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ISSUE 5 MAR 2011 VHCLE MAGAZINE

-INSIDE ISSUE 005 Growing Old in a Young Man’s Game: Why Bands Shouldn’t Worry About Their Legacies / The Polarization of Our Political Dialog / Privacy / The VAT & Sales Tax Debacle: A Creative Reapproach & Espousal of ‘Nudged Thinking’ / The Search for Simone Weil / Reviews & Recommendations / The Photography Work of Baudouin / The Photography work of Joel Lee / Out of Line fashion by Beki Wilson / Artist Nigel Poor www.vhcle.com


vhcle magazine issue 05

music life/politics film reviews

contents

CONTENTS Vhcle Magazine Issue 05

photography fashion art

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002 CONTENTS 004-005 Contributors 008 MASTHEAD --

010-013 Growing Old in a Young Man’s Game: Why Bands Shouldn’t Worry About Their Legacies by Marc ingber 014-019 The Polarization of Our Political Dialog by tim sunderman 020-023 Privacy by Jamie dance thunder 024-029 The VAT & Sales Tax Debacle: A Creative Reapproach & Espousal of ‘Nudged Thinking’ by DAVID YOUNG 030-033 An Encounter with Simone Weil by andrew whitson 034-037 Reviews & Recommedations 038-053 The Photography Work of Baudouin 054-083 The Photography Work of JOEL LEE 084-095 Designer BEKI WILSON (OUT OF LINE) 096-115 Artist NIGEL POOR (WASHED BOOKS) --

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CONTRIBUTORS

alphabetically top to bottom

BAUDOUIN/PHOTOGRAPHER Baudouin’s most improbable dreams saw him as a bassist in a New York jazz band circa 1970. However, born in France in 1977 and unable to carry off an afro hairstyle, he decided to become a photographer. That’s fate for you; sometimes the slightest detail can change your life... www.baudouin.fr

MARC INGBER/WRITER A journalist with Sun Newspapers, based in Minneapolis, MN. He was born and raised in the Twin Cities and attended journalism school at the University of Kansas. His primary interests include rock ‘n’ roll, movies, food and drink, the Minnesota Vikings and the Minnesota Twins – probably in that order.

JOEL LEE/PHOTOGRAPHER At this precise moment, Joel Lee is candidly documenting life and capturing the contrast between honesty and vulnerability. By using references of pop culture vernacular, he distinctively narrates a visual dialogue – leaving his audience with a raw sensation. With the utility of Facebook becoming his primary domain and possibly framing your next profile photo, Joel has worked with clients such as: MTV, Universal Records, The Alchemy, Kae Sun, Styrofoam Ones, Tokimonsta (Brainfeeder), Gingy (Turbo Recordings) CC Diaries, and Truth.Explosion.Magazine. Joel currently works, eats, lives, and never sleeps in New York City. www.35combos.com

NIGEL POOR/ARTIST Nigel Poor’s work has been shown in various venues including the San Jose Museum of Art, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the San Diego Museum of Contemporary Art, the Museum of Photographic Arts, San Diego, and the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington. She is an Associate Professor of Photography at CSU Sacramento. www.nigelpoor.com

TIM SUNDERMAN/WRITER, ARTIST A graphic designer in the San Francisco Bay Area whose first love is drawing and painting, tries to avoid computers until there is no other recourse, and because there is no other recourse, yearns for the open spaces. Tim is a graduate from the Academy of Art in San Francisco, and majored in Philosophy at the University of Pittsburgh. He is a college art and design instructor and freelance artist. www.timsunderman.com

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JAMIE DANCE THUNDER/WRITER (Yes, that’s his real name.) An English Language graduate from Cardiff University, now studying for an MA in Investigative Journalism at City University, London. He hopes his interests of bad puns and current affairs will help him get a decent job on a newspaper, or failing that make him that guy at parties who makes terrible topical jokes and is the only one who laughs. www.exclarotive.wordpress.com

ANDREW WHITSON/WRITER A recent graduate at Western Ontario, he’s written for the University newspaper, covering art and music-based events throughout Canada. He hopes to continue writing for publications in an attempt to break into the wide variety of careers in the journalism market.

|VHCLE ISSUE 05 2011 CONTRIBUTORS|

BEKI WILSON/DESIGNER Beki Wilson has perfected her craft the past 11 years as a skilled women’s clothing designer. After several years of experimenting and mastering cotton jersey, Out of Line has evolved to consist of meticulously designed casual separates and party dresses. Featured mainly in urban boutiques, her clothing line appeals to women who want free-spirited design with great attention to fit and wearability. Out of Line is based in Seattle, WA, and its clothes are locally made and sold online and in a handful of boutiques. www.outoflinefashion.com

DAVID YOUNG/WRITER David lives in central London. He enjoys cycling to work. As an ardent foodie, he likes eating something once in a restaurant/deli and then reimagining and preparing the dish at home. Sometimes this works, sometimes... well the neighborhood pets eat well. He enjoys ‘tiki taka’ & ‘up and at ‘em’ approaches to soccer, curating an ever-growing urban garden, and trying to continually use Mandarin Chinese at work. David works for a leading conference provider across the UK, USA and China.

vhcle reviews & Recommendations (pp34-39) Michael Hargis, (CL) Cassie Lee, (ChL) Charlie Lee, Jen Wade (Wade and Associates, www.wadeassociates. wordpress.com), (JY) Jonathan Young

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vhcle masthead

Founders Charlie Lee, cassie lee & michael hargis

editorial

VHCLE AGENCY

Editor in Chief Charlie Lee charlie@vhcle.com

Agency Director/Events MICHAEL HARgiS michael@vhcle.com

Editor Cassie Lee cassie@vhcle.com

Creative Director Jake FAvour jake@vhcle.com

Sub-Editor Jamie Dance Thunder jamie@vhcle.com Vhcle Magazine

Assistant to the Editor in Chief ANDrew Whitson andrew@vhcle.com -Video Reports UK Correspondent jonathan young ADVERTISING

Director of Advertising & Marketing jonathan young jonathan@vhcle.com -Contributors Writers Marc Ingber, Tim Sunderman, Jamie Dance Thunder, DAvid young, andrew Whitson

Editorial Office Tel: USA +1 415.364.8568 Fax: USA +1 415.366.7123 P.O. Box 2907 Sacramento, CA 95812 Advertising & Marketing UK Office Tel: +44 0776.706.9384 jonathan@vhcle.com USA Advertising Inquiries Tel: +1 415.364.8568 contact@vhcle.com General inquiries and comments: contact@vhcle.com

Art, Photograhpy & Fashion Features

Web: www.vhcle.com Vhcle Notes: www.vhcle.com/notes (weblog) Facebook: www.facebook.com/vhclemagazine Twitter: www.twitter.com/vhcle

Baudouin, joel lee, Beki Whilson, Nigel poor

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-Cover Manon GorgĂŠ, Photographer Baudouin Photos (p9, 38-53) www.baudouin.fr --

Published by Charlie Lee: Vhcle Magazine, www.vhcle. com, and VHCLE NOTES All content copyright 2011. All rights reserved.

Photo (p11) David Swanson, white stripes

Without limiting the rights under copyright reserved above, no part of this publication may be reproduced without the prior written permission from both the copyright owner and the publisher of this magazine. Vhcle Magazine is not responsible for the return or loss of, or for any damage or

Illustration (pp15-16, 19) tim sunderman

injury to, any unsolicited manuscripts or artwork.

Launch 2011 (p3) A VHCLE AGENCY and launch events production

Photo (p23) jessica bell, onesee project/www.onesee. tumblr.com Photos/press (pp31, 33) courtesy of Julia Haslett, Line Street Productions (USA)

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growing old in a young man’s game: Why bands shouldn’t worry about their legacies writer MARC INGBER -Growing Old in a Young Man’s Game: Why Bands Shouldn’t Worry About Their Legacies, March 2011 Vhcle Magazine Issue 4, pp10-13

When I read in early February that the White Stripes were breaking up, I had mixed feelings. For historical purposes, it was probably a good decision for them. They are one of the few bands of the new millennium to sustain wide critical and audience acclaim over the course of several years and albums, and their decision to quit while they were ahead will likely ensure them a respected place in musical history. Jack and Meg White’s reason for the band’s parting was vague, but seemed to be along these lines, as a statement on their website said: “It is for a myriad of reasons, but mostly to preserve what is beautiful and special about the band and have it stay that way.” Though they certainly aren’t the first band to make this decision, their type of break up is uncommon. Ruling out untimely deaths or rabid hatred of fellow band members, most bands decide to stop and “preserve their legacy” a good while after they have spent a handful of years putting out sub-par material. Basically, they stop before things start getting really embarrassing.

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Photo: David Swanson, White Stripes

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be fondly remembered, but is the fear of future mediocrity a legitimate reason to stop trying?

In Jack and Meg’s case, they didn’t even get close to this level. Perhaps they feel that getting up on stage in their red shirts as an aged and graying divorced couple pretending to be brother and sister would destroy much of the goodwill classic albums like White Blood Cells and Elephant brought them, and didn’t want to chance it.

Is there any amount of sub-standard material that will somehow negate your musical triumphs? Personally, I don’t think so. Bob Dylan has released a multitude of albums far inferior to Highway 61 Revisited, but it doesn’t make that album or any of his other classics any worse.

Maybe I’m just getting older myself, but I find this way of thinking to be flawed. While it makes sense on some level to care about your legacy, making decisions based on how you will be perceived years down the road is a strange way to live in the present. It may give you peace of mind that one day your work will

I understand that, more than any other art form, rock n’ roll clings to a “live fast, die young” mentality. It’s a young man’s game and most of the older artists who are still in it are making a living performing songs they wrote in their

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early 20s. The Rolling Stones haven’t brought in millions in touring revenue based on the strength of their more recent albums.

way. When they are both long gone, they will still be remembered as all-time greats. The drawback to hanging it up early as a band is that you often spend the rest of your career trying to live down or live up to what you are best known for. I see this as a potential problem for Jack White. Besides the White Stripes, he is also a member of the Raconteurs, the Dead Weather, a producer and a label head. But 20 years down the line, I have to believe most of the requests he is going to get at concerts will be for White Stripes songs. And if he is going to play these, would it not be best with his faux-sister, Meg?

The list of rock stars who have found relevance on the wrong side of 45 for something new is pretty short, but what is Mick Jagger supposed to do when he turns 48 – become an accountant? Retire? There are only so many island vacations and trophy wives one man can have. After a while, you have to do something with your time. In Mick’s case, he fell in love with American blues and R&B as a teenager in England and hasn’t tired of playing it in the 50 years since then. Sure, he gets paid handsomely for it, but he stopped needing the money long ago. He must still enjoy it on some level or he wouldn’t do it.

Another drummer could certainly handle her parts, but it would not have the same mystique. To see the two ex-spouses share goofy looks while performing on stage adds an element to the songs another drummer could not. The odd relationship between the two is what made the White Stripes “beautiful and special”.

Dylan had an interesting take on his own lack of retirement in 2009 when asked about his supposed “Never Ending Tour,” as critics sometimes refer to it. “Critics should know that there’s no such thing as forever,” he said. “Does anybody ever call Henry Ford a Never Ending Car Builder? Is Rupert Murdoch a Never Ending Media Tycoon? Critics apply a different standard to me for some reason.”

Also, there is one question that inevitably trails a musician the rest of his career after leaving the band he is primarily known for - “Are you guys ever going to reunite?” Whether it is Roger Waters and Pink Floyd, Morrissey and the Smiths or Stephen Malkmus and Pavement, the primary fan base is always wondering when that fine day will come when their favorite band finally decides to get back together.

Dylan and the Rolling Stones are two quintessential examples of the journeyman’s rock n’ roll career. Cynics might point out that both artists have released as many terrible albums over the years as great ones, but if it bothers either artist, they don’t let on to it. Neither seems to spend any time contemplating their legacy, but it doesn’t matter much either

Many of these musicians’ fans continue to follow their careers in the simple hope that they will be able to re-capture just a little of the

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magic they once had with their original band, but with a new group of musicians. This is something bands who stick together long past their sell-by date never have to worry about. They might have trouble “getting their groove back” on any sort of regular basis, but at least the musicians who created the original groove are still standing right across from each other. Unfortunately for Jack, that will no longer be the case. Twenty years down the line, he might be missing the White Stripes as much as their fans.

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The polarization of OUR political dialog writer & ILLUSTRATOR TIM SUNDERMAN -The Polarization of Our Political Dialog, March 2011 Vhcle Magazine Issue 5, pp14-19

The polarization of our political dialog has received much attention recently, and justifiably so. The stronger the opposition of forces, the greater the instability of the social agreement. And the recourse to violence as a substitute for reasoned discussion is predictable in this atmosphere. This polarization is so difficult to counteract because it is so deeply rooted in both our cultural precepts and our biological hardwiring. Biologically, we naturally increase the contrast of many of our perceptions. We subconsciously heighten the contrast of the light and dark sides of the objects that we see so that we may more quickly discern and identify those objects. It is the opposition of the light side and dark side of objects that most clearly reveals the form and recognition of visual images. Objects that are evenly lit are more difficult to identify. Likewise, creatures that use camouflage rely on a patterning of light and dark that is more contrasting than the light and shadow sides of their larger form to conceal themselves. So we have adapted our vision to polarize and magnify the differences of things to more quickly judge friend or enemy, predator or prey. The speed of these assessments is critical to survival, and a measure of the acuity of thought. --

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The effect of the mind heightening contrast is clearly seen here, where the gray bar in the middle of the gradient tone appears to be darker against the light background and vice versa. But its true flat tone is much more evident when it is removed from the polarized context.

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01 These are the normal tones of an image as a camera sees them, unfiltered.

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02 This shows the heightened contrast that our brains apply to an image to make it more quickly recognizable.

03 Over-heightening contrast ultimately robs the image of its form, as a metaphor for the overly-polarized mind.

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04 The full range of color reveals much more form and clarity, yet cannot be reduced to simple opposition.

A similar perceptual function applies to hearing as well. The “loudness” button that so commonly used to appear on sound systems simply has the function of heightening the treble and bass frequencies while lowering the mid-range. The reason for the name “loudness” is because that is what our brains naturally do to loud sounds. We increase the ends of the scale to more clearly identify the sound. In a similar fashion, the way we compartmentalize information also becomes more efficient when we magnify the subtle differences between similar things. But the unfortunate aspect of that cognitive disposition is that it carries over into our broader perceptions. We start to automatically polarize our impressions into oppositions.

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Photo (opposite page): Vhcle Lab

T h e p o lar i zati o n o f our politic al d ialog / v hc le Issue 05

Perception works best when our understanding of what we see is most consistent with the world as it exists, free from our filters and templates. The problem with that is that the nature of perception is built upon a foundation of filters and templates that prioritize impressions guided by what we value. So not only is it impossible to discard the tendency to polarize opposites, it would also blunt our ability to operate in the world by the mere fact that it would slow our cognition.

a country that boasts of its blind justice.

Moderately heightening the polarization of our impressions, in itself, is not the problem that we face in our larger social interactions, but the inculcated habit of setting those poles in hierarchical arrangements. In other words, when we start to make value judgments of one side of the pole as being better than the other side, we quickly drop into the disastrous social constructs of dominance and subjugation. It is embedded into our very language. It is as though we cannot even think of opposites without arranging them hierarchically. We literally use terms like light and dark as synonyms for good and bad.

The fact that George Bush the younger can stand in front of the whole world and announce, “You are either with us or you are against us,” and have that statement make sense to such a large part of our population is an indicator of the depth of our polarized hierarchical world view. To suggest that you are either with us or against us, as though those are the only two options of existence in this world, is as nonsensical as saying, “If a color is not red, it must be green”. Most people with a modicum of insight understand that there may be other colors in the world.

These facts are not to be lamented as much as they are to be counteracted. So, to be effectual, it helps to identify the roots of certain thought patterns and extract them, then replace them with alternate patterns that organize our perceptions and behaviors into directions that are more aligned to a truer nature.

The world does not exist in opposites, but in an infinite gradient spectrum of every possibility. The tones and colors of the world cannot be organized into linear opposition. How much more dimensionally complex and varied are human beings and their interactions.

This is most evident in our gender polarizations and our racial divisions. It leeches into all our social interactions because hierarchy forms the basis for the way in which we arrange our understanding of the world. Women continue to be held in economic disadvantage and must exert much greater effort to rise above subservient roles. The abhorrent disparities in the judicial system in conviction rates and length of sentencing for convictions between whites and racial minorities is contemptible in

So, we must dismiss the concept that our political spectrum is simply a scale of conservative to liberal. That is a reductionist viewpoint, flattened and inconsistent with reality. And yet we are required to express our

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democratic choices within a polarized field, whose basic tenet of “majority rules” is founded upon polarized hierarchy. This has the effect of silencing minority voices, and at the same time forcing conformity in majority voices just to have their vote counted. It also has the effect of intensifying the pull to opposite sides just to offset the strength of the other pole. The minority stands no chance in this field of engagement, and its impotence compels it to step outside of the social agreement to seek redress.

been built at the expense of those that they would subjugate. Smoldering resentments can last for generations on both sides of the polarity. That is why it is essential to maintain an open dialogue in not just our political world, but also our larger society. The open flow of ideas and communication dissipates the buildup of polarized animosity which threatens to fracture our shared community, and leads directly to threats of “second amendment remedies”, placing riflescope targets over political opponents on posters, and using terms like “reload”.

We can see the motivations that have led to unprecedented filibusters, which in the body politic are about as healthy as an intestinal impaction. But be assured that the long run of history shows a slow erosion of hierarchy. Bloodline kings are now seen as a laughable basis for government. Land ownership and racial preference as criteria for voting are similarly reviled now. The inclusion of women in voting in not only beyond question, but the choice of women leaders is commonplace.

Make no mistake, these are explicitly overt threats to use guns to murder political opponents fueled by a sense of powerlessness and exclusion. Anger and hysteria must be calmed by a genuine concern for the common good and a willingness to be empathetic. That does not mean extending infinite patience for those who stomp their feet and hold their breath for their own self-serving agenda. But they may need a kind of parental guidance that will assure them that they will be safe and that they will not be abandoned by a future they fear to face. In the same way, we may be offered guidance just as valuable. Proper humility demands that we are prepared to be receptive to all constructive input. Look for common ground. Our shared experience is likely to be greater than we expect.

Advancement is an unstoppable force. In the current atmosphere of polarization, some of us push to accelerate that advancement, some try to slow it down. Both are necessary if balance is to be found and if all are to be included. Naturally, there are those who feel that advancement will come at their own expense — those whose former status and privilege are perceived to be threatened. But what cannot be forgotten is that their status and privilege have

Yes, advancement is an unstoppable force, but it is the dignity with which we adapt to change that will define this seemingly tenuous time.

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“Smoldering resentments can last for generations on both sides of the polarity. That is why it is essential to maintain an open dialogue in not just our political world, but also our larger society.�


Privacy writer JAMIE DANCE THUNDER -Privacy, March 2011 Vhcle Magazine Issue 5, pp20-23

Unless you have a particular interest in the children of British fascists or watching funnyshaped cars going round and round and round, the chances are that you’ve not heard of Max Mosley. Or at least if you live in Britain, the chances are that you hadn’t until he had his bottom spanked by five women and found himself on the front page of the UK’s best-selling Sunday newspaper. Mr Mosley, understandably, wasn’t very pleased about this (er, the publication, not the spanking. I imagine he was quite pleased about that). He sued the newspaper, Rupert Murdoch’s News of the World, for invasion of privacy, and won £60,000 in damages. The News of the World’s justifications for the story were pathetic. It claimed there had been a Nazi theme, and that this was in the public interest because Mosley is the son of the former British Union of Fascists leader Oswald Mosley. Unfortunately the only evidence of any Nazi involvement was that some of the women spoke in German.

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most cases the subject of the story is notified in advance, they have the option of seeking an injunction anyway.

It then claimed that Mosley’s position as head of the Formula 1 governing body meant there was a public interest in revealing his sex life. That also didn’t get very far, unsurprisingly.

But while a subject notified in advance already has the option of trying to block the story in the courts, it’s not used all that often. If Mosley’s law was implemented, however, it might be, and those court hearings can be costly and time-consuming.

Having lost his job and his dignity, Mosley has now taken a case to the European Court of Human Rights, arguing that newspapers should notify people before publishing stories about their private lives. This would give them a chance to argue to a judge that it is a breach of privacy and so should not be published.

It would, in effect, mean newspapers would need a judge’s approval before publishing private information – at the moment they have a ‘get-out clause’ of simply not informing the subject. For example, during the Daily Telegraph’s revelations of how MPs were abusing their expenses system, subjects were often either not contacted or contacted very late for comment to prevent an injunction being sought. If the newspaper had been forced to contact the MPs involved then gain a court’s approval before publishing, it could have taken a long time, cost a lot, and there is no guarantee that the judge would have agreed with the journalists.

It sounds a reasonable proposition, and there’s no doubt that the story was an example of unjustifiable intrusion that absolutely should not have happened. It’s also true that no amount of damages can change the fact that Mosley’s privacy was invaded. So why have so many journalists and lawyers come out against the plans? Roy Greenslade, former editor of the tabloid Daily Mirror and now a lecturer in journalism ethics, sums the fears up when he says it would have a “chilling effect” on all journalism. He argues that while Mosley is quite right to feel aggrieved, the unintended consequence of his law would be to stifle the press.

The prospect of that cost could introduce a ‘chill’, meaning reporters don’t even bother starting a story that could end up in court. It’s often argued that the UK’s libel laws have this effect – and in fact the costs system was recently denounced as a breach of the right to free expression by the European Court of Human Rights – but this law could also affect serious journalism as well as gossip and rumour. One possibility is to have a ‘public interest’ defence, with a presumption towards allowing publication if the newspaper can

It’s standard journalistic practice to contact the subject of a story prior to publication, not least because they might actually be able to explain the scandal you think you’ve found. In that sense, Mosley’s law would affect very few pieces of serious journalism – it’s primarily the celebrity tattle and sex scandal stories that regularly ignore this convention. And if in

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show a reasonable public interest in the story (the subject could still sue afterwards if the story turned out to be false). But even this has the unpleasant requirement to gain a judge’s consent before publication. I’d certainly trust a judge over a tabloid editor, but it’s not just about the tabloid editors – it’s about the journalists exposing elected representatives abusing their expenses, or about the tax affairs of the people donating millions to our political parties, or about the hypocrisy of a holier-thanthou MP who has an affair. It ends up as a balance between the few important stories that could be blocked, and the invasions of privacy that could happen more regularly without a new law. I – reluctantly – have to come down on the side of the media and say that mandatory notification would be too damaging. I would like to see lower costs (read: lawyer’s fees) but higher damages awarded to victims of invasions of privacy, with a failure to notify made an aggravating factor. This doesn’t solve Max Mosley’s problem. It means an individual’s right to privacy can be breached and that the newspaper can quite legally act in such a way that the individual has no way to prevent this. But it would go some way towards deterring newspapers from publishing details not in the public interest that someone wants to keep private.

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Photo: Day 271, 12/27/10 / By Jessica Bell, onesee project www.onesee.tumblr.com

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THE VAT & SALES TAX DEBACLE: A CREATIVE REAPPROACH & ESPoUSAL OF ‘NUDGED THINKING’ writer DAIVD YOUNG -The VAT & Sales Tax Debacle: A Creative Reapproach & Espousal of ‘Nudged Thinking’, March 2011 Vhcle Magazine Issue 5, pp24-29

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rate comes by raising expectations that prices should remain consistently low. In the longer term this creates a culture of consumers that hoard/are expectant of low cost goods and buy out of a sense of functional purpose (i.e. I buy digital/technical goods at low cost and therefore regularly buy new headphones or phones irrespective of other factors). Think a scene out of Roman times a la Spartacus: Gods of the Arena over on the Starz network (which if you haven’t yet seen it, is pure saccharine coated gonzo fun and an excellent TV show!).

January 4th 2011 signalled a shift in the sand and a defining moment for the UK Government. Sales Tax, what we here in the UK term Value Added Tax, rose on most goods from 17.5% to 20%. This tax is held up as the central policy instrument underpinning the UK government’s drive to deliver a smaller State and, forgive the play on words, a state of austerity. Mainstream media is markedly on the side of doomsday scenarios and a depiction of consumers as worried, unimaginative masses. Yet we are individuals and we can respond. And we can respond by being creatively austere. Can austerity be cool? Here’s how.

Incidentally, many of the goods we consume/ define as staple digital and technical goods – LCD TVs, new cars, etc. – are becoming increasingly attractive to consumers across urbanised China and India. The process of hoarding is great in pure short-termist economic terms of shifting units and maintaining business lines, but it does very little for consumers. If anything, consumers are left behaving as they have done. Inertia creeps. And it creeps forward at a much slower pace than is desirable because as we keep buying the same things without adjusting our patterns of consumption, ‘staple’ goods become more expensive.

To fully understand the impact of this rise, we need to think with recent history in mind and think of creative strategies to respond and reshape the way we shop. If we don’t, the pain of an extra charge on what we buy is more keenly felt because we are not offering an alternative and are simply accepting our fate. Sales Tax was lowered to 15% in the UK from December 1 2008 to December 31 2009 as an immediate response to the financial crisis back in 2008. To the unassuming eye, this makes perfect economic sense – stimulate demand within the economy and encourage people to keep the faith at a time of economic volatility.

We need to see and think of modern ‘staple’ goods as inherently personal and opt-in goods rather than the items and goods we find in our immediate geography. We can dislocate ourselves from our built environment and the items bought by those we live around. Instead of hoarding, we can buy virally where possible and sidestep the need to own physical goods where digital alternatives are available. The flows of globalisation allow us to irrigate this fertile line of thinking in our own image. What we see in the reflection is made more sustainable when

The alternatives? With Sales Tax discussions, conventional economists fret over stimulating consumption within the economy; yet to cut rates or raise taxes will have a whole host of implications that oftentimes aren’t fully filtered through the economy until 18 months time. The problem with keeping Sales Tax at a low

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we are able to act with a degree of rationalised decision making rather than passive acceptance of the circumstances we happen to find ourselves in.

the rises on Sales Taxes, then we break free from our compunctious relationship with the cheap DVDs, electricals and reduced technical goods of this world.

What I want to suggest is that, in the end, it is better to be actively thinking less in terms of the price at purchase of a good and more in terms of the thought process encapsulated by the idea ‘I am’ adding value to this good. So rather than collecting and amassing tangible possessions, we put our minds to work and purchase content and goods that adds value to our lives both by skill-setting us and by opening our lives to new possibilities. To be more than an idea, this needs sketching out.

The above method avoids the madness of continually paying more for the same goods. And to further embrace austerity, to further reauthor our lives, we can make decisions that ensure we deliver more assertive approaches to every day living. We should look to Diogenes Laertius and his understanding of Epicurus, and we should be internalising into our methods of shopping an assertive way of living/thinking. So embrace your creative inklings. Crucially, don’t presume that this is a mere coping strategy whilst you wait for the good times to come back. If you do, you’ll revert to type and start paying those Sales Taxes more frequently.

Such a mindset takes time to develop, but is a sure-fire method of creatively sidestepping the problem of rising Sales Taxes because we derive longer-term enjoyment from fewer, more enriching things that we are actively choosing. Here’s how to take those first furtive steps.

Whilst VAT doesn’t apply to foods, the same line of thinking does. Take bread as an example. Slice the bread at alternative angles and add value to the meal by mixing olive oil, mustard and white wine vinegar as an improvement to the bread. The mundane becomes the artisanal. This is nothing new. Indeed, this is a time tested strategy. Look to Florence, Italy in the 1600s for inspiration – to embrace austerity with gusto and a sense that my actions are improving even the most humble plate of bread and oil. Simple actions like this embody a change of culture and a time-honored response to changes by the State. These reactions by our ancestors also pay credence to the idea that we, of ourselves, can add value to the way we live.

The concept of ‘I am’ adding value is a nice concept to get around simply paying for the Sales Tax rises. So rather than entering the shop and thinking, “I’m gonna pick up that DVD or cheaper electrical good”, an alternative exists. Research the film and explore competing digital narratives. The free media offerings available via Apple TV and Google TV channels compel us to explore alternative programs and ensure we skill set ourselves to deftly navigate a world where more content ensures we are open to ‘new’ experiences. The solution becomes one where we live to ‘set ourselves free’ and explore the world instead of living from one purchase to next with the sting of added sales taxes making us that little bit poorer. If we adapt faster than

Buy the rice and add value to it – sprinkle sesame seeds; add in a cinnamon stick. Short term (i.e. immediately the price at purchase) is

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higher; longer term (over 2-3 weeks) you yourself are adding value to the food you consume. You are in effect acting as the author of the goods you consume and are creating the aesthetic, health, well-being and knowledge deployment strategies needed for a modern globalised world. Of course, you could alternatively jump back on the escalator of conventional consumption and keep paying that additional cost for your ‘staple’ goods. But do you really want to revert to type? The type we have already seen to be, I dunno, so 2006. The coming technologies of online, integrated TV ensure that informed, self choosing choice is more possible and, for the modern society, a preference to just acting in a recurring modernist world. As the possibility of a more joined-up and interconnected world emerges, we should be among the first adapters. From my own experience, Chinese based Taobao, a more collaborative and dynamic version of eBay, helps facilitate my own movement towards informed and nudged thinking. To embrace the ‘I am’ adding value concept, look at any shop and substitute the adjectives they use to market and differentiate their product and in the place of these adjectives put your mind to work and ‘add-verbalise’ the way you shop. Make your own sauces; marinade over night; improve the basic foodstuffs you consume by simply applying the techniques you were previously buying as pre-made and highly priced goods. You are then authoring your consumption and adding the value instead of relying upon either the market mechanism or indeed State legislation. This approach to the valued added discussion allows you to float and drift around the punitive impact of rising Sales Tax increases whilst ensuring you are equipped to refine the foods you eat, irrespective of income or, more crucially, surroundings/geography. ‘Nudged thinking’ requires a strong sense of imagination which can easily be stoked by all manner of Google TV channels and quick ideas taken from Posterous, Mashable and even lighthearted offerings like pimpthatsnack.com. Think less of the Sales Tax as a punishment for consuming staple goods and more as a nudge towards adapting your habits. But do it now before everyone else gets ahead of you on the austerity as cool curve!

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“To embrace

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the ‘I am’ adding value concept, look at any shop and substitute the adjectives they use to market and differentiate their product and in the place of these adjectives put your mind to work and ‘add-verbalise’ the way you shop. Make your own sauces; marinade over night; improve the basic foodstuffs you consume by simply applying the techniques you were previously buying as pre-made and highly priced goods.”


the search for simone weil writer ANDREW WHITSON

-The Search for Simone Weil, March 2011 Vhcle Magazine Issue 5, pp30-33

After experiencing the emotional impact of her father’s suicide and dealing with the reality of her brother’s anxiety and depression, Julia Haslett, a New York City filmmaker, found herself utterly transfixed with the question of human suffering. She began to actively seek an answer for why these terrible events occur. Thus began a journey that would span the globe and ask one of the most heavily debated and philosophical questions of our time: why must humanity suffer? Julia’s journey led her to study the many works of Simone Weil, a French philosopher and activist. Simone Weil was a remarkable figure in human history. As a six-year-old child in France during the first World War, Simone saw the destruction and hurt of the French soldiers and gave up eating sugar in an act of solidarity with the soldiers who were not allowed it while on the front lines. For Simone Weil, attention was the greatest form of generosity, and Julia Haslett saw this as an essential piece to the question of human suffering. The nature of Simone’s work prompted Julia Haslett to create a documentary film that follows Simone’s experiences and teachings, as well as probe deeper into the human response to suffering. The documentary, An Encounter with Simone Weil, debuted in the most recent International Documentary Film Festival in Amsterdam to glowing reviews, with one fellow director calling it “essential viewing for 2011”.

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These are some of Julia’s thoughts about the film, and her views on the vast social implications of human suffering (via email correspondence):

years with. At times it was quite lonely, while at other times I took great solace in having her so close. Her moral and intellectual acuity helped me get through the very dark period in which I was making the film, starting in 2004 and the United States’ ongoing occupation of Iraq.

In a lot of ways I feel as if the life of the film is just beginning. I had six years of looking for Weil more or less on my own and now I will be able to continue that process with other people (i.e. an audience). I’m looking forward to this part of the process, which I anticipate will open up my understanding of Weil as both a thinker and a person. She’s an intense person to spend six

Even after creating this film and searching for answers, I’m left with questions unanswered. I’d say the biggest one remains: how do we live compassionately in this world with the knowledge of all the suffering that is occurring

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simultaneously across the globe? Suffering that necessarily we have to block out from time to time, and suffering that we can’t always do anything to ameliorate. It’s a fundamental dilemma of the 21st century that is hugely exacerbated by the internet and the sheer speed of communication technologies. It’s not that suffering wasn’t there before, it’s just that we weren’t being asked to look at it. And it’s much harder to ignore something that you’ve already seen.

to do just that. And, if nothing else, preserve a record of it for future generations. -As a director, Julia Haslett gives the viewer a very personal and distinct look into the world of human suffering. She purposefully shifts camera angles to give a very disjointed affect that resonates throughout the film’s subject matter, clearly tying this journey of Julia’s questions, with Simone Weil’s analysis of the answers. An Encounter with Simone Weil strives to be a catalyst for study and research into what humanity can do to find meaning and reconciliation in a world of suffering. The film becomes this fusion of relationships, as the viewer switches between Simone Weil, Julia Haslett, Anna Brown, and several other influential academic and scholarly perspectives on social change. The focus is never to blame but to always ask questions as to why these things happen, and how we can continue to fight for change. Simone Weil constantly fought for social and political change, and Julia Haslett is continuing this battle by revealing how important it is to be informed and become aware of the suffering that is all around us.

I asked Anna Brown, one of the characters in my film who is herself, a very committed activist, about how she made it to middle-age with her optimism and well-being intact. She replied - by being in community. It is her community that gives her strength and helps her stand firm in her political and moral convictions. Simone Weil was a firm believer in the individual and herself largely eschewed community. The question is, can you retain your individuality while existing in a functioning community, family, or relationship? Do communities/systems of people always have to grow more dogmatic, coercive, and exclusive over time? I myself struggle with this very question. More than anything, it appears that the mainstream media is falling down on the job and refusing to ask the difficult questions their societal role required of them. Weil’s insistence on speaking truth to power and constantly questioning the status quo was what we needed more of at that time, and still do. She also wrote that even if we can’t prevent the forces of tyranny from prevailing, we can at least “understand the force by which we are crushed.” And in a sense, my documenting of that time was an attempt

Julia Haslett’s documentary film is set for its North American debut in 2011. And as for Haslett’s own struggles, her journey may never end as she continues to direct films that allow viewers to understand and act on the many questions of human suffering.

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Press Release Quotes “Essential viewing for 2011.” – Julia Bacha, Director, Budrus “...a moving document that compels us to reflect on themes in our own lives.” – Mariëtte Baarda, De Groene Amsterdammer (The Netherlands) “Haslett offers a provocative and deeply personal meditation on a genius whose incandescence illuminated some of the darkest moments of the 20th Century, even as it consumed her to the wick.” – Joslyn Barnes, Louverture Films (USA) “This documentary surpasses any mere curiosity about an extraordinary person...Haslett’s documentary is the most spiritual and political aesthetic possibility.” – Daehyun Park, Indigo: Humanities Magazine for Young People (South Korea) “…an astonishing and revelatory piece of work.” – Siân Miles, author of Simone Weil: An Anthology For information visit: www.linestreet.net

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vhcle

vhcle reviews 03

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The king of limbs RADIOHEAD Radiohead’s eighth and shortest album to date. It was self-released on February 18th, one day earlier than the scheduled date, and just four days after announcement. Eight tracks and thirty-seven minutes of abstract, avantgarde sounds, that according to one reviewer, and to which I agree, surrounds you rather than attacks. This may not be a groundbreaking album, but there’s no denying its beauty, and the feeling that Radiohead is still in control. (CL)

MEDIUM WOODEN RADIO Cool vintage design. Handmade. Picks up AM, FM and shortwave stations, as well as coming equipped with an adapter for your iPod. Meeting all my various music listening needs as well as being attractive? Yes, please! (CL) Visit: The Curiosity Shoppe 855 Valencia Street San Francisco, CA 94110 www.curiosityshoppeonline.com/woodradio. html

www.thekingoflimbs.com

INDUSTRIAL GLASS FRONTED CABINET Gorgeous industrial-style cabinet that was reproduced to resemble one found in a workshop in France. This is not your widely produced and easily disposable piece of furniture, but one you will want to keep for a lifetime. (CL) www.pedlars.co.uk/page_2592.html

04 OWEN – NEW LEAVES (POLYVINYL) At times dreamy and poignant, at others selfdepricating and toothless, this fifth full-length from Chicago based solo act Owen (aka Mike Kinsella) has it all. The big arrangements, odd time signatures and literary allusions are out in force, with Kinsella’s own emotional struggles adding all the more weight to the record. Our favorite line: “I swear on my mother’s gravy that I didn’t lie to you / I just didn’t tell the truth” (JY)

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Contributors: (CL) Cassie Lee (CHL) Charlie Lee (JY) Jonathan Young

www.myspace.com/mybandowen

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Midori Animal Shaped Clips – Original Series

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Who says organizing paperwork has to be a mundane task? Not when you have these charming paperclips at hand to fasten your documents. Available in various animal and transportation shapes, and contained in just as charming sliding cases, you won’t want to lose or share these so easily! (CL)

2011 Day planner – red (Hard Cover, 3.5” x 5.5”, with 144 pages of acid free paper.)

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Although we carry around our fancy smart phones to help remind us of our daily tasks and activities, there is still nothing like good old paper - in the form of a planner, that is. If you’re a lover of stationary like I am, you’ll appreciate this sturdy and simply designed planner. It’s ‘weekly view’ feature gives you easy access to jot down quick notes and important details when you need to. The blank lined pages are inviting to write on, and it conveniently comes with an inner pocket for holding loose papers. (CHL) Visit: The Curiosity Shoppe 855 Valencia Street San Francisco, CA 94110 www.curiosityshoppeonline. com/20dayplred.html

www.jetpens.com

vintage style dress At first glance, you might assume this dress can be found in any of your local trendy stores. But in actuality, this dress hails from a family owned shop in the UK, where according to the blurb regarding this item, it is a small, limited edition piece made specifically for their shop by a company that normally produces clothes for young girls. It looks lovely with a pair of tennies as they have it pictured, but for that feminine woman with a bit of edge, heavy black boots might just work. (CL) www.pedlars.co.uk/page_4230.html

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These days minimalism is more than a catchphrase. I find myself stripping my wardrobe down to the essentials. Here are 5 items that are a must in my wardrobe:

vhcleman

Recommendations by Michael Hargis

01 EYEWEAR (tom ford)

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Sunglasses are an essential staple in any man’s wardrobe, so feel free to splurge a little. Inspired by the classic aviator, these glasses have enough substance to say, “Hey check me out!” but are understated enough to say you’re not trying too hard.

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02 TIMEPIECE (bell & ross)

03 JEANS (J. lindeberG)

04 TENNIES (new balance)

Bell & Ross does an amazing job of capturing what it means to be a man. Rugged yet sophisticated, this titanium timepiece is perfect for work and play. You don’t have to spend 10k to make a statement.

The perfect pair of jeans - not too skinny, not too baggy, just right. J. Lindeberg did it correct this year. The slightly altered indigo wash works great with tennies or a great pair of boots. Comfortable, fitted, classic and modern make these jeans the right fit.

Pair of tennies. If I only had one pair, the New Balance 1400 series would be my pick. Socks, no socks, jeans, khakis or shorts. This classic shoe never goes out of style.

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05 HEATHER GRAY T-SHIRT (american apparel) If it wasn’t suspicious, I would wear a gray t-shirt every day. It is the perfect stand alone spring garment but it compliments everything else in your wardrobe (blazers, denim, gingham, etc). The fit is just as important as the right amount of heather. American Apparel still gets the nod.


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vhclewoman

The resort season in fashion was originally created by designers to embody the clothes and accessories worn by affluent women during their winter trips to warmer climates. These five pieces will give you the same fresh vacation glow, even when you are just sunning in your own backyard.

Recommendations by Jen Wade 01

01 PAPERBAG TROUSER bY kimchi blUe (Urban oUtfitters) This colorful cropped trouser is only $60 and can be dressed up or down. 02 WORLDLY WISE BIKINI bY lennY (anthropoloGie) Many women shy away from bikinis because they believe you need to have a perfectly flat stomach. This two-piece flatters the stomach area as well as a ruched maillot.

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05 03 THE LITTLE DICTIONARY OF FASHION bY christian dior A classic take on fashion from a legendary couturier. Time tested fashion advice in an illustrated dictionary format.

03 kate spade BANGLES Kate Spade Bangles are perfect for mixing and matching and oh so pretty.

05 river island FLORAL TOTE BAG (asos) Instead of a solid color leather purse, why not mix it up with this fun patterned fabric bag?

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Baudouin’s

most improbable dreams saw him as a bassist in a New York jazz band circa 1970. However, born in France in 1977 and unable to carry off an afro hairstyle, he decided to become a photographer. That’s fate for you; sometimes the slightest detail can change your life. Baudouin took his first photos in Ireland. He tried and tested different formats, got it to grips with light, mastered black and white photography and worked on framing his subject. He studied the work of his mentors, immersing himself in their universe and technique, his bedroom walls lined with compositions by Henri Cartier-Bresson, Martin Parr’s colour photography, and witty images by Elliott Erwitt. Baudouin honed his style; on returning to Paris, he began specialising in colour portraits. Baudouin never really looks at you. He tries to capture a hidden reality. With his Hasselblad firmly screwed to the tripod, he constructs his composition using soft lighting. Nothing escapes the photographer’s eye. Baudouin groups together objects, piling up memories, creating a decor. He tells a story, depicting a world or sensibility. Time stands still for the duration of a photo. Baudouin feels the need to render his subject immortal. Each shot reflects an atmosphere. At the very moment when Philip Roth launched a novel, underground tickets were still purple, REM was in concert and Kellogg’s were offering 20% discounts on 500g packs of cereal. Baudouin’s aim is to stop time and in a few years his photos will be a reflection of their era. Using a more off-the-wall, timeless approach, Baudouin has also turned his attention to canine nonchalance. Nothing surprises our four-legged friend. Models for a day, against kitsch backgrounds, they strike a mischievious pose. Jean-Baptiste Gendame

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photography / I AM A parisian lady

The photography work of

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v hc le is s u e 0 5 / joe l l e e , mo nday m o r ni ng

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photography / 35 combos

The photography work of

joel lee

L LEE


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with JOEL LEE

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How would you describe your style of photography?

Tell us about one of your most memorable photo shoots?

Raw, honest and vulnerable. I shoot candidly as possible. Or at least attempt to get something unusual out of the subject. I tend to focus on a narrative or emotional moment – telling a story by compositing two photos into one. Pop culture is a huge influence as I pull references into the vernacular for my subject titles.

The one for the MTV 2010 spots, directed by the multi-talented Anthony Scott Burns (http://vimeo. com/user2573115/videos). It was memorable because of everything that was happening at the time. I was candidly documenting the set in a photojournalistic way – as loose as possible. Even though there were staged moments during the video shoot, in contrast, I was photographing moments that were sincere. I think during the time I realized that vulnerability could be found anywhere. In general, I think each shoot is as significant or memorable to the next.

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What’s the meaning behind your website: 35 Combos? The meaning behind 35 Combos is very generic. It was a lot more memorable and easy to tell people when they asked where they could see my photographs. It’s also the way I position my photographs; I shoot with 35mm film and occasionally stack them together.

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Favorite drink? Canadian Dry ginger ale in a glass, without a straw.

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What is the inspiration behind the photo stories Bright Lights and Brooklyn Girl? The inspirations for these shoots are similar: New York City. These are an on-going series I’m currently working on

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v hc le is s u e 0 5 / joe l l e e , co u nt i ng t e e t h

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v hc le is s u e 0 5 / joe l l e e , cr ac k da l e

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v hc le is s u e 0 5 / joe l l e e , mi r ro r e d– p ro je c to r

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v hc le is s u e 0 5 / joe l l e e , Lov e at f i r s t l i g h t

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v hc le i ssue 05 / b rook ly n g i rl s e r i es : p h o to g r a p h e d by jo e l l e e , s t y l i ng by s a r a h kos loff

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SPRING INSPIRATION

SHOP

out of l ine / cot ton jersey fol de d tank to p in black

OUT OF LINE

BEKI WILSON / OUT OF LINE SPRING 2011 WWW.OUTOFLINEFASHION.COM


fashion / out of Line – spring 2011

beki wilson EL LEE Beki Wilson for Out of Line Vincente Lopez for VL Studio (VLS) Makeup Heather Lopez for VL Studio (VLS) Hair Styling Jessica Newman for Jeska Newman Hair Model Alex H. for Vincente Lopez Studio Designer

Photographer


v h c le is su e 0 5 / b e ki w i ls o n / ou t o f l in e s prin g 201 1 , w ww. outof l i n efa shi on. com

N ative G rey S kirt , S heer S quare top

By Beki Wilson (Out of Line)


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with beki wilson

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How would you describe Out of Line’s style?

technical ability and construction.

It’s tough for me to put into words. I design by what I love. Lots of vintage silhouettes mixed with modern lines, modern lines mixed with vintage detail, extreme editing and clean design. I’m drawn to using utilitarian fabrics in new ways and styling those garments with finer pieces. My mom has always said I’m a “free spirit” and I’ve not always been in love with the term, but it’s true. I have always had my own ideas, views and ways I like to be in the world, and these are exactly the type of women I design for.

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What about non-fashion designers? I’m a big Neil Young fan. I’ve seen him live many times and appreciate how true he is to exactly what he wants to create. I would love to travel the world like Anthony Bourdain; he’s a later-in-life traveler like I will be. I admire how Kim Gordon combines her love of music and fashion with motherhood; not an easy thing to do. Cat Power puts me in a mood where I can move around and feel like myself.   005

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Favorite drink?

As a designer based in Seattle, what can you tell us about the fashion scene there?

Vodka martini. Dirty. Two olives.

The fashion scene in Seattle is evolving. There is lots of individual style here. More local boutiques are starting to embrace the idea of working with local independent designers. It’s a great time to be here. 003

What fashion designers are you influenced by? I love Isabel Toledo for her ability to combine art and fashion, Karen Walker for the beautiful simplicity, Marc Jacobs for his interpretations and styling, and Stella McCartney for her

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K ey I nfluence D ress in black By Beki Wilson (Out of Line)

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Native Grey Corduroy Skirt ( Photo 3/3)

P ieces S kirt in army green ,

S heer T ank ( top ) By Beki Wilson (Out of Line)

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F lutter S leeve T op ink print By Beki Wilson (Out of Line)

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art/ washed books

by nigel poorOEL LEE Washed Books, takes books that have been placed on a banned book list, and have a certain ‘reference’ to women on the cover


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with nigel poor

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not dissipate and traps bits of the book. For the original project, the lint from each wash was then applied to a 8x10 inch panel; one panel per book.

Can you elaborate on where your inspiration for your current project came from? The idea for my project Washed Books began in 2008 when I was invited to be in an exhibition about banned books. Honestly, it wasn’t a topic I had thought much about. I imagined that in this day and age there wouldn’t be many banned books to explore. Of course I had heard about Lolita being banned in Iran, and that in the States some people wanted to ban Harry Potter, but I assumed these were isolated and extreme cases. Once I began doing research I was shocked by the amount of books that are still challenged and banned; it is hardly an infrequent occurrence. So in order to narrow down the list of books to work with, I decided to use the criteria of books with women’s names in the titles.

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How has your education in the East Coast impacted your creative experience? I feel growing up on the East Coast and being educated there has had a big influence on my creative experience. I am very much a New Englander transplanted to California. Sometimes I chuckle at the fact that I cannot get away from the Puritanical influence of life in New England. There is that ethic that you work hard, you don’t complain and you go about your business quietly, trying to succeed while anticipating the punishment that is just around the corner if you start to enjoy yourself too much. Hopefully, this gives you a sense of humor about yourself and doesn’t make you too crazy and guilt-ridden.

I originally selected nine banned books to work with, all incorporating women’s names in the titles. My idea was to use books considered dirty, and to make the piece I wanted to use a process that was not only about cleaning, but that was once considered women’s work. I decided to wash and dry each book and use the lint produced by the loads of laundry to create the artwork. Each of the nine books were separately washed with a load of laundry. As the book is washed it falls apart and loses some of its integrity, words are lost and sentences erased. Though much disappears, the lint captures what does

Growing up you read all those writers like Hawthorne, Melville, Alcott, Thoreau, Whitman, you think about Walden Pond and the transcendentalists – it is a heavy and serious group of people, and they do influence your way of thinking about the world. There are also the distinct seasons, each with a personality and special kind of light and temperature, each has its particular smells and feelings and affects the landscape in sweeping ways. These seasonal

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changes give a rhythm to your experience of time. Enduring long and hard winters are rewarded by spring, and humid, hot summers transition into the coolness and colors of fall. The life and death cycle become really apparent and it makes you think “carpe diem” my friend.

anything, touch anything, explore wherever I wanted. My work desk was set up in a little alcove and on it were tweezers, a big magnifying glass, morpho pins for pinning the insects and stacks of metal boxes containing the insects I had to take care of. Pinning insects is a painstaking and repetitive process, and I loved it. It taught me a lot about patience, careful observation, organizing and working in a semi scientific manner. All of these skills I now use in my studio. Most importantly this experience taught me that when something grabs your attention, pursue it and see where it leads you. Volunteering at the museum gave me a pass to go behind the scenes and just investigate. It also showed me the importance of putting myself out there and asking for access to things that seemed intriguing. Most times when you ask people for something, if you are polite and open, they say yes. And if you follow through on your commitments, you can be given entrance to wonderful and unexpected places.

During my time in graduate school I had a pivotal experience that changed the way I thought about making my own work. I went to see an exhibit at the Harvard Museum of Comparative Zoology that showed how natural history museums used dermestid beetles to clean animal carcasses so the scientist could then work with the bones. The exhibit got me excited about science and natural history. After spending a bit of time in the collection I knew it was a place I needed to know more about, so I made a few phone calls and talked to someone in the entomology department and began volunteering. My job was behind the scenes in the collection where I pinned insects that scientists brought back from their field research. To my eye everything about the place was tantalizing in a 20th century kind of way – just a bit old fashion and dusty and ignored and filled with treasures. The back rooms where I worked had endless rows of shelves containing boxes of pinned insects; each insect identified with a handwritten label some dated back to the 1800s. One day I found a box that had been worked on by Vladimir Nabokov, who had an interest in butterflies. Inside the box were his handwritten notes. It was pretty amazing. And by the way, his book Lolita is on my list of banned books.

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How has this banned book project evolved over time? I tend to work on projects for a long time. I start with an idea and then a process takes over. Though I am primarily a photographer, I don’t limit myself to the idea of the photographic image; I am always looking for the correct visual delivery system for the idea. I also like the notion of taking material as far as it can go; how many iterations can you take an object through before it loses its ability to have meaning or ceases to challenge our ideas? So this particular project started out using books, a washer & dryer and lint. But I soon realized

I had the run of the place and could look at

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there was more that could be done.

from the participants’ interview.

As a reader, destroying books in order to produce lint caused discomfort. In order to deal with that, I began to ponder the pieces of books left behind. I wanted to investigate how far these books could go before they lost a sense of potency and meaning.

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What advice would you give young photographers or recent photography graduates? Giving advice is tough because you end up sounding like you have the all the answers, and of course every life is so different and what young people are experiencing now is different from what I experienced when I finished school. People have all sorts of burdens and concerns and we are living in a time where the economy is terrible. So with that stated caveat I will tell you a few things that I have learned and that have worked for me.

I began to make photographic images of what was left behind. Laundering took the book from being a concrete object with the ability to communicate a story, characters, concepts, etc., to a maimed fragment of itself. Yet through the photographic process this hobbled book becomes a beguiling sculptural object that has the ability to communicate through the language that survived. If you are familiar with these books, one can recognize sentences, character names and small bits of plot in the fragments. I enjoy the combination of randomness and control the process offers. Random because I cannot dictate how the washing process destroys the books, and control because I determine how the remnants will be dealt with photographically.

If you want to make a life as a creative person, you need to be willing, at least for a while, to make money in ways that may not be related to what you want to ultimately do. And you have to remember that you need not to define yourself by what you do to pay the bills. I had a string of uninspiring jobs that paid me just enough to live in a frugal way while I pursued my career as an artist.

I have added another component to the project that requires the help of willing readers to join the process. I am now working with 38 banned books; each book is being read by a volunteer. After they have finished the book, I “interview� them - they give me a synopsis of the story, and I ask them to speculate as to why the book has been challenged or banned. Our conversations are recorded and will be used to create a text piece for each book. Once the project is completed, each book on the list will be represented by a lint panel, a photographic image of the book piece, and a text panel using language collected

You need to decide what your priorities are because most people cannot have everything. For me as a young person, owning a house, a car, or settling into a routine life and starting a family were not important to me. I knew from a young age I wanted to be an artist and so I set up my life in such a way that I could pursue that dream. But it is a lifelong negotiation. You need to make a strict schedule and make time for your creative work. A daily practice can

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be quite helpful. Even if you cannot dedicate hours each day, you need to find a way to do something on a daily basis that relates to what you care most about. Find some place that is just for you; a place where you can put your work up and look at it. Of course it is wonderful to have a studio but that takes time, so just find a wall or part of a wall where nothing else gets hung except for things you are working on and thinking about. Don’t say no to things - volunteer at places that are interesting to you. Spend time alone thinking and getting to know who you actually are. Don’t be afraid of silence. Make lists of what you want to do and accomplish. They can be small or big things, but keep track of your goals and strategize on how to accomplish them. When you start to feel down and listless – get to work. That will always change your perspective. Be interested in other people and ask questions. 005

What’s your favorite drink? Ha that one is easy. Almost anyone who knows me could answer this question: Sapphire. Straight up. With a twist.

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“My idea was to use books considered dirty, and to make the piece I wanted to use a process that was not only about cleaning but that was once considered women’s work.”

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Book: Harriet Hatfield

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Book: Julia Wolf

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Book: Carrie

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Book: Lolita

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Book: Bovary

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Book: Fanny Hill

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Book: Go Ask Alice

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vhcle magazine / www.vhcle.com

vhcle Issue 06 coming this summer June 2011

Vhcle Issue 5  

ISSUE 5 -- Featured Articles: Growing Old in a Young Man’s Game: Why Bands Shouldn’t Worry About Their Legacies, The Polarization of Our Pol...

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