Category Archives: fashion

Zurker the Zucker(berg) punch…

Still a lot to be worked out but OK, why not gamble on FB not even being here in 8 years (as reported in the SMH today) and join this other (maybe nicer) pyramid scheme social networking site. I’m happy enough to say my invite is from Stewart Home – so get in early enough and it might not fall over on you – link page here: http://www.zurker.co.uk/i-226925-yvgyvoykwn

‘Complicity’ essay for Assembly catalogue 2000

Click on the pages to enlarge and read.

Market Project on Banks(y)

Alistair Gentry: To me it relates pretty closely to the banks being “too big to fail”, I think in this country-

John Hutnyk: Banksy is too big to fail.

Alistair Gentry: Yes, Banksy IS too big to fail.

Julie Freeman: He’s actually very short.

Alistair Gentry: He’s not a big man… in any sense.

Julie Freeman: Allegedly.

From part four of the transcript of the Market Project Too Many Artists debate:

http://www.marketproject.org.uk/too-many-artists-transcript-part-iv

http://hutnyk.wordpress.com/2011/12/15/market-project-talk-transcribed/

Mutes

Increasingly David Speaks, but he still does not say anything.

That both Beckham and kate Moss remain mute icons of British glamour, automatons – impossibly beautiful, sublime skills etc., – is the culture industry standard now, where voice, or personality, is inimical to brand. The X-factor, dancing, talk show compare (not J.Ross) celebrity must not have intellect – must be a free slate upon which focus groups and under-assistant promotions reps mould media persona. No surprise that we are more and more interested in the personalities – known, lost or recently discovered – of the past (see Ursula Bogner for one of the better finds). Bring back the old Big Brother and the real Russel Brand, not the bland Hollywood Brand Brand he has so – now silently – become (has he been kidnapped by a wild Xenu-influenced offshoot of scientology or what?).

The TV show Pan-Am is the dying apotheosis of this tendency – fake emote on cue – the very criteria of successful robotics, but a robot made in the 1960s version of the future [as Fuggletronic says], not the dull dystopia of commercial time now.

(note for Kiwi).

11 theses on art and politics (#5,6,7)

IMG_2777[Thesis five, six and seven (of eleven)]:

5. Trinketization would be a diagnosis of limited responses to global reconfigurations of commodity fetishism, where affect and shopping disguise an unbroken deal with hierarchical social relations locked in, unchallenged. Where class/race/gender politics was, we now have lip-service mockery of these same themes, articulated by the celebrity/televisual machine. The contradictions of news entertainment stand starkly exposed and still without purchase. Participation in conceptual politics is voluntary and belongs to an economy of contribution (Boutang 2009) or the ‘attention theory of value’ (Beller 2006). Here circulation, valourization and expression are governed as the activity of bees – who are dying out, but architectural reflection on this process is in even shorter supply.

The contribution economy is appropriate to a Google mode of production – algorithms are enhanced by voluntary activity of ‘political’ subjects – even ones professing artistic opposition to the system. Accumulated hits (like bees visiting plants for pollen) are aggregated in the hive mind of the virtual. My attention to images accrues value for some rather than other scenes. A calculus of image and attention operates to place some scenes before us and to erase others – the significance of Mao or of the collapse of the Berlin wall would be examples.

Surplus attention, surplus value and conceptual elaboration are the machineries of representation as productivity. It is no longer a case of ‘they cannot represent themselves’ but that they are represented by way of their own activity – the algorithm is Napoleon. In the 18th Brumaire Marx offered this formula as a critique of the little nephew, not an indictment of the lumpen and the peasantry who were unorganised, but a condemnation of the opportunist organiser – that Louis Bonaparte who stood above them as their advocate, while all the time advocating only himself as Queen Bee.

6. Art engaged with politics must engage with institutions – galleries, art books, colleges, conferences – and commerce infiltrates and orchestrates every corner of this quadrant so as to show over and over again that the connection politics-to-market is reinforced with steel. Evaluations of art are then always invested, and self-awareness a false economy, still for sale, worked by the hive-mind. In London, even the most ‘political’ of (art) institutions – the Stephen Lawrence Gallery – which at present hosts a show called ‘Re-Framed’ contrasting and dialoguing between street artists and conceptual artists – stages its own branding niche marketing commercialization for attention’s sake on the basis of the old high and low art façade. Adorno had stressed that these two halves are neither halves of any particular whole, nor either immune to the saturation of industrial processes that diminish them and threaten that secret omnipresence.

7. But what is bad art? What judgement will be made of art when if fails in the service of politics because politics fails and falls short in terms of:

- aesthetic excellence, technical competence, significance, relevance, impact

The most political points made inside a certain frame – gallery, exhibition, border, cartoon – invalidates politics to the degree that it is art, even at its most critical. Billie Holiday only sings ‘Strange Fruit’. Bob Dylan’s times did not a change – and it is no real concern that this jingle now sells automobiles at a time when the automobile industry is in disarray.

Art as decoration is a demystifying containment. Desecration of art contains politics for the domestic. Wallpapers design is now as much a historical condemnation as was Duchamp’s urinal, as Jarry’s Pere Ubu. Merde. No-one even laughs uncomfortably anymore.

Art as insult. The occasions where inwardness or introspection makes for art that exceeds its own containment are the points at which we might be interested.

 

continued: http://wp.me/pcKI3-yS

We will

badgeI’m corresponding with a certain Jen O about her prospective PhD here:

Her day job in marketing reminded me of an anecdote I’ve been meaning to post:

There once was was a workshop once that was run by our marketing/consultancy people. I think this was a rather dim excersize from no doubt excessively paid chancers, but we had fun at this workshop. They asked us to break into teams and brainstorm the five main themes of Goldsmiths mission/brand. Our group had to take the slogan – ‘Goldsmiths offers a transformatory experience’ and make it more ‘edgy’. Stage one we came up with ‘Goldsmiths will change the way you think’, which is OK and I’d been using a version of this for years in introductory talks for new students (I’ve another talk coming up on Opend Day wednesday 18th Feb). But we had to report back at this meeting in front of all the college heads of departments and other tops. All fine, the then head of finance was our designated feedback person, so – with him in a bow-tie – we had him stand up and announce to the assembled heads that our second stage radicalization of that slogan – ‘we will change the way you think’ was now ‘We will fuck with your head’. Much laughter and mock shock, credit to him for doing our bidding. Needless to say, our rewritten slogan for Goldsmiths was subsequently voted down and on the strapline and on the twee little lapel buttons they made as part of the ‘rebranding’ our slogan was not adopted. The badge instead says ‘radical’ – which is of course counter-indicative [but I could not find an image of that badge on line, so will scan it tomorrow maybe, in the meantime see the random badge pic generator to the left, and even better - see here for a better viral marketing move omn Goldies part].

Solidarity

millie-yoot1The Observer of course slants the story the wrong way, always appearing to be news when it manages always to voice the ‘news’ of the ‘authorities’ (cops good; and its women and children over against ‘masked youth’ [see pic]). The saturday demonstration in London was about much more than trashing Starbucks or fashion stores, even if people did have to dress up for the occasion [see pic]. There is much to be read between the lines of this Observer puff. Violence did not ‘erupt’ – it started in Gaza. The panic did not ‘ripple’ through the crowd – it was anger at the atrocities and at the introduction of riot cops and mounted police. They say 20k, we say 100k. The relevant number is not in London: how many dead in Gaza today? Still, let’s read the report:

Violence erupts at embassy protest

Violent clashes broke out near the Israeli embassy in London yesterday as tens of thousands marched in protest against the military action in Gaza. Shop windows were smashed and police pelted with missiles by masked youths near the embassy during the largest demonstration in Britain against the Israeli offensive.

Last night, broken glass and debris littered the scene of the disturbances on Kensington High Street, where ranks of riot police waited behind locked gates near the embassy entrance.

Earlier in the evening, a number of demonstrators attacked a branch of Starbucks, smashing its front windows and ransacking it before shattering the facade of a clothes shop.

It continues here. [and must continue elsewhere: see pic]

Xmas Teaches Kids to Love Capitalism

The ideal Present has arrived.

I rarely forward “Art” projects to lists, but since its the silly season and all things are excused in the interest of the ‘festival of teaching kids to love capitalism’, I though this would make a fine Xmas present for the person who has everything. It might take a little bit of doing (perhaps by interactive media lab people), but it would be great to have one of these with which to carve Marx’s beard into the Goldies back lawn.

Find out more here

And of course, not wanting to come over all Scrooge of past, present and future, just like last year (here) I send best wishes to you for 2008.

Free Stuff

CLICK

http://www.fun-da-mental.co.uk

Three free tracks from Fun Da Mental – as always uncompromising, provocative and sincere.

1.Happy to Be Clappy- exposing the deceit of the collaborators in current times and the consequences.

2. Darfur to Disneyland – Riyadh to Washington and all those in between.

3.Guilt of the Innocence – Only FDM will deal with the issue of suicide bombing – we are all victims except the guilty ones.

See you in Belmarsh

fun da mental

feel free to forward to all including the intelligence services

Jesus Trinketizaton

This disturbingly interesting post is from youth worker Mark Oestreicher. The convolutions of owning and believing are curious indeed. I normally would not bother with god-botherin’ types, but this is almost authorization from above when he wants to get the law involved in terminologies/normative ideal typologies or whatever we might call em, that I am prone to use on the main pages of this blog, am I right? I reckon he can go ahead and copywrite “Trinketization of Jesus”, but I do hope (and pray?) he will give me a free chain to put on the altar to Trinketization that I keep in my office at Goldsmiths. Whatever the ins and outs on smoking with the lord and so on, I think the best bit is the comment on the ipod picture by Patrick… Here is Mark O’s post in its glorous entirety:

“a clarification on
the trinketization of jesus,
and, this doesn’t qualify as
jesus junk”

Friday July 06th 2007, 9:56 am
Filed under: church, humor

“so, you may know that i post these fairly irregular “jesus junk of the month” awards. they’re not monthly, in case you haven’t noticed. deal with it.

people mostly find them annoying or hilarious (as i do). but occasionally, i recieve a comment or email from someone who wonders why i feel the need to point out this stuff, because “it’s just good people”, and “can’t you just leave them alone and not buy it?” no, sorry. first, i think it’s funny stuff. but even moreso, i have a deep level of disdain for what i’m officially naming “the trinketization of jesus” (i just copyrighted that, and will be selling keychains with that phrase embossed on them in a few weeks). i’m not opposed to all products that have a christian angle to them; just those that cross the semi-fuzzy line into trinket-land. tchotchkes for jesus.

here are a few of my ‘favorites’:
the colors of faith duckey
p31 dolls
‘we are fishermen’ jesus figurines
weddings on water houseboat chapel (that’s a BIG trinket!)
the fire bible
‘your best life now’ board game
gospel golf balls
the jesus pan
jesus as a teenager painting

that said, i have a bit of hypocrisy on this subject. here it is: my stomach does not turn when the trinketization is done by someone outside christianity (most of the time). in fact, it’s at that point that i sometimes even want the product! yes, they are often kitchze. but that’s part of their charm! i bought a christian friend who smokes an ashtray with jesus’ face on it, and the phrase, “jesus hates it when you smoke”. i still think these bible jump drives are kinda fun. if they made this cross mp3 player, i might want one. i love wearing the t-shirt a friend made for me with a classical painting of jesus wearing a larry-the-cucumber t-shirt, or the one with a classical painting of jesus wearing a ys t-shirt.

and in that vein: i cannot give this “hymn book leather book cover for ipod” the coveted jjotm award. if it were in a christian bookstore, i’d disdain it. but created by a company called “suck, u.k.”, somehow i love it. sorry. my bad. jesus is probably rolling his eyes in my direction right now”.

(ht to seth for the ipod cover link)

5 Comments so far
Leave a comment

the best part of that hymn book ipod case is that in the picture, the selected tune is a gorillaz track. from the album ‘demon days’. classic.

Comment by patrick 07.06.07 @ 11:53 am

Makes sense to me. This stuff kills me. Christian bottled water? I mean, seriously … let’s take the greatest gift in the history of all time, a relationship with God, and try to make money on it any way we can. Nobody is getting a testa-mint (Christian candy), and finally realizing they need a savior. I always try to explain to believers that this stuff makes them look like the extreme Star Trek fans. The ones that everyone else thinks is weird because they have bumper stickers, t-shirts, and Vulcan candy (which, by the way, I would totally buy in a heart beat). In other words, it only attracts other Star Trek geeks – to the rest of the world, it’s a giant “steer clear” sign!

Comment by Matthew McNutt 07.06.07 @ 2:11 pm

Marko – you should see the Youtube I’ve come across entitled Jesus Junk

Comment by Gman 07.06.07 @ 3:12 pm

This really does make a good ipod disguise. Someone sees an ipod on the seat of your car, he/she may take it. But who’s gonna nick a hymn book. Not b/c its a “religious” item (God will strike you dead, if you steal a hymn book!) – but your average joe just isn’t in the market for hymns these days.

Comment by doodah 07.06.07 @ 5:22 pm

The Jesus bobblehead doll is still my favorite. I received one a few months ago from Ship of Fools.

one evening on a Melbourne side street there was a bloody foreigner… (though this is a bit of an in-joke … for an in-group of one)

Kufiya-spotting

This great post and meme by Ted Swedenburg deserves your attention. I used to play this game but never thought to collect – this is trinketization as well after all. One of my favourites was the news reporter on Japanese television when I worked in Nagoya, who presented all his Baghdad reports during 2003 wearing a Kufiya. Some people have mistaken Jade Goody’s pirate scarf on Big Brother as one as well, but I think we can let that pass – great as Jade is, her support for Pirates will do. Aki Nawaz of course is a prominent UK wearer, among millions in the UK, but though my own is now a bit tatty as its one of my oldest items of clothing, it does come out often. I got it from Palestine Solidarity in Melbourne in 1986 – we ran ads for their campaign group in the journal I edited, Criticism, Heresy and Interpretation. Anyway, this is Ted’s latest addition, gently mocking ‘Urban Outfitters’, but it’s worth pursuing the other posts as this one is number 12 in his series.

Kufiyaspotting #12: Urban Outfitters Markets Kufiya as “Anti-War Woven Scarf


Urban Outfitters’ “early spring” catalogue is now online, and the featured item in Men’s Accessories is the (Palestinian) kufiya, marketed as an “anti-war woven scarf” (thanks, Hisham).

If you click on the photo of the male model, you will find the kufiya (only $20), in the classic mode, checkered black-and-white, but also available in red, turqoise (my fave), and brown.

It’s remarkable that “anti-war” is now so mainstream that Urban Outfitters feels comfortable using it as a marketing tool. By contrast, back in the late ’80s, the Banana Republic catalogue carried an item called the “Israeli Paratroopers Bag.” It’s also remarkable that despite even though the Palestinians, since the onset of the al-Aqsa Intifada, have been indelibly re-associated with terrorism and suicide bombings, the Palestinian kufiya remains so deeply rooted in hipster clothing style and the outfits of oppositional movements that it remains hip/commercial/”resistive” symbol. Something on the order of Che Guevara t-shirts, full of contradictions, capable of making money, yet still giving off the whiff of danger. Probably it’s the hint of danger and the exoticism that, combined, (still) makes the kufiya marketable.

I’d hate, of course, to see wearing the “anti-war scarf” as accessory substitute for actual activism against the war/occupation. (And my friend Joel Gordon reminds me: the kufiya “originally” symbolizes resistance, and in fact, armed resistance (the Palestinian revolt of 1936-39, the fedayeen of the sixties and seventies), not “anti-war.”

No doubt this is also related to the “hipness” of things Islamic today; an article by Jill Hamburg Caplan will soon appear in New York magazine, and I’ll comment on it when it comes out.

I wrote an article on the kufiya as style back in 1992, in an article in Michigan Quarterly Revies, and I discuss its uses, in Palestine and the US, in my book, Memories of Revolt. I’ve also been attempting to document various “sitings” of the kufiya in this blog”.

Great stuff as ever Ted – hence reposted in full (of awe).

bye bye – Chicago’s storm troopers

Why should Blair go now? on the 3rd anniversary of the start of the Iraq war? Nah, head in the sand as ever.

The Guardian front page today “should” have been this picture from Chicago, rather they buried it small on page 15 – the tiniest of 6 snaps. OK, so maybe there’s a devious being tampering with my edition and this pic is somehow not ‘really’ from yesterday’s anti-war rally in Chicago, but is rather a still from the Star Wars after show party from 19 years ago. (Not that they needed riot cops to police that event – in the middle of the land of the free this speaks volumes).

What do we have to do to crush Bliar and those like him – get some posh French students over here maybe?
.

Show Neon Fashion

From the most recent edition of the journal Left Curve (No 29)

Show Neon Fashions
Accompanying Exhibition/Catalogue Essay for: JOOYOUNG LEE (with CART The airport) Dec 2003 to Jan 2004. Art Space Hue, http://www.artspacehue.com (Seoul)

Fashion! Turn to the left
Fashion! Turn to the right
Oooh, fashion!
We are the goon squad and we’re coming to town
Beep-beep (Bowie, Fashion)

Consider what it is to show fashion. The words have a hint of glamour, and a hint of guilt. Guilt and gilt. For many, including the egotist, the exhibitionist, the extrovert, there is always a mild embarrassment at having to show, having to attract attention, showing-off. And there is also a charge, a thrill in the dress-up razzle of performance, of exposure, of risk and sensation. Because the show must go on. Advance. (On with the show, more and more sensations).

It is often difficult to examine something right in front of you in an open honest way. And this is inversely related to the fragility of that close something. Exquisite objects in a room. A plethora of ideas. The show archives such a wide range of our anxieties that it must be significant.

Anxious feeling. Hesitation. Coy and Halting. The reservations of the self-declared publicist are sometimes a part of the act. Don’t be fooled by the bright lights. One mustn’t be too forward. Show by not showing that you are showing, there’s the trick. The display is ironic, the engagement contrived. Wink. Blink. To put on a show, to make a show of it, show and tell, knowingly. There is a well known injunction against secrecy – yes, on with the show, show-all, tell us true. The metaphorics of showing are well developed in English, as in other languages. We show, demonstrate, reveal, prove, illustrate, explain, confirm, display, parade, exhibit, act, flaunt, expose, bare, exemplify, at a fair, an event, the extravagance of it all.

Appearance itself, like show has multiple meanings – to put in an appearance is a representation that doubles. To appear as one is, and to appear as something else. To put in an appearance on the stage is an act, or not. We should not overlook how to show something may also be to show by proxy, to dissemble, to appear as something else. Crazy diamonds.

I remember something called ‘show and tell’ from school. Each student had to bring an item from home to display before the class and tell a story. I always brought pets. Cute, but pointless really. They may or may not have won me friends – a lizard, a rat, a snake – or told them anything about who I was or how I wanted to be (don’t judge me from this bestiary) but this was one way we learnt to show ourselves. This was a version of hide and seek, for audience and artists, and its no more sophisticated than what we are doing now – looking at material on show, and wondering if what is shown reveals itself and tells us something which may or may not be intended, may or may not tell us a story. This structures our cultural life – the lifelong elaboration of the old fort-da game the child plays with mummy. But we often have our hands over our eyes so we cannot see what we are missing.

Representation – are these works on show re-presented fashion by context or design? We would have to ask how they display (show or fashion) their previous presents, how they carry meanings, contexts, how they show the marks, how they fashion thought and views, of here, of elsewhere. Carry them with them to the new ever new fashion shows of our desire. In this fissure the works themselves show up the fissured character of show business, in showing. Fashioning means shaping, means creating – the fashionista has a distance from the fashioning of the works, and the workers, who are practiced at this art of showing, they have done it before, tried this over and over. Showtime.

So as everyone here knows – no business, no show – the movement of art and ideas from the rarified space of the gallery into some form of commercial space is not the first time the distinction between business and art has been questioned. This topic itself is really in fashion. And just as surely art has always been a ritual showcase of power of fashions – the idea that the galleries were somehow separate space was always an illusion. The logic of the administered society required illusionists, but it was fake nonetheless.

What does all this have to do with the appearance of certain works in a certain space. Each asks a question. Why are these works on show now? Why did they show up here? What are we intended to see? What is revealed? What hidden? What looks important, what not? Where to look so we see just what is supposed to show up with this show?

The participation of some artists in ‘art’ spaces adjacent to or within commercial spaces, with corporate sponsorship, continues an established mode of showing work, but it is one that reveals much. The corporate sponsorship of art is questioned at the moment when it is extended to hitherto unimagined levels of the integration of corporate interest and product placement in ‘art’. Of course commercial concerns have long wanted to be seen as, to show that they are good citizens supporting independent artists and ideas. The explicit critique of this has become boringly routine. Can we show it another way – cutting up the product for example, foregrounding product placement in another? Drawing the viewer into new relations with objects? With ideas? With spaces? With showing?

What of the multiple senses of fashion and show? Verity, to reveal something in its originality. Or copy, to represent by substitution. Or do we need to think through this show more or less laterally, stooping to draw the curtain to this show, to see there is nothing shown here, there is no substitution, no division, only the raw show, the show on display – only what s left exposed on the end of a fork, as William Burroughs had shown us in Naked Lunch? Nothing to see. No show. Neon residue.

But we know this is show business – the emphasis on the second word in this single phrase no longer merely reveals to us that art is a business. There is no show and no fashion without the entire apparatus of grants, funding, organization, contacts, galleries, venues, studios, schools, commentaries, cameras, critics, criticisms, articles, books, bookshops, libraries, footnotes, catalogues, history – an enormous institutionalized and globalising apparatus, a web of interconnections and archival depths, variously ordered. The fashion business is huge, convoluted and controlled. So we know something is going on here. We know we must make sense of the show, to extend it beyond the apparatus to meanings, to see what the business of showing shows.

Convulsed by rituals, the show pretends to separate itself from its context, from the apparatus, from the connection – but it does this at the same time that it stresses them, shows the connections, dines out on them. Makes them visible.

But all this remains philosophical if we do not examine how the fetish character is strong in showing. And we are deceived by the show that does not show more. The displacement of ideas onto objects reflects the fetish of both sexuality and of the market. Things stand in for their others, dissemblance rules, truths are illusions. But visibility leaves too little to the imagination, one needs to think in order to see. Blink. The monotonous stare of convention and compromise can only be cut, as with the razor that cuts the eye in Un Chein Andelou’s most provocative scene, only with a violent rupture. Power is so strong in vision it takes a great crisis to show something else. There are two possible exposures, or more. Let’s cut to these, to see what this show also exposes.

Showing through all this is a hypocrisy that will feed us art in the days of generalized terror. Auschwitz has been generalized for every occasion. And we are encouraged to look away, to know only the most minimal facts about the destruction of the Palestinian people, the direct effects of the bombing of Afghanistan (rubble sifted into sand), Iraq and the rape and death that attends today to Baghdad, the abandonment of the Kurds, the deaths in Turkish prisons, the detention camps in Australia (asylum seekers seen as invaders), the HIV holocaust in Southern Africa, the floods in Bangladesh (annual death tolls beyond calculation), the resource extraction that decimates Papua New Guinea, the demonization of North Korea (news for a week in the west, displaced by the next show), the dictatorship in Burma (not solved by offering Nobel prizes), the civil rights violations in Britain and the US (under guise of the new anti-terrorism bill we have detention without trial) and almost everywhere else (the internal security act in Malaysia, detention without trial) and so much more. Too many signs show there is a new totalitarianism abroad and we do not wish to see that it is also there amongst us, we do not want to be shown the horrors amidst which we live. Hidden in the light, we go about our business as if it wasn’t there, as if our complicity with all manner of new persecutions did not show us up as the storm troopers and camp commandants of world spectacle that we really are. We’d rather just go to a show. Its just fashion. The bright lights shine on you. Blink.

The world of spectacle under Empire – be it of Nero, or the Raj or of the Reich – is no less total because it offers 120 channels and luxury condominiums next to halls of culture. The branded injunction to enjoy the fashion show is the new sound byte of jackboots on your face. There has never not been a time when the choices not made and the examples not examined were simply omissions overlooked. There is so much kept deliberately out of focus, so much behind the scenes. Is it so ugly that we dare not see, or is it a fear of having nowhere left to look once the facade has been brushed away? Perhaps we Emperors are naked once and for all, exposed and cold – no-one cares to say, no-one moves toward the gate upon which the slogan declares that our work shows that we are free … blink. Fashion.

Inspirations for the above:
Adorno, T. The Culture Industry, and Nietzsche, F. Thus Spoke Zarathustra

John Hutnyk

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