Ocular Justice

For Simone’s latest article  for Sang Bleu she has explored our new expanding relationship with our eyesight and how technology is manipulating its possibilities.



He carefully leans forward, eyes wide open. A comforting UX sound signals the begin, a beam of blue light carefully strokes his retina top to bottom. Another sound follows, this time much perkier. On the display appears a successful verification, access granted. It unlocks.

We use our eyes to access devices, open doors, enter countries and fall in love. Eyes don’t age. We have two and we will never get to see the back of our own heads with them. We call media attention ‘all eyes’ and use them as metaphor for cameras and optics. Eyewitnesses are replaced with smartphones and body cameras worn by law enforcement. We call a surveillance state the all seeing eye. They collect our faces under a program named ‘Optic Nerve’. We say eyes never lie.

The retina and iris are both used for identification as well as security. Retinal scanning is one of the most reliable and precise biometric identifiers, it’s blood vessel pattern remains virtually unchanged from birth until death and is unique even between identical twins. Biometric passports hold our digitised body for smart immigration. Passing by the tall towers at Dubai and Abu Dhabi airports self serve immigration, they scan the iris within 20 seconds and compare it to your passport data. Will this combination of identification and security require an encrypted gaze? Samsung and Apple have been rumoured to introduce eye scanning technology for device unlocking for the Galaxy S6 and the iPhone6. There is something enchanting behind the fantasy of merely resting ones gaze long enough to get what we want. A flirtatious gaze across [...]

Mike Brodie’s ‘A Period of Juvenile Prosperity’

Mike Brodie’s ‘Period of Juvenile Prosperity’ is currently on show at Galerie les Filles du Calvaire, Paris as part of Mois de la Photo 2014. The exhibition includes sixty eight works from Brodie’s sold out book of the same title.

Brodie’s series follows the journeys of juvenile freight train hoppers, the discontected surburban youths travelling compulsively without destination across America’s railway tracks. Brodie unveils this invisible world and subculture of which he was a part of for much of the noughties after becoming bored and leaving home for the unknown, perilous adventure of train hopping. The photos aren’t a documentation of the lifestyle, rather an observation and personal account of the people and places travelled through the eyes of their friend.

The photographs are romantic yet brutal; stunning rural landscapes frame grime ridden teenagers cuddled together against steel freight train carts. They’re children that proudly display their wounds, tattoos, blood and dirt as a testament to their authenticity and reckless abandon of the social convention they sought to escape from.

‘A Period of Juvenile Prosperity’ is a striking collection of photographs that seeks to capture the untamed wildness of Brodie’s vagabond family and does so intimately and honestly. Without the presence of contemporary gadgetry and fashions, the photographs are difficult to pinpoint with regards to time and instead capture just the essence of the train hopping experince which has been the arbiter of escapism since the tracks’ inception. Brodie’s photographs are timeless paean to youth and adventure- beauty in a constellation of filth.

‘A Period of Juvenile Prosperity’ is on show at the Galerie les Filles du Calvaire, Paris until the 30th November.
More information can be found here.


Alexander Heir talks to us about his exhibition at Sang Bleu



Alexander Heir is the man behind New York’s punk clothing label Death/Traitors and artist in his own right, who for the last week has held an exhibition of his new work at Sang Bleu Contemporary Art and Project Space. We spoke to him today about his career, the work he’s showing with us and what he’s going to be upto next. Heir’s pop up shop will be open until Saturday from 12-8pm where you’ll be able to buy some of his artwork, clothes and his new book. And a big thank you to Jura Whiskey for sponsoring the opening on Tuesday evening. 


How have you got to where you are now?


I moved to New York City in 2002 from New Jersey to attend the Pratt Institute to study print making. My father was a photographer so I always grew up around art, as a teenager I grew a great interest into Punk so print making seemed to be the logical step to merge the two things that I really loved. The best thing that I got out of art school was the network of young artists that I met who have become great friends that I’m still in touch with. When I was in school I started printing t-shirts with the schools facilities, and by the time I’d graduated me and a friend had invested in a t-shirt press. A year after I graduated I started doing Death/Traitors which is basically the apparel end of my art. So since then I’ve simultaneously been creating t-shirts but also creating my own art work which is on show at the moment at Sang Bleu. As I started the brand the punk scene in New York really started flourishing so coincidentally because of that I’ve ended up doing [...]

Maxime Ballesteros takes photos at his private view at the Sang Bleu Contemporary art and project Space

Photographer and friend of Sang Bleu, Maxime Ballesteros presented the Sang Bleu Contemporary Art and project Space his solo exhibition of work named ‘ENTRE CHIEN ET LOUP’ two weeks ago. Here he has shared with us some of the photographs he took at the private view which have also been shared with Purple Diary of our friends and collaborators including the likes of Ben Cotrell and Matthew Dainty of Cottweiler, Yasmina Dexter, Maxime Buchi, Liam Sparkes, Reba Maybury, Robert Montgomery, Chadd Curry, Emanuele D’Angelo, Dani Smith and more .

See more of Maxime’s work here and read the interview we did with him about the exhibition here

With special thanks to Jura Whiskey for sponsoring the event.


Lori Beth White Potarf is 2014’s drugged hazed answer to Diane Arbus

Earlier in October, a woman named Lori Potarf stirred some controversy in the headlines of Oklahoma’s newspapers. According to reports, police stopped Potarf and her companion, Richard Henderson, along U.S. 81 for a broken tail light, and it didn’t take long for them to discover a stash of syringes, spoons and methamphetamine residue. However what really captured peoples attention was Potarf’s surreal announcement that after her arrest  for possession of crystal meth, it was her Wiccan religion which allowed allowed her to posses the drug. Potarf was arrested and charged with possession of narcotics and drug paraphernalia.

Since this news spread in some lower grade media circles, her personal Facebook profile was discovered with an exceptional amount of photographs documenting her hazy, often harrowing and drug fuelled  life. One site named her ‘the Diane Arbus of Tweaker Cellphone photography‘ and its easy to understand this comparison once seeing her photographs. There exists a kind of brutal honesty only comparable to the work of outsider artists within her images, how much thought has gone into the direction of each image seems relatively naive and instant, simple snapshots of her surroundings turn into obsessive and catastrophic projections of the life of a drug addict. However there is a kind of originality to these images which could only exist within the realms of our democratic use of technology and how we share images online. Anyone can now create and share aspects of their lives, which as we all know is something that we don’t necessarily always want to see, but discoveries like this make the internet all the more of a fascinating place. Many news sources have quite obviously painted Potarf as a rejection of society, pandering towards creating her into this example of a moralistic freak show which is not [...]

LOVE ME – a retrospective of Greer Lankton’s work at PARTICIPANT gallery

Greer Lankton was a New York based artist who passed away in 1996 and was famed for her creation of life like dolls and figures. Born Greg Plankton in 1958, while studying at Pratt Institute she went under gender reassignment surgery and changed her name at the age of 21. Her father, a Presbyterian minister from Michigan funded her surgery through his church which amassed a large amount of media coverage in 1979, this act was and still is considered fantastically progressive considering how much controversy a case like that still has the potential to create in 2014.

Naturally, Greer’s artwork delved into an understanding and exploration of themes about gender, sexuality and the body and her famed dolls are often compared to the work of Hans Bellmer.  However where Bellmer’s work was intrinsically distressing, Greer incorporated more of her own life into the dolls by injecting a healthy level of glamour into her artworks. Existing in the New York East Village scene, Greer lived with Nan Goldin in the early 80s, was a muse to Peter Hujar and David Wojnarowicz and was life long partners with artist Paul Monroe where she worked in his shop Einsteins. As a transwoman, Greer was always impeccably dressed with a distinct personal style which has been recorded by many photographers. When Greer and Paul married in 1987, Teri Toye was the bridesmaid, her father was the minister and Nan Goldin encapsulated the whole event with beautifully iconic photographs.  Greer created a large body of work but sadly passed away in 1996 from a drug overdose and after a lifetime of struggling with anorexia. Much of her work has been celebrated throughout many prestigious galleries but its wonderful to hear that a solo exhibition of her work opened a [...]

Silent Partners; Artist & Mannequin from Function to Fetish

The strangeness of the mannequin is a theme which has a long history of fascinating artists, so it exciting to hear of the new exhibition at the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge called Silent Partners which is devoted to these uncanny human impostors and their relationship to art.

The exhibition will examine the various strange ways the mannequin has appeared in art history all the way from the Renaissance to present day.

For centuries the mannequin was no more than a studio tool for the artist, a piece of necessary equipment, however this exhibition will reveal its varied purposes,  from fixing perspective and painting reflections, to being a support for drapery and costume – and shows how it gradually moved centre stage to become the subject of the painting, photograph or film, eventually becoming a work of art in its own right.

One of the most wide-ranging and ambitious shows ever hosted at the Museum, the exhibition will feature over 180 paintings, drawings, books and photographs as well as fashion dolls, trade catalogues, a series of extraordinary patent documents and videos. There will be paintings and drawings by Cézanne, Poussin, Gainsborough, Millais, Ford Madox Brown, and Degas as well as photographs by and of Surrealist artists such as Man Ray, Hans Bellmer and Salvador Dali; works by Jake and Dinos Chapman show that, even today, artists continue to be drawn to the creative potential unleashed by our artificial Others.

After its showing in Cambridge, Silent Partners will travel to the Musée Bourdelle, Paris. It will be accompanied by a lavishly illustrated book published by Yale University Press in association with Paris Musées.

Find out more about the exhibition and the events which will coincide with it here

Fitzwilliam Museum
14 Oct 2014 —
25 Jan 2015

Musée Bourdelle
31 [...]