Layering gender: Two Spirits, Conchita and Machines


Apparently the process of sex assignment at birth differs across the world, that is, not everyone looks at a vagina or penis in the same manner.  To have a variance in gender not through transformation, but a trip across continents seems like the best kind of superpower. Firmly known as a woman in all aspects of my life (payslips, equal opportunity forms) I’m woo’d by the possibility that some unspecified region may accept me as a man. I’m also woo’d by the possibility that right now, I am both man and woman, only to be categorised singularly depending on where I am, how  I feel and who the doctor is. Conchita Wurst, the Eurovision song contest winner, has floated across countries (and newspapers) having gender assigned and reassigned with every hair flick and beard trim but I wonder if the ‘either this or that’ debate reduces potential for alternatives with its very rigid criteria and language.


Recently, whilst reading ‘Men, Homosexuality and the Gods’ (the best text on gender i’ve read this year) I came across the term Two Spirit. These idols of indigenous North American culture were born intersex or had the appearance and an affinity to the opposite sex. Two Spirits weren’t assigned as such based on sexual orientation either but on an ambiguous combination of feminine and masculine characteristics. In short, they were both man and woman simultaneously, and serenely. Healer, spiritual leader and warrior were a few of the roles that accompanied their gender malleability (which was mostly thought of as a blessing) often placing them on a pedestal for appreciation and wonder.

Unfortunately, the phenomenon of Two Spirits has largely dissolved, due to governments, religions and settlers deeming it immoral and unnatural. And though the appreciation for them re-emerged [...]

al Familia

Naomi Campbell and her MET ball date, Riccardo Tisci, were together on the far east side on Thursday celebrating Givenchy’s first Japanese store. Foot fingers ready… high foot five. Yes, in the flesh,  impressing upon the press and prestigious alike a woman who, regionally speaking, is arguably more infamous than the entire Roc Nation (and Solange) combined and her escort to a local affair, none other than a family friend…kawaiso.

At darker hours the three story flagship at the ONE Omotesando building, from its façade, seems to emerge luminously from a monolithic centre of natural iron which save for its decoration of emerging brass and cut aluminum mounting (distinguishing it as Givenchy Nippon) recalls early gallery installs of Master Richard Serra. In effect the elemental impaling conjures appropriately the cross.

Modernist metal isn’t the only distinctive element that the house is offering exclusively to Tokyo. Collectors, travelers, and fanatics can indulge in a numbered monochrome version of the flower-camouflage Pandora bag.

In homage to the houses haute couture delivery boxes five, room sized, burnt oak boxes have been installed to behold the garments. The women’s wear boxes lined in white Calcutta marble and the men’s in volcanic grey stone / basaltina. In keeping with the salon homage, the floors are cut from natural oak and laid in the same herringbone parquet pattern established at Avenue George V.









Mondo 2000 and the Cyberpunk

A colleague recently introduced me to Mondo 2000, the San Francisco-based cyberpunk (or more specifically cypherpunk) magazine of the 1980s-90s, and since then, I’ve been obsessed. We’d been discussing body modification and, being about 15 years older than me, he’d been reminiscing about spending the ’90s in the East Village, getting piercings at Maria Tash and going to techno raves, recalling distinct visions of people in slick space-age-style costumes with their sharp black tribal tattoos peeking out from beneath short sleeves. It was just before the internet shot into the mainstream, and there seemed to be a palpable excitement about the new anonymity, the types of social disruption the internet would cause, and the intersection between hallucinogenic trips and virtual reality. And, as he discussed, the impending digitization of humanity, the notion of cyberspace as a psychedelic playground, paralleled a manufactured aesthetic: mirrored, seamless stainless steel body jewelry, slick black clothing paired with reflective sunglasses.

Mondo 2000 was a distinct force behind this subculture. Founded in 1984 by Ken Goffman (aka R.U. Sirus) as High Frontiers, and edited by “St. Jude” and “Queen Mu,” the magazine subsequently switched its name to avoid detection” in 1988 to Reality Hackers, finally arriving at Mondo in 1989. The magazine, which was greatly informed by Timothy Leary and the writing of William Gibson and Robert Anton Wilson among others, combined an anti-authoritarian sensibility with a sense of play and a lot of drugs. In the words of a 1993 Time Magazine article about the Cyberpunk, “It’s a way of looking at the world that combines an infatuation with high tech tools and a disdain for conventional ways of using them.” The magazine’s content would oscillate between a prank interview between Negativland and  U2 to articles on brain implants to [...]

Seol Cheong Kwon – Observances, a solo exhibition

Seol Cheon Kwon’s first solo exhibition of drawings and photographs will be shown throughout the month of June at Luis Leu* Experimentelle Künstplattform in Karlsruhe.

The private view will take place Friday, May 30th at 19:00 and the exhibition will run from the 31st of May until the 6th of June 2014.

Luis Leu

Experimentelle Kunstplattform

Luisenstrasse 32

76137 Karlsruhe

Mark Cohen: Voyeur

Capturing the day to day of Pensylvania’s working class suburbia, photographer Mark Cohen documented the lives of 1970s and 80s America like no other. In the purest means of documentation, a far cry from his contemporaries and their comparatively contrived process defining the genre of street photography in New York at the time, Cohen’s oblique view tells a more honest picture of life through the lens than any other. The unsung hero’s technique involved holding the camera at hip-level, firing the camera without looking through the viewfinder, by doing so removing any consideration of framing, placing the viewer at an almost uncomfortably close proximity. The resultant shots tell an intimate story of moments captured, forcing us to examine the details often otherwise missed, from the frayed fabrics of worker’s cloths to soft skin of a child’s upper leg, this waist-level outlook provides a kind of brutal sensuality closer to voyeurism than documentation. “They’re not easy pictures,” he says. “But I guess that’s why they’re mine.”

Mark Cohen, a retrospective of the documentarian’s work, is on view at New York’s Danziger Gallery until June 20th.

15 folds presents #Everything all at Once


An exhibition IRL of animated GIF art has been curated and its private view will take place this evening at 48 Hoxton Square, London.

Our very own Maxime Buchi has made a GIF  for the show amongst others including Gary Card, Iris van Herpen, Matthew Stone and Phoebe Collings-James.

Find out more about the show here

Let My People Go


My home is not your home for it is a House… are you coming in or not?
You may want to get out of the impending arctic meltdown.

After a leviathan of a weekend on Lary Levan Way, sunny day thoughts of soldiers fallen to a crisis formerly known as AIDS were lifted with new memories in the making. Onwards and upwards energy soon lingered with the spirits pulled . Later that night my emotions were reinforced by potent and wit drenched words of women … I’ll leave the name dropping for the following political element of this rant and just say it was a varitable UN gathering… that kind of NY weekend wrapped in wisdom at the dinner table on Mother’s Day… Hey.

A day of house classics in New York is a soliloquy of survival. A bit miraculous that they still exist somehow. Only two nights before this holy Sunday, rewind TGIF, I was trying to explain to leader of the new school (half of the evenings featured dj duo) and a very charming new acquaintance and prodigal protégé child of the Huxtable clan (his partner in crime) how badly the New York nocturnal landscape needed them on a city block sized, hard wood dance floor backed by a suitable system and surrounded by a mezzanine drenched in demons exorcized.

Growing up in the cruxt of the Chicago House movement has its own weight. Indeed the Midwest comes with a heavy cross yet not all is a loss in the bodacious belly of bread basket. Even though mine were tasking times outlined by episodes of “The Day After” and other Regan era hysteria the House Nation came repleat [...]