counterpoint to the solidity of mass and structure is light and shadow – “the making of space is the making of light at the same time”, and “structure is the giver of light. When you decide on the structure, you’re deciding on the light.” Whilst monumental in scale there is also serenity to the buildings, and an enduring quality that has been acknowledged as simultaneously being both a representation of Modernist architectural thinking yet also classical and deeply grounded in historical influences. For all that the building achieves for some it stands as a representation of division and disorder. The project was only partially completed when the Bangladesh Liberation War broke out in 1971, a violent and bitter conflict between East and West Pakistan that left both countries bloodied and scarred. When Bangladesh declared independence from Pakistan Kahn’s contract was terminated, but he continued to work on the project and two years later the new government contracted Kahn to complete what had now been renamed as the National Capital of Bangladesh. Many people feel that the building is an incredible achievement for Bangaldesh – and architecturally it is revered. But for others it is a manifestation of the disorder and divisions that exist today between those who sit in governmental seats and those who live desperately in the dirty, poverty stricken streets of a chaotic city. The complex was originally built at a distance from the urban centre, but as Dhaka has developed new buildings, streets and shanty towns have come to surround what was previously an isolated plot of land. The buildings are sadly a manifestation of the disassociation between those housed in the ordered, beautifully designed governmental offices and the chaos and poverty experienced by those who live in a city that suffers from pollution, over population and lacks basic infrastructure. The project took almost twelve years to complete and the building works were carried out through civil war, political instability, natural disaster and economic crisis - it is surprising that these grandiloquent buildings were not abandoned or demolished. Yet despite a chaotic backdrop of political turmoil Louis Kahn pursued his design with persistence and clarity; resulting in buildings that are significant and enduring. Kahn proved that if a designer is courageous enough to commit to a project with passion, vision and determination then it is possible for truly great architecture to transcend chaos and for enduring buildings to emerge.
Steps Photography John Kilar
Yoyogi National Gymnasium Tokyo Words and Images by Gordon Oâ€™Connor-Read
Chaos is not an advisable prerequisite for any architect. It is the very antithesis of what a manmade environment hopes to promote, but is often the catalyst for an urban-utopia and its subsequent order. In a city where the number of its inhabitants has ballooned to over 30-million, the once fervent structures of Kenzo Tange and members of Metabolism are now sources of constant stability in amongst the frenzied activity of Tokyo. The Metabolists were a group of post-war architects mentored by Tange, and included notable alumni such as Kisho Kurokawa and Fumihiko Maki, who were engaged with the master planning, industrial design and architectural ambition of their rehabilitated city. Publishing their manifesto ‘Metabolism: The Proposals for a New Urbanism’ at the 1960 World Design Conference, hosted in Tokyo itself, their gambit was to address the political transition from an authoritarian to democratic state, as part of a generation of Japanese designers coming to terms with an atomic-driven world, and the apocalyptic scenes of destruction etched on their minds. Years later Tange would point to Japan’s turbulent past while highlighting the potential of a new beginning, ‘When we saw our national land turned into scorched earth with sporadic burnt concrete structures, we had a dream and hope of
drawing a new city as if over a blank white sheet’. The Yoyogi National Gymnasium, designed by Tange, set the benchmark for much of what the Metabolist movement had to offer. As part of a sports complex within Yoyogi Park, the larger arena was the centrepiece for the 1964 Olympic Games on a sparse site within a densely populated and over-built district of Shibuya. Its concave roof is held aloft via two supporting masts that in turn liberate the 10,500 spectators within from any visual obstructions. The elegant tent structure is reliant on a plethora of concrete slabs exerting their own weight upon a series of high-tension cables. These are sprung from one of the sculptural masts and anchored at its opposite end, keeping the gymnasium in a perfect state of inertia. This was an edifice that Tokyoites craved, a building that didn’t remind them of past empirical dynasties, but a near future where order could emerge from chaos. At the time of construction it was the ideal symbiotic meeting of western aesthetic and Japanese tradition, imbuing the city’s desperate need for less autocratic forms of architecture, particularly pertinent when its neighbour is the Meiji-Jingu Shrine. A vast 175-acre terrain in the cauldrons of a burgeoning metropolis, the original shrine was levelled during the air
raids of the Second World War. Fully restored just a few years before work had begun on the gymnasium, a series of pavilions at Meiji-jingu bear the hallmark of ancient Shinto architecture and would have been a convenient inspiration for the arching roof at Yoyogi. Such close proximity between the shrine and gymnasium is a poignant reminder of how Tange chose to revise convention rather than be dictated by it, breeding a unique form of Japanese modernism whilst assimilating the traditions that he himself was in conflict with, ‘Tradition can, to be sure, participate in a creation, but it can no longer be creative itself’. In similar fashion to Tange Lab, a design and research-based studio setup at the University of Tokyo in 1946, and its subsequent private enterprise in URTEC (URbanists and archiTECts), Tange’s ambitions for the Yoyogi National Gymnasium fed an appetite for urban solutions rather than architectural feats. The stadium was a majestic addition, but part of a greater programme for the Tokyo Metropolis. A notion supported by a former student of Tange’s, Hajime Yatsuka, who once spoke of his old mentor’s approach as broad and all encompassing, ‘From the beginning of his academic career, Tange’s concern transcended the narrow scope of the
task of architects. His ultimate goal went beyond the design of individual buildings to restructuring social spaces’. For nearly a decade the Metabolist movement was a culmination of design invigorated by a speculation of future technologies in the midst of a post-industrial age. The 1970 Osaka World Expo would signal a gradual decline in the ongoing collaboration, even at a time when their buildings were still vehicles for change. But the ideas and proposals that emerged from that period would disseminate across the world. As a collective they sought to challenge a dominant hierarchy they believed existed within their own country, and Tange’s Yoyogi National Gymnasium was the first of many attempts to breakaway from a rigid system by embracing the chaotic to form the new, ‘Until only very recently, Japan was constantly under the control of an absolute state, and the cultural energy of the people as a whole – the energy with which they might have created new forms – was confined and suppressed… Only in our times has the energy of which I speak begun to be released… it is certain that this energy will do much to convert Japanese tradition into something new and creative’.
Photography Janneke van der Hagen Styling Lara Verheijden Hair and make-up Sabine Ruitenbeek Model Lara Verheijden
Previous spread left: catsuit Kabinet Previous spread right: Bodysuit Irene Heldens Above: skirt Irene Heldens Right: Top and Pant Roparosa
Above: Pants Bas Kosters Right: Dress Roparosa
Thanks for Listening Chris Watson by Alan Dunn Founder member of Cabaret Voltaire, awardwinning wildlife sound recordist with David Attenborough and recording artist for Touch, Chris Watson is an artist with a unique background and sensibility. In 2004 Alan Dunn and Watson worked together on the Winterâ€™s Tale project at the Foundation for Art & Creative Technology in Liverpool, collaborating with a community of elderly high-rise tenants. Recording their immediate and surrounding locale at all hours of the day, two new soundscapes were
created for the scenes the residents could see from their windows but could not hear. These two pieces were re-fed into each living room free of charge via the internal CCTV system. The project brought together Watsonâ€™s interest in creating portraits of habitats using sound alongside his generous sharing of professional skills towards new ways of listening to our world. Having travelled extensively since first working for The Tube on Channel 4, Watson has recorded in some of the most remote and
challenging parts of this planet. Dunn invited him to select three photographs from his travel collection to reflect upon the planetâ€™s silence, remoteness, the nature of time, perspective, chaos, complexity and human nature. CW: It was really interesting when you asked me to select three photographs because even though I chose three remote locations across the world, there is a clear connection in habitats. Although I am a sound recordist, when I go to any
of these places, the geographic South Pole, the Pacific Ocean or the Kalahari Desert in the North West Cape of South Africa, the first thing I do is to look. Through my visual sense and then my auditory sense I start to absorb what I consider to be the essence or spirit of these places. I am very much visually guided and the one thing these places all have in common is the distant horizon. Even though the three habitats are radically different and far apart, when you scan them you can see far into the distance and, with the lack of
noise pollution, you can also hear across great distances. Each location has remained relatively unchanged and standing at the South Pole I realised that what I was hearing was exactly the same type of sounds that Roald Amundsen heard when he arrived a century ago. In fact there has probably been no change in several thousand years and I am really interested in that idea of a kind of perspective. All three places exhibit that potential of reaching into the past with a microphone.
“The other thing I realised from talking to scientists at the South Pole is that there is only one sunrise and one sunset a year”
AD: This notion of distance changes everything because we are not used to hearing that far. CW: Yes, it is a real challenge for any technology to represent it, because all technology does in a sense is to confine something to a widescreen image or a stereo sound. In those habitats it is literally very hard to take it all in, but that is what I find exciting and challenging about those places, coupled with the lack of human interference. There is actually very little wildlife sounds at these places. There are literally none at the South Pole and relatively few in the Kalahari Desert when that picture was taken. It was about 4 in the afternoon, 40° Centigrade, gathering clouds of an evening storm and that golden hour colour on the grass, but 85% of the wildlife there is nocturnal, living in the dark, so you hear very little. The photo of the surface of the Pacific Ocean was taken from a Boeing 737 about 1,000km off the coast of Ecuador as we started our descent to the Galápagos Islands. In a place like that on the surface there is very little sound but when you go below the surface you enter another world in which sound travels five times faster. The ocean is the most sound-rich habitat in the planet. AD: These three photographs are without humans and it must be quite an existential experience for you to work alone in locations, without other animals, seeing further than most humans are used to and putting microphones literally where no human has ever listened before. CW: I find it really challenging, particularly at the South Pole. You realise that as you scan the far horizon there comes a vanishing point where the ice and sky merge because of the ice and the clear blue sky. I also realised at the South Pole that every way you turn and everywhere you look is north. Standing at the Pole, every time zone on
our planet converges. Beyond the left hand side of that board is the Americas with one time zone and to the right of it is Russia with another time zone and it does make you wonder about time, or lack of it, in a very particular way. Perhaps there is no time there at all? AD: For those time zones are a man-made construct to deal with day and night? CW: They are, but the other thing I realised from talking to scientists at the South Pole is that there is only one sunrise and one sunset a year. The sun will rise for the first time in late September, breaking the horizon, and it won’t set again until about March. AD: Stretching a day into a year? CW: Yes, a kind of day in a life. While I was working there I stayed at a Russian base where they used Russian time and the American base used American time. But there is no new timescale that I am aware of specifically for the Pole, just some commonality. But whatever they use, it’s arbitrary, because all the sun does is circle around the Pole. AD: These photographs are hence documents? CW: They are snapshots that I find too twodimensional, records of visits. That sign in the
photograph for example is on its own and behind it you can just see the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station run by the United States Science Foundation. The actual South Pole is a ceremonial point within walking distance of the canteen, but I noticed this wooden board on its own, perhaps 200 yards in the distance. I walked up to it and it actually marks the exact geographic South Pole. I was there on my own and it was quite a moving experience, particularly when you read what’s on it. AD: You were at the three locations recording, with different technical challenges and different briefs? CW: I was at the South Pole with David Attenborough for a BBC documentary series called Frozen Planet, in the Kalahari Desert working on a feature film and the Galápagos Islands was for a National Geographic series. These jobs get me to places and I then take the opportunity to explore them in ways that are outwith the remit of my original reason for being there. I make lots of recordings, photographs and notes and when I return I start to create pieces that find that sense of spirit of place. It is a personal interpretation of it from my experiences of spending a lot of time in these places. AD: When you do a portrait of someone you try to get the essential features and you are creating portraits of this planet’s largest humanfree expanses. Does that lead you to insights about the overall picture? CW: The painting analogy is really good as that is how I imagine my work, a personal representation with sound. Spending time in places such as these makes me realise that these are not what we often call quite derogatorily barren wildernesses or hostile environments. What I have begun to realise and what I am thinking more about trying to articulate in my work is how complex they are. They are not chaotic at all. They are complex systems, complex eco systems, and to that extent they are fragile. Working with scientists in particular I am interested in how they try to articulate that complexity and how you start to unearth the beauty of these places. AD: The word complexity suggests a form of mathematical pattern that permanently underpins
things? CW: It is not permanent. Part of the complexity is that it is changing constantly, affected by the weather or geology or even by our influence. However, I am sure there is a mathematical structure to it. I did a residency at the Wired Lab in Australia which was set up by Dr Alan Lamb to explore the acoustic properties of the long fencing wires stretched across the country. While I was there I talked at length about this very subject with David Burraston, a mathematician who has studied the complexity of the wires. They are simple when compared to many other habitats but he is unearthing some incredibly interesting information and forming some new ideas about the complexity of these sounds in wires. He is actually looking to describe it which I feel is almost beyond my function as an artist, being able to annotate or explain complexity. I can grasp it without fully understanding it but I did start thinking about how I may start to articulate the complexity of the sounds in these three locations for example. Or, how knowledge may affect how I record in such places. AD: Are you suggesting there is no such thing as chaos? CW: I think there probably is but I could not describe it. I feel it is too easy to look at the surface of the sea and say ‘it is chaotic’. It is not and neither is air movement nor falling snow. It is an easy romantic notion to say ‘chaotic’ but for me it just means that it is outside my knowledge, I just can’t understand it. AD: How may a better understanding of complexity start to alter the way you record places? CW: When you start to investigate these places, you could probably stand and hold a microphone and get three recordings that I could say were from any one of those three places, because they are so quiet. And this is where notions of perspective play such an important role. In these far distant horizons I am also interested in listening literally under the surface and under the skin. What became interesting with the Pole was to put hydrophones and geophones under the sea ice and start to draw out sounds from there, which were astonishing. I am interested in finding the real essence and spirit of that place and that
is also by putting microphones in unusual places, at new perspectives to start to reveal other complexities. In the Kalahari I put microphones down holes where animals or insects live and I have recently being doing a great deal of underwater recordings. Armed with a fairly basic knowledge of the biology of places, I start to investigate habitats from new perspectives. AD: That is what is interesting for me, the pioneering and burrowing that you do, going beyond the surface and away from the visual. Do you see that as a next phase in your work? CW: Absolutely, and also the idea of spatialising places as technology is now catching up with our ideas. I have an ambisonic recording system that enables me to record in any of those places and then spatialise it into a three-dimensional audio environment. And this is genuine threedimensions using third order ambisonics to spatialise a place so for the first time you can recreate a space which has planar (horizontal) sound, which is how we see, but also with height and depth, which is how we hear. It is still a very complex system. I work with Tony Myatt at the University of York to create the hardware for it and that really culminated recently in The Morning Line project at TBA21 that is currently exhibited in Vienna. The Morning Line is a sculpture by Matthew Ritchie that has a 40speaker system within it to allow the public to really hear the sounds of any recorded place. The presentation is crucial. In the past, sound has been very poorly presented but galleries in particular have caught up and the public now ‘get it’, the very direct emotional response to good quality well presented sound. AD: You often refer to the ‘beautiful sounds’ of animals or places, but do you think there is a relationship between the more complex sounds and what we find ‘pleasing’ to listen to? CW: The commonality of these places is the lack of man-made noise and I often make that judgement not to use any man-made noises in any given location. I represent a place as I would like to experience that place. It is not like a photograph in that sense. It is a composition that is very simple, not complex, although I am becoming interested in how I may start to articulate the inherent complexity of the sounds. There is always a narrative element, which
is time. Time is not always regular and I often stretch it for example. The Vatnajökull piece on Weather Report was a representation of 10,000 years in 18 minutes. I am quite happy to play around with time and this is what many of my compositions are based on. I create a timeline and create simple scores that are based on lapsed time, the seasons or animal behaviour. I am looking at the moment into doing a piece with a raven roost in Wales in which the sounds happen over about 20 minutes and I am trying to expand it to closer to 60 minutes. It is a way of getting into the rhythm and behaviour and the pattern of the animal. I think this is part of the complexity, this idea of temporal resolution. At the Pole I can hear a hundred years ago. In the Kalahari, insects live their lives much faster than us. We can hear birds and see them and try to describe them but the fact is that, as organisms, we are all living our lives at different speeds. We can hear birds sing but we cannot capture that information with the same resolution as the bird is doing at that moment. The classic example of that is a wren singing. That wren can produce 64 notes in an 8-second song phase. We hear that as a trill. If you slow it down 4 times you can see and hear the individual notes. The scientists at the University of St Andrews with whom I am working suggest that another wren can resolve those notes at that speed, which is beyond our temporal resolution. Another wren can separate out all those individual notes and extract information about its sexual status, its position within its habitat and whether or not it has a mate. The raven is similar and for me slowing down is one very simplistic way of working with it. It allows us to start to hear it. AD: And that is akin to early photographers examining motion? CW: Curiously enough I have a project with the British Film Institute who have given Mike Harding at Touch some animated films from the early 20th Century by two French film makers and I have one to create a soundtrack for. It is the metamorphosis of a caterpillar into a butterfly and some of it is slow-motion film, some of it is actual animation and at some stages they even built an actual artificial caterpillar to understand its behaviour and to represent the behaviour. They made a new time resolution as perhaps because the real thing was too slow! It’s interesting to see the techniques they used to film
that, methods you have to put in place to start to perceive complexity. AD: Which leads us to a final question of why do you think it has to be so complex? If the wind system and the waves and ravens and wrens are so elaborate and in flux, why do you think we, as part of it, struggle to understand it? CW: Firstly, I think all these time systems are interconnected. They must be because that is how things work and evolve. Secondly, we are only here for a very small span and are simply not able to understand it. Things are evolving all around us but we do not have the capacity to notice it, or to comprehend the temporal resolution on a daily basis. Why things appear to be so complex is of course a difficult question to answer. It is like trying to understand the universe. We can understand what we can and we all do our own little bit, but maybe all that does is add to the complexity of it rather than resolve it. And in order to try and find answers at each stage of our development, we do simplify things, it is in our nature. That is, we try to find out what it is, we give it a name, we classify it and then move on. I do not think we can contain it because in 10,000 years this cafe won’t be here and we find it impossible to imagine what will be here. But there can be no ‘answer’ as it is always evolving and never stops. Even crocodiles are continuing to evolve but we cannot perceive it from our position. We can look back at evolution and recognise it but not observe it up close. So, new perspectives, differing time systems and temporal resolutions do play a part. It is hard to understand temporal resolution when you visit those places but perhaps it is possible to absorb it, to record it from certain perspectives, albeit a simplified portrait.
Chris Watson’s new CD El Tren Fantasma (The Ghost Train) is released by Touch. See www.chriswatson.net and www.touchmusic.org.uk Audio tracks selected by Chris Watson for Stimulus Respond at www.alandunn67.co.uk/stimulusaudio.html 90 degrees South Pacific Ocean The Kalahari Desert
Series of expired Polaroids by Johannes Gierlinger
Made up of artists based in the UK but born outside those shores, the all-female artists’ group Foreign Investment have conducted radio symphonies on traffic islands, collaborated with street musicians to entertain construction workers and exchanged jokes at community colleges. On each occasion, a free exchange of ideas or creativity has been at the root of the event, creating situations in which artists and the public come together to question the value of things in unexpected ways. Members of Foreign Investment have roots and family in Brazil, China, Germany, France, Turkey and Norway. They invest in the cultural life of the UK through their daily jobs and as Foreign Investment they perform at home and abroad. Dressed in their stitched yellow and red aprons, their slow and calculated performances have brought a serene sense of order to the hustle and bustle of festivals such as the London Biennial, Trajetórias in Rio de Janeiro, Istanbul Biennial, Gogol Fest in Kiev, DeptfordX or the Venice Biennial Agendas. Their response to the fluctuating global economies of the past fifteen years has been a series of projects involving gold in Rio de Janeiro, London, Oslo and most recently in Everything Must Go at the Chinese Arts Centre in Manchester. During the Private View, members of Foreign Investment discussed their gold work with Alan Dunn. Gold-X-Change in Istanbul in 1997 was the first time Foreign Investment worked with gold, in only the second year of our existence. We had been invited to Turkey by the curator Beral Madra to do a work for Istanbul during the Biennial. While researching, we became interested in questions of value, particularly the value of women’s life and work in Turkey and we wanted to do something that was generous and connected to Turkish culture. We learned that gold plays quite an important role in social life. At dinner parties for example, guests bring the hostess a tiny little piece of gold instead of flowers. At first this seemed odd but in the current crisis of turbo Capitalism it becomes clear that in fluctuating financial markets gold gifts make sense. In a system that has little or no social welfare nor pensions for women, gold becomes the tangible pension fund. It is practical, with the added benefits that you can wear your funds. Women collect these gold gifts and they also receive gold bangles which are basically their dowry. They know gold will always have its value, whereas money gains and loses value all the time. From the beginning we had this idea that
“Our aim is to invest in exchange, in the dialogical processes that underpin both the private and the public economy” Foreign Investment would be very generous. We wanted to bring art to the public for free, to remove it from its pedestal and to make it accessible to everyone. We also wanted to stay clear of adding more objects to an already cluttered world. Our aim is to invest in exchange, in the dialogical processes that underpin both the private and the public economy. The notion of investment in the art context is short charged if it is only understood as unregulated capital investment. There is a completely different thinking going on here. We as Foreign Investment invest in the process and those who come along and join in or stand by are investing too! These investments are complex for they certainly include time, dialogue, thoughts and ideas. With the full title Gold-x-change - Gold For Every Body we almost caused a small revolution in Istanbul. People were queuing up outside the BM Contemporary Art Centre in their hoards. No money was involved. We gilded things that people brought us, basically things they had in their pocket. They had to give us something in order to take away something else that had already been gilded. What seemed initially a straight forward exchange sealed with a handshake turned into micro and macro analysis of non-monetary trade relationships. Interestingly enough, the worry of everybody that engaged in the transaction circled around value: is a crumpled up empty cigarette packet good enough to be traded in? Was there something in the handbag that could be given away or exchanged for a gilded object? The Istanbul public invested time and knowledge. The table around which the transformation of objects took place became the heart of long and informed discussions on gold mining practices, corruption and pollution caused by gold mining in Turkey, unstable currency markets, the Eurozone, alchemy and the political, economic and cultural position of Turkey at the end of the 20th century. In addition, the event coincided with violent protests against the exploitative and destructive
policies of the international gold mining industry. Gold demand in the first quarter of 2011 totalled 981.3 tonnes at a value of 43.7 billion US dollars. This was a 100-tonne increase from the previous quarter, put down to a “strong growth in the investment sector”. We were on the ‘fringe’ of the Biennial but the artist Orlan came to see our project at BM and she loved it so much that she sent many people from the main Biennial over to see what we were doing. We were taking worthless items from people’s pockets and giving them value. In those days we did not work out exactly how much value we were adding, but that is something that we have grown more interested in and is much more integral to this current exhibition. In Istanbul it was more the alchemy, the transformation and the fact that anything at all becomes a really beautiful and valued object once you put gold on it.
Today, China is the second largest gold consuming market in the world. In 2010, gold demand grew by 32% and for the first time, annual gold demand ( jewellery, investment and technology combined) surpassed the 700-tonne mark). The second time we worked with gold was in Rio de Janeiro in 2001. As we are all ‘foreigners’ in Foreign Investment, we always want to relate to the cultures we are invited to. What we are problematising here are two interlocking principles. Firstly we recognise that we are foreign (fremd) and secondly that we invest in the foreign. That is, in that which is not yet known to us. These principles are applied across everything Foreign Investment does including its working methods, organisation and idea banking authorship. These principles lead to multiple quasi-schizophrenic, or better erratic processes. In so doing, Foreign Investment shakes the seemingly robust foundations of trade,
World Cold Council, GFMS Ltd, Gold demand trends, First Quarter, May 2011
ibid Gold Exchange, Palácio Gustavo Capanema, FUNARTE, Rio Trajetórias, Rio de Janeiro, curated by Cristiana de Melo, 2001
commodity, value, authorship, money and art. We bought Brazil nuts in London and brought them back as a clandestine imports into Brazil. Returned to their land of origin, the nuts were measured, weighed and gilded. We sat around a giant table, measured each nut in millimetres and grams, gilded them and recorded the data. After gilding, we weighed each nut again as each one naturally had a slightly different dimension and we collected this data on the dark tables like blackboards. Packed and labelled, the gilded nuts once again entered the trading floor, this time offered to people to take away freely. We did the gilding performance at the Palácio Gustavo Capanema, FUNARTE and three other venues across Rio, each time adding more value to the imported (returned) nuts. We also noticed the stark difference in size - Brazil nuts sold in Rio’s markets and shops were half in the size of those exported to London. Then again, pineapples and mangos destined for export were far inferior to the ones sold on the markets. Foreign Investment zooms in and magnifies automated, automatic and manual labour involved in import and export. Whilst transformation and ex-change value were the focus in Istanbul, in Rio the focus shifted onto the administration, the data gathering and the gesture of re-patriation for both the nuts and the gold. Jewellery is by far the most dominant category of the Chinese gold market, accounting for almost 64% of all gold demand in China in 2010 (27% accounted for by investment and remaining 9% by technology). In 2008 we looked at a different cycle of value. During DeptfordX we concentrated on Deptford High Street in London, a street dominated by the weekly market, small independent international food shops and a handful of Charity Shops. We noticed that there was a lot of rubbish around the High Street and we decided to pick up one hundred pieces of rubbish that were suitable to gild. Each piece was then coated in gold and subsequently displayed in the local pub The Deptford Arms right in the middle of the High Street. Sadly this pub does not exist any more as it is now a betting shop, the eighth betting shop on a relatively short street! We wanted to question and challenge the established routes of commerce and transaction, including those
set by the cultural sector. After Modernism, rupture and disruption is expected and carefully choreographed in national and international exhibitions. With our actions we create a mini parallel universe, often played out on the streets like Dada, Beuys or the Situationists. Picking up rubbish by hand, gilding it, displaying it in the local pub and returning the gilded rubbish is absurd and poignant at the same time. We kept a map of where we had originally found the rubbish and on the last evening of DeptfordX we returned the gilded rubbish back to where it was found. We left the one hundred pieces for some lucky winners and it was soon all gone! Since ancient times, gold in China has been associated with good luck and is considered to be the colour of emperors. Chinese people with a high status traditionally wear more gold jewellery and gifts of gold items are considered to be highly valuable. It is a tradition to give gold as a gift after a child is born, on birthdays, at Chinese New Year and it is also an integral part of wedding jewellery. In October 2010 we were invited by the Kulturbyrået Mesén to work in a multi-cultural neighbourhood of Oslo. We worked with about 100 children who spoke around 50 different mother tongues, which was absolutely beautiful and mad at the same time! Up-cycling, child labour and circular economy lay at the heart of this 7 day marathon. Together with the children we gilded 230 abandoned toys that were donated by them and their families, toys that had been loved at one point but relegated to the rubbish box. Retrieved from there, they underwent a transformation and an adding of value. Once gilded, the objects were up-cycled back into the world through a raffle held at Galeri Format, raising a great deal of money for a local charity that worked with the children. Many parents and children came of course and each raffle ticket had a winner, leading to smiling faces clutching golden cars, elephants or bricks. For seven days we invested into the unknown and foreign of this particular place and that seems all the more poignant now given this summer’s horrific attacks in Oslo and Utoya Island. It was exciting, taking stuff that was cluttering the world and the children even looked under each toy to see ibid Oslo Gold Exchange was part of Hva Gjør Du Her? a project supported and produced by Kulturbyrået Mesen (www.mesen.no), October 2010
“There are different chaos theories but we are neither physicists nor mathematicians.”
where it was made and told a story of how they got them. The toys formed an assembly line on which it was not possible to beautify your own object – it had to be someone else’s. That would have been craft whereas our project was about labour. And small children’s hands are indeed infinitely better at gilding than adults! Growth in demand for gold in electronics was recorded in most other markets with China a frontrunner. There was a growth of 10% as demand for semiconductors grew and of particular note were gains for mobile and smart phones, tablets, netbooks and notebooks. There are different chaos theories but we are neither physicists nor mathematicians. But we are all economists which is why we find it important to devise very tangible models of economy. We are told, and are meant to believe, that the market is out of control like a natural disaster. That is a lie as we know it to be manmade chaos. What Foreign Investment do is in one sense blasphemous, putting 18-carat gold leaf onto rubbish, inviting children to engage in child labour to up-cycle unwanted toys or re-patriating goods made for export. But we think economy is people not numbers and that art (culture) makes us human. Throughout our projects we have used real gold, 18-carat gold leaf and Dutch Gold that looks like gold but is not gold. In this project Everything Must Go at the Chinese Arts Centre (CAC) in Manchester we are using Dutch gold since the focus is again on labour. We are trying to compare the minimum hourly labour rate in the UK with that of China. Despite intensive research by staff at the CAC we could not extrapolate an exact minimum hourly labour rate for China. However we have some data regarding monthly and yearly wages in different regions of China but unfortunately we do not know for sure how many hours a Chinese labourer works per month. We are constantly told that labour is
cheap in China yet what does that actually mean? Cheap is a relative term. In Manchester we are using objects made in China and we are timing how long it takes us to gild each one. We have no reliable data about the labour costs of the plastic piggy bank or dinky car made in China handed in to the CAC for Everything Must Go. Thus the object must undergo a new ‘secondary’ labour process in order to make tangible and ascertain the new value of an up-cycled object. We began the process ourselves but we also trained a team of temporary staff to gild for the duration of the exhibition. We then added a percentage for the time it takes to prime and apply the size to each object and calculate its ‘worth’ from time multiplied by the gold rate at the given moment of completion. For example, gilding a basic object can take between 20 minutes and 30-35 minutes for a beginner. The more often you do it, the faster you become, but the longer it takes to gild, the more precious it becomes since the price of the object depends on the labour time invested. At the end of the exhibition, we will have a one-off ‘sale day’ during which the public can purchase an artwork for the price determined by the labour cost and gold price of the day. Working with gold is a matter of using a finite resource that is mined under very difficult labour conditions and refined using enormously toxic and environmental hazardous methods. On the wall here at the CAC we have a map of the world showing all the major gold mines owned by about 20 global mining companies. Having abolished the gold standard in the 30’s, gold was marginalised for decades. However the gold price has rocketed since Foreign Investment first worked with it. As economies are experienced as unstable or chaotic, we seem drawn to gold like magpies. Whilst money is replaced by the virtual credit and debit card and labour has become increasingly invisible, hidden away in generic corrugated sheds and glass towers gold remains the old/new mana. Everything Must Go was at the Chinese Arts Centre, Manchester, 5 August – 17 September 2011 www.foreign-investments.com Audio tracks selected by Foreign Investment for Stimulus Respond at www.alandunn67.co.uk/stimulusaudio.html
Ragged Kingdom Jamie Reid
Jamie Reid talks to Ben Parry at his latest exhibition, Peace is Tough at the Bear Pit, London as part of Merge Festival Bankside. Hot on the heels of Reid’s wonderful Ragged Kingdom installation for Isis Gallery at Londonewcastle Depot earlier this year, Peace Is Tough revolves around two polarities – one being principal elements of the Jamie Reid Archive which has recently been exhibited at the CCBB in Rio and MoCA in Los Angeles. The second being a presentation of the 365 paintings that comprise the core of Reid’s expansive Eightfold Year project.
KEEP WARM THIS WINTER MAKE TROUBLE A lot of the work I do is overtly political; it’s about social issues and political injustices, hopefully done with quite a sense of humour. There has always been those two sides of my work; the work that is very spiritual, very esoteric that is to do with shamanism, druidism, Magic. With all the exhibitions I do, I’m much more famous for the work that I did with the Sex Pistols and the more overtly political work, and everybody sees that as a contradiction. The fact that it’s seen as contradiction I find very sad. People constantly say, ‘How can you do the both?’ NATURE STILL DRAWS A CROWD My interest in nature has always been there, my mum and dad were always off walking in the countryside, particularly in Scotland. My dad had an allotment and I‘ve continued that sort of legacy, so it’s always been there. People find it a dichotomy but I’ve always worked on those two fronts, always done overtly political stuff, but since the early 60’s I’ve been a painter and I’m still learning. A lot of the paintings are much more esoteric and spiritual. It’s that thing I’ve always believed; you need political and social change as much as spiritual change. They are hand in glove, but they always seem to be separated. With the painting it’s very trance like, very muse like, and a continual process of animation, one painting leads to the next and the next. I paint pretty much every day, but that sort of dovetails with gardening and allotments and that process is integral to the painting; the elements, seasons, actually growing things, there’s just nothing like it. If that could be put into the education system at an early age, it’s just such a buzz growing things. The 8-fold year is all part of that process, if you’re working with the land you’re utterly aware of the weather, the seasons, the climate, it sort of all interconnects. And so does landscape and the countryside and I always try and get out there. We live on a beautiful island. Britain is such a special place. You’ve only really got to look at the sky, the moon or the sun, its absolutely staggering, the micro-macro thing of Blake; to see a world in a grain of sand... it’s all there... THE RIGHTS OF MAN My family has been very involved in the Druid order for three generations now, and if you look at the whole history of Druidism, from Edwardian times into the 20’s, Druidism was radical as well as spiritual and very overtly political, totally immersed in the trade-union movement, and basic human and birth rights. We haven’t got any birth rights anymore. We have this amazing ability to ignore our history if it doesn’t fit into the ideas of the establishment, ideas of what history should be and how it’s taught. It’s absolutely to do with the whole way we are educated, brainwashed to think the way we do. There is such a radical tradition in this country, it’s a whole unwritten history. Take someone like Richard Attenborough, in a recent interview on his 80th birthday he was asked what his biggest inspiration was - Thomas Paine, The Rights of Man, and one of the biggest regrets in his life, and the film he always wanted to make is the story of Thomas Paine - no one will fund it. How many people know about Tom Paine, about what he did in terms of being instrumental in the American Revolution and his writings being integral to the French Revolution? Blake was a friend of Thomas Paine and helped smuggle him out of England. Everything Paine wrote is so relevant now - The
Rights of Man - 99% of the British population have never heard of him, and he’s just one example. Another classic example of that contradiction is William Wordsworth, a really fucking radical, radical thinker, totally immersed in what was happening in France in his time. And now he’s taught in schools as though he was just a Romantic poet. It’s that sort of contradiction... CHAOS IN CANCERLAND There are dark elements in the 8-fold year paintings yes, but I’m completely into white, I can’t stand dark magic... it’s a load of heebie-jeebie nonsense. The dark forces behind what we regard as capitalism and politics, I think there are only people like David Icke who even touch upon it. We are completely ruled, governed & manipulated by the very dark, dark forces, and if anything I’m trying to do, it’s to counter that; doesn’t matter if its political agitprop or if it’s the spiritual side, it’s to completely counter that whole negativity of the situation we live with, which is basically keeping people under the thumb and in total fear. The older I get the more absurd it seems, our political set-up, our parliament, the ritual of judges, the monarchy, it is so archaic and feudal, we’ve had nothing but constant repression since Thatcher in this country and Blair continued the Thatcher legacy. So if it’s anything I’m trying to do, it’s to try and alleviate that dark side. GOD SAVE OUR FORESTS When the Tory party proposed the wholesale sell-off of our forests and ancient woodlands, I did a graphic that took the new Conservative Party logo of the tree, and put an axe underneath cutting it down which says ‘Tory Cuts’ but thanks to public opposition it was revoked, so the graphic never got used. That whole socialist tradition, you look back to the birth of the ramblers, it all locks in, basic human rights which have been totally denied us, your birth rights should be a place to live, free education for everyone, free access to the countryside, these things should be integral to the basis of politics. So much of it is about re-education, we have a brilliant history of subversion and people standing up for themselves, and it’s simply denied us. STOP DEMONISING OUR FUTURE - GOD SAVE OUR YOBS It’s this thing to do with education; the only shop that didn’t get plundered in Manchester was the bookshop, which I thought is quite interesting because you really need the means to express yourself. When they’ve taken away all means of popular protest, which has been happening in this country since Thatcher, all our basic civil rights to protest have been more and more eradicated; people, especially young people, aren’t going to be informed or have the political sass to actually do what they do in another way. It’s not like the criminal justice bill, or poll tax, or particularly the Vietnam protest, which did effectively change things – it’s just random chaos really. UP THEY RISE But then a few weeks later you have what’s happening with the 900 occupations going on in cities around the world which is probably much more important, it’s all part and parcel of people being pissed off and having nothing, and if you’re a young person out of work... I can only talk about the ideas, I’m probably not in that situation to actually put any of these things into practice, but I think you’ll get a
“Anything subversive is likened to an act of terrorism, which is being used to manipulate people and keep them under control”
new generation who will do it. It’s harder and harder to do things, now with the legislation on terrorism, anything subversive is likened to an act of terrorism, which is being used to manipulate people and keep them under control. But it’s about finding new spaces, new ideas and new people to do it. It’s not my job anymore anyway, its part and parcel of a whole tradition that goes back thousands of years. I’m sure things will happen in the next few years that really surprise us, like what’s happened in Egypt and the uprisings across the Arab world. OUT OF THE DROSS AND INTO THE AGE OF PIRACY If you look at the history of British Politics, and it’s great all this insurgence is happening now, but since the 80’s and Thatcher, then Blair who just took on the mantle of Thatcherism with new labour, the whole thing is to keep people in fear and stop them doing things, and to cut off any means of organised protest. But fortunately that’s changed, which has a lot to do with computers and new media technology. There’s a whole new generation that I see with my daughter and they are very active, politically and creatively. SAVE PETROL BURN CARS What they do is blinker everyone from seeing the world they live in. Most people have to spend their time in almost slavery, mentally, worrying where there next penny is gonna come from. I really want to create paintings and environments that are spiritually uplifting, because 90% of everything else we see is completely the opposite. With global media, you can watch 24hr news and it’s so utterly depressing; they have used fear. Fear has been the greatest tactic of modern day politics in America and this country. The whole terrorist scare, it will all come out, the
truth about 9/11, all sorts of truths will be coming out, the whole Wiki-Leaks thing is just phenomenal. It’s the tip of an iceberg. More and more, the likes of Wikileaks will be revealed - be prepared to be shocked! We move into a more questioning age where direct action is re-emerging here in Britain to look at possibilities of alternatives and new horizons. GOD SAVE THE QUEEN Some of my fondest childhood memories are when I was seven or eight being dragged off on Aldermaston marches, it was so uplifting as a kid, suddenly discovering that grown adults can be fun, there was a great sense of freedom about it. My family were always involved in socialism, my father was a journalist working in Fleet Street for 50 years and my mother was particularly involved in the CND movement. My brother was in committee 100, in fact Bruce was one of the six ‘spies for peace’ who were on trial and could have been found guilty for treason. At one time the Government were thinking of prosecuting myself and the Sex Pistols for treason, it must run in the family. RAGGED KINGDOM Because of my love and respect for old root-races, be they Native American, Celtic, Mayan, Aboriginal, Hopi Indian, 2012 could well prove to be a big turning point, I think there will be massive cosmic shifts. It could be something like the magnetic poles shifting, could be all sorts of things. We always tend to think the situation we are born into will be remade forever, people assume things go on and on the same, but its total change all the time. There are different interpretations as to why it happens but it is happening - we always have this Western logic to things, asking ‘why does it happen?’, not just excepting the fact that it does happen. I believe we have completely fucked this place up, and it’s now part of time we are gonna go through fantastic changes; climate change, weather changes, geographical changes, things are moving really fast. The economic shifts that are taking place are just phenomenal; China, India, the juxtaposition and changes, and we’re just scrabbling. It’s going to be revolution twinned with pure survival. People will have to take control of their own situations. These times of massive change, I could never express more what I’m trying to achieve in my work than what Dennis said at the opening of the Ragged Kingdom. He was able to say things that if I said them, it would sound too pretentious. I’m very bad about talking about my new work. THIS WEEKEND ONLY, THIS STORE WELCOMES SHOPLIFTERS In the early 70’s Suburban Press printed a lot of very radical, anarchistic, Situationist material, the idea of the graphics was to simplify things to make it visually obvious what you’re getting at. I found a lot of Situationist things sort of bourgeois, I didn’t like the intellectualism in as much as you needed an academic degree to read all these long-winded treatises. Yet within it were the one-liners that I found said more in a way. I was trying to use visuals to make a lot of what was quite turgid text, but full of great ideas, much more simplistic. We did stuff with the Black movement, women’s movement, all sorts of stuff. We did loads of flyposting, got quite involved in the squatting movement, occupied buildings and were involved in all sorts of political agitation. The very nature of what we did, was doing everything
ourselves. We had a litho but couldn’t afford Letraset so you cut things out, collage and just learn what looks good, that certain imagery, the rips and tears work great in black and white. LAST DAYS – BUY NOW WHILE STOCKS LAST That whole ‘viral’ thing... one of the things I’ve always tried to do with that sort of imagery and slogans is to bring great sense of humour into it, humour is one of the best weapons you’ve got because the establishment is devoid of humour. CASH FROM CHAOS It’s important if you are going to get confrontation and if you do something that’s completely unexpected, that’s got a lot of humour and sense of pranksterism to it. The powers that be or the authorities, or the police are completely phased by it. PEACE IS TOUGH Peace is Tough was a travelling exhibition that intended to involve itself with the people in the cities where I was doing it. Probably the most successful has been in Derry. Twenty years ago I did an exhibition called Celtic Surveyor, a collaboration with Rhys Mwyn. We went to Derry put on a massive big retrospective that involved hundreds if people performing in the spaces we’d created. This couldn’t be more opposite to the way art galleries work now, you had all sorts of people coming in and doing things, every teenage band in the local area, Irish dancers, it was massively successful. The people in Derry who helped organise it formed their own organisation and created a place called the Nerve Centre, which has become one of most successful community arts projects around. I’ve always tried to do that, to be very much part of being in that space, doing talks and workshops. I’ve always loved working in Ireland, the kids are much less cynical, more prepared to get up and do things. You do a lecture to third year students in a university or art school and when your finished your speel; ‘have you got any questions’ and it’s a complete blank. In a place like Derry you get teenage kids who inundate you with all sorts of questions. Ten years later we did an anniversary of that exhibition with Peace is Tough at the City Gallery. It’s a very heavy situation in Derry but were’nt frightened to confront the situation. There were amazing talks and workshops that took place, and across both sides. There was a lovely irony because the main image at that point was John Wayne with lipstick and the CND symbol. Myself and Alexei Blinov, who I still work with were going to project the image of John Wayne across the river, but when the local press got hold of the story we were immediately banned from doing it. Again, it was like with God save the Queen, an interesting tactic, something gets banned and then the next day its all over the news paper, exactly the same thing happened in Northern Ireland with that picture of John Wayne; next day it the image was on the front pages of the daily newspapers. Everything we are doing is outside what you can do in established art spaces, one of the great knock on effects was that about a year after we did the exhibition there was a massive conference about Peace in Derry with people from all over the world. And they acknowledged the work we’d done and actually called it Peace is Tough. It was a conference and situation that ultimately had a knock-on effect on the peace agreement.
TOWARDS AN ARCHITECTURE OF THE IMPOSSIBLE I was always fascinated with the Situationists take on modern architecture. To a degree, 99% of architecture still falls into that trap, designed to enslave people and limit possibilities. When I was given the opportunity to design interiors and get involved with architecture with things like the Strongroom studios in London, it was an opportunity to create spaces which invigorate and inspire, to actually create possibilities rather than restrict possibilities which most modern architecture still does. The Strongroom was a very specific brief applied to a practical situation. I was using what I knew about colour, symbolism, esoteric things, astrology, ancient symbolism from various root races and sources, to create a visual environment that actually stimulated the creation of music and sound. So much of the things to do with magic, or that are esoteric can be so obscure and elite, so I try and apply all that to creating environments where people are going to have to spend a awful lot of time. I could go on an on about the symbolism and meaning of it, buts its best when an engineer whose been working in the space day after day says; ‘Jamie, don’t give me all that mystical mumbo jumbo, its just a great fucking place to work’ ...you don’t need to interpret it, the work speaks for itself. OURS IS THE 21ST CENTURY The attitude and the philosophy and the ideas that went into the Strongrooms could equally be applied to public spaces. Imagine what you could do with hospitals, you could actually create environments in hospitals that help people heal. The advancements we could make in medicine, in health, I’m a complete advocate of alternative medicines, right the way through the system, I’ve obviously spent a bit of time in hospital, they are the most horrific places. That was the whole frustration after the Strongroom, to actually create environments to help people heal, to create on all sorts of levels. There’s a whole body of work, thousands of canvases that could be adapted to those situations, which is a thing I’d really like to do. Audio selected by Jamie Reid for Stimulus Respond is at www.alandunn67.co.uk/stimulusaudio.html
Yes, No, Bye
Photography and fashion Mickael Valli Model Anna Valli
Previous Spread Left: Blouse Bandeau; Skirt Jacquemus; Ring Yoshiko Creation Previous Spread Right: Dress Qasimi; Jewellery Bijules Left: Hat Yoshiko Creation; Fur collar Junko Shimada Above: Bolero Pauline’s Dröm; Vintage Communion Dress stylists own; Shoes Junko Shimada
Shielding Words by Jack Charter
It happened a year ago now, in the last few weeks I was living with dad. We lived in South London, on one of those side roads no cars bother to go down. The rows of houses were attached, some painted a different shade of mauve or cream or beige to make them “stand out”. Dad liked going to boot fairs. There was one at the local hospital, each Sunday of the summer months. He’d go to the boot fair at 7am. It was just about the only thing he’d wake up for, since mum left. Then he’d come back, park his dirty white truck and haul out whatever he’d bought. Always stereo equipment: vinyl records, speakers, and lots of dirty old wires. I’d be up by the time he got back, eating my breakfast at the table as he came in. I had to look down, or I’d catch the expression on his face. Delight, delight at the things he was dragging into the house, like a big bald cat with a half-dead rat in its mouth. Before mum left, the piles of electronic muck stayed in the basement. It was a cave of junk, the floor and walls trailing with wires, and stacks of grimy speakers were about to tumble from the walls. When mum left, these ancient electronics erupted all over the house. My room was the only clean place, a little one at the top of the two-storey house. Mum always acted surprised to hear me vacuuming, or to see bags outside my door to take to Oxfam. I think she did it to praise my neatness. I wanted to keep it up, even after dad infested the house with junk. When mum left she gave me some money. She used to give me pocket money, and I guess she thought dad wouldn’t remember to when she was gone. Anyway, she ended up giving me quite a lot, and what I really wanted was a new computer. I was interested in electronics, but not dad’s old stuff. I ordered one online, and it came at just the right time. I was being bullied at school. It was partly because of my hair. It’s kind of long, down to my shoulders. This girl in one of my classes said she thought I was a girl when she saw me
from behind. That got to me. But that wasn’t the worst of the bullying- I won’t go into it. The computer was a good escape. I’d play the newest games- with the newest graphics card- and I played a lot, all evening after school. Sometimes I’d even play before school. I was kind of obsessive, I admit. During half-term my play sessions were longer than ever. Those times, I could barely tell what day it was, I played so much. I started to feel a little sick with myself, to be honest. Especially after playing all night, when the birds started tweeting and light came through the curtains. One of those nights, I noticed something was wrong with my computer speakers. It must’ve been four in the morning. A weird sound was coming from the speakers, a news reporter’s voice announcing something with static between the words. Some kind of radio interference, I guess. Soon it was school again. I lurched over my desk, barely half-awake in class, everything in me wanting to get home to shut myself up in my room. When I was left alone with the computer, I didn’t have to think about anything else. Coming home from school one day, eager for the computer, I found the door of my room half-open. That annoyed me, as I kept it shut to keep out the electronic garbage. I opened the door a crack, and dad was sat at the computer desk. His head was bobbing, making the back of his shaved neck wrinkle. His head turned as I opened the door. He clicked the mouse, and fumbled with something on his lap. I could see his elbows moving. Then he twisted round again and said: “Ah, how was your day?” I didn’t reply. A grin stretched up the corners of his mouth. He looked so awkward. His eyes gave him away too; they looked to the side before looking at me. I didn’t say anything. I went down the hall and into the bathroom. I decided to sit on the toilet a while with the cover down, looking up at the ceiling light. A translucent dome curved over the bare bulb, and a fly buzzed around inside, making a clicking
“Out of the corner of my eye I saw the bald figure at the table, fuming, swigging his beer. I went up to my room.” noise. There were tonnes of dead ones in there too, a heap of them disintegrating. That night dad demanded we sit at the table for dinner, instead of in our rooms. It was the first time we’d sat at the table together since mum left. He said he wanted to talk about something, sounding serious for once. It embarrassed me. Steaks lay on the table when I went down, with dad looking at them proudly. They were burnt. I don’t think he noticed. We sat at the table and he watched me slicing away pieces of the steak with my knife. Then he cleared his throat. “How was school today, anyway?” He said. “Alright.” I said. “That’s good.” He took a sip from the beer can beside his plate, and continued: “Look, about earlier. I know I shouldn’t have been on your computer. It’s just, mine’s so slow...” He stopped. “Your speakers were making strange noises.“ “I know about that.” “Well, they can’t be shielded properly.” He stabbed a piece of steak with his fork. “Why were you in my room?” “I can fix them for you.” He said, ignoring me. “I had the same problem with the TV in the basement. Picked up all sorts of voices, radio signals.” He thought he had something here. A job he could do for me. “I don’t care about the speakers.” I said. “Stick to your own, shitty old electronics. Don’t interfere with mine.” That really got him going. He bowed his balding head. His pale, smooth lips began to twitch. “The money which you f-frittered”, he stuttered the hard f, “away on that computer. That was my moneyyour mother’s so-called ‘settlement’ after running off with another man.” Getting up, I went to the bin and pushed the pieces of
burnt steak from my plate into the bag. Out of the corner of my eye I saw the bald figure at the table, fuming, swigging his beer. I went up to my room. That night I went on my computer. I checked the internet history and saw dad’d been on a few dodgy sites, which I deleted. I felt dirty, like he’d infected the only good, clean thing left in the house. I wiped over the monitor with my sleeve out of habit, and began playing a game. I’d played a while when I heard a noise from downstairs, a kind of roaring cry from the bottom of the house. I paused the game to hear better. For a while, there weren’t any more noises. Then a crash came from a few floors down, from the basement. It sounded serious. I rushed down the stairs. There were beer cans scattered all over the kitchen table, and some on the floor. I opened the door under the stairs to the basement, and went down. It was dark in there, except for a couple of spotlights wired to the walls, pointing to the centre of the room. A row of speakers lay smashed on the floor. There were chunks of plaster where the wires had ripped from the walls. On the other side of the room there was a TV face down, with splinters of glass on the carpet. In the centre of the room, under the spotlights, there was dad. He was sitting on a chair facing the broken TV. A phone cord stretched across the room, to where he held the phone up to his mouth. I saw him in profile view. The yellow light caught his bristly head, his pale jowls hanging under his open mouth. “Why- won’t- you pick up.” he said through chokes. He turned to me: “Why won’t your mother pick up?” I walked over to him, slowly. He seemed to forget I was there. He pushed the phone against his face, into his forehead, the hollows around his eyes. I kneaded his shoulders under his beer-soaked shirt. “There, there.” I said.
Photography Janneke van der Hagen Models Iris and Sabine
CSI Pie Words by Janis Butler Holm
Whom is algebra combatting? I found blood on that apology. This malice has a middle. Easy meals are broken down.
A Man to Pet
Photography Morgan Oâ€™Donovan Styling Andreas Koumas Make-Up Sotiris Lamprou
Why? Pet: Why not? Calm down pet. Perhaps you could introduce yourself, for the people reading who might not be familiar with you and your work. Pet: I am calm thank you! OK, for the people who might not be familiar with me I say: Hello. My name is A Man To Pet. I am an alternative drag performer, DJ, dancer, and creative director of the Pale Blue Door. Some people say I am fun too. Is it art? Pet: Well, it used to feel provocative but not so much anymore. Besides, in our days everything is considered art! Well at least, I don’t know what art is any more. For me, my work isn’t art, it’s more of a mission I have - to put a smile on your face, or if not a smile then to give some kind of entertainment. That’s my nature; it’s more fun than art. There is an element of satire in your work, of certain ‘stereotypes’ of women, female celebrities and perhaps bad drag queens. How organised are your outfits? Pet: My outfits are not organised at all! I rent an extra space for my outfits – costumes – and I think that’s my talent, to put everything together. Give me anything and I will make you an outfit! I come from Greece and satire is a big part of the culture there… Look what happen with the economy… So I carry that in my genes. Sometimes I just can’t shut up.
Previous: Cape and Trousers Kirsty Mckenzie Above and Next Spread: Neckpiece and Dress Erevos Aethers, Accesories Maria Piana
What would you be doing if you weren’t doing this? Pet: I would do shows on my own still to entertain myself but if not then I would be a babysitter or a massage therapist. I reckon you’d be a good massage therapist. But do you think people would let you look after their kids? Pet: You’re correct. I am talented in giving massage, especially naked massage. And yes, I am amazing with kids. I babysit my friends children and all of them keep asking me to do it again, asking about Uncle Thanasis (me). I invent games, I cook food that they like - full of vitamins - and I have the most amazing conversations with them They might be little but they can change the world if they want to. It doesn’t matter how old you are. I am a kid myself. What will you do in retirement? Pet: Gosh, lots of holidays and maybe buy a villa with a few other fellas who do the same job, on an island. Once a week we’ll have open house for people to come and see the show. A Man to Pet currently performs at her permanent venue Pale Blue Door, and DJs at Vogue Fabric and Dalston Superstore, all in Shoreditch, London.
TRINITY Words by Christina Lovin
I “I am become death, the destroyer of worlds.” Bhagavad Gita, quoted by J.R. Oppenheimer
From a darkness so deep all else is forgotten spring the words: I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds. Six and nine are the same figure—dropped on its head, nine becomes six. A six-year-old boy or a nine-year-old girl, or their fathers and mothers, their siblings, their teachers, the shopkeepers and shops— their little worlds destroyed, along with the others in that inferno three full miles across. The drops of Little Boy bomb then Fat Man three days later (August 6th and 9th), did not seek out the soldiers, but targeted the cities’ centers. The greater to wreak some havoc, the more to smolder human flesh and dignity. As black water rained, the unseen enemy knitted its own dark chain.
II “As West and East / In all flatt Maps—and I am one—are one, / So death doth touch the Resurrection.” John Donne, as quoted by J. R. Oppenheimer
The unseen enemy knitted its own dark chain of silent destruction across New Mexico and Nevada, as bombs burst over the plains, spewing widespread radiation. The blasts echoed off mountains, while mile-high clouds flashed like the sun and the toxic green glass glowed, hidden underground at the Trinity site, where the gadget had done its terrible work upon the innocent sand and soil for half a country or more, while generals hid the truth. From West to East they spread— the lies and results of that terrible work: trying out the bomb. “Now, we are all sons of bitches,” said Kenneth Bainbridge at the “foul and awesome display” that marked the beginning: a country’s decay.
III Women and men (both little and small) cared for anyone not at all they sowed their isn’t they reaped their same sun moon stars rain - E.E. Cummings
What marked the beginning of a country’s decay was not just that the danger was already known— but that old hat trick—deceit, deception, and delay— the triumvirate of power over drones: entrenched near ground zero volunteers knelt en masse— “Put on your goggles,” those present were commanded, “Observers without goggles must face away from the blast”— then were sent to inspect the destruction first hand: armless manikins, their clothing scorched and charred, still standing in rows like dumb sheep to the slaughter or vaporized sitting in false houses where easy chairs faced TV screens of deadly snow—fake daughters, sons, and parents—synthetic stand-ins for the death that was already rearing its three ghastly heads. IV Little Lamb, who made thee? Dost thou know who made thee? Gave thee life, and bid thee feed, By the stream and o’er the mead. William Blake
What was already rearing its three ghastly heads across innocent arroyos and credulous flats was the beast whose invisible venom would spread to east, north, and south. The sheep in their pastures grazed the valley of death with its grasses so hot that they went to their pens with burned faces and lips. Then that Spring of dead lambs and the miscarried lot, the deformed, the stillborn, and the too weak to live. And the sheep that survived sloughed off wool in great clumps, baring festered blisters. When ranchers complained of lost dollars and herds, the AEC played dumb and claimed all was well, so their fears were allayed. If the Lord was their shepherd, He must have been lost in the red tape and radioactive exhaust.
V Who has seen the wind? Neither I nor you: But when the leaves hang trembling The wind is passing thro’. Who has seen the wind? Neither you nor I: But when the trees bow down their heads The wind is passing by. Christina Rosetti
In the red tape and radioactive exhaust dispersed by the winds that blew down from the mountains, from the bomb after bomb detonated out west, identified dangers disregarded (again and again and again) freely drifted back East. They fed orphans oatmeal with radioactive trace to read the results, tested prisoners’ testes after irradiation, gave “vitamins” laced with plutonium to expectant mothers to see what would happen. They knew, they knew, they knew. But they kept their secrets, denying the others who were dying or dead from the shadows that grew in their thyroids and marrow, contaminated with the evil those “sons of bitches” created. VI I’m hiding, I’m hiding And no one knows where; For all they can see is my Toes and my hair…. “We’ve hunted,” sighed Mother, “As hard as we could And I am so afraid that we’ve Lost him for good.” Dorothy Keeley Aldis
The evil those “sons of bitches” created loomed over the country for a whole generation: the sirens would shrill, as school children vacated their desks in a panic, rushed to the foundation or basement to kneel on the floor, with “Noses to knees!”, while the bombs did not fall, but the threat still remained so that fear was the remedy, fear the disease. The lucky had shelters dug in their backyards. Planes would pass over; some knelt in the dirt, terrified that the bombing had started. Some felt the pressure, afraid in the end there would be nowhere to hide like those “human phantoms” from government tests, where the sick, dead, and dying had been on their minds. For they knew, they knew, they knew. Repeat it three times.
VII “Batter my heart, three person’d God”. John Donne, as quoted by J. R. Oppenheimer
They knew. They knew. They knew. Repeat it three times. Do not claim they did not know what they were doing. Do not say the dead were not already on their minds before the first bomb burst. For a fire storm was brewing in the hearts of men in power—the knowledge that fear will seek its own three levels. The first, concealment and its pale, sickly stepbrother—that great desire not to know, to go about one’s daily life intent on preservation. Second, that holy vengeance is delicious on soft white bread, served with white milk on a white plate of black lies. Lastly, a lusty trance like that of men in brothels, hypnotized by silkclad breasts and thighs, a numb pleasure misbegotten from a darkness so deep all else is forgotten.
“Don’t you think the impulse that causes men to desire to be the first to traverse large oceans is the same impulse that causes them to want to break land-speed records?” Yes, I do. I am going to start with the present moment and work my way backwards. We will go slowly at first and gather speed as time permits. First off, let me say that I think we were following a kind of instinct. For the physical body, speed itself is an orderly thing. You go from one place to the next in rapid succession. Your heart rate increases proportionately. Chaos, on the other hand, happens when a loss of control is experienced. When this linear relationship between land and time is disordered.
Our grandfather’s ships carried us from one landmass to another. The velocity of our travels carried the whispered narratives of grandmothers and the grand mythologies of our origins. We came to call this second place home, how we came to see this land as ours, to so readily accept and love it as such, as though the struggle of those and the struggle of those who got us here was predetermined. This is how it feels when history is whispered to us. It has the sound of secrecy.
“Like a wreck?” For the purposes of this conversation, landing and wreck will be the same thing. Both halt movement and have an aftermath. Perhaps you also make a wreck of things once you have landed. “Can you tell me about Landing 1?”
I worry about the anxious rattle of a child born of this crash, of this landing. Of having been born not of some heroic narrative but of the calamity of cultures engaged in a race towards each other.
When we first learned to walk, we were walking in a straight line more or less. We headed farther west and when something got in our way, we conceived of plans to keep this forward-motion and our version of truth mattered above all else. We were always fighting off sleep. Because there are no more of these frontiers, directionality is replaced by velocity. Now in the valleys, these broad valleys of discovery, there is something that appears ageless, which was cut and shaped by a catastrophe within. We relive this dirty triumph always through a series of never-ending time-trials.
Speeding like headstrong drivers across stretches of desert, not for themselves but for the defeat of the one just ahead, to force that one behind. This is how we were crushed. How we discovered our home. It took speed to birth a generation of bastards, calamity to baptize us, and disasters to raise us. We were not the first and certainly will not be the last. For an Empire there is nothing, but a cyclical race towards the great unknown. I want to call this the inevitable crash, the great discovery of new territory. Always better. Always just ahead of the others. The empirical drive is a decision to propel
“Can you provide an example?” Certainly. In north central Utah lies the Bonneville Speedway. It is a location where land-speed records are regularly set and challenged by anxious bodies. From the drivers’ seat, the curvature of the earth mimics the curvature of the steering wheel. Looking out the windshield, one perceives two horizons: that of the machine and that of the natural atmosphere sunken into a distant unreachable painting. Geologists have determined that the Bonneville Salt Flats are partially the result of a massive flooding of the Snake River Plain occurring about 15,000 years ago. Growing stronger, it eventually reached approximately 825,000 cubic tons of water per secondi breaching the level of Red Rock Pass, Idaho. From there it spilled into the valley towards the Pacific. Today, I stand at the foot of the spillway, and the point where the breach first took place, scrapes a cloudy sky above At that very moment 300 miles away, a man, engines tuned to a high-pitched drone, adjusts his grip on the steering wheel and prepares to again drive in a straight line.
the self from a sense of order to complete disorder, to forcibly repeat the plights of forefathers. Retrace our foremothers steps into the overwhelming darkness of the chaotic tumble and in so doing, to discover the underlying structure of these events. To find a kind of comforting equilibrium in the speeding up and inevitable crashing of bodies against shores. Thrown not by men but by ships, given over to the seductive centaurs of Marinetti and his futurists. Which is to say the evolving psychic trauma of always newer and better machines. I worry now with my sweaty furrowed brow only slightly relaxed, that this must have been the inevitability our great grandparents saw in their colonizers. The inevitability of order becoming chaos becoming order again of ships becoming homes becoming ships again of men becoming cars becoming men again. The inevitability of order becoming chaos becoming order again of ships becoming homes becoming ships again of men becoming cars becoming men again. The inevitability of order becoming chaos becoming order again of ships becoming homes becoming ships again of men becoming cars becoming men again.
Reference: i. Translated to tons in U.S. Geological Survey (2002) ‘Description: Lake Bonneville and the Bonneville Flood Cascades’, Volcano Observatory.
Illustration by Atalya Laufer
swimsuit issues photography: neven allgeier assistance: alexander von dreis models: charmie@creammodels, julia@eastwestmodels hair/make-up: johanna prange
swimsuit: maison martin margiela
Strange Attractors, Strange Repellers Words by Molly Beth Seremet
On a spring morning in 1941, a young woman leaps to her death from the top of the Empire State Building. A white scarf, a cosmetics bag full of family photographs and a coat are left behind, as are a sister and an ex-fiancé. An image of her body immediately after landing graces the pages of Life Magazine, touted as ‘The Most Beautiful Suicide.’ What does that even mean? The freefall precedes the jump. Not always, but sometimes. Brutal, cold, earth slamming against flesh before a decision can be made... Prior to electing to climb in the first place. An uphill slog. Two human feet to propel the journey there. But the fall has already happened. There is nothing to see here. You’ve already missed it. 10:39 am feels worlds away from 10:41 am. One infinitesimal minute, subdivided by 86 floors, 320 meters, hundreds of observers, a few broken hearts and, well before the minute ends, one broken body. Predictably, one minute rolls into the next, no matter what occurs within the bounds of those 60 seconds. Time is the ultimate warden. Evelyn’s life freeze-framed at 10:40am on the hood of a U.N. car, but the vehicle’s clock continued to obey the pull of tick after subsequent tick. Evelyn stopped short, but the seconds roll on. Time, the antichaos, waits for no butterfly. To acknowledge the existence of the butterfly effect is to also admit that, potentially, “the influence of a single butterfly is not only a fine detail - it is confined to a small volume.” (E.N. Lorenz, 1972) If Evelyn is our butterfly, then her impact is monumental only to the hood of the car that pillowed so carefully around her lifeless frame, metal caressing dead flesh more tenderly than should be permitted. That Evelyn-sized impression totals the car, but life drives on. Her fellow New Yorkers pick up the pieces quickly enough to snap photos of her languid and languished frame ensconced in a chrome chrysalis. The clock dictates that New York City leave Evelyn behind immediately, clean up the traces, scrap the car. A life morphs into an anecdote. Time flies though the butterfly is pinned. It is possible, just possible, however that Butterfly McHale’s wings still flap, setting off the proverbial tornado in another time. While the immediate moment carries on, there is always the chance that someone will look back and
see in her downward trajectory a second of familiarity. The thrum of one tiny heart long-dead pistons an engine driving into the present moment. Into my moments. I observe the magnificence of the Empire State Building every day, from a variety of points. It’s a constant landmark, New York’s own Polaris, a citified compass for metropolitan ranging. My morning subway commute starts with an outdoor elevated platform, from which, on a clear day, I see the spire rising in the skyline from the far reaches of my Brooklyn neighborhood. As I wait for my train, I watch the building. I am not drawn into architecture, but I am intrigued by this building. I study daily, from all its angles as I move through my frenetic days, catching glimpse and making note of my progress around its heights. It draws me in, I now realize, because I keep steady watch for another Evelyn. I cannot see the crowds on the observation deck, but that doesn’t stop me from keeping an eye out for that one person. It both disturbs and fascinates me to question if I could see a falling body, should there be another flailing butterfly, from those storied heights. Like it or not, I wait for that singular individual who steps out and makes a definitive choice. On cloudy days, the vista disappears, a grey wash smothering the gap-toothed Manhattan skyline. Even the beacon-bright lights of the Empire State cannot always penetrate the smog of the city. Even when I cannot see, I still keep watch. I study the clouds for a hint of disturbance that suggests a change in the atmospheric pressure, a barometric rise initiated by a bodily fall. If you were falling, Evelyn, on a day like this, I would not see, and I suspect that that would disappoint me in a twisted sort of way. If you’re going to fall, then I want to witness it. To see a human crash into the unaccommodating pavement of the city both disgusts and entrances me. It is already a documented image of life in a post9/11 New York City, falling bodies electing to take control over death rather than surrender to it. This literal image though is a snapshot from the grandscale tragedy of a single day. What is more disturbing to me is how the ethos of that leap pervades the subconscious life of my city. After all, I see the desire to make that leap on my fellow straphangers, my bodega man, my waitress. Often, I feel as though I live it. The pace, the rush, the cost, the smother. The city presses in on me, like the hot summer air that traps me in my sliver of an apartment, stifling me with my own ambitions. In a city like the Apple, every
“That is where the breakdown happens. I am chained in, but it is my own doing.” day is a climb to the top of that building, and a decision. My feet carry me to the top, but something else holds me there. My pride, my determination, my reticence to admit defeat in the face of these five boroughs will not let me escape. Most days, I stand still, too overwhelmed to choose. That’s the chaos. That is where the breakdown happens. I am chained in, but it is my own doing. These chains let me climb, hover for a moment, and then turn, to calmly shamble back down. To make a leap, I would need to do something drastic. Once I created that schism, gave myself that freedom, the jump would be simple. By the time the Evelyns of the world leap, they have already passed the chaos, and moved into a kind of order, albeit a bitter version. Taking a leap, even a deadly one, is logical. The need to make that choice presents itself as life metastasizes. Changes develop rapidly, forcing my hand. To give into chaos is to let the cancer of indecision rule, to stand at the summit and give into to the urge to melt, to stand still, to choose being trapped because it is already determined rather than make a mad dash for the door, the window, smashing and crushing just to get out. Unless a strategy is made, you have consigned yourself to an interminable elevator, in which, upon boarding, you are forced to remain. It’s pleasant enough at first. There are no buttons to push, as this journey is guided. Choreographed, as it were. There is nothing to do, no responsibility, but to enjoy the ride. And ponder. So simple. Easy enough to be carried along. Up. Up. Away and gone. It would be bliss to suspend life here. And just stop. That moment of relief is fleeting though. Soon, life in the elevator ceases to be a release from live on Fifth Avenue. It’s more of the same, just closer, tighter, actually in your face. This is terrifying part. Crammed in with 3500 other pounds of New York humanity. Breathing the same air, exchanging electrons, balancing charges. One single cough sets off a ripple through the warming air, wafting to each corner of the steel cubicle. That cough belonged to one occupant, but quickly became a gift freely given to all ascenders. One germfilled expulsion blanketing the confines of this liminal space. Though moving upwards, you know you are not going anywhere. And neither is anyone else. It’s an illusion, a trick of forward motion without really allowing for any sort of progress. Upward mobility tempered by peripheral blindness and claustrophobic crush. Fortunately, there’s a way out, but it only presents itself by looking in.
This temporary gathering space constrains bodies and dictates physical purpose, but cannot reach into the minds of each occupant. Rigorous outward limitation is tempered by absolute interior freedom. The neurons frolic, bounce, threaten to burst. The physical space may be common, but the intellectual is something precious. Here, chaos and order fold in on themselves, trading places so that a plan can be formed before the doors slide open. It’s a strange kind of chaos that pervades this heightened veneer of unity and control. To peer across the crowded lift, everything seems to be under control. But that is only because the view of the elevator’s contents is limited to what is visible. In reality, this metal box is straining against its frenetic occupants, stretching at its steel seams against the force of the strange repellers and strange attractors at play within the set of minds held here together. Ponder going up but not coming back down. Well. That’s not entirely true, is it? The trip back down will be a luxury ride. Gorgeous view, clean un-shared air, freedom. The most exhilarating ride in town has no queue - step right up. A personal self-guided tour, a close inspection of one of her most glorious landmarks, a view afforded to precious few locals or tourists. But it’s not without cost. It’s not the fall that scares me, Evelyn. That part I understand. To an untrained observer, that is the height of chaos. That jump delineates the point where the pattern ruptures, the butterfly’s wing is torn, the system unbalances. There, everything goes wrong. That hypothesis however is full of error, surpassing any experimental margin. If you look at the Most Beautiful Suicide and see a portrait of tumult, then you need to adjust your microscope. An air bubble, a crack in the slide perhaps, must be distorting your view. The jump is an organized choice, not a scattered shower. By the time the choice is made to fall, a peace has already been forged, between the disorder and the disordered. An arrangement. A truce. A curtain call so sonorous that no encore is needed. Just ask Evelyn. Reference: Lorenz, E.N., Sc.D., (1972) ‘Does the Flap of a Butterfly’s Wings in Brazil Set Off a Tornado in Texas?’, American Association for the Advancement of Science, 139th Meeting. Cambridge, MA: MIT, December 29, 1972.
Ann Sofie-Back annsofieback.com
Kirstie Mckenzie www.kirstymckenzie.com
Maison Martin Margiela www.maisonmartinmargiela.com
Bas Kosters www.baskosters.com
Maria Piana www.mariapiana.com
Paulineâ€™s DrĂśm email@example.com
Cheap Monday www.cheapmonday.com
Erevos Aether www.erevosaether.com
Yoshiko Creation www.yoshikocreationparis.com
Junko Shimada www.junkoshimada.com
next issue. . . captive . . spring 2012 .. . . www.stimulusrespond.com
Published on Dec 11, 2011