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Book n째4

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pirate


Book n°4

“Nam pirata non est ex perduellium numero definitus, sed communis hostis omnium / For a pirate is not included in the list of lawful enemies, but is the common enemy of all”. Cicero, De Officiis, Book III, Ch.XXIX,107.

Vanités, Christophe Luxereau, 2008-2009

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CONTENTS All the artists in this dossier are featured on The Red List, where references to their works and their contact details can be found. This respects the Red List’s commitment: exhibit without making a profit. Anyone who wishes to use these works for commercial ends will be able to do so by using our references. Our idea is to open up paths and horizons that allow new links to be created with contemporary creation.

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who are we? decryption references stories interview


A team of visual-arts specialists

who are we? /4

and semiologists, we’re the people behind online trendbook The Red List, ainternational website that provides inspiration by corralling the immensity of the visual arts and ceaselessly crossing the axes of the past and the present, heritage and Zeitgeist. Armed with our cultural knowledge and this exceptional tool, The Red List Lab decrypts an idea, a concept or a theme in a multidisciplinary way and analyzes its different faces whether seen in the visual arts or in consumer attitudes. And because everything was contemporary once, The Red List Lab likes to dive back into the past to find analogies and make connections, and so open up new routes to creation, while using culture to nourish communication strategies. We don’t choose our themes by accident, but find them in the beauty, fashion and luxury universes we study. The Red List Lab is about analyzing them in depth, deciphering their visible and unconscious symbols, and so accompanying our clients’ creative processes as closely as possible, while renewing brands’ strategic plans.

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THE PIRATE: A CREATURE

IN PLAYFUL, HISTORIC AND

FULL OF PANACHE

CONTEMPORARY VERSIONS,

AND BRAVADO. FIRST AND

THE PIRATE EVADES

FOREMOST A THIEF, LOOTER,

MORALITY AND ALWAYS

AND GANGSTER OF

POPS UP WHERE YOU LEAST

THE WAVES, HE EMBODIES

EXPECT HIM. ALL ABOARD

ABSOLUTE AMBIVALENCE,

WITH THE MODERN-DAY

A PERFECT MIX BETWEEN

ANTIHERO!

GOOD AND EVIL, HEROISM AND DEGENERACY, THE HERE AND THE THERE.

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decryption

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Decryption

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DIABOLICAL

3Wallpapers, Best 3 Wallpapers a Day, Only Retina iPhone 5 / new iPad, Karim Bensfia, 2012

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Decryption 1. God of the Grove, Skullpture Art, Hedi Xandt, 2013 2. The Sea Hawk, directed by Michael Curtiz, 1940 3.Matt Irwin, for Dazed & Confused, 2013

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IN THE BEGINNING…

From ancient cities to contemporary fashion, the pirate has established himself as the ultimate outlaw adversary, unworthy of all rights accorded to official, recognized enemies. And yet, since Antiquity, the pirate has also been heroic. The Latin pirata suggests that he tries his luck and is enterprising. The Greek πείρω, (peírô) places him on the side of voyages, experience and crossings, like in the name Piraeus.

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There were other old terms competing with pirate: corsairs (from “course”, suggesting navigation) were more aristocratic with a link to governments, or privateers and other freebooters. These are pirates who triumph, more modern and desirable than others.


Decryption

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THE DEVIL IN PERSON

There are no sea voyages without pirates. Piracy and seafaring go hand in hand. In the Middle Age and the Christian tradition, they embodied evil, the devil, because they rose up with all the devil’s characteristics (cheating, lure of profit) and thwarted the journeys of Christian evangelists. So many stories of travel written by religious men and women mention pirates as a permanent risk. On the sea, whether the dangers are called squalls, storms, tempests or pirates, they are always tests sent from heaven. In other words, the works of the Devil. Depicted as being faithless and outlaws, pirates were criminals who terrorized travelers.

1. Don’t Be Evil, Miri Segal, 2011

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2. Ice Ship Sculpture, Rhea Thierstein, photographed by Tim Walker for US Vogue, 2011 3. It Will, It Will. I’ve Guaranteed It #3, Julieta Aranda, Galerie OMR, 2014 4. Le Sort, Juliette Bates, 2011

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Decryption

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1. Affordable Care, Vanessa Beecroft, Mana Wynwood, Miami, 2013 2. Animaris Umerus, Theo Jansen, 2010 3.

3. Still Death! Darfur Still Deaf?, Vanessa Beecroft, VB61, performance at La Pescheria di Rialto, Venice, 2007

ASSAULT, DISRUPTION

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Pirates are disruptive: hostis humani generis (enemy of mankind), according to the legal version of Cicero’s description of pirates, or communis hostis omnium (common enemy of all). They launch assaults without warning, board violently, break in by force. Pirates short-circuit the law and the laws of war.

In the digital world, hackers and crackers access by force and steal the loot, hacking their way inside and creating openings that leak outside. And a leak means disruption.


Decryption

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TROUBLED WATERS

Netropolis, Michael Najjar, New York, 2003-2006

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Decryption

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SPACE, FRONTIERS

Pirates of the sea turn calm waters into troubled ones, without limits or stability, delivered unto danger. Opaque, stormy, full of bad surprises, these troubled waters are intermediary spaces, limbo or purgatory, international waters in which ships of all countries cross paths. And pirates make no exceptions to this mix, this stateless confusion that characterizes navigation. Nomad adventurers, pirates are citizens of the world, whose skin color changes, transforms itself, and becomes mixed.

1. GlassBook, Tilman Hornig, 2014 2. Anja Rubik, by Inez Van Lamsweerde & Vinoodh Matadin for Vogue Paris, 2013

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The maritime space situates them in a space beyond the world, which makes them a character of dream and rumor. By metonymy, pirates become one with their element and, having become fantastical, wild creatures for those land lovers whose spirit they haunt, they free themselves from existence to offer another version of spaces, while the ship becomes the place where it is possible to think the unthinkable. Islands, ships, inns, pirates attach themselves to spaces freed of all legislation, zones of lawlessness, nomadic and shady.


Decryption

ISLAND, UNDERGROUND

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Because of shipwrecks and because the elements remain stronger than them, pirates often wash up on uncharted and wild desert islands, on which they have to reorganize themselves and show their talents as builders. “In the ideal of beginning anew there is something that precedes the beginning itself, which takes it up to deepen it and delay it in the passage of time”, wrote philosopher Gilles Deleuze. “The desert island is the material of this something immemorial, this something most profound”. The island can easily be imagined as an original place, a lost paradise or a golden age, that can be presented as a laboratory in which society’s origins can begin again and so release their essence. This dimension establishes a link between the island at the end of the world and the underground structures that rebuild society, a factory or elsewhere. And which are not too far from the digital cracks into which the hacker slips. All signs of pirates and hackers’ geological, even seismic, dimension. But the island also suggests instability in relation to the mainland. The ship, like the island, shows the ambivalence of the pirate’s social status. Between the freedom of the seas and a floating prison, pirates establish for themselves an instability that links them physically and psychologically to their place. Whence their tendency to embody spaces of otherness, particularly heterotopias as defined by Michel Foucault: “The ship is the heterotopia par excellence. It is a floating part of space, a placeless place, that lives by itself, closed in on itself and at the same time poised in the infinite ocean…”

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Burning Man, Scott London, 2005-2013

THE ISLAND IS A HETEROTOPIA THAT CAN TACK TOWARDS UTOPIA BECAUSE, ISOLATED FROM ALL SIDES, IT BECOMES AN “OTHER” SPACE, INACCESSIBLE AND UNREAL.


Decryption 1. 1. Sky Series, Eric Cahan, 2011 2. Johnny Depp, Norman Jean Roy for Esquire, 2004 3.Möbius Ship, Tim Hawkinson, 2011

UTOPIA

In the late 17th and early 18th centuries, pirates fascinated the collective imagination. British authors – Great Britain being the world’s dominant sea power – such as Daniel Defoe (Robinson Crusoe), and Jonathan Swift (Gulliver’s Travels) contributed greatly to the creation of the modern pirate legend. These tales, fashionable during the Enlightenment, took place in the Caribbean and Indian Ocean around Madagascar, faraway and paradisiacal lands that symbolized a “primitive” and property-free golden age, the basic conditions for a political utopia.

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No longer demons, pirates now embodied freedom in relation to the disadvantaged’s social fate, rebels who contested the laws of the state and its injustices. Particularly as they set out onto the seas definitively, like a religious vocation or a voyage of no return. In prerevolutionary France, the pirate began to be seen as “the dark angel of utopia” (Michel Le Bris).

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Decryption 4

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CYBERPIRATES ALONE AGAINST ALL

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Hacking or information piracy is piracy from the inside that presupposes pirates being part of the social structure, of the system. The ambition is political and revolutionary, often libertarian and conspiratorial.

4. Edward Snowden, Platon for Wired Magazine, 2014

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Julian Assange, self-proclaimed “warrior for truth”, considers WikiLeaks, for example, as a revolutionary project: a radical, common, crowd-sourced intelligence agency. In the tradition of the alternative press, it is dedicated to informing associations, NGOs and every organization that contest central powers.

1. Untitled (The Tarkin Doctrine), Børre Saethre, 2012

2. Plainpicture, Pierre Baëlen

3. Patti Smith, Robert Mapplethorpe, 1980s

In 2014, ex-US vice-president Al Gore suggested that Edward Snowden had performed an “important service” because “[w]hat he revealed in the course of violating important laws included violations of the US constitution that were way more serious than the crimes he committed”. US singer Patti Smith supported Snowden during a concert in July 2013, transforming him into a poetic hero: “Where are you? / They don’t want you, but I do. / You’re youth, you’re truth, / Raining down, shaking up Washington. / Edward Snowden, I don’t know what they will do to you, / But Edward, let it snow, let it snow”.

The European hackers of the Pirate Party  – founded in Sweden in 2006 – are now pushing for greater protection for whistleblowers, writing in their manifesto for the 2014 European elections: “Pirates advocate for general and comprehensive legislation to protect persons who expose issues that are in the public interest, such as cases of corruption, insider trading, or ethics or human-rights violations”. [Common European Election Program – 2.2 Transparency: Whistle-blowers].


Decryption

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HEROIC

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Edvin Molander, Tim Walker & Fabio Zambernardi for Love Magazine, 2014


Decryption

2. 1. Marlon Brando, in “A Streetcar Named Desire”, Ronny Jaques, 1948 2. Douglas Fairbanks Jr., in “The Prisoner of Zenda”, photographed by John Springer, 1937 3. Keith Richards, Jim Marshall, 1972 4. Tyrone Power, in “Jesse James by Henri King”, photographed by Frank Powolny, 1939 5. Peter Doherty, Babyshambles concert, Hedi Slimane, London, 2004 3.

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6. Javier Bardem, Inez Van Lamsweerde & Vinoodh Matadin, 2011

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THE CATHARTIC BAD BOY

Pirates are transgressive, counterpoints to social order and the law. They are both rebellious and desirable, and linked to other romantic and heroic figures, such as secret agents or spies (even if these last two work for the state).

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Pirates allow readers to live vicariously. Unlike the corsair who steals for state or a Robin Hood who, as a righter of wrongs, steals from the rich to give to the poor, pirates steal for themselves and no one else. Guilt-free, they allow us to liberate our selfish primary instincts, far removed from conventional wisdom.

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Once, pirates were both bringers of death and seekers of pleasure. They loved toying with their fate and making the most of the moment. They would undertake a raid, come back with a dream cargo of gold and precious stones. And, once back on dry land, they would get up to unbelievable shenanigans. Port Royal, then the capital

of Jamaica, was the “most immoral city in the world”, a place overflowing with both girls and rum. They were high rollers, not money hoarders, the spendthrifts of the high seas. And this generosity only increased their prestige. For a woman, getting her hooks into a pirate was a guaranteed way to a good life.  They were also seducers who were incarnated by the young stars of Hollywood’s golden age: Douglas Fairbanks Sr. and Jr., Errol Flynn, Tyrone Power, Stewart Granger, and so on. As hunters and efficient predators, pirates got used to lusting after and obtaining things. Until the 1950s, every self-respecting actor had to pass this test of raw heroism, as if the pirate’s costume was the best way to enhance their virile heroism.


Decryption

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THE PANACHE OF THE WESTERN ENTREPRENEUR

The heroism of a Steve Jobs or a Mark Zuckerberg has nothing illegal about it, but the nights in front of a computer and/or the mythology of fiddling around in garages both bring a certain sense of the dark and clandestine. You can also graduate from the best universities, like Edward Snowden, and become a pirate. Being an autodidact is another great solution: many hackers are self-taught and so nurse an overall grudge against the “system”. So many different career paths to being a pirate 2.0, reconciling the law and crime.

Self-taught or not, information pirates are knowledgeable. In the same way that pirates used to be good captains and navigators, in the digital era they have to master code. These programming skills are coveted by Internet companies that have to understand the system’s mysteries to launch a new product. 1. Steve Jobs, Norman Seeff, 1984 2. Mark Zuckerberg, Martin Schoeller for Time, 2010 3. Liquidated Apple, from the Liquidated Logos series, Zevs, 2007 4. Google Data Center, Douglas, Georgia, USA

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Decryption 1. Amanda Wellsh, Ishi for Vogue Nederland, 2014 2. Keith Richards, Francesco Carrozzini 3. Prosthetic leg for Aimee Mullins, N°13, Savage Beauty, Alexander McQueen, Spring-Summer 1999, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New-York,USA 4. NY Portraits / V Man, Hedi Slimane, 2007 5. Sylvester Ulv Henriksen, Tim Walker & Fabio Zambernardi for Love Magazine, 2014 6. Sasha Pivovarova, Peter Lindbergh for Vogue Paris, 2011 1.

7. Edvin Molander, Tim Walker & Fabio Zambernardi for Love Magazine, 2014

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Larvatus Prodeo*

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Pirates love theatre, a good show, and wearing designed costumes that camouflage or set them apart. Elegant dandies, they love tunics in glistening fabrics stolen in a raid and use their all-too-studied appearance (wooden legs, skull-and-crossbones, eye patches) to terrorize. They collect mascots, tattoos, masks and pseudonyms. But in a time of public displays, passing incognito becomes brave, an exploit and a new show: anonymity becomes a new persona. You might even go so far as to think that the dress sense of Silicon Valley Kids is a new costume. The childish attributes of young pirates have now been added to the masks of virile dandies. The scars and craggy faces of old pirates have been replaced by the chubby, acne-covered faces of 16-year-old hackers. *

I advance masked.

T-SHIRTS, HOODIES AND FLIP-FLOPS, LIKE A NO-LIFE DRESS CODE THAT AIMS TO NONCHALANTLY CONQUER THE WORLD–WHICH IT IS DOING. 6.

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Decryption

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TREASURES

The Amperxandt, Hedi Xandt, 2014

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Decryption 1. In God We Trust, Tom Martin, 2014

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2. Everything Always Everywhere.com, Rafaël Rozendaal, 2013 3. Asaï Rock, Yoshi Sodeoka, 2003 4. E-mail, Ben Wiseman, 2012

LOOTING / SHARING

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Pirates are, historically, the people who despite being part of the body politic, remove themselves from the community and its jurisdiction by heading out to sea. The sea, this place, which in Roman law was outside of all jurisdiction: neither private nor public, but common space. If pirates jeopardize the law, it’s because by only passing through they move from possession to dispossession, from the domain of private property to the domain of common things. They shed a light on an outsider space, one set apart as much from human jurisdiction as from its economy. With this share of utopia and the collaborative development of the web, pirates become redistributors of wealth. Historically, they may well be individualist, but they have since acquired a sense of the collective that makes them sympathetic to the general public. Faced with growing privatization, the hacker offers a new model of social cooperation. The “free” offers unlimited sharing of knowledge and a common research effort with the guarantee that it cannot be appropriated by anything and anybody. Masters of the open source, frontier busters, they are smarter than the system, stronger than the machine. The ideology of sharing that presides over the Internet makes them, for some, the new Robin Hoods.

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This is particularly the case if you look at piracy from the perspective of developing nations: far from being a counter-society or a counter-culture, piracy simply makes the largest number of standardized cultural products available to the largest number of people to whom they would otherwise remain inaccessible. In this perspective, what counts is not the development of a pirate underground, focused on technology and creativity, but the changes in the “sharing of the sensitive” (Jacques Rancière) brought about by pirate activities. This valorization of technology is not only a form of individual liberation: it also serves to recognize individuals and to distribute power at the heart of pirate crowds, and so contribute to the creation of new hierarchies and organizational structures.

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Decryption 1. Roden Crater, East Portal, James Turrell, 2010. Photographed by Florian Holzherr 2. Edito, Zoe Ghertner

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LOOT AND TREASURE

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Pirates covet cargo, gold and silver, of course, but also sugar, cacao and cotton. They covet trunks, closed suitcases and guarded safes. But you cannot promise them the loot, because ransoms interest them less than a duly stolen cargo. In the imagination, their heroism and commitment have transformed their quest into something more spiritual and absolute, as if their gold were actually the philosopher’s stone. This virtual quest is the lot of the modern pirate, who covets belongings, data and information that have

no material existence. Their booty is now called the “crown jewels” or the “keys to the kingdom”. Traditionally, the pirate does not share his loot, but in a virtual age, sharing has become an integral part of treasure hunting. While knowledge and culture have always been based upon the collective, cumulative and historical, the desire for exchange, sharing and borrowing is now increasingly becoming a motor for innovation.


Decryption 2. 1. Copy of copy of copy of copy, WRDBNR.COM, 2013

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2. Shrink Wrapped, Sebastian Mader for Interview Magazine, 2013

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COPIES AND COPYRIGHT

At the heart of the hacker community, exchange, copy and circulation are essential: imitation is the matrix of all innovation. Technological mediation calls into question the link between designer-receiver, reproduction and innovation, as well as the final character and individual singularity of a work. In this context, everybody considers works as common goods and so free. These practices threaten cultural producers whose biggest profits come from sales of these media.

Companies would be wise to lock up the distribution and reproduction of works and place their creators “under glass�. Their capacity to approve how works are distributed and reproduced remains their best protection. With this in mind, trademarks and copyright are extended, usage limited by royalties, and penal and law-enforcement procedures aimed at intellectual property are strengthened.


Decryption 1. Amanda Wellsh, Giampaolo Sgura for Interview Germany, 2014 1. 2. Step with Momentum Team, Rick Owens catwalk show, Spring-Summer 2014 3. Kate Moss, Albert Watson, Marrakech, 1993 4. Alice Dellal, Matthew Irwin for Vogue Paris, 2011

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THE SEX OF A PIRATE

They’re men, of course, and they live in a man’s world. Over the centuries, they have sometimes gained a reputation that their sexuality was determined by the choice on board, and so, by necessity, of being gay. The women who surround them are creatures there for their pleasure and who are betting on a better future. If a pirate is a woman, she has to cross-dress and rein in her femininity.

5. Sasha Pivovarova, Peter Lindbergh for Vogue Paris, 2011

In the world of digital piracy, that is still the case. Women adopt men’s codes and resemble warlike, androgynous Amazons. Some contemporary representations show them in gangs, probably to give them courage and the power to intimidate, militarized and disciplined, ready to attack. Like in the celebrated Rick Owens show that brought organized piracy to life; based on an ideal of non-seductiveness and almost holy war, it was a veritable mutiny against fashion’s rules of seductive modeling.


Decryption

CAN BRANDS BE PIRATES?

While certain brands are happy to behave like pirates on the surface with, for example, products and communication covered in pirate symbols and images, others develop a more profound revolutionary stance.

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In 2001, when Apple caught its competitors unawares by creating the iPod and iTunes, the company attacked the system with a huge innovation, but still respected its general rules. The phrase we remember from Steve Jobs was attributed to him in 1982: “Why join the navy when you can be a pirate?” Which is not about illegality, but rather a management style that fights the inertia of bureaucracy and replaces it with a pioneering spirit of daring. Like the one Xavier Niel showed when, in 1999, after having had so much (discreet) success in the world of sex shops, he created Free, the first ISP in France to bundle Internet access with telephone and TV services. Today on the board of Le Monde, France’s newspaper of record, sitting

between co-investors, investment banker Matthieu Pigasse and fashion legend Pierre Bergé, he remains the most pirate. When Mark Zuckerberg separated from the Winklevoss brothers in 2003 to launch The Facebook behind their backs instead of developing the site Harvardconnection with them, he was acting as a pirate, transgressing moral law. (It also put him at the center of a celebrated 2004 lawsuit that eventually ended in a settlement.) More serious is the behavior of pureplayer brands that profit from their power and their technology to move their profits into tax havens without fearing the consequences. When they profit from the power of intimidation that their size, intelligence, monopoly and ability to employ large numbers give them, can we not give their “tax optimization” schemes in Ireland and Luxembourg the more simple name of “theft”?

“WHY JOIN THE NAVY WHEN YOU CAN BECOME A PIRATE?” STEVE JOBS, 1982

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Alexander McQueen, Inez Van Lamsweerde & Vinoodh Matadin, 2004


Decryption

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1. Vivienne Westwood, Tim Walker, London, 2012 2. Daft Punk, Maciek Kobielski for CR Fashion Book, 2013 3. Vaslav Nijinski, in Claude Debussy’s Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun, 1912 4. Eminem, cover of album “I Need a Doctor”, 2012 5. Joaquin Phoenix, Dan Winters for New York Magazine, 2013 6. Marlon Bando and Frank Sinatra, Richard Avedon, 1955

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7. Al Capone, mugshot after his arrest, Chicago, 1920s 8. Siouxsie Sioux, Alex Waterhouse Hayward, 1980s

PIRATE ICONS

9. Jay Z,, David Yellen for XXL Magazine, 1999 10. Charlie Chaplin, in “The Great Dictator”, directed by Charlie Chaplin, 1940

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11. Marcel Duchamp Obligation pour la Roulette de Monte Carlo, Man Ray, 1924

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Being a pirate is more than simply being disruptive and rebellious. You have to transgress, steal and attack the system in one way or another. Whether it’s in the arts, politics, fashion or music, certain people throughout history have shouted, “Hoist the colors!” and committed piracy: dealing in contraband, selling illegal substances, carrying out putsches of all sorts. Transgressions on which they built their empires, accumulating a capital of goodwill and counting on the public’s partial amnesia and/or its fascination. From the Dada movement to Duchamp’s ready-mades that pirated the very concept of an artwork, to the mafia style of Al Capone and Frank Sinatra, through the punk movement and the fashion of a Siouxsie Sioux or a Vivienne Westwood (the latter’s first collection was called Pirate), Eminem’s white rap or the eternal freedom of a Chaplin faced with Hollywood’s diktats, pirate icons come from all fields and each time reveal their desire to attack the system and revolutionize it from the inside. Like Jay Z who, alongside Beyoncé, behaves like a Prometheus who wants to steal fire from the white elite; Daft Punk who triumph in anonymity; or Nijinsky who launched an assault by introducing his provocative feline sensuality, androgyny and modernity to ballet.

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Decryption 1. Body Language, Nick Knight for Another Man, 2010 2. Guinevere Van Seenus, James Houston for Flair Beauty, 2013 3. Bloomua, Shutterstock

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ARE WE ALL PIRATES?

Piracy has entered our homes and daily lives thanks to the thousands of infringements that we inflict upon the private property and freedom that the electronic age has granted us. Complex, ambivalent, the figure of the pirate arouses our desire for transgression, creativity and freedom.

But pirates also embody ideas of violence, disorder and a savagery that can be camouflaged by the acts we sometimes glimpse, the skull-and-crossbones acting as a decoy, like the trees that hide the carnage from the forest. 3.


REFERENCES

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THE INDIVIDUAL / THE GROUP


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THE SEA / THE WEB


THE HYPER-VIRILITY / THE DANDYISM

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THE LOOT / THE DEATH OF COPYRIGHT


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THE FREEDOM / THE SYSTEM


THE ANONYMITY / THE BRANDING

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Legends

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Eminem, Mark Seliger for Rolling Stone Magazine, Detroit, 2010

David with Pride, Kris Kuksi, Joshua Liner Gallery, New York, 2012

For the Love of God, (Skull Star Diamond) Damien Hirst, 2007

Camper concept store, Daici Ano, New York, 2014

Middle Age, Horacio Salinas for The New York Times

Google Data Center, Connie Zhou, Berkeley county, USA, 2012

HMS Nevertheless, acrylic on canvas, Ed Ruscha, 2003

Junction/Cycle, Richard Serra, Gagosian Gallery, New York, 2011

Madonna, Marcus Piggot & Mert Alaf for Interview Magazine, 2010

Garbage Reign, Danil Golovkin

No Shore, Christopher Schreck, 2012

Designer Drugs Four Packs, Desire Obtain Cherish, 2013

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STORIES

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Stories Alias Both expressive and fictional, the most famous pirate names are like the masks their owners wore: Captain Hook, Flint, Red Rackham, Kidd, Blackbeard or La Buse (the Buzzard). Centuries later, online pirates also use pseudonyms or aliases before breaking scandals or revealing their loot. Julian Assange was called Mendax (the lying one), while Edward Snowden was Verax (the truthful one). Less narrative and more abstract, current aliases reveal the messianic drive of online pirates. By multiplying their names, pirates multiply their identities, invent other lives and other personas.

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1. Alexander McQueen, Tim Walker for UK Vogue, 2009

Alexander McQueen His collections often borrowed from pirate style – wooden legs, masks, skulls, skeletons, tunics – dark, phantasmagorical mongrels of punk and glam in which models always seemed to have climbed out of a shipwreck. British punk fashion first launched its attack on the system in the mid-1970s, but ended up by simply confirming the system. McQueen, for his part, preferred to leave it all behind.

3. 2. Blurring The Edges Of Body, Lucy McRae, 2012

3. Le Double Secret, René Magritte, 1927

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Stories

Anne Bony Anne Bony was born Anne Cormac in Ireland around 1687. She had short hair and a lined face, and wore scruffy clothes. She loved a number of men, but when she succumbed to the charms of Jack Rackham, she disguised herself as a man so she could get on his boat. She also had a fling with a woman, Mary Read, who was also dressed as a man.

Four centuries later, her heirs were called Hacking for Girliez, a turn-ofthe-millennium group responsible for hacks on sites including NASA, the New York Times and Motorola. Female web pirates: new androgynous and introverted fictional heroines. Femininity 3.0?

Anonymous, Pari Dukovic, 2012

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Anonymous

Keira Knightley, as Elizabeth Swann in Pirates of the Caribbean, 2007

Anonymous is neither an organization nor a club you can officially join: there is no leader, no membership fees, no rankings, and no single means of communicating with it. Anonymous is spread across various media in various languages. Its only biographical declaration: “Name: Anonymous. Profession: Hackers without borders”. A nameless collective, any definitions of it tend to emphasize the fact that the group cannot be easily understood. Descriptions of it are more often paraphrases or aphorisms that describe its qualities, such as “the first ever superconsciousness, built by the Internet” or “a group similar to a flock of birds”. Its first exploits date to 2006-2007; its first arrests, 2010. On Facebook, the group’s motto is: “We are Anonymous. We are legion. We do not forgive. We do not forget. Expect us”. Which is not without a certain

warlike terror for righting wrongs mixed with a strange idea of messianic and omnipotent forgiveness. But doesn’t anonymity hamper responsibility? Does it not make impossible all those exhortations, all the calls, including the most suspect, like invitations to a carnival, a place where all is permitted, even the worst? Over the past year, the Anonymous group has claimed responsibility for a dozen or so attacks against government or multinationals’ websites, notably ones against the Vatican and the media linked to it. US legal authorities have recently announced the indictment of five members of Anonymous or groups linked to it based in the US, Ireland and the UK.


Stories Bitcoin A virtual currency invented by a 39-year-old Japanese man called Satoshi Nakamoto (his real name?), Bitcoin allows people to pay for items on the Internet and can be converted into real money on exchanges that follow traditional rules of supply and demand. Originally index linked to the us dollar, its value has since shot up. Created in the image of the Internet’s libertarian philosophy, no state or institution controls Bitcoin. Which might explain central banks’ mistrustful attitude: they reproach its volatility and its speculative, non-regulated nature, as well as its possible use for criminal ends such as money laundering or financing terrorism. Monopoly money or real pirate currency?

The Sailors See In The Distance A Ghostly Ship, Gustave Doré, woodcut, 1876

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Buccaneer Buccaneers were adventurers and members of the pirate gangs that patrolled and devastated

BANNED NETWORKS The Onion Router or Tor is one of the parallel networks that allow you to escape IP identification and so anonymously navigate and use the Internet. It has been called the dark net or the unpunished network as it provides a home to illegal activity, such as pedophilia and terrorism, but it is also used by certain governments to send secret communications.

the coastline of the colonial Untitled, Pierre Soulages, tar on glass, 76 x 45cm, Museum of Modern Art, Saint-Etienne, 1948

Americas from the 16th to 18th centuries. Question: what would a modern-day buccaneer look like? What would a gang of pirates look like?


Stories

CAPTAIN HOOK

Bellezza, Trunk Russell Brand, as Captain Hook, Annie Lebovitz, 2011

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BURIED TREASURE WHEN THE PIRATE COULD NOT TRANSPORT HIS LOOT, WHEN HE WAS BEING CHASED OR HAD BEEN SHIPWRECKED, HE PREFERRED TO LEAVE HIS TREASURE IN THE HOLD

COMPASS Jack Sparrow’s instrument helps him with navigation, but also solves his dilemmas and indecision, while revealing where he really wants to go. The compass could have been given a name like Excalibur, Arthur’s legendary sword, and become myth in its own right, but Disney forgot to name it.

OF A SUNKEN SHIP AT THE BOTTOM OF THE SEA. WHICH MEANS THAT THE WORLD IS FULL OF UNDISCOVERED TREASURE, LIKE BLACKBEARD’S OR LA BUSE’S. BUT WHO WILL TELL THIS STORY?

Superplexus, James Day, 2012

An adult, decked out in classic pirate gear, a cruel dandy, Captain Hook is the symbolic father of Peter Pan, the boy who does not want to grow up. Faced with the story’s hero, Captain James Hook is the embodiment of death and physical pain.

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Stories An Arcus Cloud, Ryan McGinnis, Nebraska, 2011

CRACKS & LEAKS This is how information pirates attack the powers they are fighting. They take over systems, penetrating inside and provoking information loss by creating cracks and so leaks. In the word leak, is there an unconscious nod to what used to sink boats when they were attacked by pirates?

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“The more secretive or unjust an

Edward Snowden

organization is, the more leaks induce fear and paranoia in its leadership and planning coterie”. (Julian Assange)

CRYPTIC Treasure brings to mind maps and a treasure hunt. In other words, secret codes. The celebrated cryptogram created by Olivier Levasseur or La Buse is supposed to guide people to the pirate’s hidden treasure. According to the legend, the pirate threw his cryptogram to the crowd just before his hanging on July 7, 1730, with the cry, “My treasure to the one who understands it!” Contemporary pirates are used to breaking codes as their aim is to get their hands on encrypted information. Hoto, Tatsuo Miyajima, 2008

Edward Snowden, Platon for WIRED Magazine, 2014

Born in 1983 in North Carolina, systems administrator Edward Snowden joined the US Army Reserve in May 2004 as a special-forces candidate. Aged 21, he wanted to fight during the Iraq War because he said, “I felt like I had an obligation as a human being to help free people from oppression”. Four months later, a training accident left him with both legs broken and he was discharged. He was then hired by the NSA as a security specialist at the University of Maryland, before joining the CIA to work in network security. In June 2013, he revealed the extent of the US’s electronic surveillance around the world. Wanted by US justice, he found refuge in Moscow where he still lives. Unlike Julian Assange, he looks like a head boy and is no dandy. Hailed by many politicians as a defender of individual freedom and human rights, he was even nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize by two Norwegian politicians.

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Stories

GANDHI, LUTHER KING, ETC. POLITICAL LEADERS WHO CALLED FOR CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE AND NON-VIOLENCE AND RISKED THEIR OWN FREEDOM AND LIVES, THEY SUCCEEDED IN CHANGING THE COURSE OF EVENTS AND ALTERING THE SYSTEM IN “ONE AGAINST ALL” CAMPAIGNS THAT WERE TRANSGRESSIVE, CHARISMATIC AND ULTIMATELY FATAL. THEIR MOTTO: “BE THE CHANGE YOU WANT TO SEE IN THE WORLD”. 1.

Martin Luther King, arrested in front of a court, 1958

2.

3.

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2. 1.

GHOST SHIPS

FLAGS & ENSIGNS When pirates used to attack ships, they would change their ensign, replacing their own in a gesture of transgressive, angry appropriation. What has become of this method of marking your territory, particularly since appropriation is no longer done in space?

1. Pirate Flag, PVC Outdoor Sign, Gilt.com 2. Metal Flag, David Shrigley, 2008 3. I Love the USA, Hedi Slimane, 2011

A ghost ship is a cursed ship that, according to legend, is condemned to rove the oceans with a crew of skeletons and ghosts, like the Flying Dutchman. It could also be the ghostly appearance of a ship that had sunk in particularly tragic circumstances. “Sailors of all nations believe in the existence of a Dutch vessel whose crew was all condemned by divine justice for the crime of piracy and abominable cruelty, and so float on the seas until the end of time. Meeting it is considered a macabre omen”. 1. Ghost Ship Wreck, Christopher Russell, 2012 2. Old Portuguese shop on a full moon, Zacarias Pereira De Mata


Stories

Julian Assange An australian computer expert born in 1971, Julian Assange became the original online militant when he set up his website WikiLeaks in 2006. Under the threat of extradition to Sweden on a rape charge, he has lived in the Ecuadorian embassy in London since June 2012.

HIJACKING At sea or in the air, pirates change

Twisted Dump Truck, Wim Delvoye, 2011

the planned route, the embarkation point, and head off where they decide. They are the champions of making things go their way.

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His journey so far: an errant childhood, physics and math studies, early days as a hacker in the International Subversives collective using the name Mendax, a desire to rebalance the information relationship between governments and their subjects. He then founded WikiLeaks, an encrypted and secure site that allowed Internet users to whisteblow anonymously. Since April 5, 2010, and the revelation of a US military blunder in Iraq, Assange has embodied WikiLeaks. He was in possession of state

Being Silenced, Julian Assange for TimeS Magazine, 2014 Johnny Depp, as Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the Caribbean, 2003

Jack Sparrow Since 2003, Jack Sparrow has been the iconic antihero (the sparrow versus the birds of prey) who defends his individual freedom against the powersthat-be, in this case, the East India Company. At the heart of the intrigue, his most treasured possession is a strange compass with magical properties, whose needle points not north but to his heart’s desire. Because Jack Sparrow never lets anything get in the way of what he wants.

The public’s enthusiasm for the character and how it changed the image of pirates might be called the “Depp Effect”, or how cinema can make both history and reality lie. As seductive as he is and played by a star, the figure of Jack Sparrow actually stops you imagining the pirate of tomorrow, one who will not be covered in trinkets, charms, and whole vintage get-up.

secrets – his loot – and published more than 400,000 documents about US operations in Iraq. He also denounced corruption among African dictators or certain offshore Russian companies. Supported by extremists on all sides, Assange became the figurehead of a crusade animated by libertarian, populist, conspiratorial and radical politics; he has received support from celebrities including Ken Loach and Michael Moore. His character remains ambiguous, yet in 2010, he was widely elected man of the year.

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Oil Spill #4, Daniel Beltra

Libertalia

liu bolin / JR

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China’s “invisible man” Liu Bolin who camouflages himself outdoors and France’s street artist extraordinaire come together to create a contemporary and literal trompe l’oeil, taking over the city via its walls with painting and collage.

The name of a colony founded by pirates on Madagascar, which might have existed for 25 years in the late 17th century, although no one is sure if it was not just a legend. The colony’s story first appears in A General History of the Pyrates by Captain Charles Johnson, a pseudonym used by Daniel Defoe. The motto of the men who organized this republic was, “Generosity. Gratitude. Justice. Faithfulness”. A genuine political, social and philosophical utopia, Libertalia is the equivalent of Atlantis, El Dorado and 19th-century socialist communities.

Lulz To begin with LULZ was simply a plural for LOL (lolS>LULs>LULZ) and an exclamation. It now means anything funny or interesting online and a justification for any behavior you enjoy. “I did it for the LULZ”. A sort of virtual swag.

JR by Liu Bolin, New York, 2014

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Nerds Mark Zuckerberg & Dustin Moscovitz at Harvard, Justine Hunt, 2004

Teenagers in flip-flops and unlaced sneakers, junk-food addicts stuck at their screens day and night, these are 15-year-old pirates who to avoid being arrested by the state end up working for it. They are the kids who never get up before noon, but still end up coming top of the class and getting a scholarship from the NSA.


Stories

PARROT

Living mascots of old-time pirates, the parrot was fascinating thanks to its multicolored plumage and its entertaining gift for languages. Their beauty also gave them the value of a talisman. They could also act as a barometer and announce changes in the weather: when they smoothed their feathers, the parrot was announcing a storm, while if it talked incessantly and got excited, a squall was approaching.

REGIN FOUR YEARS AFTER STUXNET, CERTAIN STATES (THE US, THE UK?) PERFECTED AN EXTREMELY SOPHISTICATED SPY VIRUS TO INFLITRATE EUROPEAN INSTITUTIONS. A PIRATE TECHNIQUE BECOME NATIONAL

Muse 34 - Parrot, Lacey, 2013

POLICY THAT WAS REVEALED BY ANOTHER PIRATE, EDWARD SNOWDEN.

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SCARS The marks left behind from pirates’ fights and attacks, scars print a special sort of virility on pirates’ bodies and, accompanied by limps, are proof of how for these men, nothing has been easy, everything has had to be fought for and conquered. It makes you think of Joffrey de Peyrac, the scarred, perhaps magical count in French novel Angélique, The Marquise of Angels, who was not a pirate but who resembled one with his scarred face and sublime limp. At a time of surgical prowess, has the pirate scar become an obsolete symbol?

Andy Warhol, Richard Avedon, New York City, 1969

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2.

Stories TRANSPARENCY Ready to break their oaths and betray their country, digital pirates, these self-proclaimed knights of transparency, are libertarians to the tips of their toes: they feel no link to the contingency of the nation state, because they have found more comfortable allegiances online. “By hacking badly protected software I’m simply punishing companies for their incompetence”, says Edward Snowden.

Invisible Architecture, Karborn, 2012

1.

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1. Deadly Friends (Angel), Patrick Lee, pencil on paper, 2013 2. Deadly Friends (Knuckles), Patrick Lee, pencil on paper, 2013 3. Back piece, Mister Cartoon, photograph by Estevan Oriol 4. Deadly Friends (Trusty), Patrick Lee, pencil on paper, 2013

4. 3.

TATTOOS For old-time sailors and pirates, tattoos – these skin-based talismans – conjured up bad luck and beatings: a crucifix on the back allowed you to avoid being whipped there, as no one could disfigure a religious image. The Church, on the other hand, considered tattoos as demonic marks from the Middle Ages onwards. For nomadic, homeless pirates, the body was a way to carry their own past and important memories on their skin. With tattoos widely popular today, we tend to forget that Winston Churchill had an anchor on his left arm and Joseph Stalin a skull on his chest.


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TODAY’S PIRATES GO BEYOND

SMART PIRATES. FINALLY,

PIRACY BECAUSE ABOVE

AT A TIME WHEN EVERYONE

ALL THEY EMBODY A STATE

IS SO INTERESTED

OF MIND THAT DOES NOT

IN THEMSELVES, SHOULD

NECESSARILY IMPLY THEFT

WE NOT ALL KEEP THE

OR ILLEGALITY. YOU MIGHT

PIRATE IN OURSELVES,

CALL THEM SOFT PIRATES

READY TO ATTACK OUR

WHO HAVE LOST LESS OF

OWN INFLEXIBILITY

THEIR CINEMATIC PANACHE,

AND COMFORT ZONES?

FREEDOM AND HEROISM

SHOULD WE NOT BE READY

THAN THEIR ORIGINAL

TO LISTEN TO OUR NEW

CRIMES. AS TODAY’S PIRATES

SOCRATIC OATH: “PIRATE

HAVE BRAINS AS POWERFUL

YOURSELF”.

AS MACHINES, THEY HAVE REPLACED THEIR BODIES BY THEIR MINDS AND BECOME

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