Saturday, April 30, 2011
It Has No Importance/Wild Writings, by the Algerian, Mustapha Benfodil, which has now been removed, was a combination of texts, sound and graffiti, with a parody of a football match, involving 23 headless mannequins. The t-shirts worn by one team were printed with excerpts of Benfodil’s novels, plays and poetry, while the other team’s t-shirts carried texts borrowed from Algerian popular culture: songs, jokes, poetry, recipes, board games, etc.
What shocked the public was a text on one of the t-shirts, in English and Arabic. It said: With each breath of the wind I see a hand on my pants and my hymen torn/Every night was a sharp body raid/Vaginal sacrifices for lustful gods/My nights were haunted by the cries of all those virgins whom they had/Scratched, molested, maimed, bitten, eaten/RAPED KILLED/After being blessed/By the penetrating holy word of Allah/The sperm of his Prophets/And the spittle of his apostles.
Benfodil explained that this is from his play Les Borgnes (The One-Eyed): “The words have been interpreted as an attack against Islam, but they refer to a phallocratic, barbarian and fundamentally freedom-killing god. It is the god of the GIA, the Armed Islamic Group, a sinister sect that raped and massacred tens of thousands of women at the height of the civil war in Algeria in the 1990s in the name of a pathological revolutionary paradigm, supposedly inspired by the Koranic ethics. My own Allah has nothing to do with the destructive divinities claimed by Algerian millenarian movements.”
None of the three curators, Suzanne Cotter, Rasha Salti, and Haig Aivazian had noticed the offending text and neither had Jack Persekian. Speaking to the Abu Dhabi newspaper The National, he said: “It was foolish of me, I had not looked at it carefully because I couldn’t: there were so many works and so many things to produce—films and books and publications and videos.” (Persekian had previously self-censored a film by American-Iranian director Caveh Zahedi that contained material which could have been considered blasphemous.)
In fact, it was only when ordinary Emiratis started to visit this neighbourhood with their families and school groups for the 15 Heritage Days, when there is traditional music and dance, that the shocking words were noticed. People began texting each other and the message got to the ruler very quickly. But there was no public rioting and no works of art were damaged.
Sheikha Hoor said: “There was vulgar and obscene language in this work. It seems that the physical and cultural context of the site was not explained enough to the artist; there was a lack of dialogue.We do not want to offend the people: our work is for their benefit—we are publically funded. And while we appreciate the fact that people are coming from abroad, we must not forget the local and regional population.”
Since his firing, many in the art world have spoken in support of Jack Persekian, who has worked with the biennial since 2005 and has been an authoritative influence in the Middle Eastern art scene.
Courtesy of The Art Newspaper
Thursday, April 28, 2011
Wednesday, April 27, 2011
Sunday, April 24, 2011
Friday, April 22, 2011
Leica have teamed up with Hiroshi to create a limited edition version of their D-LUX 5 camera under Uniform Experiment, a Japanese experimental project for men's clothing founded in 2008. The D-LUX 5 itself hasn't changed a bit, apart from some Uniform Experiment branding on the front and top of the camera, but on this occasion the camera comes with an exclusively designed leather case. The case, of course, has the Uniform Experiment logo on it as well. The D-LUX 5 comes in a limited edition of 200 and will be released on 11 May for an approximate price of $1480. Ouch.
Wednesday, April 20, 2011
Sunday, April 17, 2011
MD: Levi’s® Made & Crafted™ is a brand that reflects the future of Levi’s®. If LVC is about history, this new project is about a sense of understanding within the Levi’s® planet based on the question: "How would we approach this if we were to start Levi’s® today?" It instantly becomes about anything but fashion. It’s about utility, and practicality. It’s about building a brand, yes, but the term brand is maybe a bit misleading. It’s about responding to a new way of living - faster, slower, new. So we started experimenting and creating an identity for this new project.
Starting a new brand out of a long established one can’t be easy; especially when its gestation period is anything but private; it’s like having to grow up fast and in public.
It was definitely challenging. Starting from scratch, we had to ask ourselves questions like, “What does the label look like?" and "Why does it look like that? What’s the fabrication?” We made a lot of mistakes building this brand. At one point we looked too European. Then we looked too flat, too neutral. Our point of view wasn’t strong enough. We had to take into consideration many philosophical interpretations of what the project was about. We needed to be global and American - of course it’s Levi’s®. Even though we respect the idea of being a denim brand we want more than that. We can’t be happy with simply building another denim brand. So we focussed on looking and feeling non-denim. And this is considering that denim will always be part of our DNA. How to be based outside blue? Processing this was an amazing experience. We created a different design team, and we look at technology through different eyes.
What does it look like? As yet, I've not seen the product.
It’s LVC on the left and LMC on the right, old and new, dirty and clean. One is history and the other one is modernity. One is about being maniacal with reproduction of the past and the other is about looking at modern Americana with new eyes - thinking like we’re not even a clothing company. It’s as if we might even be designing chairs this time next year.
To me modern design, even when it comes to clothing is moving closer and closer to the ideas that underpin architecture for example. It’s about how it applies to the way we live.
Again, we’re not looking at Levi’s® Made & Crafted™as a classic piece of fashion or clothing, or anything trendy. It’s a wardrobe for the moment but it could be a house tomorrow. It’s about having that point of view. Our approach is very art and science, very industrial design. Maybe I’m not saying anything new. It’s not revolutionary per se, but it’s revolutionary for my company and it’s new in a way that keeps me smiling.
Funny because when I first heard that you were doing LVC, having spent some time with you in Vegas in 2009, I thought to myself: Ah, he’s not going to be happy. He’s doing vintage, vintage, vintage. He’s back doing vintage, like he was at RRL. He’ll be bored. What I know of you is that you’re very forward focused. So although there must be a great deal of satisfaction creating a brand which tapped into the vaults, I also had the feeling that you’d be eager to look ahead at this point in your career and start at year zero with a project as well.
It’s probably one of the most interesting projects in our industry today. Just thinking about connecting the notion of modern with Levi’s® seems weird. As a company so authenticity based and heritage focused, creating something new and modern out of that is what it’s about - that’s why I love this project.
It’s a big move for Levi’s® I guess; for you it must have felt like sneaking a CAD designer into an Arts and Crafts convention. It’s obviously a learning curve for the brand, but is it the same for you?
It’s a wonderful journey. I’ve never done anything like this professionally. It’s like being part of a cultural transformation. It’s more than material, fabric or jeans. It’s a real shift within a company that I, like so many other people, have been an admirer of ever since I was a child. My professional life, my journey, can stop now and it would be extremely rewarding just being one of the people working on this project. So, imagine how I approach everyday?