KILL CITY – photographs of the 1990s Lower East Side’s squatting community

Ash Thayer lived within New York’s Lower East Side’s squatting community during the 1990s and she has just released a book documenting her time there. The photos are of a particular originality due to the fact that this community rarely allowed photographers or journalists within the squats. Since these photos were taken we’ve seen Manhattan turn into some kind of unachievable capitalist impossibility so these photos show the last stab at creating a community within the abandoned buildings of the last remaining run down buildings on the island. Filled with drug addicts, punks, anarchists and squatters, collectivity they took upon themselves to make these inhibitable but wasted buildings into functioning places to lives.

Thayer captured a vast variety of the various ongoings during this iconic time and are perfectly projected into this new book published by Powerhouse named KILL CITY. We’ve interviewed her to find out more about her experiences of community and rebellion and how she projected this into her intimate images.

How did you first become involved within the squatting community? When I moved from my hometown, Memphis, TN, to NYC, I was already steeped in punk and DIY culture. So, I naturally gravitated towards that community in NYC, going to local punk shows and hanging around Tompkins Square Park. . I met some kids who were squatting, and when I needed a place to live, having no viable alternatives, I was invited to be a guest in someone’s apartment at See Skwat.  Could you explain to us what the See Skwat was? It is one of the squats on the Lower East Side that is well-known/notorious for the punk shows it has hosted in their basement. There were many squats that had a big range in age, ethnicities, and family types, but it, along with 5th Street Squat, were generally young, punk/activist types, and hosted [...]

JK5 Subverts Expectations and Pursues Fashion Design

Written by Adam Lehrer

When Comme des Garçons debuted its new menswear collection at Paris Men’s Fashion Week, one couldn’t help but notice the jumpers and blazers printed with phrases like “Born to Die” that came down the runway. The pieces were striking in and of themselves, but perhaps even more surprising was that the garments were directly inspired by the work of multi-disciplinary artist Joseph Ari Aloi, AKA JK5, who is probably most known as an innovative tattooer.
Tattooers have certainly been able to branch into other media over the last 10 years, and art and fashion commonly intersect. But never has the work of a tattooer featured so heavily on the garments of a brand as prominent as Comme des Garçons. The collection might be able to elevate tattoos as a form and open up new opportunities for artists that are best known for tattoos. More interestingly, it has given confidence to Aloi to chase his true dream to be a high fashion designer.

The work of JK5 is always evolving. He has been drawing since he could hold a crayon, and has continued to develop his style and build his visual vocabulary ever since. From tattoos to visual art to product design, Aloi is always finding new platforms to express his voice. He is often unaware of the forces that he’s channeling, which allows his work to reach new and unexpected heights, “It’s like Jay Adams on a skateboard and really creative things are happening but that dude is just moving. Or Jimi Hendrix just playing the guitar,” he explains, “It’s just happening naturally because you are the conduit.”
The Comme collection unfolded when Aloi tattooed a client who had a position at the brand, a client who eventually shared Aloi’s [...]


An Interview with Fanny and Idan from UY Studios

UY Studio is the creation of Berlin based design duo Fanny and Idan. Having just launched their latest collection we wanted to find out what it’s like to be an emerging fashion brand in 2015. Interestingly, UY Studio aren’t particularly concerned with chasing trends and following seasons. Instead they aim to be considered as an art collective involving fashion, home decor,  photography and art inviting us all to become a part of it. Their minimalistic style and almost futuristic cuts and shapes are reflections of their ethos to be a brand that “creates no aesthetic division between him and her”. We interviewed them to find out how Berlin has influenced their latest collection and what we can expect from them in the future.

 

What roles do materials play in your line and where do you source them?

For this specific shoot we chose to use textured materials that showed of the forms of the models. For one of the looks the fabric is very shiny and exaggerated, and then in contrast the other one is nude which is very fresh, delicate, childish, and feminine.

One of the things we stand for is comfort and a unisex-aesthetic, so as result we find that jersey is the best material for our ready-to-wear collection, which is available at our online store www.uy-studio.com. We source our materials both locally and internationally. And we try to build a relationship with our providers. The textiles could be from a textile fair, a market, or even from the Far East. We are very flexible and open; usually we get it in Barcelona, Tel Aviv and Italy.

As an emerging brand what do you feel you add to the fashion industry?

Our aim is not to fit into the fashion industry. We have never seen ourselves fitting into [...]


The Birth of Brass

 

The Birth of Brass

Today Sang Bleu celebrates the birth date of Tinto Brass, the Italian filmmaker famed for his adaptations of erotic literary novels and general public debauchery. With a vast filmography from the 60s to the 00s, Brass has often been branded a pornographer, voyeur, Satanist, erotic genius and master of sex. Today we commemorate all his titles and delve into his most titillating works and the women he choose to be subjected to his loving depravity.

Prior to the success of Salon Kitty (1976) and Caligula (1979), although the latter was edited, against the wishes of the auteur in post-production, Brass had delved into the human sexual psyche with nEROSubianco (1969) an exploration of sexual and racial tensions cumulated by a chance meeting between a housewife and a strapping black man. Dormant desires now released, the lady in question begins to fantasise about the exploration of sexual intimacies. Shot through a series of montages between a real and dream world, similarities have often been made to Bunuel’s L’Age D’or, where the audience bears witness to the female protagonist straddling her consciousness.

With this thoroughly explicit turn from 1980, Brass withstood hauls of critics who could not ‘bare to watch such gynaecological films’ and continued to adapt literary novels with the release The Key (1983) from Kagi by Jun’ichirō Tanizaki, The Mistress of the Inn (1985) from the three-act comedy La locandiera by Carlo Goldoni and Paprika (1991) from John Cleland’s 1748 novel, Fanny Hill. With these adaptations Brass continued to work on the sexual cravings of salacious women, who he expresses as either embracing unexplored taboos or awakening loins to carnal mischief. The [...]


Converse Fetish

‘Made by You’ is the latest carefully created marketing strategy slogan made for the quintessentially American shoe brand Converse. Huge billboards around the world are currently on show displaying individually modified trainers prying to the notion that the timeless shoes are to be bought and then customized to your own personality. Many of the trainers exhibited shown them in worn states alluding to the idea that sentimental values become attached to clothing which turns them into nostalgic memories and experiences.

The shoes are famously intertwined with notions of rock and roll and an air of effortless cool and in many ways are quite democratic. Worn by a huge array of the world population and at a relatively regulated price range, the canvas shoes provoke imagery of a counter cultural history. For a completely simple piece of design the Chuck Taylor shoes have managed to receive lasting popularity due to their musical associations. From the likes of Kurt Cobain and The Ramones to any subcultural club or venue in any city there is always someone within the cutting edge wearing a pair. But it can also be said that even the most conservatively driven individual would simultaneously own them, which is sort of fascinating for a fashion brand to remain that attention.  It seems almost impossible to dislike a pair of Converse and almost everyone has a memory of buying their first pair like a right of passage into adolescence.

So now, in 2015 it seems obvious that in our capitalistic world the company would do everything that they could to exploit this authentic association. These adverts sum up this desire to prove their intention by trying to show their global influence. Each pair of well worn shoes have their owners names signed underneath, ranging from people in all the continents and [...]


Red Comme des Garcon: innovation, provocation

‘Red Comme des Garcon: Innovation, Provocation’ is an exhibition opening tomorrow at London’s Live Archives that celebrates the radical spirit of Japanese fashion house Comme des Garcon and its head, Rei Kawakubo.

The pieces on display are all from Live Archives’ collection of directional contemporary fashion, which Comme des Garcon is considered the vanguard of. ‘Red’ showcases the work of the brand from 1994 to 2012.

The exhibition seeks to display pieces that are the archetype of the Comme des Garcon brand with their communication of the brand’s key aesthetic codes. Comme des Garcon’s experimental sculptural forming of the body and their subversion of gender stereotypes through dress is evident here.

Also on display will be a series of images by James Ari King and styled by Amanda Hansson that are a response to the pieces presented in the exhibition.

Exhibition curated by Jeffrey Horseley

There will be a live stream of the exhibition preview streaming on www.live-archives.com tonight, Thursday 19th March 7.30-9.30pm. curated by Jeffrey Horseley.

Live Archives 81-83, Mare Street, London E8 4RG

20th to 28th March, 12.00-19.00 daily. 

More information can be found here. 

 

 


An interview with Akasha Rabut her exhibition 504 Boyz

 

To celebrate Akasha Rabut’s photo series at the Sang Bleu Contemporary Art and Practice Space opening on Friday night we’ve spoken to her about the origins of this fascinating project. On Friday evening curator Hope Plescia will also be holing a discussion about the photos starting at 7pm.

How did you find out about this subculture and then go on to document it?

When I first moved to New Orleans I would always see well dressed men, holding a bottle of beer in one hand and riding a horse as fast as they could down the neutral ground. I would see these men all around the city. I started seeing them at second lines and took a few photos of them. I tried to track them down to give them the photos but failed.  I moved to New York for a few months and decided to move back to New Orleans. The first night I was back in town I was riding my bike through the city at 11pm at night and I randomly bumped into the 504 Boyz on horses in the Central Business District. We chatted and I told them that I wanted to hang out with them and takes some photos. We became friends immediately and I started documenting them.

What does 504 Boyz mean?

504 Boyz is a horse riding organization based out of the 504 area code (New Orleans area)

 How long would you spend at these gatherings?

I’ve been to one trail ride and have been shooting the 504 boyz for about 8 months.

 What was the diversity like between these people in regards to age and background?

Almost everyone is African American and between the ages of 18 – 60

 Where do you think the routes of [...]