PROJECT 0: the BLACK PHASE...
...a retrospective/ new beginning...
...a retrospective/ new beginning...
The first stage of Alchemy – the blackening/ entering shadow. Re-evaluation/ rebirth/ transformation.
Out of the darkness/ unearthing. The previously unseen brought to light.
If something is beautiful and beautifully made, does the inculcation of obsolescence into a object by an economic model dependent on generating desire for the new (fashion), render it valueless after a certain period?
1) BLACK DRESS MUSEUM
RETROSPECTIVE OF BLACK DRESSES & DRESS SETS FROM THE FUTURE CLASSICS ARCHIVE, RE-PHOTOGRAPHED & ANNOTATED AS MUSEUM PIECES. Biographical details of inception - name, date, collection, material.
'The Black Dresses in the museum are those that survived each Archive cull & purge because they required the least effort to behold and kept good time; without the distractions of colour or print they are harder to place and assign to a particular season or collection. They are carbon un-dateable, future classic. In their black-ness you can regard them objectively, see their features and the progression of ideas – their blackness allows you to concentrate on their particular form, concentrates their form. Their blackness allowed me to see beyond their apparent variety and mutation, and realise that I was always really just making one dress - a platonic ideal of a lady wear garment that I twisted, rotated, inverted, sliced up, put holes in or added frills to. Dresses for an avant-gardedly conservative funereal cocktail party I never attended.'
2) PAINT IT BLACK: Black Wash
Archive non-black FUTURE CLASSICS/DRESS garments undergo Black Wash pigment dye bath. The process destroyed 60% of the archive garments. Live and let die/dye. Exhibition and Sale of remaining/surviving archive DRESS & other garments with a listing of their original Season, Collection, Name and Colour, pre-transformation.
3) NEW BLACK CAPSULE
Capsule of 7 inter-related dresses evolved from one dress style - re-scaled, adapted/adaptable - continuing themes from the Dress Museum pieces.
The Black phase ends.... Project 01 into COLOUR
Dress variations developed from the New Black Capsule collection, taken into 10 grown up PAINT SET COLOURS for high Summer
(i) The MUSEUM DOLLS - Aren't they too cute?!!
Objectification, infantilisation & unnatural digital beauty. Re-constructions of FUTURE CLASSICS catwalk & look book ladies.
a kind of magazine...explores themes of the Black Phase...
(i) WHAT IF? 8 BLACK PHASE What Ifs....
(ii) DOLL BIOGRAPHIES - the real life of a Modoll
(iii) STREAM OF UN/CONSCIOUS-NESS ON BLACK
Essay on Black - mythology/influences/meaning. Idea of resurrecting, reviewing, unearthing to find things of value.
WHY X (insert name here) LIKES BLACK
Features on people with an affiliation to the project and the colour black.
TYPING INTO THE VOID
Written materials will be serialised on Twitter, using transient media to express existential sentiments.
(i) THE PREVIOUSLY UNSEEN/UNRELEASED
Title: INTO LIGHT – The Electra Woods
Previously unreleased song & video:
MONEY TREE- song, video
AMERICANA REMIX – song, video
(ii) A NEW BLACK SONG
Title: MOTOR/REMIXES - The Electra Woods
First track & remixes from new EP DEEP CLEAN.
Written from a black car, in a black phase of life & released with an existential karaoke video
with 2 mixed up/broken up remixes by Clas Tuuth & Snapped Ankles.
(iii) END OF CYCLE RINSE
Title: DEEP CLEAN EP - The Electra Woods
Named after an East London Launderette
6 semi-water themed songs of (mechanised) cleansing.
(iv) THE RE-ISSUED/RENAMED/BORN AGAIN
Title: A WALK IN – The Electra Woods
Debut album remastered, retitled, re-released.
New video for a song of re-birth, SLOW DANCE
Title: A WALK IN/REMIXES - Rothko/Gagarin/Rob Tolson remixes
Retrospective of Black Dresses & Dress Sets
from the FUTURE CLASSICS archive.
If something is beautiful and beautifully made, does the inculcation of obsolescence into a object by an economic model dependent on generating desire for the new render it valueless after a certain period? What are the criteria for a museum piece? Who decides?
black/blak/adjective 1.of the very darkest colour owing to the absence of or complete absorption of light; the opposite of white.
A STREAM OF (UN)CONSCIOUSNESS: ON BLACK... manifesto of the Black Phase...how deep you do want to go?
Selling you the dream is hard work......READ OUR EXCLUSIVE INSIDER ACCOUNT OF THE MUSEUM DOLL'S REAL LIVES....
As part of the Retrospective New Beginning rebirth/re-evaluation/ revolution thing...we talk to some creative humans whose work affiliates with the Black Phase Project 0 starting with the brilliant James Mountford
In the second of our series on creative humans whose work affiliates with the Black Phase, Dean Brannagan's Modified Magazines....
(i) Black Phase a double/single 01 - INTO LIGHT - the previously unseen/unreleased
featuring tracks AMERICA/remix & MONEY TREE
(ii) DEEPEST Black Phase single 02 - MOTOR
(iii) END OF CYCLE RINSE
Title: DEEP CLEAN EP - The Electra Woods
Named after an East London Launderette – 6 semi-water themed songs of (mechanised) cleansing.
(iv) THE RE-ISSUED/RENAMED/BORN AGAIN
Title: A WALK IN – The Electra Woods
Re-released album and remixes EP plus new video for a song of re-birth SLOW DANCE..
James was based in London, in Hackney, when we worked together. Except when we used catwalk images, James shot all of the FUTURE CLASSICS look books – so he is an innate part of the history of the label, how it evolved, was translated and seen – and therefore this begin-again/retrospective. If James thought my collection was OK, I was happy.
At the time James had a great blog, I Heart Krackney. His off the record out-takes and edits from editorial shoots and look books and personal work that didn’t sit on his then main photography website. Just his photos without external defining context. James’ work always had a very particular cool – an effortless plainness, and a super clean naked kind of sexuality. And when left to his own devices, an unfinished-ness - an art in itself. I always wanted a bit of Krackney in my look books but would then rein it in by being what I thought was necessarily detailed about garment construction, straight floor lines, etc. But the moments when I let James’ moments, and the light (or dark) spill in always made the edit better. James was also really kind in letting me post-production mess with his photos – taught me how to “gif”, and that “crushing the black” (artificially upping the contrast) was a bit naff.
Towards the end of his time in London, James started working more and more on his own art/work. He produced an over-size non-book folio of prints and a series of form studies using life models and performers as well as model/models. Startling, minimal, (un)still life/s. A human in a space with chair, nude tights, floor lines – all in relationship. A deliberate exploration and pushing of composition and subject/object – knowing, unafraid of possible ugliness.
Interestingly, and with perfect synchonicity for the theme of this project, since James moved from E8 to Los Angeles - place of perpetual sunlight - his work in contrast has descended further and further into darkness. I would say he is definitely in a black phase. His images have a deep, classical beauty and order, but also a primordial sense of horror and catastrophe - a kind of hunger for the luxury of the human body which somehow leads to its dismemberment. Flesh emerges from/sinks back into a fathomless black background. We are never quite given the whole. Forms are caught in light, but mangled by the capture. Plaster casts partially replicate sections of body, but are cracked open, incomplete. Layers of images stack up within themselves, haunted by their own ghost replication. Rocks and stones and plaster casts are stoic, emote. The line between painting, sculpture, performance and photography unclear. They remind me of Butoh, of Freud, the repetitions of Francis Bacon, of renaissance paintings; Araki’s surgically detached bondage photographs – but are something else, from some other place. Even when no humans are involved there is this same narrative – the exalted observation and capture of a being, a form, that becomes an event. They look incidental but studied, and always generate a weird desire - to take in more, extra absorb the in/complete.
I am really in awe of what James is up to now. He started out studying fine art and has returned – using everything he learned in his intermediate life as a fashion photographer to get to this very particular, unique place and way of working. I think he has found his particular strand of genius - got reborn in his new life, come full/completed circle.
I know you suggested Skype-ing, but I thought it would be good to do this interview “blind” as you say in your website work statement - as I know nothing of your new life, and how you work now. So this is a long distance, written Q & A.
I also remember you maybe not really being into explanations! - so it feels strange to ask you to write about things, and talk about your process – especially when in your statement you say “The artist’s process is designed to negate himself as photographer”….
I definitely feel I’ve had a rebirth, life and work in London had began to stagnate. The process of packing the few things I cared about and selling what was left was cathartic and arriving in Los Angeles with a clean slate felt great, it was like everything aligning all at once, I had this focus and drive that kept me in my studio for months at a time. Whenever a question formed I would push hard to answer it and that driving force of discovery formed a very prolific environment.
Q: I am really interested that your work got darker, and you started using a lot of black in your LA era. Can you explain/elaborate how/why this happened.
I think all of my work including the fashion work has an element of darkness to it. When I got to LA and found a studio I blacked it out completely from any daylight. I love the light and the space of Los Angeles and the surrounding area. I would spend a lot of time in the desert observing these minute and subtle moments of beauty in this vast and empty landscape. A tiny but perfect desert flower, a crumbling rock formation, a fallen tree being consumed by the desert floor. I would then go back to my studio and envelop myself in the dark and work with bodies or stone or plaster trying to find similar subtleties. The walls ceased to be black backgrounds and became huge voids in space. There were no rules in that space, nothing was wrong.
Q: I saw that you wrote “No digital retouching or Photoshop used”. Do you have rules about how you work – both in set-up and processing?
The only rule I have in my process is that photography would be used only as the medium for recording what took place in the studio. Once that recording had taken place it would not be changed whatsoever. I’m not interested in taking beautiful photographs, then honing or polishing them. I set up situations or performances in the studio and use the camera in it’s most basic form to record these moments. I’ll manufacture environments that will help negate myself as the image taker. Like working in the dark with long exposures and multiple flashes. Or building pin hole cameras that have no view finder. Chance and error become an important part the process.
Q: Are you making the objects in the photographs?
Yes I make everything, sculpture has become an interesting part of my work, it’s not just a form to photograph but an actual piece or part of an installation.
Q: Do you still “shoot fashion”?
I’ve done a few things that felt like the right fit, but in general I’m not working in that realm anymore.
Q: Any upcoming exhibitions?
I’m doing a big collaborative show with Stephen Webster at his space in Los Angeles in June. It’s my first show here.
The picture is broken down into 3 simple acts.
The subject, the eye, the light.
These 3 elements orbit, react and interchange infinitely to create a performance that is recorded in it’s most simple mechanics.
The fact that the space used is entirely black relieves any context from the act. Sometimes the body is painted to remove context, race, gender, sex, alleviating the need to make decisions about who and why and only concentrate on the form.
In this sphere the slightest subtlety forms crashing waves of emotion and cognition and leaves the viewer to fill in the blanks [blacks] [shadows] to complete the work.
Dean’s studio is full of detritus in the process of being re-assigned; orderly stacks of the discarded/collected resembling sculptures or installation even pre-transformation as they are deliberated within his space. Objects are being destroyed and reborn here by utilised accident and by design, so although there is not much black on this page, it’s themes are coded. These little things have been alchemised, albeit in a bucket of London tap water.
I happened upon a Modified Magazine on a studio visit and was captivated. I cooed over it, wanted to take one home. They appear animated. They stand up. Have a new shape from the process of their individual re-making – having been drowned, squeezed, torn, dried out, paint splattered, then glossily varnished back to life. The glimpses of flesh tone and body part, partially enacted scenes and random text still signal to the parts they were constructed to appeal to. They head straight for the id. But now their throw away-ness has become a kind of enshrined object-ness. They draw you in. You feel worshipful of them, want to possess them. It’s interesting. The more mangled ones carry a kind of Stonehenge of abandonment.
Glamour is defined as “exciting or mysterious attractiveness usually associated with striking physical beauty, luxury, or celebrity”, but originally, archaically, described a spell. To cast a glamour was a magical form of captivation, an enthrallment. Rendering the target without free will. Let’s remember this.
We are living in a media bath of glamour, and propaganda, loveliness and horror, fascination and fear. This media constantly acts on us, and we are constantly buying into it, being bought by it. We know this, but still somehow we are immune to its reality, its consequence. We may swat away at the crosses in the pop up boxes, skip or study the front 30 or so advert pages of a heavy glossy, but a lot of it still goes in. Drip fed. It defines us to sell to us, we buy into it's definitions of our selves. It's gathering up represents a mean average of the quantum intelligence of our society. Don't we want to swap it up for something more evolved? What would that look like?
Magazines are particular little envelopes of fantasy. Physical fetish objects. Private moments of projection. I set a level of intoxication for a fashion spread, art image, or interior styled “home” scene when browsing – to consider how durable its worth is to me. How long the hit will last. Then there is a toxicity scale. (For a while, I used to only buy fashion magazines in languages I couldn't read.) These are in balance. I quickly critique and demean the advertising, study its codes - to try and dispel its primitive targetting. Assess how long before I can no longer feel the glamour, and they become just a stack of papers to be recycled. Mostly now I then leave them on the shelf.
So for me Dean's objects have a really beautiful signification. They physically replicate this process- of both subject and object, the doer and the done to. My id got some therapy from hanging with the Modifieds.
Q: WHY DID YOU START MAKING THE MODIFIED MAGAZINES?
Magazines are designed to seduce us. They feed on desire like a vampire, are parasitic and require a host to carry out their function. I started using them as ‘objects' in response to this.
I noticed magazines discarded on the street, that had been left out in the rain and become a pulpy mess. I took a couple back to my studio and left them to dry out. I was intrigued and excited by the results. These crusty fossilised lumps seemed to convey an element of truth at last!
I began recreating that process by submerging them in buckets of water; I would leave them for up to a week to get really saturated. I would then take them out and wring the water out of them, twisting them so they became unrecognisable. There was something sadistically pleasurable about squeezing the life out of a Sunday colour supplement or Vogue or whatever. I would then let these strangled pieces dry out and then solidify them further by gloss coating them in PVA or resin.
I’m currently making a series of these objects - 'The Dace Agalma’s'. The Agalma is a term used by Lacan (French psychoanalystic/post-stucturalist) to describe the objet petit - the unobtainable object of desire, or the unconscious truth we wish to find. Originally from ancient Greek, the agalma was endowed with magical powers beyond its apparent superficial value. And Dace Road is where my studio is.
Q: YOU USE MEDIA AS MEDIA. WHEN DID YOU START DOING THIS AND WHY?
The first time I used newspapers was with the artist Tim Brennan in 1991, during the first Gulf War. I was at the Jan Van Eyck Academy in Maastricht on the postgraduate course, and Tim and I made a performance piece called “We Are Writing Letters” using a lot of black oil. After the ‘live part’ we laid out newspapers to soak the oil up. We then realised that we had something more interesting than the actual performance. The oil came through the reverse of the printed page producing a blackened double image. So we fly posted the academy with the oil soaked pages, and called it ‘The Double Silent’.
I was almost thrown out of the academy but it was the beginning of my long interest in using newspapers. I’ve used them ever since in one-way or another. Now newspapers and printed matter are starting to feel like relics – analogue material that’s being superseded by the digital.
Text Julie Wilkins 2016. Images Dean Brannagan
I first encountered Simona’s work through the beautiful giant mirrors of Double Zero (2006), and a (mutable) stack of black leather sand bags (Fort Worth series, 2007-). I associate her work with black for obvious reasons - as it’s the only colour I think she has regularly used, but also thematically because her work is somehow all about inversion and negation - the implied and the un-present - and there is always a deep, edgy glamour to it and a sense of the strict edit. Plus her hair is black (surface matters).
Simona’s studio is like a zip file. All content is compressed into containers and storage boxes, labelled and filed - even the storage is layered in upon itself, an archaeology of her thought processes made physical over the last 10 years or so. An upright boat shaped shelving system is a previous work, now divided, each part on wheels and used to contain other previous work - but still in this new life fitting exactly into itself - a symmetrical cupboard jigsaw - and still looking like work, just with altered potential. Another shelf contains archived moulds from 48 pieces of concrete rubble that were individually recast from resin, marble dust and pigment (Dead Air, 2011) - an intensive process also involving plaster, silicone and lots of time. Now these invert twin make-shells are cast-off and stacked industrial catacomb style - uneven skulls with several surgical incision points and white rubber brain linings - tied, numbered, bubble wrapped.
S: This is part of a series of new works in which I am re-making fragments of parquet flooring in hollow metal tubing.
One of the recurring motifs in my work is the idea that our relation to space is always mediated by a series of objects and infrastructures. You could say that a floor is a kind of infrastructure or technology, however rudimentary, that allows a body to stand upright in an indoor space.
The nice thing about aluminum is that it’s a softer material than, say, steel, and so this floor fragment has an inbuilt instability. It’s s trinket-shiny and fragile, quite brittle, not something you’d feel safe to step on - particularly as it’s precariously balanced on a found chair base.
The physical space stands as a good metaphor for Simona’s work, where process upon process, from thought to hands, layers up – though we only usually get to see the refined single end point of her intention. Her work is process heavy and craft in a way that has nothing to do with craft as we associate it, as it mostly comes out looking super clean and almost clinically conceptual. Except when you examine it closely (a line from the casting mould deliberately left in the rubble) or talk to her about how it was achieved (she learned rope making in order to plait rubber, saddlery to create a sculptural avant bridling) - when again you encounter the compression, and the engagement with the means of making, the meaning of the make.
Simona’s latest work was part of a group show, The Making, at the Agency Gallery in South East London, where 8 female artists were invited to show their process, and exhibit a form of deliberate work in progress. I am fairly obsessed with make being visible in my own work, and regularly thank the forces of accident for their contribution - and my idea of a neatly turned phrase is when grammar check says “fragment, (consider revising)”, so maybe that's why this is among my favourite of her work: a lightning zig-zag of beautifully wrought and polished aluminium parquet balanced on a found chair stand, and a Rapunzel noose plait of rubber. Also, partly because the materials and means of her work are so necessarily determined and maybe traditionally masculine (using steel, welding, petrochemical based industrial materials, etc.) that this letting-in and incompleteness adds a whole new counter un/weight layer of light and radical femininity (another of my favourite themes –non-gender specific, energetic).
Just as I was leaving Simona’s studio, I saw 2 bricks on the floor – one painted grey, one black. I had to tap them to check what they were - I now expected them so be soft and bouncy, maybe rubber? – part of a work. They were bricks, but Simona took this as a little victory - I'd got it.
S: Long Rider is a dub-plate recording of a needle stuck in a groove. Whenever I have used sound in the past, I have mainly been interested in its sculptural qualities.
The work exists in a small edition of 10 and the choice of material is significant. Unlike mass-produced vinyl, dub plates are cheap acetate plates made for one-off test pressings. They are intrinsically experimental objects, often used to try out new tracks in dance halls. Most of this music was never released commercially. Dub plates have an inferior sound quality and a finite life span. Because acetate is less durable, the needle ‘eats away’ at the groove and so the sound will start to degrade very quickly after a certain number of plays - the recording eventually effacing itself over time.
S: This is an as-yet-untitled series of photos which I have not shown. Each image features a ‘disembodied’ found object, which has been wrested from its original context, disassociated from it function and which is re-presented here, staged as sculpture for the camera.
They are all black and all have a relation to the body - more specifically, to sitting. I have this idea about sitting, or a particular mode of enforced, prolonged sitting, as being essentially a form of coercion, of violence. I don’t think the scale of the objects is necessarily very clear in the photographs, which I like because it makes things slightly more confusing.
S: Fort Worth is a pile of black leather-covered sandbags arranged to form a sort of fortification. It’s an ongoing project, which is meant to be shown in different versions. The idea is that each time it’s exhibited more sandbags are added, so that the layout changes and the piece gets larger - a burgeoning, shape-shifting obstruction, but also a fetish-ised object/structure recalling luxury furnishings, automotive interiors and biker wear.
WHY BLACK IN YOUR WORK?
Sticking to monochrome allows me not to worry about colour on top of whatever else might be going on in the work. So it’s a kind of non-choice. But l do very often choose black. I’m drawn to it for different and contradictory reasons. It allows for a pairing down and a distilling of things. There’s a reticence, a severity achieved partly through the use of black. Sometimes the work incorporates elements that are deliberately loaded with recognizable associations and the uncompromising anonymity of black plays against that familiarity, reduces the objects to a condensed starkness, a muteness. Black can also be used, in the opposite way - as an intensification in the sense of excess.
You could take an object, almost any object, and paint it black and you would find that it is suddenly transformed, that it has taken on a power, a strange sort of allure. Anything could become a fetish.
...AND WEARING BLACK?
In my mind, at the moment, I like to think I’m aspiring to the look of a Mediterranean grandmother. Southern Gran Goth. It’s not so much a nod to my roots, as a way of acting them out: I’m actually from Northern Italy and dye my hair darker, so that whole identification is a bit of a lie, or not entirely accurate, like playing to type.
S: This piece loosely approximates a pair of metal grab rails, perhaps of the type that would be found on the edge of a swimming pool. Only here the sunken negative space of the pool is denied - there is nowhere to go.
This piece sat in my studio for about three years before I found the right context to show it in. It is wonkily hand-made out of thin-gauge metal, which would be far too flimsy to ever be approved for industrially fabricated safety rails. I like it for its weakness and its irregularity. It’s like a tentative, slightly cartoonish drawing in space.
S: Life Sized is a three-dimensional zero made out of mirrored acrylic. It’s exactly the same height as me, 163cm. It was the culmination of quite a long project about numbers and rankings (like Top Tens, Best Ofs, and so on), which involved a series of drawings and sculptural works, and at the end of which I decided I was really mostly interested in zeros. I’m fascinated by zeros, in a similar way to which I am by black. So you have this big mirrored sculpture which stands for abject nothingness and it’s an inconsistent thing. It looks like a self-contained, highly formal and sleek sculpture - but it dismantles and de-materialises itself by engulfing its surroundings through its reflective surfaces, so the viewer and space become implicated in the sense of void generated by the work.
S: This is a length of rope I’ve hand-made out of rubber tubing. The type of rubber I chose to use is very spongy and has practically no tear resistance. If you tried to hang something off it, it would break. I guess, like in much of my work, I’ve taken something from the everyday and deliberately asetheticised it in such a way as to undermine its reliability and disrupt its coherence as an object.
TEXT: Julie Wilkins 2016
File under #fashioncliches #modellife #nevertooyoung #nevertoothin #modoll
Doll no.1 grew up on a council estate in South London and used to be a club kid. She was almost a super but it sort of didn’t happen. At 27, close to retiring, thinks she may move to Ibiza with her much younger Italian DJ boyfriend (when he comes out of rehab). Hangs in a hairdresser/stylist/model mega-pack and has not lived in one place for longer than 2 months in last 12 years, so very nervous of how it might be to live more like a normal person.
Museum Doll no.3 is doing a masters degree in French & Russian literature. We cast her for her over-size head, super-size pout & the far away look in her eyes.
Russian and one of 12 exactly identical fair haired, high cheek boned, full lipped, white Russian dolls, I mean models, that we cast for the show. Impeccably silent movie and expressionless except when talking with other Russians in Russian about their exhaustion and what shows they'd got. My Mother thought they were all one person, changing quickly behind the scenes.
With Doll No. 2 shoot was a little tricky because the head holes of garments were bigger than her body, and kept slipping off. But looked great in photo! Eerily lovely & needing just the littlest tweak in post. Later though we had to send her home from a show because she wasn’t responding to her own name and none of us were sure where she was at.
Nordic, or maybe Finnish? Uses only first name for bookings, which we couldn’t pronounce properly. She didn’t speak on the shoot, just held neutral power poses and spent most of the time on the phone to her agency. Was Eurostarring to Paris that evening for a big German catalogue shoot and air kissed everyone on the team before she left but made no eye contact. Paid quite a lot for her which included only minimal residuals hence smaller image here, reproduced with kind permission etc.
Doll no. 4 is from Sweden and is the daughter of a very famous anthropologist who married a wild child/model/turned actress/painter. She plays the violin and could not stand in the window for very long as her skin was burning.
Totally worked the room with her immaculate breasts, pert bottom and cool perfection. Extremely self contained, extremely professional. Sending money home each month to the Ukraine. Brazilian boyfriend collected her from show on motorbike. Heard she recently gave birth to Paolo Jnr. Congratulations!
Gentle, accommodating, radiating an old fashioned kind of modesty. Was on special banana and milk, white food regime so refused all offered sustenance. When we tried to cast her again, agent said she had found it hard to maintain target body weight and had left modelling to go back to study in Poland. A loss to the industry frankly.
Looked super pale and ethereal but was actually committed surfer and was saving up to buy a farm and raise livestock with her boyfriend, a fellow Australian model. Quite steely despite looking like she reads a lot of Irish poetry and feels the cold acutely. In it for the short haul. Currently rotating Milan, Tokyo, New York.
Just left school, very posh, from Surrey. Very body awkward except when we got her to jump up and down with her eyes closed to Bon Jovi, where she was able to lose herself in the moment and evoke some natural spontaneity. I thought she had real potential at the casting, but that it could go either way. Since spotted her in weekend supplement wearing 5 budget dresses for summer. Maybe back at college now?
We cast her as we thought she looked very early era Margiela. Plain, Belgian, un-make-up-able. We had to foundation over her eyebrows to match the other girls. On the day it didn’t quite work out look-wise as no one else was quite so early era Margiela as her.
As they say in the movies, the story, all names, characters, and incidents portrayed are fictitious. No identification with actual persons, places, or products is intended or should be inferred...
Copyright DRESS©. All rights reserved.
When an animal totem wants to communicate to you, you start to notice them everywhere. Related things come at you. It could be because you then start looking for them – either way the result is the same. This could be called co-incidence, or incidence of everyday magic.
It started with my being given a Crow feather. Then another. Then other things happened. Ridiculous things involving electronic gadgetry and overlapped synchronicities. All Crow related.
When I started to read about Crow medicine (Native American terminology for when the spirit of an animal is called, or calls to you, for aid and repair, for teaching – though the idea of spirit animals is in other traditions too), it catalogued the themes of this project, and I understood why Crow wanted to take part.
So we stole some images of Crow from the Internet so we could build our own electronic one. Crows are known as tricksters and thieves of shiny things, so I think they would like this – even if the rights holders don’t. They had stamped their name on Crow’s wings. We cleaned it off. Who holds rights to Crow? No one, that’s who. Only Crow.
I’ve also borrowed lots of this wisdom about Crow from various websites – but these are linked below, so it’s not stealing - just identifying what is of value to you and using it well, which is one of Crow’s attributes – totemically speaking.
The Crow as a spirit animal is associated like all black creatures, with alchemy. Crow’s colour is symbolic of the onset of creation, of the void – with the pure potential of that which has not yet taken form. They represent utilising sense beyond that of the day lit rational, a commitment to higher knowing (symbolic flight) and an understanding of the realms beyond the ordinary appearance of things. They signal a commitment to magic, to your own transition into something shinier.
Crows are one of the most intelligent animals on the planet. But this on a chart created by humans, who have put themselves at the top. I think Crow would find that very funny.
Crows hang in gangs and operate as a unit, go on missions together. They are pretty daring. Mischievous. Crows are known to build their nests in very tall trees - so they can get a better perspective on things. Crow is also watchful of intruders and predators. They signal to their clan very loudly if they sense danger. They protect each other and anyone they like. They also mate for life, and remain partnered unless they are unable to be fertile together. In which case they are thought to bird divorce.
They are also associated, as a black carrion bird, with a knowledge of death - from a folk tradition that sees them eating raw meat at roadsides - and as harbingers of disaster for hanging around waiting for the next batch. But that's just Crow having lunch. Nothing personal.
If Crow chose you as your power animal, you are encouraged to develop your personal will power and voice. To speak your truth more loudly, to caw - regardless of any adversity you may face. So maybe I am mad to write about Crows on a website that seems to be about fashion somehow, but kind of isn’t. But maybe I am just receiving, very gratefully, Crow medicine.
(By the way, I tried to find a Crow Preservation Society to donate to – by way of thanks for borrowing Crow’s image and energy. There isn't one, except for the human Crow clan who also celebrate their feathered brethren. I loathe when companies borrow animal logos and use cute animations to illustrate and sell their USP when likely their corporate practices are eating up the world, destroying habitats and engendering the genecide of species. I fear we will all end up living like Philip K Dick predicted in Do Androids Dream Electric Sheep? with only genetically reverse-engineered bio copies of extinct creatures as pets, and cute cartoon logos for company. Let’s prevent that happening. Let our electronic Crow serve as notice.)