Paris IV, London Showrooms, 15h30 – If the evolution of streetwear is integral to London’s mens fashion, Liam Hodges has been one of the main protagonists of London’s most exciting generation of menswear designers alongside Agi & Sam, Craig Green and James Long, to name few. A strong British tribal mentality lays in his designs as for each collection he elaborates a narrative around a type of community, merging high fashion and subcultural references.
After Morris dancers, Kibbo Keft youth clubs and Pagan practitioners, the RCA graduate chose Pirate Radios as his core narrative. A small community decided to occupy some frequencies and spread messages. Positive, honest and real is the message as the street poet Hector Aponysus’ rapped monologue about society, prosperity and community implied during the show.
Liam Hodges turns his inspirations into garments that these groups would put on but also enviable for a wider audience. Through details and winks, he instills these references in the collection: own graffiti binary coded camouflage weave, the jacquard football knit, ravy make up and gabber style music from Visionist. The aim is to create a complete world around each collection.
Paradoxically enough, we had to rush through a different kind of tribe to get to London Showroom and meet with Liam as the Tropical Carnival of Paris was taking place at rue Saint-Antoine. after some slaloms between dancers and watchers, it brought us to the Impasse Guéménée. There we met Liam Hodges, smiling, to talk about cities: London and Berlin, his communities and his world.
Video & Editing Shôta Sakami.
Direction & interview Céline Bischoff.
‘The graffiti that Perry highlights are a generation away from the three-dimensional, self-referential designs that we have now become accustomed to: instead, they are urgent messages from another, hidden world, designed to be read and forcibly understood by a general public that would have preferred to walk on by.’ – Jon Savage
The Horse Hospital are hosting an exhibition of Roger Perry’s seminal photograph series ‘The Writing on the Wall’ on 70s graffiti in London in celebration of the 40th anniversary and republication of the 1976 book. More than 120 of the original framed prints are on display alongside ephemera including letters, press cuttings and cameras that document a profound aspect of London’s street, political and youth cultures.
Roger Perry (who died in 1991) photographed the political and poetical verbal graffiti of the decaying and pre gentrified London of the mid 70s. His stark black and white photographs feature messages from the radical (‘the tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction’) to the witty (‘cats like plain crisps’), almost always on a wall – at eye level so one cannot ignore- and occasionally featuring a lone passerby, or a dog.
This isn’t the graffiti that we, for the most part, consume, abhor or adore today; there are no territorial tags, no artist commissions, nothing like the sort that features on the ‘guerilla’ gallery of Curtain road for a Shoreditch street art tour. There’s no stylistic purpose in the work that Perry photographs, slogans such as ‘strike a body blow to capitalism’ and ‘I FOUGHT THE LAW’ are scrawled in the anger and resentment of the moment, decoration and exaggeration cast aside in its obvious frivolity. The written word speaks for itself entirely on permanent protest placards parading London’s streets.
The London that [...]
Paris I, Theatre du Châtelet, 24th June 2015, 16h30 – one couldn’t have imagined a more perfect setting to host the Belgian Masters ss16 show. Passing under the arcades to enter by the Palladian entrances of the Haussmanian monument, we discover the magistral interior layout of the second empire masterpiece: Horse shoe hall type, lightened by cristal chandelier and golden mouldings. A cabaret-like setting for Walter van Beirendock’s new narrative: “Electric Eye”.
As the lights go out, the story begin on EKKO’s “rehearsal” gloom piano notes accentuating the contrast between the naive prints and the actual underlying message of the collection. Careful, the electric eye is watching. Walter van Beirendonck, storyteller, is a master in delivering subversive and socially touchy messages wrapped in apparent sweetness and innocence.
As the show goes on the message becomes clearer and clearer, like a warning. Exit the naive creatures, the last models enter the runaway, perfectly tailored monochrome silhouettes, Stephen Jones’ dramatic headpieces jammed hard on their head seem to suck their soul echoing David Bowie’s Moorage Daydream melody “Keep your ‘lectric eye on me babe”.
A couple of days after the show, making the most of van Beirendonck’s busy agenda, we had the pleasure to have a conversation about the Electric Eye, communication, images, rituals, genders and sex.
Special thanks to Joost Jansen and Stéphanie.
Video & Editing Shôta Sakami.
Direction & interview Céline Bischoff.
The habits of both medieval and contemporary people share many similarities. One such habit expresses a deeply human desire to connect and interact, and it revolves around touch – specifically, the touching of images.
During the Medieval period, devotional prayer books – manuscripts, missals, the Book of Hours etc – were very often manipulated and interacted with on a physical level by their readers, or ‘users’. From these instances of touch, we can mark discolouration, staining, tearing, smearing of ink, and general wearing away across the pages of these books. In these lasting and tangible traces of touch, we can see emotional responses the Medieval user had to these books, and learn much about the relationships Medieval people had with devotional objects and religious imagery.
In countless cases, images taken from Medieval missals – depicting scenes from the Bible such as the crucifixion, Eve’s temptation, the Devil, etc – have been completely worn away through repeated touching, kissing and smearing. I find it strange and moving to see an image of Christ having been totally kissed away, the ink from his face and body gone, leaving weird, formless empty spaces on the page. These rituals demonstrated the Medieval person’s devotion and piety, tangibly. I sit to pray and kiss the body of Christ, and I have done it so many times. His image is not even there any more. How devoted I am; how religious, how good.
As well as these positive rituals – kissing, stroking, etc – the devout Medieval people would also bring to their liturgy expressions of the negative. These negative rituals included the violent smiting, stabbing and rubbing of scenes of evil. For example, they would efface a depiction of the Devil, and in doing so they showed their condemnation [...]
We had the pleasure of inviting Maxime Ballesteros to the Mondial du Tatouage earlier this year and these are some of the photos he took of the tattoo convention.
Shout Out! Pirate Radio of the 80s is a travelling archival exhibition that’s currently on show at the ICA, London but ending this weekend, so make sure you visit the exhibit that profiles and pay tributes to a part of British culture that hasn’t been well acknowledged before.
Though the offshore pirate radios of the 60s has been well documented in pop culture, the 80s’ part in the scene has, for the most part, failed to be acknowledged. Though the stations of the 60s transmitted from boats just outside British territorial waters, those producing pirate radio in the 80s transmitted fearlessly on home terrain, often from the top of city tower blocks. On record there were 600 nationwide pirate radio stations during the era, with 60 of them broadcasting from London alone.
The scene developed from the growing dissatisfaction DJs and listeners had in the music that was being played by the BBC and licensed radio stations, including the lack of representation of the voice and music of Britain’s ethnic minorities. These pirate radio stations almost exclusively played reggae, soul, funk and hip hop and acted as platforms of representation for Afro-Caribbean talent and influence in a conservative society menaced by Margaret Thatcher.
This underground music rebellion represented a form of escape from the racial division and economic marginalization that mainstream culture and media alienated British ethnic minorities from. Though the locations of the broadcasts remained largely undercover, nightclubs and record shops became the physicalised locations of the radio themselves, acting as places for safe and welcome social interaction and creative exchange. On display are event flyers hosted by the stations, such as WBLS launching at Limelight, 136 Shaftesbury Avenue and events held at Brixton’s Fridge.
A selection of David Corio’s photographs of Black British [...]
Thoughts of female wrestlers are likely to conjure up over sexualized, performative and borderline misogynist imagery as opposed thoughts of feminine liberation. However, it’s not all big breasts and tight latex. Brighton based zine fair Hidden Eggs are hoping to question these stereotypes, and showcase the stories of women with a genuine love for throwing punches, in their one-day only exhibition based around the culture and community of female wrestlers. Hosted at Doomed Gallery Dalston, Isobel Reddington has pulled in a selection of artists, working across mediums such as photography and illustration, to create a multi-faceted view of what it means to partake in this largely male dominated career path. With the evening doubling up as the first ever UK screening of Ruth Lietman’s documentary Lipstick and Dynamite, in which pioneers of the scene tell their own stories, Women of Wrestling serves as a celebration of the wrestling world as well as a subtle critique.
First of all, who is Hidden Eggs and what do you do?
Hidden Eggs is a zine that was born out of the inspiration and frustration of a group of friends working in the service industries in Brighton while making their own work on in their spare time. It is a celebration of people whose work goes under the radar of mainstream media, and also a reaction to beautifully designed magazines with rubbish content. I have organised two successful zine fairs in Brighton this year – there are a lot of people self publishing in Brighton and London at the moment, which is great! There is critique and humour in zines that is hard to find elsewhere in print. Women of Wrestling is actually the first of its kind that I have organised, I think the [...]