killing denouement

musubi says it with flowers

Musubi is an art director, it seems, with little known about him/her/zir apart from a penchant for flowers. I’m kind of a huge fan of florals, perhaps I should develop some love for the fresh kind? Wikipedia tells me that in addition to being a popular Japanese sushilike snack (with a disgusting sounding Spam version in Hawaii), “Musubi is the mystical power of becoming or of creation in Shinto”. I should be writing a paper on possibly becoming dehumanised – perhaps something to work in? I wonder if every culture has its own concepts of becoming – there’s definite similarities in at least Hinduisms and probably others too. Also who it was that first started spinning about becoming before D+G – would it be Hegel? D+G as in Deleuze and Guattari that is, not Dolce and Gabbana – although come to think of it they do have quite the hyperglam factor in academia. I reckon it would be quite fun to try illustrating A Thousand Plateaus with couture outfits, one for each or each concept perhaps?

In the beginning was the language, and the language was gravity

glamming up the IDF

Is this the new face of war? It’s no secret that the Israeli Defense Forces could probably do with a PR boost these days. Their solution? A new glammed up self-refreshing banner on their english language website, featuring a slew of sexy soldier femme-fatale types, smiling and pouting at the camera, sometimes in fields of red flowers. Some of them look almost editorial, replete with artfully smudged warpaint, and the kind of careful dustings of grainy sand that you most often find in swimwear shoots. The image above is particularly striking, with its sweeping bullets and row of machine gun ammunition. Out of context, I would personally find it very difficult to identify the bullets as anything but jumbo crayon oversized sticks of kohl, perhaps the shimmery highlight kind. Sex sells, sure, but can it really sell occupation and massacre?


irena ionesco and sensuous marxism

I’m kind of blown away by these photos from French-Romanian photographer Irena Ionesco. That is to say, she was born in Paris, to Romanian immigrants, and spent her childhood in Constanta, Romania. Born in 1935, she’s most famous for her erotic nudes, as well as super ostentatious hyperdecadence in general. And, controversially, using her young daughter Eva in some of her (very eroticised) nudes – something that’s more than a little creepy even in today’s mass media fetishisation of childlike hairlessness. I’m reminded of John Berger’s book, ‘Ways of Seeing’, in which he partly discusses the differences between nakedness and nudity. I can’t find scans online, but this seems to be a fairly famous quote –

“Nakedness reveals itself. Nudity is placed on display. The nude is condemned to never being naked. Nudity is a form of dress.”

more more more

the new nouvelle vague

The recent new wavey ‘nu rave’ business is really not for me, thanks, Instead I prefer the older new wave, and am rather partial to Godard’s Bande à part myself, especially the dance scene. One day I’ll even learn it all the way through, perhaps. Today I came across what could maybe be called the New Wave(form), perhaps, with Brooklyn based conceptual artist Sakurako Shimizu‘s incredible jewellery.


paolo roversi ritratti di allora

Hmm an absence, and also an absent mind. I came across this 1998 editorial from Vogue Italia today and I’m reminded of the idea of Black Friday. Not the post Thanksgiving stupor consumerist apocalypse (but really doesn’t that walmart employee getting trampled say so much?) or the 1929 stock market collapse really either. But more like black-tongue of the plague, or genocide or concentration camps or something equally frailly horrific. The photographs -by Paolo Roversi are of course incredibly gorgeous but the models, frighteningly thin.


livin in the 90s

The last few weeks have been kind of strange, kind of characterised by a weird pre-apocalyptic silence (that has nothing to do with election hyperventilation). Sleeping every three days, and when I do sleep, missing whole days. I have been semi-repulsed by fashion over the last near-year or so yet I find my self drawn to it and everything visually embodiable lately. And maybe mostly, the 1990s and the films, and fashion that went with it (and I suspect there’s so so much I’m missing).

Things I remember like plaids around the waist and docs and small-print florals and dungarees and neon sneakers and dark lipstick on coffee cups (I’m becoming my mother) and really really wanting to be a riot grrrl. And things I don’t like the ubersleek gorgeously clean minimalism of the early side of the decade. Of course it’s retrospective nostalgia, but didn’t things seem mad fun? Like this Amy Grant video (the hat!), and remembered slushies, astroturf, pink bougainvillea and little-kid fashion shows in somebody’s Jumeirah back garden. I really miss Dubai right now, or at least its more-is-more excesses, maybe it’s the same thing.

MORE: baby, baby

fabricating matthew rodriquez
November 4, 2008, 7:50 pm
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Wooster has a heads-up on new work by Matthew Rodriguez. He says,

Paintings about hoodlum street animals, fed up plants, stray animals, rainbowed monsters, tiny chandeliers, the great pacific trash pile, the environments big problem, bling,and stories told by my grandpa.

I say this is some ultra-sick stuff. Especially the use of mixed media – not only fabric and paper but rocks, feathers, plastic bags, twigs etc too. And the development of his characters, all of which he says have voices, personalities, background histories, criminal records, and love interests, not to mention intra-cast feuds. There’s politics in there too, but in a wonderfully accessible super-colourful way – kinda like a Mr Men series (remember those!); lovable monsters with a conscience?


spin cycle trauma and stuffed rabbits
June 24, 2008, 7:24 pm
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Someone once described the doing-your-laundry vibe as coming out smelling faintly of fabric softener and boredom. For me, this lately involved adding mild terror into the mix. Cue trauma in dollar-swipe increments, with clothes that bleed rather profusely. Which is probably to be expected if I don’t ever sort my stuff by colour or shade gradiations but eh why now? Conversely, I’ve never managed to successfully shrink anything (on purpose) except jeans, which I suspect might be a function of the denim anyway and would happen regardless of any input on my part. Is there some kind of secret laundry code I’m not in on? Dry cleaning, meanwhile is a near-myth around these parts. Maybe it’s not just me – I know someone who lugs her comforter/bedding home to Boston a couple of times a semester to escape similar trauma.

I am slightly obsessed with Eugenio Recuenco’s photography as of late…

kirsty whiten feminist art – rewilding meets the glamour industry
June 19, 2008, 10:36 pm
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I came across Scottish artist Kirsty Whiten‘s incredible art today. I love that she broaches topics like female masturbation that are avoided, not only in daily society but even (at least it seems to me) in feminist discourse. The one on the left, ‘Talisman for Third Base’ even manages to incorporate the idealised 36-24-34 woman-as-applecore along with the imperial fleur de lys, amazing. Of it she’s said,

“People kept saying to me ‘this work is about vaginas’, and to me that’s such a simplification… it was about creating a celebratory object to describe something profound in a woman’s sexual life that remains completely unspoken of. It’s never described and never celebrated, especially in religious and art history. I guess I was just trying to… fill a hole,” she says, bursting into laughter.

the haram and the harem…

fashionable torture: clayton james cubitt and eating ortolans

via the artist and his model

“Eating Ortolans” by photographer Clayton James Cubitt
These images are kind of incredible in the way they literalise fashion- as- faceless- contorture, not to mention the wonderful exaggerated avian silhouettes in themselves. The last is a photo from someone I used to know in Dubai, Kris; I believe he’s now in Germany. The shoes especially recall the recentish collaboration between filmmaker David Lynch and shoe designer Christian Louboutin, of red soled fame. There’s more over at Wallpaper.
edit: these also recall

EDIT: I later came across these pictures of Japanese fetish heels, new and (very disturbingly), the geisha equivalents of old.

Most interesting perhaps is the title of the series, ‘Eating Ortolans’, which appears to reference the (highly illegal) French gourmet tradition of eating these small birds. The process involves capturing it alive, and blinding it (either physically or by placing it in a dark box) so it gorges itself. I didn’t notice this at first but if you look at Cubitt’s photos, the model is generally similarly blinded, with the quasi-gormless gawping open mouth of baby bird being fed. Once it’s a couple sizes larger, it’s drowned in Aramnac, plucked and roasted whole (more here)

Bizzarely enough, it’s then eaten with the a napkin draped over the diner’s head – ostensibly both to preserve the bird’s aroma, and to hide the gluttony and cruelty of the act from god. It was famously served at one of former French President’s François Mitterrand’s last meals, a week before he died of cancer.

Also: a really interesting post on the relationship of food to aesthetic, empathy and proximity.


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