For those in town or passing through, I highly recommend visiting Luce to see Asta's work. She works predominantly with moving image, but also makes gestural, often primary-coloured collage and installations. Her visually and aurally stunning video work Lobbies (2012) - the Danmark-born artist's graduate work at Central Saint Martins College in London - premiered at Copenhagen International Documentary Film Festival, and has subsequently been exhibited in Sydney and New York City.
This exhibition, Asta's first in Italy, runs through Friday 12 July 2013 and will include a new video work titled Camera Shake (2013), which, as the press release explains "encompasses a sequence of recordings of different facades and buildings but the camera is violently shaken and this distorts the image which is then somewhat restored in the editing of the video; here Asta re-positions every single frame (25 fps) in an attempt to sustain a still shot of the subject, independent of the initial composition of the original frame of the video. The video-image appearing in Camera Shake fluctuates between surface-abstraction and object-representation, revealing the edge of the video-frame ..."
Camera Shake furthers Asta's sustained interest in architectural forms, spatial configuration and particularly the experience of these physical and social structures as images (as in Lobbies and an earlier work Gordon House (Lights) (2010), among others). In addition to her new video, Asta will show a wall of works installed on sheetrock/drywall. The press release suggests of the latter work:
"The installation is at once image and wall, autonomous and self-contained in its dismissal of the existing architecture of the gallery. Ruminating on the system of display, this intervention presents itself as part of a greater system of images."
The press release further describes: "The conditions of the frame (be that one from a video or an actual physical boundary) allow the materials of the works and their inherent metaphorical abilities to be formalized, thus offering a view into our understanding of images as well as technological acuity in obtaining visible impressions."
A must-see show if you can! If you're visiting Venezia for that other big art event, why not consider driving or taking the train to Torino for this and other great galleries in the city? It will be worth it.
'The traditional idea of the subject is that he is the master of the world: a bourgeois enlightenment subjectivity which is detached and able to judge phenomena. This is a brutally abbreviated traditional idea of the subject. But the subject is also something that is always subjected and defined by modes of subjection rather than subjectification. Any subject is always in this tension. But I think that in this globalisation/digitalisation/emergence of post-Fordist conditions of labour, the order to subjectify constantly and to produce yourself as a subject is stronger than ever. You have to consume all the time to become a subject. You have to construct your subjectivity by social media and so on. It’s basically a full-time job to produce yourself as a subject.
Simultaneously so many emancipatory movements have always claimed this position of subject. Everyone wanted to be a subject. It is fair enough and there is a reason for that. On the other hand, just giving up trying to become a subject and trying to ally with other participants in the social sphere such as inanimate objects, or processes of production, or data protocols seems at the moment more interesting. I’m just following up on things that people have said since the ’20s. My initial cue comes from several texts by Walter Benjamin on mimesis and affinity and of course in recent decades many, many people have started thinking about objects and the forces inherent in objects. I’m just trying to apply this to my practice, and also to find different ways of relating to the world rather than becoming a subject.'
'It is necessary for the system to continually expand the range of things considered "art", partly for economic reasons (planned obsolescence!) but mainly to alienate and thus render safe, areas of existence which are dangerous to the existing social structure, which expose the contradiction between supposed cultural values and the violence and exploitation they disguise. Once an activity can be accommodated within the scheme of "cultural patronage" it can obviously have no real force as a political gesture.
Cultural change and political change form an equation, which results in each being the cause of the other while impossible without the other. The substitution of "official" culture" for everyday life, real culture, in the general consciousness, is the means capitalist society uses to break the connection. Since we are all brought up with this false view of cultural history we are alienated from our real history and are therefore unable to interpret our experience vis-à-vis society properly.
The "official" values which must be rejected are often so ingrained as to be mistaken for reality.
The instilled values of capitalist-technological society lead us to make value judgments which bring about the division between "culture" and the way we actually live ...'
-- Ian Milliss, 'New artist?', Object & Idea: new work by Australian artists, National Gallery of Victoria 1973
1.1. The avant garde and experimental, the poetic and intellectual are being denigrated and sidelined because publishing is not commercial enough in its current state. The lowest common denominator is the only one getting paid.
1.2. The Book (qua text, literature, fiction) offers writers or literature a fruitful domain for experimenting with words; and the Book in turn can be treated as an exhibition space in itself.
1.3. We see ourselves working therefore with Novelist Visual Artists. Or Visual Essayists. Or artists. Or whatever.
2. The digital turn in publishing offers possibilities that have yet to be fully explored and mapped out. However the printed book is the domain of choice due to the haptic nature of printed matter.
2.1. To decide to make physical Books one must do so to the highest possible standards. Form matters, content matters – design & production matter.
2.1.1. And in making this decision to make a physical book, we realise that one is working with a form under attack – Books no longer hold a monopoly. We find a beautifully melancholic poetry hidden in this fact – that books have become decadent. This in turn opens new possibilities: is there anything more wonderful than the luxury of the futile, the pointless and the useless? That which cannot be read, understood, that which accumulates no knowledge, no power in the traditional, reactionary way: to embrace this is to embrace a great FREEDOM.
2.2. We continually want to re-invent the Book.
2.2.1. We put ISBNs on anything if we term it to be a Book.
3.The political is everywhere, even when it’s not to be found.
3.2. While the legacy of a hubristic and colonial Europe of the Enlightenment continues to wreck havoc across the globe, solutions, sympathy, empathy and interest should be continually sought after and advanced.
3.3. Such quests should be carried out in the abstract currencies of: Internet social exchanges, blogs, forums of various media, group emails, Facebook, active travel and live readings (including long winded Q&As hors sujet), exhibitions, vernissages, touring exhibitions, concerts, screenings, collective writing activities, public protests, voting etc etc.
3.4. NEW FORMS ARE ALWAYS NEEDED! NEW IDEAS OF THE BOOK ARE ALWAYS NEEDED!
3.4.1. New forms of reading, new forms of loving, new forms of eating, etc, are always needed!
4. FREEDOM does not equal personal freedom (cultural traditions, social contracts, etc).
4.1. Making money is not the most important outcome, by-product or even nice surprise of BDP’s activities. On the contrary.
4.2. It is important to always endeavor to have fun. Together.
4.3. Generosity of spirit, thought and ideas should permeate all activity.
4.4. So called ‘haters’, ‘narcissists’, ‘hipsters’ are all accepted as inevitable. Together, with fun, individually each can be overcome.
There are times when publishing is, in itself, immediately a political act. Are these times with us now? Those who answer yes are perhaps those who take a chance when told that there are no chances to take. They are not bothered by profit (economic, personal or otherwise) and care radically for the possible. Those who are inclined in this way, who lean in this way (and who possibly dare to be pure inclination) are what Copy Press need. We need your appetite. We need your talents and skills. We need each project (and let a thousand bloom) to form a we that is a commune of talents and skills that comes together for as long as it takes.
The two contenders for the top job (yes, we live in a 'democracy'; there are only two choices!) are current Prime Minister, Julia Gillard of the Australian Labor Party (ALP) and the man featured in the video below, Tony Abbott of the Liberal Party of Australia.
This video, uploaded to Facebook by one Cormac O'Riordan and shared by circa 56,000 people, is a must-watch - especially for anyone with even the slightest doubt that Gillard is the woman for the job:
And what the heck, while I'm at it, as a counter-point, may I humbly remind you of Ms. Gillard's inspring speech of 8 October 2012, where she rightly labelled Mr. Abbott a misogynist, among other things:
Lastly, to finish, a quote from Paul Keating (Prime Minister of Australia, 1991-96):
'I mean, if Tony Abbott ends up the Prime Minister of Australia, you've got to say "God help us". Truly an intellectual nobody, and no policy ambition. Is that all there is? You know the song, Is That All There Is?'
'What’s troubling is the ease with which the institutions of global art have appeared open to capture, lubricated by a mono-tongue amenable to a repugnant smoothing over of rights abuses. The triumph of International Art English is that it is now possible, on some of contemporary art’s most hallowed stages, to hold forth with arguments so yellow they make Pat Buchanan look like George Orwell.
And speaking of George Orwell, this art-language exegesis is hardly groundbreaking. More than a half-century ago he famously warned, in “Politics and the English Language,” of the dangers presented by a degraded language, a smokescreen through which even the most offensive political strategies can be made palatable. Ai Weiwei may yet pay with his life for his artistic subversion, as prisoners of conscience have and will in the UAE, China, and the world over. International Art English is not a cute inside joke, or merely a specialist’s dialect impenetrable to laymen. It is, as demonstrated last Tuesday, a real language spoken by real people who use it to sanctify oppression.'
With a nod to Louis Lumière's 'Workers Leaving the Factory', artist Andrew Norman Wilson has created a fascinating HD video titled Workers Leaving the Googleplex (2009-11). A disturbing comment on labour-relations in Google world, this 11 minute exposé is a must-see for anyone who still thinks the powers of Google are benign.
"If art is going to insert itself directly within these structures of communicative capitalism, then it needs to make explicitly clear its relationship to this capitalism. Social networking tools, and indeed the wider technologies of web 2.0, are sold to us within a narrative of emancipation; they are the promise of instant feedback, the ability to keep the world updated as to ‘what’s happening’, in real time. They are the harbingers of horizontal democracy. Jodi Dean operates a salient critique of this fantasy, however, emphasizing the extent to which communication today functions as a primarily economic form, and as such an all-consuming ideology: “Capitalism is our fixed reality”. This is the entire melancholy of Twitter, as one social media example among many: it becomes not what we say that’s important, but that we keep saying it. It’s like the feeding of the 5000, with one piece of bread passed between everyone as no one dares ingest it, all then stopping at the 1st century Palestinian version of Taco Bell on the way home. The result is infinite exchangeability, zero engagement, in which “communicative exchanges, rather than being fundamental to democratic politics, are the basic elements of capitalist production.
To replicate these models in our art is to perpetuate the capitalism that is resulting in systematic social divides on both local and global scales that have abstracted our social relations for the gross profit of an arbitrary few. Claire Bishop argues for the criticality of her delegated performances as one of sadist transgression, in which the perversity embodied by institutions and presented as a norm is revealed through a parallel perversity, which by contrast is parsed as an anomaly. Certainly we can say this about Santiago Sierra; arguably it is true of much of [Hans] Haacke’s work, too. Yet when the economic reality is becoming progressively more perverse, this becomes a terrible one-upmanship. We need an art that does more than make visible the already evident.
Art needs to see itself as not just reflective of everyday reality, but recognize that it is everyday reality; that the systems of labor it perpetuates are the systems of labor of lived society. Transgression isn’t working; and surely we reach a point where we realize it’s no longer a sadist perversity that’s of historical urgency right now, but the production and reproduction of a better reality across all forms of life."
Reality Considerations (for the sake of) was an exposition that ran from 9 November through 2 December 2012 at the gallery 55 Sydenham Rd. It included pieces by artists Filipa César, Bea Fremderman, Georgia Kaw, Asta Meldal Lynge and Yasmin Smith. There were one-off performances by artists Brian Fuata (17.11.12) and Matte Rochford (1.12.12), as well as a conversation on fashion between Amelia Groom and Eleanor Weber (24.11.12).
I recently wrote a review of an exhibition that happened at Breenspace in Sydney from 30 November through 22 December 2012. The show was titled 'On collaboration' and featured the work of Angela & Hossein Valamanesh and Raafat Ishak & Tom Nicholson.
'If we could try to experience love as a quality – like compassion or courage – and focus less on love as an event, something that happens, then love would belong to us, rather than being dependent on us belonging to someone.'
If you're in Sydney, be sure to check out the exhibition and pick up a copy of the catalogue, which includes texts by Wystan Curnow, Nick Garner, Matthew Hanson and Marian Tubbs. For more information, visit the Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/193668247442072.
The exhibition follows on from the screening at Whitechapel Gallery on Thursday 10 January 2013 of Silva's film, Une affaire de creux et de bosses (2011-), a visual treat accompanied by the olfactory experience of 'Parfum à la Guillotine' - a contemporary recreation (by Portuguese perfumer Lourenço Lucena's L'Parfumeur) of a perfume developed to counter the decrease in perfume sales during the French revolution. The exhibition - which expands on the ideas raised in Une affaire de creux et de bosses via a publication, a text and a video piece - runs through Saturday 9 February 2013.
As Laia explains eloquently in the press release:
'In the exhibition at the Mews Project Space the artist explores her interest in the concept of the public. Problematizing aspects of its porousness and vagueness, for example, in how it envelops contradictions between ideas of citizenship, conceptions of “public space", property and human rights notions of viewership and spectatorship.
The four prints that comprise the publication combine images taken from the same catalogue as those used in Une affaire de creux et de bosses with four excerpts from the writings on fashion by Flávio de Carvalho, published here for the first time in English after their original publication in the Brazilian periodical Diário de São Paulo in 1956.
The set expands the video screening Une affaire de creux et de bosses drawing a dialogue between the public/citizenship dialectic and a history of forms in fashion ... These associations extend to the video in which the artist uses de Carvalho’s reading of jewelry, such as necklaces, as incorporating the forms of slave chains, specifically a type of bangle still currently referred to as 'slave' in Portuguese (escrava) and Spanish (esclava). In the discrete loops of rotating gold and iron chains, appears also this afterimage of the colonial money used by the Portuguese, French and British in colonial trades ...
Also present in the exhibition, a text piece explores the friction between public and people, providing an entry point for and encapsulating the overarching discourse of the show. “P/p” continues Silva’s reflection on the idea of public, expanding her analysis of the body and the stage through the incorporation of topics related to appearance, style and consumerism.'
SAME is both a collaborative process and a publication, where roles of artist/designer/curator/writer are jumbled and the resulting work is a non-authored, unlimited edition, no rights reserved, 300-page object/book containing selected pictures (collated over the months on SAME's Facebook profile, Merj Ness), multi-translated texts by other people, and an installation at FELTspace in Adelaide (running 9 through 26 January 2013).
This was all made possible thanks to The Writing Project, coordinated by Polly Dance of FELTspace. This project invited four groups of four artist/designer/curator/writer teams from around Australia to produce something that thinks about what 'critical arts writing' might be. Here's some sneak previews from SAME:
The project's launch will be this Wednesday 9 January 2013 at FELTspace, 12 Compton Street, Adelaide, South Australia 5000. The launch commences at 5pm with floor talks by some of those involved (see below). Then, on Friday 11 January 2013 at 6pm there will be a more formal panel discussion with representatives from each group. The FELTspace presentation, including display of each group's project and SAME's exhibition-component, will be on show through Saturday 26 January 2013, but the publications shall live on.
The four selected 'teams' include SAME (Sydney, New South Wales) and:
'Love in its turn swells the illusion of unity. Most of the time it gets fucked up and miscarries. Its songs are crippled by fear of always returning to the same single note: whether there are two of us, or even ten, we will finish up alone as before. What drives us to despair is not the immensity of our own unsatisfied desires, but the moment when our newborn passion discovers its own emptiness.
The insatiable desire to fall in love with so many pretty girls is born in anguish and the fear of loving: we are so afraid of never escaping from meetings with objects. The dawn when lovers leave each other's arms is the same dawn that breaks on the execution of revolutionaries without a revolution. Isolation à deux cannot confront the effect of general isolation. Pleasure is broken off prematurely and lovers find themselves naked in the world, their actions suddenly ridiculous and pointless. No love is possible in an unhappy world.
The boat of love breaks up in the current of everyday life.
Are you ready to smash the reefs of the old world before they wreck your desires? Lovers should love their pleasure with more consequence and more poetry.'
-- Raoul Vaneigem, The Revolution of Everyday Life [Traité de savoir-vivre à l’usage des jeunes générations], 1967
If anyone is looking for a great new font, ZXX is the one!
Designed by Sang Mun, ZXX functions like an obstacle course for online surveillance machines as they scour our texts for marketing and 'other' purposes. Instead of allowing words to be read clearly, ZXX provides four levels of disguise after the standard Sans model: Camo, False, Noise and Xed. Any or all of these can be used/combined to make it more difficult for your words to be intercepted by surveillance programs and the like.
It seems to my elementary understanding that such programs pull out keywords and triggers from users to generate a profile of our (online) identity that fits with a binary classification model. This product or that product; criminal or innocent; pervert or researcher. Whether this is so a company can market you the ideal tummy trimmer you never knew you didn't need, or so that a government can trace your personal emails - do we really want them reading everything? It's not a question of 'having nothing to hide' but rather of the right to privacy. And that is not criminal.
Visit z-x-x.org for more information and watch the clip below for the designer's explanation of the project:
Thanks to designer Robert Milne of RAINOFF fame for informing me of ZXX!
O living always, always dying!
O the burials of me past and present,
O me while I stride ahead, material, visible, imperious as ever;
O me, what I was for years, now dead, (I lament not, I am content;)
O to disengage myself from those corpses of me, which I turn and
look at where I cast them,
To pass on, (O living! always living!) and leave the corpses behind.
-- Walt Whitman (1819-1892), 'O Living Always, Always Dying', Leaves of Grass, 1855
Artist Benjamin Carey sent me this text in August 2011 and I've been meaning to post it ever since. I remember feeling really excited and inspired by it at the time. And, although there are passages that read perhaps slightly too optimistically, nothing that has happened in the last sixteen months has convinced me that Carey was wrong in the judgments and sentiments he expresses in Post-Digital Ghost Heretics, which resounds as a kind of manifest. As he writes:
'With the deployment of the new “space”, the digital crèches dubiously titled (online) social networks, or sometimes even shamelessly referred to as social media – the Disgracebook – with this invention the Board Room has finally succeeded in wringing from the consumer the information it needs but cannot command about private real life. A new quantity, depth and complexity of information, which was not long ago only a dream of the Marketing Profession, and one which was financially compensated, is now surrendered to it free-of-charge every day, every minute and second in every update, through technological devices specifically designed and promoted in their capacity for connectivity – the very means and fabric of this informational exchange surveillence.'
Carey claims the 'post-Digital ghost' is the 'ascendant citizen', s/he who disregards the lore of Economics as it has been ordained by the self-anointed Market-priests, these ghosts commit heresy towards the dogma of capital accumulation, and compromise not their joy in the name of inane productivity and financial reward.
There are many texts dealing with these sentiments going around, some embracing the internet in its capacity to subvert the monopolisation of knowledge and the financialisation/marketisation of sociality - i.e. through alternative, self-produced websites, etc. Some more suspicious, like Carey's, of the enclosure that occurs with private information being extracted and instrumentalised for the purposes of corporate profit and governance.
Steve Rushton identifies these tendencies in his essay 'Feedback and Self-Performance' in Masters of Reality (Sternberg 2012), where he discusses the equivalence of producer and consumer, notably in reality television, but also in so-called social media websites such as Facebook. He flags the way that the dream of the 'countercultural' cyber-revolutionaries and anti-corporate artist/activists of the 1960s and 1970s has become the nightmare of anyone feeling ill-at-ease in the 21st century surveillance society:
'It is ironic that the abolition of the space between production and consumption ... was the dream of the architects of the critical, self-initiated media that grew out of the counterculture of the 1960s. They wanted to see an end to the grip that the networks and advertisers held over the industry. Central to this critique was the notion that to break the circuit of the monopoly of production it was necessary to dive into the feedback loop of self-production, to create non-hierarchical networks.'
Needless to say, this very 'dive' is the same one those monopolies are taking daily - with seemingly minimal risk - profiting from the imperative of self-production upon which our society insists, while concurrently brandishing the supposed consumer-empowerment of screen media's feedback loop/self-help circus (i.e. these techno-corporations believe they are doing you a favour!). One must ask: who are you producing content for really, what information are you offering, why, how will it be used against you, and how much does your notion of selfhood rely on a fabricated digital platform owned by someone else?
'Let’s live in unison far apart yet always together.
Or maybe strip away our worked and reworked ephemera. Risk being left alone with out our knitted selves, bodies, frames. Just us. Not even ‘us’; me sitting opposite you, you sitting opposite me. In a room. New frame.'
Let's stay on our toes! (With some Gina X Performance's 'Exhibitionism' from 1978, a prescient message ...)
Back in September I made a post about an exhibition that was held at Tin Sheds Gallery in Sydney called Crisis Complex (see that link for more info and to watch documentation of exhibition, artists and related events, including Mark Fisher's wonderful discussion of The Otolith Group's 'Anathema').
As I mentioned in that post, I contributed a text titled 'Crisis Complex: text in three parts, out of time' to the exhibition catalogue, which was edited by curators Laura McLean and Sumugan Sivanesan.
Please click the pic above of the link below to read my text and download should you wish.
However we live, there is always more. We do not know of what a body is capable, nor how it can live. The alternatives of contentment (I have arrived) and hopelessness (There is nowhere to go) are two sides of the same misguided thought: that what is presented to us is what there is. There is more, always more.
The press release explains: 'Utilizing audio-visual and sculptural material, Melissa Bugarella Lazzaro [Italy, 1981] explores ideas of memory and its time-transfiguration into fantasy and desire in relation to technological and personal images.'
The brilliant Mute Magazine have launched a crowdfunding campaign to raise money they urgently need to continue paying their wonderful writers, without whose work Mute could not go on. Or at least not in the capacity it has been functioning to date, namely as a rare space of really critical, confrontational, alternative ideas, text and politics. With this in mind, it is vital people take a stance on the payment of fees - for writers and all cultural workers. Watch the video:
What is Mute planning? [from MetaMute.org]
With this additional funding, we intend to develop and refine key areas of analysis and coverage which help to stir up complacent thinking around politics, technology, labour, the city, art, music and everything in between. This coverage will continue to target:
- The materiality of production which underlies our ‘immaterial times’ and the fantasy of ‘living on thin air’
- The production of culture within the cramped spaces of standardised technologies, neoliberalised institutions, post-modernism’s exhaustion of forms and austere times
- The depth of capitalism’s crisis which no amount of Euro bailouts nor ‘march of the makers’ will fix
- The impasse of organisation and revolution after the demise of the workers’ movement and within ‘decentralised’ and globalised networks
- The enclosure and repurposing of the commons - from the human body to the World Wide Web to the National Health Service to the Lammas Lands of East London
- The ‘creative economy’ and its cannibalisation of resistant forms, such as participation, history from below, dematerialisation and self-organisation
- The correlation and discontinuity between new dynamics in capitalism and aesthetic practices
'You have hardly started living, and yet all is said, all is done. You are only twenty-five, but your path is already mapped out for you. The roles are prepared, and the labels: from the potty of your infancy to the bath-chair of your old age, all the seats are ready and waiting their turn. Your adventures have been so thoroughly described that the most violent revolt would not make anyone turn a hair. Step into the street and knock people’s hat off, smear your head with filth, go bare-foot, publish manifestos, shoot at some passing usurper or other, but it won’t make any difference: in the dormitory of the asylum your bed is already made up, your place is already laid at the table of the poète maudit; Rimbaud’s drunken boat, what a paltry wonder: Abyssinia is a fairground attraction, a package trip. Everything is arranged, everything is prepared in the minutest detail: the surges of emotion, the frosty irony, the heartbreak, the fullness, the exoticism, the great adventure, the despair. You won’t sell your soul to the devil, you won’t go clad in sandals to throw yourself into the crater of Mount Etna, you won’t destroy the seventh wonder of the world. Everything is ready for your death: the bullet that will end your days was cast long ago, the weeping women who will follow your casket have already been appointed.'
-- Georges Perec, A Man Asleep, 1967 (translated from the French 1990)
See also the beautiful film version of Un Homme Qui Dort (1974), directed by Georges Perec & Bernard Queysanne:
Oi, Sydney! A must-see show of recent works by artist Mary MacDougall will be presented at Society from 15:00 this Saturday 22 September 2012. Mary will be exhibiting new painting works on hand-made ceramic tiles. You can also see some examples of these beautiful pieces on her Tumblr.
In addition to Mary's tiles, Saturday afternoon will see a 'discrete performance' by The Bowles occur at Society. As the press release explains:
'The Bowles were a trio active in 2008 consisting of Matthew P. Hopkins, Christopher Schueler (R.I.P.) and Mary MacDougall. An EP of The Bowles has just been released by the esteemed KYE label and a limited number of copies will be available on the day. The EP is an overview of the group's approach to song making and includes dense tape pieces, ramshackle wandering folk ditties, and exquisite corpse style lyric workings.'
There will also be food and drinks on offer, a perfect way to complete the line-up for Kitchen Tiles and some Bowles. You will find Society and all of this wonder at 6 Botany Road, Alexandria. For more infos, see the Facebook event. Highly recommended!
This is my first fashion post in quite a long time. And it comes as an instinct. Because, for the first time in about seven or eight years, I didn't realise New York Fashion Week had started, which means I didn't know (i.e. it wasn't relevant to me that) the Spring fashion shows had begun. And in fact New York is already over and right now London is on; next will be Milan, then Paris. Once upon a time this was totally given knowledge and something for which I waited the long gap between Autumn/Winter and Spring/Summer shows with bated breath.
I feel this realisation comes as some kind of odd state of affairs. It makes me feel slightly disconnected with the thing that got me interested in everything in the first place (fashion). It makes me feel nostalgic for the days when I would religiously trawl the Fashion Spot forums, Style.com, Models.com and numerous other blogs and websites that would inform me of everything happening in the world of fashion as soon as it happened. Particularly during the shows. I guess nothing much has changed, really, except I look at other blogs and websites. It has been a progressive thing, definitely, yet it still comes as no less of a surprise to me that I should have forgotten entirely that the Fashion Weeks were on! This feels like 'a moment', as they say in the industry.
Just now I spent some time on Style.com, looking at the current Spring/Summer 2013 collections (here's my picks of Alexander Wang and Theyskens' Theory, above), and I realise my love of fashion is still there. Though I definitely wouldn't look at every single thing everyone has done anymore - both because I don't have time (!) and I'm simply not that interested. I'm also a lot more cynical and critical but, funnily, when I listen to some of the Style.com videos I think they would make good contemporary art works (or maybe I think that they sound like how contemporary art talk sounds, just with a different vocabulary?).
What is actually fabulous about fashion is that they can use phrases like 'amphetamine-precision' to refer to designer clothes without irony or self-consciousness; they are actually crazy. They are not even attempting to distance themselves from the absurdness - the 'vacuousness' - of their passion, like many contemporary art people are when they try self-consciously to justify the art they love (or the systems they criticise but uphold) in terms other than absurd ones; they deny the craziness.
It is crazy that Marc Jacobs can say 'coolness ... it's not manufactured, there are girls that just have it'; that Linda Fargo can say 'I was thinking about the bumster'; that Mickey Boardman can say 'they were very youth-quake and very old-establishment at the same time'. I love it. This is the true craziness of our time that art should admit. I'm not saying it's revolutionary at all but, look at this, would this not be the same very thing some hip young artist would use to comment ironically on the state of the world, on linguistic failure, on the neurosis of life under capitalism? Well, fashion has already done it, sans irony:
Anyway, In lieu of actually writing about any of the collections I've looked at so far (needless to say Wang and Theyskens are two stand outs), I thought I'd just draw your attention to some posts on fashion-related stuff I've done in recent years that may be of interest.
This is pretty interesting if you consider it in terms of the shift away from fashion that has been happening over the last few years for me, it is also interesting if you replace every word 'fashion' with the word 'art' (do it) - same shit, different day: http://raddestrightnow.blogspot.com/2009/08/direction-al.html
Obviously I could go on and on with these links, these are only relatively recent ones, there are endless more buried in the depths of this weblog that would be quite amusing to read, indeed! In any case, this has all been very self-indulgent but maybe there is something to be said for recontextualising some aspects of your 'history' when you are confronted with them. For me this is in no way a question of rejecting fashion or claiming that part of my life is over - in fact I feel fashion will always be a part of my life - but rather just acknowledging the ways interests, opinions, approaches, contexts, etc., change and shift over time. This is not a negation but instead an avowal of how all these varying paths are in fact always here, in some way, presently.
I'll leave you with an image from one of my first ever fashion shoots, photographed, styled and edited by me, the model is Louise Eddie and this was taken in 2006. It also became RRN's first every Christmas card that same year (nice graphic skills). So, an untimely Happy New Year to you, too!
EDIT: This Style.com review by Maya Singer uses the words 'dabbling Marxist' (unironically), seemingly refering to the writer herself (!): style.com/fashionshows/review/S2013RTW-EWICKSTEAD. Wow. Though, in the end, she still thinks the '.0001 percent' dress well.