We have come to accept ourselves. Come to terms with the last few years, the new world order - of sorts. We are spending a lot of money on the latest cell phone technology, then downloading applications that turn our pictures into something from the seventies, when cool kids walked around with Hipstamatic Cameras and made scrapbooks. Now we download an iPhone app. and post the pictures to Facebook. I was reading an article in WWD explaining heritage brands, we need to know that there's history in our purchases. Consumers want the illusion of permanence because now, more then ever, we've accepted there is none.
Collectively, we're using the latest technology to reinvent a likeness of the past. This is our modern age.
I'm still obsessed with Maria Abromovic's performance at MoMA. Needing to dissect and understand, ultimately how it affects our culture. How someone sitting quietly could be so evocative and moving. At a dinner party thrown by the gifted event producer Adam Aleksander, in an abandoned building on the Lower East Side. I was graciously served Kimchi by Yozmit, a few days before I saw him sitting on a suspended bicycle seat, naked, slowly moving his hands in a museum gallery. I almost gushed as he passed me a bowl of seaweed in candlelight dim.
Now, I've asked a few people if they've had a chance to see Abromovic's show, they return blank stares. As soon as she disappeared from the headlines, it's almost forgotten, much like a twitter burst or status update, even stories that shift our cultural landscape, as she has, become quickly forgotten to the ever-narrowing attention span of the populace.
In fashion, young designers like Annie Havlicek are using the more affordable commercial rents to start their own boutiques. New distribution models, using the latest technology, are being explored and retailers like AllSaints have surpassed expectations with artfully draped layers and asymmetry, with subdued earth tones and gray. Despite the momentary, Lady Gaga inspired, "no-pants" or "micro-shorts" trend, we are wearing more fabric. Covering ourselves. Protecting. The straps of dresses are thick, skirts often go below the knee, ink-blot dresses have replaced floral landscapes.
Michelle Obama has single-handily effected fashion in its many forms. The past few first ladies, their style sense seemed to be uniquely focused and impossible to relate to. Michelle on the other hand. With charisma and an emerging designer to champion, with a spattering of J. Crew. She's captivated women. Take a look at the shoulder strap of dresses you see walking down the street and compare it to her style.
I've become fascinated by old photos. Across from Maria was the work of Henri Cartier-Bresson a photographer, whose bankers in polyester suits and shirts caught my eye. How I could tell with near certainty, that the photos were from the fifties, because of the shape of the tie, glasses, hair, the general style of conformity. The quality of the films grain, light in the photos - these are all clues.
I wonder what the photography from our current decade will tell us, what story will the boyfriend pants worn by girls communicate. Our almost masochistic beauty and fascination with skeletons on cloths, as in Givenchy couture collection, body types have changed so drastically in the past two years. We're doing our best to cover up the blemishes newly created by necessity, because we can't get a manicure and pedicure, work two or more jobs, and can't press or dry clean our clothes, maintain our look like we were once able to.
I recently had a meeting with a gallery; we talked about the importance of the male nude. The gallerist said that nudes were timeless and had no date, so they were easier to sell. I'm not quite certain of that. The camera has changed the world. I want to explore the significance of finally being able to make a fine art print from a cell-phone photo. Even though everyone takes pictures and records our world in earnest - causing all of us to become models. Keep our guard up. Constantly wonder where the photo will show up. The constant spotlight.
At a fancy cocktail party on the Upper East Side a few nights ago, they served caviar and foie gras pate imported from France. The hostess played porn from the turn of the century. Published by the Harvard Archive. It was more twisted and more organic and far less involved then anything I've seen today. It seems as soon as the photograph and the film reel was invented, we started filming ourselves in various states of undress and disarray.
Collectively, we need to look at the past to understand our future, which we're doing now across the full spectrum of culture. So we look back, because we're not done understanding our history. Our parents, once hippies and free spirits, now readily break every rule they once believed in as youths. Creating subsequent generations of realists and pragmatists. I recently read an article about a pride activist who is upset that fewer people are taking to the streets and causing trouble.
Instead we take to the internet and pass around video clips and watch the Daily Show. The frustration, even though it hasn't spilled into the streets, is now championed by blogs and the ability to be hyper-connected. In many ways, more people are informed about the injustices of the world then in any other century before us.
We pick and chose, from the great well of human history and ever expanding smorgasbord of global cultures. To go, where ... I don't know. But it'll be a quickening of many understandings. I was at the Kanon Vodka summer house in the Hamptons, talking to a Ford Model who just came to the city and was doing the go-see circuit, (later I would find out he worked for AllSaints). He was dressed like a newsboy and everyone loved it, we exchanged facebook information to keep in touch. The distinctly modern group of cool kids, might have been teleported from a twenties speak-easy.
At Adam Aleksander's party last Saturday, they slaughtered two chickens in front of a live audience, the guests all wanted to capture the moment on video cameras and snapped photos in earnest. One was plucked and grilled, the other hung by his legs and pictures were taken with the prop. Makers Mark lent whisky to the event and we were all captivated by this once common act in our world, something almost none of us had witnessed live, yet we eat chicken almost daily.
Now that we've accepted our future, we once again need to understand what sex, death, and food mean to us. In some ways the current climate has once again allowed us to explore the meaning of individuality in a dynamic society. A while ago, it seemed like we all had it figured out. Then the world stood still and we have to do it all over again.
We're now on that road after finally shaking off our initial shock.
[Check out my new blog, Making a Picture]