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BACKSTAGE A

BACKSTAGE A MAGAZINE ISSUE 1 FALL WINTER 2012 PRICE £3.00

ISSUE 1 FALL // WINTER 2012

THE BODY ISSUE WHERE IT ALL BEGINS


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backstage a // THE BODY ISSUE CONTENTS LINE UP Agenda awake your senses: five sensorial experiences you cannot miss [ 18 ] The Metamorphosis new trends on body modification: when piercings and tattoos are not enough [ 28 ] The Church of Body Modification: A temple to those who metamorphose [ 34 ] A minister of the CoBM speaks the gospel: interview with Ryan Emans [ 36 ] Real life dolls: from fantasy to reality [ 39 ] The Art the storm before the calm: new exhibition from Tracey Emin [ 44 ] + Tracey Emin art portfolio [ 49 ] unique collaborations: i wanted to love you but you betrayed me by artist Carolina Flores [ 54 ] artist insider: in art we seek peace // interview with Alice Swift [ 60 ] + Making sense of the world Series [ 64 ] The Confessions If you could speak to you body what would you say [ 72 ] Letter to my body [ 74 ] Visual Story We are More Than the Sum of the Parts [76]

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backstage a // THE BODY ISSUE WHERE IT ALL BEGINS The first issue of Backstage A is dedicated to THE BODY. Before any clothes, the skin is our first garment. Before cellphones, the mouth is what allows us to make contact with others. Before cars our legs can take us anywhere in the world. Before machines, our heart is the most powerful engine beating night and day. Our body is the temple that protects our soul. As a reluctant lover or friend, he never walks away, he never leaves us. He’s a mirror into our ancestors and a map of our journey. As people find new ways of transforming their own bodies, we explore what is the meaning behind some new metamorphosis practices, far from the old ink tattoos and piercings, and talk to a minister from the first Church of Body Modification, that praises these acts both as a way of expression and a path to the divine. We reflect on Tracey Emin’s new exhibition and her past works and show you first hand the work of upcoming artist Alice Swift: “Making Sense of the World” based on the five human senses and her favorite sixth: intuition. Other upcoming artist, Carolina Flores, presents her exclusive collaboration with Backstage A, showing creations around the ideas of body genre and perfection. We go behind the intimacy between one and its own body and listen to what some people would say if they could speak to their bodies. We embrace the famous quote of the German Physiologist, Kurt Koffka, “The whole is other than the sum of the parts”, to embark on a visual journey through photographies of body details, aiming to understand if we are defined by some of our parts or if we are a sum of all them creating other person, that is not merely a puzzle but a whole being Mark Twain once said “The finest clothing made is a person’s skin, but, of course, society demands something more than this”. Well in this first issue we go backstage on what social norms dictate to discover why he was right. After all our body is the closest we have. The Editor Vanessa da Silva Miranda THE BODY ISSUE // BACKSTAGE A MAGAZINE

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backstage a // THE BODY ISSUE CONTRIBUTORS

ALICE

SWIFT

Upcoming artist.Painter.Emotionally revealing

Alice offered to the First Issue of Backstage A her most recent work, a series of watercolors paintings around the idea of the five human senses. And a sixth: intuition. With a slightly twist on the idea of what the senses represent, she presents a more insightful approach on what connects us to the world. If I had to choose a sense‌it would be touch. I couldn’t live without touching the world around me, the people, the objects.

CAROLINA FLORES Student.Style-icon.Artist

At 22 Carolina is all this and much more. Living in sunny Lisbon, she divides her time between her studies, her blog and her many passions like photography and art To this Issue Carolina made a collection of collages around several ideas that can spread from the body. I make collages because...I love do reconstruct reality THE BODY ISSUE // BACKSTAGE A MAGAZINE

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[THE BODY ISSUE] agenda

AWAKE YOUR SENSES

five suggestions to delight your eyes, your mouth, your hears, your nose and your hands what // leonardo da vinci: anatomist the exhibition why // because it’s a chance to see never before da vinci’s exposed work

In Celebration of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, the Queen’s Gallery in Buckingham Palace is hosting the major exhibition of Leonardo da Vinci’s studies of the human anatomy. The studies reflect the observation of several body parts such as the skeleton, muscles, sex organs, vascular system and the nerves, thoroughly detailed. His studies would have revolutionized the sixteen century knowledge but when he died in 1519, they remained unpublished for another 400 years. They passed around from several hands until the seventeen century when they were recorded at the Whitehall Palace, probably by the King Charles II. Until today, it still remains a mystery how they entered the Royal Collection. www.royalcollection.org.uk.

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TASTE

what // the opening of the bo london restaurant why // from hong-kong to mayfair the ultra-acclaimed dishes of chef leung Alvin Leung, a Michelin starred Chef, is opening is first restaurant in London. But if you are looking for your normal chinese cuisine, this no place for you. Leung is known for defining a new form of cooking art, the X-treme, combining the bare essence of the ingredients with innovative cooking techniques, also adding knowledge from his prior engineering formation, into creating what some call food masterpieces, a process that for this chef can take months of preparation. His plates are always highly anticipated by fans and food critics and the experience of flavors is presented even in the concept and decor of his restaurants. http://www.boinnovation.com/BO/ THE BODY ISSUE // BACKSTAGE A MAGAZINE

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what // the bestival – boutique music festival why // what can really be better than listen to music, saving the environment and dressing up at the same time A pleasure to our ears, music is always a balm for the soul. And what better way to immerse into this sense than an award-winning music festival? Bestival, hosted at Robin Hill, started eight years ago with a unique concept, spreading magic and love. You will be able to experience the boutique campsite, the Bollywood Cocktail Bar or the Wishing Tree Stage, among other inspiring venues that promote peace, love and dancing. During four days of live music and premier-league DJs, don’t miss out on the big names like Stevie Wonder, New Order, Sigur Ros, The XX, Hot Chip, 2ManyDJs and Soulwax. And don’t forget the dress code: this year’s theme is wildlife! September 6 – 9 2012, http://www.bestival.net/

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SMELL what // new balenciaga floral botanica fragrance why // this fall french-chic turns rebel For fall 2012, the fashion-house Balenciaga is presenting its new fragrance. Surrounded by a great mystery, without any images preview or a release date, the only thing the brand is letting us know about the scent is that Kristin Stewart will be the face of Floral Botanica. In a press release, Nicolas Ghesquière, Creative Director of Balenciaga said the former Twilight star “embodies the modernity of the new Balenciaga fragrance with her unique sensibility and intelligence (and) shares the radical spirit” of the brand.

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TOUCH

what // caudalie pop-up spa at harrods why // experience the antioxidant power of the french vyneyards Let yourself be touched and indulge in the anti-oxidant power of the Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte vineyard, in the Caudalie pop-up spa that is opening at Harrods’s Urban Retreat. A French bucolic paradise where you can get facial and body lavish treatments to nurture your skin and your soul, right in the center of London http://www.urbanretreat.co.uk/en/Harrods/Pop_Up_Spa_Festivals/Caudalie.aspx

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[THE BODY ISSUE] metamorphosis

THE NEW TRENDS IN BODY MODIFICATION

Piercings and tattoos are now not enough. Across the world a new range of body transformation practices have start to become more mainstream and we went to find why Most traditions the east culture has in terms of body transformation come, undoubtedly, from ancient tribes in Africa or South America, relating to cultural or religious aspects. As so, also scarification, the act of making scars into the body. To West African tribes it’s a way of marking achievements in men and women’s lives or to indicate social, political and religious positions; in many other tribes, the women’s scarring of the abdomen indicates her will to be a mother; the Dagomba tribe, in the northern Ghana, believes diseases come from the blood, so scarification is used as a treatment. Nowadays, scarification as entered our modern culture and its becoming more popular, even though it is a very unpredictable art. The process can be done by scratching, etching, burning or cutting shapes into the skin. In order for the outcome design to be as wished, the wounds are healed with chemical or natural irritants such as tincture of iodine, toothpaste or citrus juice. The longer time the scar takes to heal, the more pronounced it will be. As a transformation still neglected to the fringes of the tattooing art, most people see this act as a step forward. Even considered an “underground” form of expression, most people say the internet as helped to spread this hardcore metamorphosis to a vast audience and increase its popularity. Tomas Salgado, an enthusiast of body modifications, explains us why he was so attracted to this technique: “I did my first scarification when I went to a body transformation convention in the US. In Portugal and in Europe is still very new, people prefer to stay true to the ink tattoos. I was really going to a though period at the time and I made a scarification on my arm (the zodiac symbol of the lion, my sign) as a representation of my strength on overcoming those difficult times. My body is now forever marked to remind me my mind is more powerful than all”

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Lace My Flesh in Ribbons Corsets and other items of underwear have always made part of a woman’s wardrobe. Like most garments that tend to shape the waist and lift the breasts, the corsetry is commonly associated with erotic behavior and fetishism aesthetics. Since the early 16th century, and to some historians even before this period, woman had to bare the tight of a corset to shape and redefine their anatomy. On our modern times, the corset as taken a new status, mostly associated with sex connotations, restrained to the bedroom. But as new trend on piercing emerges based on the sexual and feminine attributes of this piece, we can now see corsets created directly onto the skin. Ana Mendes, a Portuguese tattooist tells us about her first experience, with this trend: “I did it once just out of curiosity. My boyfriend was the one who showed it to me and encourage me to do it, has we were going to this dress up party. It was really cool, everyone loved it and it was very sexy. Although after a while you have to take the piercings down it’s a very cool thing to do to for a special occasion, like Valentine’s Day and surprise your love one” Called corset piercing, this extreme form of transforming one’s appearance, is composed by two rows of bilaterally symmetrical piercings in any part of the body, although the majority of choices relies on the back and on the legs. Between the piercings is then laced a ribbon, a rope or a chain which gives the corset expected effect. This type of piercing in intended to be temporary, because it’s impossible to the wounds to ever heal properly, so as temporary piercings they have been increasing their notoriety among fetishist groups, photographers and part of sexual games and parties. THE BODY ISSUE // BACKSTAGE A MAGAZINE

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[THE BODY ISSUE] metamorphosis After all kinds of tattooing art on the surface of the skin there is always a deeper step that must be taken. The next level in body transformation was pushed with the popularity of sub-dermal implants, in all its variations. As the name indicates, these implants are pieces shaped in any form you want that are placed underneath the skin; as it heals around the piece, the skin gains a raised design, creating a 3-D effect. The idea was born in the head of piercing artist, Steve Haworth, when asked if he could make a bracelet: he thought that he could insert the beads under the skin to create the desired effect. The trend took off and today you can see implants in any shape or form, from horns on the top of the head, to hearts in the middle of the chest, to stars, circles, animals and even cartoons. As the procedure is similar to a plastic surgery it is considered one of the most risky body modifications and is being object of a huge debate opposing doctors and merely artists who perform, sometimes with no qualifications or a sterilized space. None the less, the BMZine. com, an online community for body transformations, calculates at least 50,000 people in the world have implants like these. Artists like Haworth, Emilio Gonzales and Stelarc (who recently had a cell-cultivated ear implanted on his arm) are amongst the most famous artists in the field. For the future, we can rely on the words of Stelarc himself: “To be human is to be augmented, extended and enhanced by technology�, as Haworth is developing implants that will glow under the skin and other artist, Shannon Larratt, says we should except more electronics integrated with this transformation.

You Got Under My Skin

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THE BAGEL IN MY HEAD Directly from one of the countries known to start a lot of weird trends, aka Japan, comes the “most recent” fad of body transformation: the begalheads. Although the metamorphosis will last only more or less twenty-four hours, the rising of this new trend is growing, especially among teenagers and fans of extreme change. The begalheads is the name giving to the community and not to the practice. Basically a saline solution drip is injected into a specific part of the body, causing a swelling, and then shaped until it looks like a bagel or a donut. Most people choose to do it on their forehead but there are already experiences on other locations like the arms, legs, bottoms, breasts and genital areas. Amongst the side-effects are headaches, infections, skin stretching and pressure sensation, but after a day the saline solution disintegrates into the blood stream. The man responsible to introduce this technique into Japanese is photographer and journalist Ryoichi “Keroppy” Maeda, in the 2007. Maeda is quite an expert when it comes to extreme body transformations. When he meet the first man to have this idea in a convention dedicated to the subject, back in 1999, he decided to assemble a team to do it to other people and although it was, as usual a fringe transformation, it has become more and more popular in this last two years. Asked if this was to extreme, Maeda said: “Oh, no, not at all. There are practices that are far more extreme, for example, ear pointing, navel removal, amputation, Japanese traditional body suit tattoos”.

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If you have your mind set on doing any kind of body modification, from a simple ink tattoo to a piercing corset or a scarification, here are the best places to do it in London Good Times The rumor as it Kate Moss and Sienna Miller got their tattoos in this Zen sanctuary in the middle of Shoreditch. A Place where you can relax and be among people who will do their best to ink your desires. Book in advance as normally is quite busy. http://ilovegoodtimes.co.uk/ Diamond Jacks Located in the heart of trendy Soho, this is one of the most famous and old tattoo shops in London. Run by Darryl Gates, Gino Angelov and Rumen Angelov, the place covers a variety of styles from simple designs to the most intricate ones. http://www.diamondjacks.co.uk/about.html The Absolute the alter ego of Iestyn Flye is widely known in the field of body modification, but especially for his work in scarification. He now works full time in the shop Divine Canvas (179 Caledonian Road, London, N1 0SL) but is also available for private appointments. http://www.the-absolute.co.uk/ Shiva Piercing Shiva is the place to go if you want your body pierced. From the more traditional ones like nose and hears to the dermal anchoring or stretching, you can choose from a variety of ideas knowing you are in the best hands. http://www.shivapiercings.co.uk/

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[THE BODY ISSUE] metamorphosis

THE CHURCH OF BODY MODIFICATION a temple to those who metamorphose

If your piercings made you lose your job, if your tattoos still get the frown look, if you mother and father still think you look like a piece of cow meat hanging in suspension and if your friends have been convincing you to talk to a therapist after you decided to get a scarification tattoo, don’t worry anymore. There’s a place in heaven to those who transform their bodies too. And one on this earth as well, right in the state of Pennsylvania, in the United States of America. Called The Church of Body Modification, this religion/way of living, is a non-profit organization dedicated, according to their mission statement, “to educate, inspire, and to help lead our members along a path of spiritual body modification. As members of the Church of Body Modification, we aim to practice our body modification rituals with purpose, to unify our mind, body, and soul, and to connect with our higher power”. Founded in 2008, the non-theistic religion, counts with approximately 3,500 members, all former or new practitioners of body modification, who see it as a way of getting in touch with the divine powers. It’s recognized, according to the USA Federal Law, as a legal Church and as even been involved in some court trials on the basis of religion beliefs. The followers of the CoBM, believe in creating a strong spiritual connection between the mind, the soul and the body, through ancient and modern forms of body transformation rituals, such as piercings, tattoos, scarification, corsetry, cosmetic surgery, fasting, fire walking, hook suspension and “and the many other ways in which the physical biological development of the body can be controlled and subverted”. 34 BACSTAGE A MAGAZINE // THE BODY ISSUE


These rituals are performed to harmonize the three separate parts that create the core of the human being, as they state that “It is our belief that body modification is one of the safest and most societal responsible ways to stay spiritually healthy and whole. We accept the possibility that there are other means to this end, but for us, this is our chosen method”. Albeit being a religion, people here are free to view the spiritual as they please, so as some prefer to call it God, others use terms as Universal Truth, The Almighty, Goddess or Divine Being. It is also stated that members of other religions can enter the circle of faith of the CoBM. The rituals and prayers don’t have a physical location, as members can choose to create their own sacred space in their own houses, a park or a place they feel good. On the third Sunday of each month online meetings are held by one of the Ministers of the Church that discusses and debates with the members a chosen topic. The Church is a well organized institution. It is run by a board of advisers, influential people in the world of body modification who are there to moderate problems that may occur (at present time they are five: Cere Coichetti, Russ Foxx, Rick Frueh, Richard Ivey, and Jared Karnes); then come the Ministers, who act as spiritual guides to the members. To both these last positions you can apply online, although it is not guaranteed an immediate entrance as one as to prove to strongly believe in the Church statements. In 20120, controversy hit CoBM, when Ariana Iacono, a fourteen year old member, was expelled from Clayton High School, North Carolina, on the basis that her nose stud was against the school’s dress code. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) took the case to federal court on a free speech basis and the judge ruled in favor of Ariana. website: http://uscobm.com/

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[THE BODY ISSUE] metamorphosis

INTERVIEW a minister of the CoBM speaks the gospel Across the Atlantic, via email, one of the Initiate Ministers, Ryan Emans, as agreed to better explain Backstage what CoBM is all about and satisfy our curiosity.

Vanessa da Silva Miranda: You are one of the new Ministers, but before you someone had to come up with the idea of founding CoBM. Who are its founders and from where came the desire and necessity? Ryan Emans: I don’t think the CoBM can be said to have a single founder, but a group of individuals got together and began discussing body modification and how they felt about it. Body modification can be different things to different people, but for many there is a strong spiritual aspect which often gets ignored or belittled by others. The Church is a community, which helps like-minded people find each other, and asserts the feelings and rights of those who include body modification in their spirituality. Vanessa da Silva Miranda: What is the goal of this church? Ryan Emans: I’m not sure Churches have (or should have) “goals”! Maybe some of what I said above might count as a goal I suppose. The CoBM is a collection of individuals who share certain beliefs. This would include educating, helping and inspiring others, which could also be called goals, although there is no set outcome, such as converting people, which is something we never try to do. Vanessa da Silva Miranda: The CoBM considers itself a religion or a way of living? Ryan Emans: That’s a tricky one! I suppose the answer can be both, or either, or indeed neither! For me I would classify it as a religion, as it expresses a set of rules and ideals regards spirituality to which I subscribe. That I suppose influences how I live my life. However I also have other beliefs and individual ways in which I explore my spirituality, as well as live my life. The CoBM does not dictate much of this, as perhaps other organized religions might. Vanessa da Silva Miranda: Why do you think everything that pushes the flesh to the limits will keep us close to the spiritual? Ryan Emans: I don’t think EVERYTHING which pushes the flesh to the limits keeps us close to the spiritual, rather that such experiences CAN also be spiritual. By being aware of this one can, to an extent, control and prepare for such experience, aiding the possibility of gaining knowledge from it, about yourself and the world. Traditions of physical trial to alter consciousness as a manner of worship or spiritual ritual are very common throughout human history. It’s also worth noting that not all body modification is about pushing oneself to the limit, and this too can have spiritual merit. 36 BACSTAGE A MAGAZINE // THE BODY ISSUE


Vanessa da Silva Miranda: You don’t have a physical space to meet and you do online meetings to get the members involved, so to practice something like suspension or scarification, a member can do it on his own wherever he pleases or it has to be in the CoBM? Ryan Emans: Being a small group in a big world can have some drawbacks! That doesn’t stop people believing what they wish or practicing modification of course, any less than someone stops being Hindu because they don’t go to the Temple (especially if there isn’t one!). The CoBM is a very diverse and inclusive group, which values the individual’s right to practice as they wish, in a broad framework of ethics. Vanessa da Silva Miranda: How can body modification allow us to explore our bodies and souls? Ryan Emans: When was the last time you changed something about yourself physically? Maybe got your ears pierced or had a haircut? How did you feel about it? Why did you do it? What does it mean about you and who you are? In fact who are you REALLY? Where do you fit in with the world? What does that say about the world? They are all big questions leading from a haircut! So many people are too busy to stop and listen to themselves. Our bodies are our tangible link to the world. By beginning to explore that, and how it connects to our mind, our spirit, and those of everyone else, we can learn a lot. Modification is a physical way of doing that, and also of expressing our beliefs to the world. Vanessa da Silva Miranda: Can people just have on body modification, or the goal is to get more and more until they reach a spiritual balance? Ryan Emans: The pursuit of endless modifications, without spiritual link or satisfaction, strikes me as a rather empty one. It’s about what that means to the individual and nobody can judge that, whether that’s one modification or a thousand. In fact you don’t have to have ANY modifications to attain spiritual balance (if that’s your goal), but body modification is one way which can lead to this for some of us.

CoBM Statement of Faith: We will always respect our bodies. We believe it is our right to explore our world, both physical and supernatural, through spiritual body modification. We promise to always grow as individuals through body modification and what it can teach us about who we are and what we can do. We vow to share our experiences openly and honestly in order to promote growth in mind, body, and soul. We honor all forms of body modification and those who choose to practice in safe and consensual ways. We also promise to respect those who do not choose body modification. We support all that join us in our mission and help those seeking us in need of spiritual guidance. We strive to share a positive message with everyone we encounter, in order to act as positive role models for future generations in the body modification community. We always uphold basic codes of ethics and encourage others to do the same.

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REAL LIFE DOOLS

Turning fantasy into reality Step into the world where dolls live and breathe No matter how much plastic surgeries or theatrical wardrobe one has, nobody wants to end up a whole different person. It’s one thing to have breast implants or tummy liposuction, to wear fantasies in parties or to be stuck in an era style, but it’s another thing looking in the mirror and not recognizing yourself. As children, we all dreamt of being like our favorite fictional characters. Eventually we all turned into teenagers and adults and realized that these characters were unrealistic and that we couldn’t be like them. Well did we? Apparently not. Meet two girls who decided to transform their appearance into a real life model of their dolls.

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[THE BODY ISSUE] metamorphosis

THE MANGA DOLL Meet Venus Palermo, aka Venus Angelic, a fifteen year old girl from Brixton. A real living doll head-to-toe she could easily be our flesh and blood manga character Sailor Moon. Venus dresses up inspired by Japanese anime characters but it’s not only the clothes that make her look. Every month 200£ are spent to maintain the fake doll look: bleached hair, speckled brown contact lenses, fake eyelashes and white powder to achieve a flawless porcelain skin, a changing ritual that takes up to forty minutes every morning. As she speaks five languages (German, English, Japanese, Spanish and Swiss French) her accent is also modified to feat the character. It all started when she was really young, says Venus “I’ve been like this since I was a little girl. That’s when my obsession with frills and ribbons started, at kindergarten”. Then by the time she was a teenager more and more people wanted to copy her style so she decided to create a YouTube Channel. Now with over eighty-five tutorials, the channel as already passed the ten million views. Supported by her mother in all her decisions, Venus is home-schooled and has no interest in friends or boyfriends: “My focus is my career, I work very hard”, she admits. Her look turned her into such a huge internet success, she already has more than 30,000 subscribers on her official YouTube channel, plus a 20,000-strong following on Twitter and Facebook. Apparently a normal teenager, Venus just seems to be stuck in her childwood years and one wonders if that is normal.

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THE BARBIE Doll Did you that if Barbie was a real woman her height and weight wouldn’t allow her stand up as a normal person? That’s probably why she is fiction, a pure invention. But despite that she is probably our first contact to a world that imposes a specific stereotype of beauty. To some people turning that childish dream into reality becomes a defining characteristic of who they are. Valeria Lukyanova is a 21 year old Ukrainian girl, who decided she would do anything in her power to become a breathing-talking real life scale model of the famous doll. The New Wave Opera singer and songwriter that lectures seminars and workshops on astral travel, is a tall skinny woman, with strange blue eyes and pink lips, a very defined waist, big breasts and a flawless complexion. Rumors on the internet suggest she has been through several plastic surgeries to obtain the coveted look. Even some plastic surgeons have stated to newspapers and TV programs that there is no possible way she would have a 38DD cup or an 18’’ waist without undergoing some medical transformations. But Valeria, who claims to be the most famous person in Ukraine, contests all this gossip in her blog Amatue, stating that her looks are due to good genes and spiritual wellbeing: “I am a rawfoodist, I do not drink, I do not smoke and I lead a healthy lifestyle, my goal is powered by prana”, she reveals. Looking at her pictures one has to choose to believe or not in her words, but from the fame of looking like a real Barbie, Valeria will never be free.

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[THE BODY ISSUE] art

The storm after the calm

Tracey Emin opens new exhibition at Turner Contemporary To all of those who don’t remember the provocative installation “My bed”, who won her the Turner Prize in 1999, it’s time to go back in time and revisit one of the UK’s most famous and controversial artists, Tracey Emin. She has currently a new major solo exhibition at the Turner Contemporary. “She lay down deep beneath the sea”, gathers gouache drawings, embroideries on calico, watercolor paintings, sculpture and neons, created especially for her beloved Margate, and focused on her preferable themes like love, sensuality, romanticism and sex.

“she lay down deep beneath the sea“

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If at first, the light bathed walls of Turner seem to invite us to a place of calm and harmony, as we walk between the three rooms the exhibition occupies and contemplate all these soft white and blue paintings, one could think her troubled past and her obsession with her own story were to be left behind. Her past work, “when i was last in love 2011”“ in the genre of confessional art, has always been a self-reflection of her own journey, as she is known for dealing with controversial themes, such as her own rape, abortion and her love life. But we soon discover there’s always another storm waiting beneath the calm and that Emin cannot escape her own artistic motif. In the first room, a series of blue and white sketches show us a naked woman (herself), faceless and formless, often masturbating, with lines that read “The Confussion is I Love You” or “I’m telling you it HURT”. Another series on the same colors, portrait a couple in bed with their faces vanished and only by barely delineated lines we know their bodies are present. Again the themes of sex and abandonment, of longing for safety and love, transpire in her art. There are also some sculptures and some drawings that pay homage to Picasso and some tapestry works, also revolving around the feminine figure and her feelings.

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[THE BODY ISSUE] art

In the center of her childhood town, often a source inspiration for her works, and scenery to a series of setbacks that are highly recorded in her art, such as discovering that her father had other family and being raped, at the age of thirteen, we see how her art always comes back home in its core. Throw out her career, and in this exhibition as well, she reflects that no one is more important than herself: her pains, her fears, her memories. She explores her own body, in monoprints like “There Must Be Something Terebley Wrong With Me”, drawings of female torsos, legs spread and their vaginas accompanied by the text There’s Something Wrong; and in photographies, like “The Last Thing I Said To You Is Don’t Leave Me Here” I and II, where she appears crouched with her back to the camera.

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Emin is not a narcissistic artist. She uses herself and her history to pass on a message, to provoke and make us feel. Openly addressing the sex and the feminine issue and exposing the women’s body and pleasures to the public’s eye she obliges us to a confrontation. It’s not as much as the physical body that is the core subject, but the feelings and the angst that hers lives in. Her confessional art is not a confession of the world’s problems, or the female’s problems but her own. Haunted by wounds that remain open, like the rape or the fact that her mother disapproved her pregnancies, the artist lead us into a world where her existence is fragile and neurotic: an alcohol heavy consumer, she creates space for a new woman, a new female body: jealous, stressed, seeking revenge over bad boyfriends, bad days, over abandonment, crazy, impulsive; but also lusting for sex, for affection, for love. Into this voyeuristic journey, the female body appears as various personas: the little girl who was introduced to sex by rape, the woman who cries her unborn children, the woman and her failed relationships; the bitch who is angry, the whore who craves sexual desires; or as she said it: “There’s a whole fucking gang of people in there, I don’t know who I am”.

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[THE BODY ISSUE] art

NEONS

Tracey Emin [art.portfolio]

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[THE BODY ISSUE] art

WATERCOLOR

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PAINTINGS


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[THE BODY ISSUE] art

DRAWINGS

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[THE BODY ISSUE] art // collaborations

I WANTED TO LOVE YOU BUT YOU BETRAYED ME

androginy.breasts.skinny.torso.male.legs.perfection.arms.curves.waist.female artist carolina flores twists the body in her art collages to reflect the imperfect

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these muscles dont make sense in my body THE BODY ISSUE // BACKSTAGE A MAGAZINE

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[THE BODY ISSUE] art // collaborations

big girls cry a lot in this world 56 BACSTAGE A MAGAZINE // THE BODY ISSUE


if i could handpick perfect body parts . . . THE BODY ISSUE // BACKSTAGE A MAGAZINE

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[THE BODY ISSUE] art // collaborations

carolina flores in [. . .] Always on the look to explore what’s around her, artist and blogger Carolina Flores, is an accomplished woman. At the ager of 22 she has a recognized blog in Portugal (lastminutedreams.net) and is finishing her degree in Product Design. The blog showcases a variety of subjects from fashion to design, from beauty to art, from hotography to inspiring images and ideas. Her collages are her way of deconstruct and make sense of reality , as they reflect her personal vision on a variery of themes. My blog is a place of sharing. I share my inspirations in art, photography, design, beauty; also my work like my collages, my analogic photographies, and my fashion looks. Most of all anything and anyone who captivates me. I am stubborn I love to travel, is my favorite occupation! I was a kid when I first remember painting. Art was always something present in my life On my night table you’ll see loads of magazines The person who always inspires me is Pedro, my boyfriend Without art the world would be incredibly boring My body is constantly changing. If i could change one thing I would change the rule that said that I only could change one thing so I can change everything I want. My favorite sense is the sight One day I want to live in London and work in fashion & art. I couldn’t see myself doing anything else. find more about carolina on: www.lastminutedreams.netand http://lastminutediary.blogspot.pt/ 58 BACSTAGE A MAGAZINE // THE BODY ISSUE


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[THE BODY ISSUE] artist insider

IN ART WE SEEK PEACE

We all have ghosts to exorcise. Alice Swift, a Portuguese upcoming artist exorcizes hers through art.

When I first meet Alice, some years ago, all hell seemed to be about to break loose on the lower dance floor of a famous night club in Lisbon. The Dj set had the crowd dancing non-stop for almost two hours and was promising some more hardcore moves, at least until the sun rise. We meet through common friends and hanged around all night in the same circles, chatting here and there. It was not the most proper conversation, because I was already in my second gin tonic and she was clearly high on drugs and alcohol. But from that day on we started to encounter each other and soon became close friends, linked by a haunted past, a present we tried to push to the limits and a future uncertain. Interviewed to this first issue, she talks about her addictions, her mind-cluttering-memorabilia, her notion of exposure to the public eye, her work and inspirations and her exhibition coming out in two months. The show will be held as a promotion of the best artists in the painting course at the Lisbon College of Fine Arts. Along with other five students, Alice is gonna expose for the first time, in a professional environment, her best works.

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“I created a world of my own where nobody is allowed in. Well sometimes I’ll make some exceptions. In this world I am myself with no restrictions, no morals, no right or wrong and no knowledge of those who came before me. I am free. I am a saint, a daughter, a bitch, a friend. I am all the women trapped in my body.” Vanessa da Silva Miranda: This is not the first you have exposed your work. But this time it’s going to be something more professional. Are you frightened? Alice Swift: A little. There is a prize at stake for the best student and the judges are going to be people from inside the industry. Who doesn’t like money and reputation? (loud laughs) Previously I had some works exhibited at friend’s coffee shops or boutiques, a few even got sold but it’s not the same. People are not there to love or hate what I paint, they are there to judge… technics, inspirations, solidity of the pieces…and art in the end for me is a matter of love/hate. So well may the best of us win. Vanessa da Silva Miranda: A matter of love or hate? Don’t you believe that there art is a broader notion than that? Not everyone can paint or draw and we have to separate the waters. Alice Swift: Well I suppose that’s true. But see I don’t agree with that entirely. Art is also about a felling, that is why not all people like the same art and especially modern art, some people won’t even understand it. It has to resound to your heart first and then your mind can start to judge it. In the end, I do understand some of us are capable of making it and some aren’t. A true artist gets to your soul. Vanessa da Silva Miranda: So the message is more important than the technic? Alice Swift: In a way yes. Like I said some people paint, some draw, some write…everyone has a talent or should have one but when this talent is more than that, when is a destiny waiting to be fulfilled, a soul imposed obligation you have to keep going no matter what people think about it. Vanessa da Silva Miranda: That’s probably why you were never afraid of exposing your own intimate art. Normally your paintings are inspired by your own life events. Even the dark moments, you tend to bring them to light. Alice Swift: My life is my fountain. It inspired me to transform my pain into something good. Exposing myself it’s the way I found to overcome my own fears and send a message. When I was sad or angry I had to make those feelings explode into the canvas. It was the only way I knew to get rid of them.

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[THE BODY ISSUE] artist insider Vanessa da Silva Miranda: If you hadn’t been through those rough periods do you think you would be a different person/artist? Alice Swift: Undoubtedly. My ghosts made me stronger. When I paint is as if I am bringing them to light and shadows vanish in light. I was in a cave during my depression and even after it I am always dealing with the obscurity that is part of me. Soul pain is an abstraction, is not palpable and I had to give it a life, I had to transform it in something I could see and touch. Vanessa da Silva Miranda: Most people don’t understand the relationship between when the soul hurts and the body. You have explored the female and the male body a lot in your works. What is the importance your body holds for you as an artist? Alice Swift: It’s a map of my life, a mirror of my parents and what they have passed on to me; it’s the thick oyster protecting my soul. I don’t think we have total control over our physical body. The mind is much stronger. I am grateful and I recognize how selfish I was during the times I took drugs or abused prescript medicines or starved myself and just drank too much alcohol, only to numb the pain. I was never that good to my body, but it’s the only one I have so I came to appreciate it over time. Sometimes I would feel so angry with the world, he was the only one there I could direct my angst towards, so in a very twisted way my body was my first blank canvas and later a source of inspiration to many of my works. Vanessa da Silva Miranda: Your art is your way of making peace with yourself. Like confessions in a church. Alice Swift: Confessional art is difficult to some people, they feel they are letting their guard down. I just feel free. Painting for me it’s a therapeutically exercise and although I believe in God I never liked the idea of confessing my sins and having somebody on the other side, that knows nothing about my life, silent judging me. So yes it is my way of getting control over my life again, of making peace with my mistakes and forgive myself for the sins I think I committed against my soul and my body. Vanessa da Silva Miranda: Along the work that deals with the soul and how that reflects into the body, you also focus some of your works on the physical body, painting about sex, love and relationships you had, both with boys and girls. Alice Swift: My vision is that it is all connected: the physical and the spiritual parts of the human being. But when I paint it is more than the sexual part of the relationships, it is about expressing one’s caring towards another human being with all our bodies allow us. The body of a man and the body of a woman are very different, so since I had been with both I could explore those differences. Men are more virile, it’s more of a primal thing, a somewhat animal instinct. Even you make love to them it’s always about two opposites coming together and clashing and discovering each other. Like sea and sand, soft and hard. And there is always the reproduction meaning of it all hanging above that moment. With a woman it’s tender and caring, it’s like discovering your own body in someone else’s,

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There is something special about the curves and the touch of a woman’s skin. There is more affection involved, the tenderness of love is more present. One common fact in all my relations I explored in that work was that, no matter if I was sleeping with a boy or a girl, I was always the one embracing them when we fall asleep, I would put my arms around them and just be like that all night. That made me realize (a simple body gesture) that I am always more protective of others…in a way I prefer to protect and to hold than to be protected. Also I don’t like people touching me, like braiding my hair or passing their hands slowly on my body, I don’t know why…but that made me wonder about my body and my soul. Maybe it all comes down to love, maybe I am afraid of being loved and my body language just reflects that. Vanessa da Silva Miranda: Touch is a very important sense to you. All of your works reflect that. Now you decided to focus on the other four (or five, if you count intuition) and that’s the paintings we are showing in this issue. Alice Swift: I think without one sense you cannot see the world in all its beauty. But I do feel a compulsive need to touch and feel everything that surrounds me. I’m that kind of person who speaks with her hands and I can go crazy without skin on skin contact. From that idea of losing one sense I decided to explore what the others meant to me, how would I illustrate them. And it was a quite insightful and liberating work to do. I realized I had memories attached to each one of them, that for a sense there was an equal film frame in my mind and it wasn’t necessary what they are biologically programmed for. These frames were more abstract, more meaningful than realistic. They were linked to feelings and thoughts, some I had almost forgotten. It all comes back to me confessing to the canvas and exploring myself. In the end our bodies reflect who we are and how we are shaped. It’s our first contact to reality and to others human beings and, when trapped in our minds, in our own thoughts, sometimes we tend to forget there is a visible side to everything we have inside.

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[THE BODY ISSUE] artist insider

making sense of the world watercolor series by Alice Swift

i see myself better in the dark corners of my soul

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can you hear my heart beating so fast for you it burns?

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[THE BODY ISSUE] artist insider

suddenly i remembered the taste of your mouth

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my hands perfectly touched the curves of your body

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[THE BODY ISSUE] artist insider

i miss the smell of your skin

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we all have a sixth sense inside of us

when i saw you, my intuition whispered to me: you are going to love

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THE CONFESSIONS

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[THE BODY ISSUE] confessional

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...WHAT

WOULD

YOU

SAY

Joana Margarida Quintino If I could speak to my body I will tell that he is selfish, spoiled and imature. I will tell him that no matter what I do, I should always be there to support me, but he doesn’t. Even though sometimes I really try to think with my mind my body speaks up and leaves me in difficult situations. I would say he is my major enemy. When I want to study he tells me not to, when I want to have a nice night with friend he tells me that I should drink, when I’m looking for a boyfriend he says that it would be nice to have sex. But at the same time I love my body, because he is the most visible part of me and to be honest: what would I be without him? Luís Freitas You have to accept yourself as you are. You are not fatter or less attractive than anyone - if you keep comparing yourself with the people around you, you will never accept what you are. If you work out, you eat healthy and you know that you are at a healthy rate, please stop trying to make me lose more weight. You are not the fat kid you were 10 years ago - you need to give yourself a rest and accept that people will not value you more or less because you are thinner. It’s about how comfortable you are in your skin. So stop making me think about you all the time and let me focus on more important things like enjoying you in your youth and not regret in 10 years that I spent all my time thinking on how to make you thinner. Teresa Machado If I could talk to my body, I would say I have already felt ashamed of it, and how sometimes I wished I had a different body. There were also other times where I felt ok in my body, and it showed. I guess when you feel fine with your body, and when you just accept how it is, your body “shines”. People don’t really look at it and point out the flaws. But if we’re only focused on those flaws, it will seem that everyone around us also notice them. I felt ashamed of my body, sometimes by just looking at models and Hollywood stars with perfect bodies... specially after being moms. Well, I’m a mom now, and my body still hasn’t got back to what it was. But I’m learning to accept it and change it. I’m taking my rhythm, and losing weight gradually. The bottom line is you cannot focus solely on the bad. We’ve got to accept, change if we will, and enjoy the body we have. I believe, accordingly to Buddhism, that the body is just the soul’s mean of transport. Cherish the body, cherish the soul. Louise Robertson I would say stop craving salt and vinegar crisps and why after years of attempting pilates do you still continue to provide me with a pot belly! and cellulite is not a good look for you so please get rid of it...and skin, thank you for not plaguing me with spots, much appreciated, although if you were to tan a little better i would love it! Artur Araújo Sometimes you make me feel uncomfortable, but I could never change you Ramla Banatwala If I could speak to my body I would say “appreciate what you have now, the ability to walk, to talk, to speak, to think, to be mobile. There are some that can’t do that, no matter how much they would love too. Also appreciate what you look like. So what if you have stretch marks or scars or a little bit of pudge, it shows you are living, are moving and are enjoying the food that nature provides you.” So essentially I would like to tell my body to teach me acceptance of its uniqueness. THE BODY ISSUE // BACKSTAGE A MAGAZINE

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[THE BODY ISSUE] confessional

LETTER TO MY BODY

Dear body, I know I haven’t always been kind for you. I have beaten you up, subjected you to my mind desires and lusts, hurt and ignored you. I striped you from embarrassment, from guilt, from pride and laid you down with strangers, with tears, with fear, with hunted ghosts from my past. Sometimes i pretended you weren’t even my own, you belonged to somebody else. Not always were noble those moments. No love for you in those nights, maybe not even lust. Sometimes I was your slave, others I made you my punch bag, until you couldn’t resist no more and had to just let yourself go into the mess my soul created in the outside world. But I always brought you home...to a white-immaculate empty bed where you could rest and cry the spoils of your wars. When the pain was so strong she had to get out, I marked the losses with whatever blade was at hand and let you cry through those red tears for the sorrows you felt. They are still there to remind me. I can’t say i have always loved you, but that you know. In the name of an unattainable perfection I made you starve, throw up what should have fed you, hided you in garments when there was nothing but hot and sunshine, overcome your capacity of alcohol so much you had to shut down and woke in a hospital bed. But i always brought you home. My soul made you suffer more than i wish. My soul commanded you into marching straight forward without questioning her craves (that were yours sometimes) even when they thrown you into that dark abyss. You wanted to be loved, I gave you sex; you wanted to forget, I gave you alcohol; you wanted to look skinny, I denied you food; you wanted to be taller, I made you walk until you bleed in high-heels; you wanted to be in a beautiful world, I gave you drugs; you wanted to relax, I gave you smoke after smoke; you needed to relax, I loaded you up in caffeine and pills. Oh and you obeyed so gently, such a passive warrior you were, never weak, never screaming, never protesting, always numb walking the streets, the parties, the friends, the life. When things got to though, you would just whisper slightly that you need to rest, stay home for a couple of days and be in silence, be in peace. Those long memory days were like a rollercoaster for you, more lows than highs, more falls than rises. But i always brought you home. I knew not of prudency or shame when all this things happened. You were naked as my soul, two long companions just having each other, brutalizing each other in a love-hate relationship. As i grow older and wiser I suppose, it was not like if i had given up my fights, i just hadn’t the strength to carry on the ensigns of them. So less worried I began to love you more, to care less about my imperfections and to nurture them as milestones of our journey together - Mon amour... je t’aime un peu, beaucoup, passionnément, à la folie, pas du tout…Je t’aime parce que tu es tout ce que j’ai, tout simplement parce que vous êtes-vous! – I praise you, you know? Even at your worst, you always saved me from myself. You had such dignity even in the middle of all the mud I put you through. Recovering like a fort, re-building itself, after every attack. Did you come out of those combats stronger? Are you damaged for life? I know my soul is and for that so are you. But you always brought me home.

yours truly, VM

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[THE BODY ISSUE] visual story

WE ARE MORE THAN THE SUM OF THE PARTS [Gestalt Theory] based on the operational principle that the brain is holistic, parallel, and analog, with self-organizing tendencies. The principle maintains that the human eye sees objects in their entirety before perceiving their individual parts. The gestalt effect is the form-generating capability of our senses in the visual recognition of figures and whole forms instead of just a collection of simple lines and curves. “The whole is other than the sum of the parts� - Kurt Koffka, German Physiologist photographies by Vanessa da Silva Miranda

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[THE BODY ISSUE] visual story

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Backstage A Magazine - The Body Issue