Presented by SOCIÉTÉ, Berlin
The world turns, and we turn with it.
–Brad Pitt for Chanel No. 5
My favorite descriptions of entropy are from the sixth grade: ‘After you’ve tidied your bedroom, do you notice that it becomes less orderly over time?’
Life is messy.
Today ‘the natural’ and its phenomena require close scrutiny. Organic prejudice presumes exclusion of the synthetic, though we are all touched by culture. (Even trees.) Back-pedaling from Enlightenment positivism, there is broad-based skepticism for the industrial application of measurement standards – though numbers and statistical analyses maintain a rational grip on our imagination. Quantifiability = a semblance of control. My iPhone pedometer counts the footsteps from my flat to the library (I purposely take long strides), a customized flow of meta-data that will probably, you know, prevent my premature death.
No GMOs! No artificial preservatives! In the 1960s certain Americans – counter culture sympathizers – shunned caffeine (a chemical). I drink coffee every morning; know vegans getting by on M&Ms & MDMA. Just last week the US Supreme Court banned patents for ‘natural’ human DNA. Yet if strategic biological reproduction is now a solipsistic act (no coitus needed), surely ‘natural’ procreation remains a vestigial convention? Heritage is a fetish label applicable to a certain class of denim. All venture capitalists should invest in male birth control.
The game theory of evolution helps to explain altruistic behavior within the Darwinian process. “Seduce usefully. Don’t waste your time attracting just anybody” (Tiqqun, Theory of the Young-Girl). Such are compromises of mutual benefit based on mutual fear; though it depends on what you believe about material relationships. I mean, ‘believe’ –
If the essence of cotton is undestroyed when it is burned – stupidly – by fire (cf. Harman), is the same true for the human spirit, or, a yoga mat? Melting as a caricature of the PVC-plastic-latex amalgam: the substantial (irreversible) achievement of Zen. In the 1980s yoga was legitimized as a purely physical exercise system severed from esotericism; and now the hygienic mat is mandatory at most studios, a functional object that transforms meditative philosophy into sport. Deep breathing in child’s pose is far more rigorous than collapsing into a chair. Just… let… go…
But we do so only after insuring ourselves, against the odds, into emotional bankruptcy. Is stimulation – of body, eye, intellect – still necessary for the living?
I call beauty a social quality; for where women and men, and not only they, but when other animals give us a sense of joy and pleasure in beholding them, (and there are many that do so,) they inspire us with sentiments of tenderness and we enter willingly into a kind of relation with them . . . But to what end, in many cases, this was designed, I am unable to discover.
–Edmund Burke, 1796
Words by Kari Rittenbach
OPENING THIS FRIDAY (June 21st), 7-10pm
Documentary film-maker Will Robson Scott’s rare and intimate look into the process of body modification as Polish rapper turned MMA fighter Popek has the whites of his eyes tattooed.
‘For them it’s [a] stupid idea, but for me it’s like I’m gonna be complete’.
Throughout the rapper-turned-fighter expresses a sentiment that lies at the core of modification, the notion of identity; but a torn one, a self doubt and constant verbal worry that onlookers will ‘see the devil’ in his eye. This feeling of completion, though, was apparently short-lived as some time after the Polish polymath underwent further modification, facial scarification with two jagged scars crossing the side of his face.
Rainer Judd, about devoting herself to her father’s legacy.
LINK to The Telegraph’s article
Rainer says her father also encouraged her to wonder about the world. Nothing was ever too goofy to ask about, she says. There were only a few areas where he’d get stumped. Rainer recalls one occasion when she wanted to discuss a poem she had written and he told her that he didn’t feel he could talk about poetry. I don’t know whether perhaps he just didn’t like my poem, she says.
Donald Judd’s loft at 101 Spring Street
I was initially attracted to the work of Amanda Ross-Ho because I liked her slashed black tee shirts and wanted to wear them; little did I know that all of Ross-Ho’s shirts were part of a wall sculpture series entitled BLACK RAGS, and that they are actually quite large and impossible to wear. Her exhibition GONE TOMORROW, of which BLACK RAGS was a part, also included a significantly enlarged wall sculpture cast of a gold-plated earring and a few collages including prints and photographs of human-sized shirts that seemingly served as inspiration for the sculptures. Personally, I enjoy how her work takes on tropes and visual signs of street (sub)cultures, fashion, and found objects, and mashes them together in complex and unexpected ways, how DIY culture and made-ness collide with mechanical production in her larger-than-life objects.
(Images via Mitchell-Innes & Nash)
Photographer and Sang bleu contributor Sven Marquardt is the face of Europe’s most infamous club, Berghain, the notoriety of which lies partly in its tattooed and pierced, gruelling façade, and control of perhaps the strictest, and probably least predictable, door policy across the world.
Banned from showing his face throughout the Mitte district during communist East Berlin, Marquardt risked incarceration and brutality for the publication of his photographic work. Having spent over a decade away from the practice, instead turning his keen eye to screening the clientele of the city’s club nights, recent years have seen a resurgence, photographing the provocative characters of Berlin subculture met in the between.
The not entirely unexpected, but all the same differing pursuits spark the query as to the quality that unites them – an inquisitive nature so widely misinterpreted as a quick google search will tell.
In an interview last year, in giving some small hint at the nature of his cut-throat selection, the gap between these somewhat antithetic vocations became that bit smaller “[it's] so much and actually nothing. I find faces in which I see life.”
Photographs Sven Marquardt, Portrait Kate Bellm for Wonderland Magazine