Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: battle of algiers, bones, crass, dubai, francois robert, ghost of petrodollar bubble past, headspace, mount kimbie, music, photography, posters, punk, skeletons, zines
The weather’s really been turning lately, and with it comes new music. Or, new-old music—I’m currently reacquiring most of that late 80s extended dischord family turn to post hardcore. (And at that, can’t find Embrace anywhere). It’s not quite right though, and older hardcore and crust still seems a little too abrasive for the moment. Suggestions please? Otherwise it’s been a lot of dubstep, or post-dubstep, or whatever people are calling it lately. This weekend I saw Mount Kimbie at Public Assembly quite by accident – the first gig I’ve ben to in I don’t know how long. I don’t think I even know how to just listen to music anymore, nevermind obsessively live and consume.
Mount Kimbie though, were quite lovely, though I suspect they’re more headphone music. I don’t quite know how to categorise them – perhaps dubsteppy, but dreamier, sparser, less bassy, a little more elegiac. Almost postrockish or IDM-like in places; a weird synthesised return to being 14-15 in New Dubai, before the construction boom with just sand and petrol stations about. (A note on adjectives – I remember first picking up an Ian McEwan novel a few years ago because the back cover blurb promised it to contain ‘beautiful spare prose’. It’s still something I’ve always held as a sort of held as an unattainable ideal, though I don’t really love his writing anymore).
Regardless, a lot of personal musical excavation lately as I work on a piece on zines, curation and tumblr. I came across this 2004 interview with my sixteen year old self lately, both fascinatingly hilarious and slightly cringeworthy. Surprising, though that I wanted to go to Columbia even then – something I otherwise think of as being an October-of-senior-year quick decision. I never finished that dcumentary (“Fragments from the petrodollar bubble”) either, and have probably lost the files since. Zines, though meant the days of riot grrrl (transplanted, a decade later to the UAE), my first punk band, thinking Portland must be the centre of everything rad. Before that, though, it all began with Crass (doesn’t it for everybody), anarch(a)/peace punk, and that whole slew of female-fronted bands in the 80s in the UK. That interlocking circular symbol may have been the first stencil I ever made at that. Speaking of which, VICE (!) have a huge spread on CRASS, mostly focussing on the fallout with the remastered material. Eh.
The human skeleton is a powerful visual symbol. It’s come to represent the “remains”, what’s left after life has ended, after the flesh and mind cease to function. In my photographs, I use the human skeleton as the formal visual element, the subject of the image. In this manner, the skeleton is both the protagonist and antagonist (the Buddhist notion about, “the duality of man” seems apt).
For each photograph I disassemble the modular system of the skeleton and reconfigure the elements to form a new image. These images are man made. Images of aggression, images that cause suffering, devastation and conflict. I intend the images to plant the notion of restraint and charity in an effort to promote peace and tolerance.
A skeleton acquired in the mid 90s from a school auction was pulled out of the closet when the recession gave him a lot of free time. Educational skeletons are wired together,as it transpires, so he sold or traded it for boxes of bones, set up some aerial shots, and boom. You do have to wonder where these bones come from, not unlike the slightly creepy Bodies exhibit? Restraint, charity, and peace-and-tolerance? Sure, though I wouldn’t really consider myself a pacifist. Buddhist duality of man I think he misunderstands, or perhaps I do. Regardless, I really dig these images visually. (Although I’m a little thrown by how painterly rib bones looka t this angle). A good friend of mine has been thinking a lot about excavating virtual media, using an archaeological methodology, which is a pretty seductive/intriguing idea. This, I think, provides a nice intimation.
I am, of course reminded of the memorable quote from Battle of Algiers – “donnez-nous vos bombardiers et nous vous cederons nos couffins”. The posters, as it turns out, are pretty attractive:
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