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Posts Tagged ‘fashion’

SHELFLIFE #31A: THERE’S A SUCKER BORN EVERY SECOND

Monday, November 22nd, 2010

THERE’S A SUCKER BORN EVERY SECOND
After laughing, coughing, cutting, burning, touching and screaming–breathe. Inhale the actions you live every day. Record your most familiar thought–the one you so often have but never do. This thought is a good idea. Trade it with someone for a piece of a second they wish to forget. Exhale your idea. Inhale their memory. Live in the piece given to you–imagining the entirety of the second that surrounds it–while its supplier holds your thought and makes it concrete.

2010 fall

“If ever a second of this footage is used without our consent, we’ll have to have another conversation.”

“I never signed anything, but promise the tapes won’t show up anywhere.”

Such dialogues often devolve from there. The moments we remember via the media we make are pre-commodified. That they should exist solely as artifacts of what Fluxus Movement founder, George Maciunas, described as “Non-Art Reality” is unbelievable. It confounds those who have made professions of spectacle and habits of profiting from it. Contracts, releases and agreements now define the digestibility of the experiences we consume before we so much as lift our forks to them. Maciunas described such commercial “bourgeois sickness” as EUROPANISM. He prescribed inclusive, democratic actions and editions as creative vaccines against it.

Fluxus participant, Yoko Ono, in her 1964 book, Grapefruit, playfully urges the readers of ‘COLLECTING PIECE II’ to place someone on a stage and examine them: weighing, measuring, counting, questioning, dismembering, burning and ultimately–recording. The question of what is to be recorded is open-ended–the performer, the observer and the process each equally valid subjects. The challenge in the seventh-step of ‘COLLECTING PIECE II’ is in making a recording with the same ambivalence expressed while counting and measuring.

Actively constructing objective recordings is difficult. Recordings are reflections of impressions etched on observers by a world perpetually demanding remembrance. Recordings are both the ways we’re bruised by the things we are and the burns that scar what we compulsively remember. The most beautiful recordings are those whose subjectivity screams so subversively that not a ripple of agenda disrupts the placid illusion of their objectivity.

THERE’S A SUCKER BORN EVERY SECOND is a 24-frame memory-scar–a silent one-second performance of ‘COLLECTING PIECE II’. In the guise of a series of freely exchanged t-shirts, SUCKER re-contextualizes a VISITOR-made recording to weigh the history of its subject; presenting her dismembered–24 times–while the conviction of her words is questioned and their meaning measured. SUCKER deconstructs a forbidden moment of Non-Art Reality in the interest of enticing its viewers to channel the radical energy of its subject’s work, Grapefruit. Inciting both thought and action while re-examining how willing a collaborative public is to participate in burning idols, SUCKER presents a conduit through which participants’ good-ideas are exchanged for conceptually commodified Yokos.

To participate in this free edition, visit http://www.vdny.net/sucker


SHELFLIFE #24B: DISMAY

Friday, September 11th, 2009

I’ve been pained for a few years now by how superficial and almost categorically devoid of experimentation and innovation fashion has recently become. Tonight was FNO09 here in New York. The only schwag I left the evening with was a concerned knot of dismay in my gut.

There have been unrepeatable moments in even the recent history of fashion where technology, crisis, artistic innovation or synaesthetic translation have stimulated sincere and radical excitement in designers. The explorations of cubists, constructivists and futurists; streamlined hyper-minimal simplicity; the spiritual, moral, urban and financial decay of the late 60’s thru the 80’s; the realization that one could selectively and individually abuse consumers thru conceptually arbitrary pricing; exclusivity-smashing situationist runway performances that exploited an unrehearsed city as a catwalk; the commodification of unfashionable concepts as unwearable couture; the palpable translation of sound into clothing that then fedback into clothing to inspire sound. Anyone with even a vague memory of or interest in fashion since the 30’s can almost instantly place any of the aforementioned moments.

Then we roll up onto days like today–days that do not bode well for the creative future of fashion. Dumbing down the love and the craft that once made your work so enviable in an effort to see it grace the racks of Target is not fashion. Hiring the most immediately delicious genre-DJ of the week to really pack ’em in is not fashion. The caché you built by the drugs you did with who and where is not fashion. The celebrity trunk your publicist crammed with the contents of your showroom– guaranteeing a few choice tabloid snaps–is not fashion. Your hip photographer and his Yashica T4 click, click, clicking away at those t-shirts, jeans and tights is not fashion. The artists who once defined couture and now acquiesce to playing mannequin are not fashion. Streetwear is no longer fashion. Workwear isn’t fashion until it’s produced by some newer, faster, more durable and nano-autonomous process.

Confusing mere clothing with fashion is just as backward as confusing design with art. Art and fashion are serious mantles to grab at–ones I don’t think I’ve ever really touched. While I’ve designed lots of things and made lots of stuff, I’m not certain that I’ve yet made any art and I’m pretty sure I’ve never generated any fashion.

Couture is fashion. Concept is fashion. Conscious and unconscious stumblings into and around the ludicrous and the sublime are fashion. It’s time to stop confusing style, marketing, reach, design, cred and practical utility with fashion. Fashion is a wardrobe of impractical dilemmas excavated in secret at great temporal, emotional or monetary cost that can only be made sense of by the caretaker of the wardrobe–be they the inventor or the consumer. I for one cannot wait until that’s in vogue again.