Kristina Gill: Oatmeal

Kristina Gill: Oatmeal

Today we welcome The Blogazine’s newest columnist, photographer and food stylist Kristina Gill. Based in Rome and a native of Nashville in Tennessee, Kristina is the editor of In The Kitchen on Grace Bonney’s must-read megablog DesignSponge, and will be bringing her cozy, welcoming style for taste to our pages. She’s a master of beauty in the everyday and explores the world through the true-to-sight 35mm lens of her camera. Hello, Kristina! Let’s eat! 

“Oatmeal is one of the staples in my cupboard.  I love it for breakfast, especially when it is cold out.  Usually I add a couple of tablespoons of finely ground flaxseed meal and a bit of butter when I want to add richness.  This winter, though, I did something I never do, and I ordered a bowl of oatmeal in a restaurant.  It was served with hot buttered currants, bananas, and walnuts.  Who knew it could taste so good?  Now, when I want an extra special weekend treat and something that will carry me through to late afternoon, I make my oatmeal with golden raisins and bananas heated in a bit of butter, pecans, and a splash of cream.”

Introduction Tag Christof – Text and Images Kristina Gill

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How To Pack For F/W

How To Pack For F/W

The hoopla and fanfare of the fashion weeks is just about to kick off the frenzy for another new season. As a special treat to mark the occasion, online editor of French fashion bible Purple, Paula Goldstein, is joining The Blogazine crew to share some inside views from the world of fashion. First up, she shares some primo trade secrets for packing smartly for the streets, runway sidelines and shindigs in style.

F/W’s twice-a-year traveling circus means for those working in it a time of excitement, lack of sleep, lack of food and lack of time to do and see it all. And it’s almost upon us once again. Packing for a month of being photographed and looked at, partying and being judged on chicness whilst hungover is a stressful process, and has many pitfalls. I decided to ask some friends of mine who are experts in it – and impart a little of my own advice too – on how to pack for F/W’s. Which of course rings true also to any traveling situation, just with slightly more dramatic extremes.

My number one tip, “never pack drunk,” should always be taken seriously, or you will surely live to regret it. I once packed for a trip with one of my best friends, and we may have accidentally drunk two bottles of wine, dressed up in everything I owned, tried to fit ourselves into the suitcase like contortionists, and had an impromptu photo-shoot. This was truly wonderful until I arrived in Paris for 5 nights on a freezing February morning to discover I had packed 4 bikinis, gold Ashish wedges I have never been able to walk in, a feather boa and a purple felt hat. And not much else.

My darling friend, a successful model Ben Grimes imparts her packing advice: “I’ve found that the best method of packing for fashion week is to pack 3 bags. One for NY, one for Milan and one for Paris. I don’t pack a bag for London as the bulk of my clothes are there. I also pack a pair of flats for each pair of heels, and make sure I have comfort clothes for when I’m not on show. Also, always scour your hotel room for missing shoes; every season I come back with an incomplete pair after repacking in a rush!“

Photographer and ex-model Candice Lake shares her tips: “After 13 years of virtually living out of a suitcase, I am still a horrendous packer! I pack too much and only ever wear half of the pieces I pack. I have however come up with a few fail safe ways to avoid the excess baggage costs:

1) Buy yourself mini tubes and bottles for pretty much every cosmetic product you use. There is no point on lugging your one litre value pack shampoo across the world. I get my favourite brand to send me all my favourite products in mini sizes and I always ask the hairdresser for mini sized shampoos. This cuts down the weight and the space in your luggage… leaving more room for clothes.

2)Plan your outfits. This is something I never do. I am actually flying to NY for the fashion week tomorrow and I haven’t yet packed or planned any outfits. This is silly, as I will inevitably take 7 pairs of shoes, of which I will only wear 3, and way too many coats and inappropriate dresses. I’d say to plan your outfits around your key pieces and don’t get tempted to pack every dress you own.

3) Always wear something incredibly warm on the plane. I never leave to the airport without my cashmere wrap and my Givenchy leather/alpaca jacket, which is so warm and comfortable, I could wear it to bed.

4) Never forget to take power converters.

Another friend who knows well the importance of packing, is Kerry McKenna, Charlotte Olympia’s right hand girl. She explains how there’s a shoe for every occasion in her collection: “For me fashion week kicks of with a flight to NY. A pair of flats act as my comfortable airport shoes. For long NY days of shows and sales appointments I wear my most comfortable classic high heels, so I opt for my sexy red satin Charlotte Olympia Paloma’s. Back in London I usually choose comfortable boots to save my feet for the fashion shows and the general running around. “

Paula Goldstein – Images courtesy of Adolf Conrad & ThingsOrganizedNeatly.tumblr.com

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A Silent Choir

A Silent Choir

Everybody knows that matter is made of particles and these particles can be split in many other micro-particles going to smaller and smaller. But what people very often omit to consider is the importance of lack, the emptiness, which is among all the molecules and is a part of every inanimate object or a living being. Emptiness is not only a formal concept, but also a generating element that creates balance. “There is no sound without silence, there is no silence without sound”, says Jacopo Mazzonelli (b. 1983, Trento), who recently opened his solo show entitled Coro (Choir), curated by Marco Tagliafierro.

The young Italian artist -with a musical education and a keen interest in alchemy- plays with full and empty spaces, pause and action, sound and silence.

In Petit (2011) Mazzonelli, using two plumb lines hanging from the ceiling and the pedals of an old tricycle running on a neon tube, recreates the suggestion and tension of the morning of the 7th of August 1974, the day in which Philippe Petit walked a tightrope between the Twin Towers.

No sounds can be heard from the mouths trapped in geometrical shapes cut on the covers of the five volumes of Coro (2011). Each shape and each mouth – which cry, laugh, scream or declare – belong to a character: circle/crying baby, cross/Martin Luther King, triangle/Marilyn Monroe, square/Adolf Hitler, pentagon/John Fitzgerald Kennedy. The tomes, resting on five iron lecterns, are carved from inside and they treasure small screens that project video fragments of the characters.

In Limbo (2011), in which an hourglass seems to be resting, hanging horizontally on the remains of a broken light bulb, the artist suspended a stream of time, creating a feeling of calmness accompanied by a latent and unexplainable tension. Just before closing, the exhibition path Inner (2011) catches my attention. By putting funnels on large candles (bought from an old rectory) Mazzonelli turns them into the pipes of an organ, which seems to be about to let the sound out.

Minimalism permeates all the exhibited works, but the minimalism of this young artist is not just a matter of aesthetics. All the installations are not only well defined works arranged in a clear (and sometimes ‘cold’) manner. They are the results of pondered thoughts along with a solid knowledge… not so common in the young – and even in the ‘not so young’ – artists.

The exhibition will run until March 16 at Federico Bianchi Contemporary Art in Milan.

Monica Lombardi – Images courtesy of Jacopo Mazzonelli & Federico Bianchi Contemporary Art

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Fashion Bloggers: Love Them Or Hate them

Fashion Bloggers: Love Them Or Hate them

We’re in the midst of fashion’s most manic moment: the fashion weeks. Models, celebrities, photographers, editors, buyers and everyone else with an invite, are running from show to show, from front row to front row. And so we have the fashion bloggers, the latest conscripts to the “front row mafia”. Olivier Zahm, editor-in-chief of Purple, made waves on a YouTube video in 2010 by openly expressing his aversion towards fashion bloggers. The same year, world-renowned purveyor of fashion Luisa Via Roma organized Firenze4ever, the first fashion blogger event ever. So whether you hate them or you love them, you have to admit that fashion bloggers have gained traction over the past few years and are an integral part of the industry today. But how have fashion bloggers actually changed the industry, and exactly what is it that made them earn this power? And what does this newly acquired position of fashion bloggers do for the future of fashion business?

The fact that we live in a digital world has most likely helped the rise of the bloggers; they market themselves on a platform where today’s generation is more present than ever. The CEO of Luisa Via Roma said in an interview that “they all speak the same language; they speak the language of fashion and they speak the language of Internet.” Still, there must be a more understandable reason for the almost revolutionary change that has occurred, beside the bloggers’ mere interest in media and fashion. A moment that possibly boosted their status in the industry the most was when Dolce & Gabbana in September 2009 placed four fashion bloggers and street style photographers on the front row together with well recognized and celebrated people of the international press and the fashion industry. It lies in the nature of this industry to be trend sensitive and forward-looking, and perhaps all that was needed was for someone to dare to take the step and open up for something unfamiliar, to make the rest of the industry follow.

There are surely several positive aspects on what the business is experiencing, and the fashion bloggers can possibly function both as a boost for PR as well as “real” workforce for the industry. The question that lies ahead, though, is what the effect will be in the long run, and the topic has indeed been well discussed, written and, yes, even blogged about over and over the last few seasons. If fashion bloggers are the voices of the future, will already acknowledged industry people lose power and have less of a say? Or is it possible to find a balance where the fashion bloggers occupy a sweet spot? With mass digitalization and an ascendant social media trend, we believe that the fashion industry is looking towards an rich, rich future, and that this blogger “phenomenon” is just the tip of the iceberg.

Lisa Olsson Hjerpe – Video Courtesy of Neulandherzer.com.

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Ward Shelley: Unreliable Narrator

Ward Shelley: Unreliable Narrator

Ward Shelley likes to make maps. Not of cities, countries or continents, but of cultural trends, literary genres, and social movements. And he likes to fasten his topographical expeditions underneath the skin, within the realm of the body, exploring and tracing his curiosity through the highly intricate human network of arteries, veins, and internal organs. His fascination lies in exploring the existential question posed by David Byrne over thirty years ago, and with the same shrug-of-the-shoulder immediacy: “Well, how did I get here?”

The only difference is that Shelley takes the question a bit more literally, preferring to explore every detail to the most minute edge of his conscious mind. All of which leads us to his current exhibit, Unreliable Narrator, which will be on display from February 17th to March 18th at Pierogi Gallery in Brooklyn—the same gallery that first showcased his live-in installation We Have Mice (where Shelley spent a month living between the walls) and has represented Ward for years. Pierogi first opened its doors in 1994 to painters, sculptors, film and multi-media artists, and has spent much of its time and effort showcasing New York-based underground notables whose work you’ve seen but probably never heard about.

Shelley is equally allusive—he started his life as an artist around the same time period, having his first show in 1990—although no less notable. There’s no reason for him to be “underground”, nor is he “difficult” or hard to get in any sense of the terms. Shelley is, in a nutshell, of the now. He’s quite straightforward, at least as far as history and pop culture are concerned, preferring to obsess over, cut up and document the history of downtown New York, science fiction, and Williamsburg—101 topics for anyone with a fascination with Gotham City.

He is the first to admit his role as an unreliable narrator, having done so nearly a year ago in an interview with Slate, saying “It would be easier to do [my paintings] on a computer than by hand. But the reason I do it by hand is that one of the important ethical points to make here is that, in the end, this is one person’s point of view. It has no real authority.” In that quote he was ramping against (and in support of) the level of criticism he received for his piece The History of Science Fiction that left many ardent followers of the genre—enthusiasts, forum geeks, under-performing fathers—with a lot to say of their own personal taste. To Shelley, that’s the point: We all have opinions; no history or taste can ever be absolute. If his goal was to spark controversy and conversation in regard to the subject in question (in this case, science fiction), then he certainly succeeded.

Unreliable Narrator will provoke similar emotions. As the title suggest, these familiar infographic formations—intestinal charts, diagrams, intricate histories—lay bare Shelley’s acute attention to detail, putting his observations and private fascinations on full public display, for all to scrutinize and obsess over.

Ward Shelley’s Unreliable Narrator at Pierogi Gallery, 177 N. 9th Street, Brooklyn, NY, from February 17 to March 18, 2012 .

Lane Koivu – Images courtesy of Pierogi Gallery & Ward Shelley

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Whitney Houston: Obituary

Whitney Houston: Obituary

It wasn’t much of a shock to learn that Whitney Houston had died alone in a bathtub at the Beverly Hilton hotel on the eve before the Grammys. It’s almost too perfect. For the past fifteen years the preeminent 20th century pop diva had weathered the worst and most public of personal demons: cocaine addiction, alcoholism and Bobby Brown, to name a few. Every album she released after 1998’s My Love Is Your Love was touted as her “comeback”, and with every release it quickly became apparent that her head was barely above the surface. Her 2002 interview with Diane Sawyer, best remembered for her claim that “Crack is wack,” became symbolic of Houston’s condition in her later life: Moody, medicated, in denial, broken, yet also determined to persevere and power forward. That is, until she couldn’t.

Her death grimly fits the stereotype laid out by her and others before her—most recently Amy Winehouse and Michael Jackson. Even Whitney herself admitted, in a 2002 interview, that “The biggest devil is me. I’m either my best friend or my worst enemy.” Sure, we may have come to expect a tragic, scripted endings from our idols, but that doesn’t mean we have to like them. We tend to think our protagonists will learn from their mistakes before it’s too late, even when common sense tells us it’s likely not the case.

Thankfully, for all of the cheap tabloid dramas that encompassed her later life, it’s impossible to forget the pop accomplishments that made Whitney so endearing in the first place. Her debut album, 1985’s Whitney Houston, sold millions and broke down massive barriers for women, and black female artists in particular. She won her first Grammy for “Saving All My Love For You”, and then the following year won an Emmy for performing that song on the Grammys. With the release of her second album, 1986’s Whitney she became the first female artist to enter the Billboard charts at number one. She was among the first black women to have videos in heavy rotation on MTV, and played late-night talk shows at a time when the idea of a black woman performing on Letterman seemed as likely as democracy in China. She captivated a nation when she sang “The Star-Spangled Banner” at the 1991 Super Bowl, just as America was getting itself into the Persian Gulf War. Her debut film, The Bodyguard, would produce her most well-known song, a cover of Dolly Parton’s “I Will Always Love You.” In all she would sell over 170 million albums worldwide in her lifetime. Those numbers are sure to skyrocket now that she is dead.

Whitney was a role model for a generation, and for women in particular. Her scope and influence cannot be overstated. Today we have pop juggernauts like Mary J Blige, Brandy, Mariah Carey, Nicki Minaj and Beyoncé to remind us of the path she herself seemingly effortlessly blazed on the on the power of her singular, gospel-tinged voice (and, okay, her stunning beauty certainly didn’t hurt). Houston’s career has been so emulated that it’s hard to imagine there was a time when pop divas didn’t exist. For that she remains a singular artist, the first of her kind. In the wake of her messy death and all of the headline-hungry details that are sure to follow in the coming weeks, there is something we can all agree on: There will always be only one Whitney Houston.

Lane Koivu – Images courtesy of Lapresse & Matt Sayles

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Please Don’t Forget Aldo Novarese

Please Don’t Forget Aldo Novarese

In the early nineties, design historians had re-discovered the long forgotten graphic design history. After this long period of glossy manuals, where design history hasn’t been written, but shown, in the last few years designers have decided to take the matter into their own hands. A new history of revivals began with countless exhibitions on this-or-that, accompanied by myriads of independent publications and, as the latest trend inescapably dictates, hundreds of re-designs of long forgotten fonts.

One of the latest musts in the typographers’ field is Recta, a bit goofy Italian contribution to the sans serif families of the sixties. The prolific designer of the above mentioned 1958 font is Aldo Novarese.

Aldo Novarese has worked for almost all of his life for Nebiolo foundry in Torino. In forty years of passionate dedication he has created more than one hundred fonts, existing not only as sketches, but entire families of characters, alongside of two books and a well known character classification.
In 2011‚ Canada Type foundry digitalized Recta, which immediately became a graphic must, and Aldo Novarese a worshipped hero. In the meanwhile the Italians haven’t yet realized the importance of this master. Not even a single word has recently been heard about him, only a few design students can accidentally see his name while flipping through the old glossy ‘international’ design manuals. Hopefully they’ll soon realize that the grass isn’t always greener on the other side.

Rujana Rebernjak – Images courtesy of Aldo Novarese & Nebiolo

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Scandinavian Fashion, Function & Compassion

Scandinavian Fashion, Function & Compassion

Amidst the glamour, bliss and cold hard business of Copenhagen Fashion Week, the Swedish brand Resteröds made an unconventional and powerful set of statements. First, its runway presentation opened with a spoken poem about life on the street. Then, a collection of well-designed, everyday apparel with a sharp focus on usable quality was presented on the catwalk, worn by the very same people that the opening poem referenced: the homeless.

The brand, which is not a regular on the catwalk, was presenting a fully new collection for AW12 – a collection that otherwise has remained more or less untouched over the past 70 years. And raising eyebrows with its unconventional show has turned out to be a rather smart PR move, and it has raised money for a cause that often gets relegated to the gutter, so to speak. It also gave the brand a chance to show off a new edge in its designs, made all the more powerful in combination with an issue that left a mark in the minds of the audience.

We could continue by discussing Corporate Social Responsibility and the imperative for companies to take actions. We could reflect over whether the show was born of genuine concern for ethics or whether it was a publicity stunt. But it might be more important just to highlight the fact that the fashion industry holds a tremendous amount of power. And unconventional initiatives like this are a way to leverage that power to call attention to just causes.

Maybe it was the presentation or maybe it was the hefty knits, but the Resteröds AW12 catwalk show made the otherwise cold Scandinavian winter feel just a few degrees warmer.

The Resteröds AW12 charity show was organized in co-operation with Hus Forbi, a Danish newspaper for the homeless.

Lisa Olsson Hjerpe – Images Copenhagen Fashion Week®

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Guest Interview n° 35: Zefrey Throwell

Guest Interview n° 35: Zefrey Throwell

Last week we introduced you to the brilliant and controversial Zefrey Throwell and his Ocularpation: Wall Street. Today we present Lane Koivu’s interview of the provocative artist and master of this “Freudian nightmare.”

When did you start pursuing art as a way of life?

I was 19. I was mostly into punk rock—loud noisy music. I was in a couple of bands. We weren’t very good. We were very loud though. [Laughs] I had a girlfriend at the time who was a painter. And I remember going over to her garage and she was painting, and I was drunk. And I was giving her shit about what she was painting. I was like, “I could do better than that!” And I remember I picked up an old toilet seat cover that was laying around in her garage, grabbed some of her paint brushes, and started messing around on it. And it was amazing. I totally loved it.

How’d the idea of Ocularpation: Wall Street get cooked up, and why did it happen when it did? I’m interested in why all of these factors came together down on Wall Street, three years after the crash.
The idea came up because my mother was a high school counselor for thirty years—a public servant. She was working hard, putting her money away. She really saved a lot, and then retired. It’s the classic American ideal: work hard, put the money away because nobody is going to take care of you, you take care of yourself, and you’ll be able to enjoy your golden years in Florida, or wherever the hell you want.

So she does this, she follows the law, and was retired for three days when the market crashes and she loses the majority of her life savings. Within a day and a half. It was a massive bleeding. She was stunned at first, then depressed, then really depressed and sad. Not only did she lose all of this money, but she was going to have to come out of retirement. And by this time the place she’d left didn’t want to hire her back, because she’s old, already in her 60s. And other places aren’t looking to hire public counselors in their 60s—they’re looking to hire young people that get paid half as much. So she had a hell of a time getting a job for years. Nobody wanted to hire her, she’d get more and more depressed and would cry over the phone. Which you know, if you’ve ever heard your mother crying over the phone, it’s fucking horrible. Especially when there’s nothing you can do.

So I came up with this project as a way to really re-focus media attention on Wall Street and what was happening down there. It’s hard to imagine now, but before Occupy moved in, and before my performance, no one was talking about Wall Street, right?

Right. And in fact the week before I did this performance, the NY Times wrote an article called “Wall Street’s Got it’s Swagger Back.” It was all about how bonuses were bigger than ever down on Wall Street—bigger than before the crash—and my mother would see things like this and it would driver her insane, because all of her money was gone. It’d been siphoned into this giant money machine. So it was in the context of this massive inequality that was happening that I came up with the project. I wanted to refocus a lot of attention on Wall Street. And it worked like crazy.

It was the most successful piece you’ve ever done?
As far as media attention, absolutely. I mean, six months later NY1 is interviewing me, you know? It’s going to be on the news in a couple of days. Still! And it happened back in August.

Do you think the Occupy movement would have happened without Ocularpation?
I really can’t say. The interactions I’ve had with people down at Occupy are normal people like you and me. For a large group of strangers in New York—where we tend to talk more about rampant consumerism in our day-to-day lives—to be talking about how they can reshape the government, it’s fucking great.

Tell me about “I’ll Raise You One…” that you did last November at 79 Walker Street.
That was a seven day performance. By contrast, Ocularpation was five minutes. This was seven days and we were in there nine hours a day. We were trying to explore different economic models, but to do it in a way that wasn’t stale and boring. Because when we talk about economics, especially in the US, it’s with techniques that have been used since the 60s or before: sit-ins, massive protests, stuff like that. The formats tend to lose their edge because they’re old. And I’m not interested in that. I’m interested in catching people’s attention in a fresh way. So in that brief window when you actually get someone’s attention you can bring your point home, let it germinate, and then it can take on a life of its own.

Through the shock value of nudity?
Nudity, or through games like strip poker, where people might think, “Oh, I remember playing that as a teenager.” So we set up a table and had different participants rotating each day. We tried out five different economic models. The first one was capitalism—unregulated wealth, free market. People showed up with however many layers they wanted to bring, which is kind of how life is. People have different amounts of money but have to play by the same rules.

Except people don’t get to choose how much money they start out with in real life.
Right, but here people were given simple instructions: Just wear clothes. One guy showed up with like 100 layers on. He had trouble breathing. We had to take some clothes off for him. There was like six inches worth of teachers. And then other people showed up in only a sweater.

You talked about the shock value of using nudity as a means to get people’s attention. Now that you’ve garnered so much publicity for doing these flash projects, are you weary or afraid of being pegged as “the nude artist”?
Yes. It already is very much that people have pigeonholed me. You do something a couple of times—not to mention the fact that I’ve done many, many other projects in the meantime. I’ve made a feature-length movie, I’ve done the Midtown games where we had 100 people running a 250-meter relay race in Times Square, everybody with their clothes on. Because people have already associated me with nudity, they try to peg me as a “naked artist”.

How do you feel about that?
[Laughs] Well I’m definitely not doing any nudity for a while.

What about your new project? Can you talk about that a bit?
It’s called “Entropy Symphony Movement III Los Angeles”. It’s the third part of a continuing symphony I’ve done. And it’s going to be 1,000 car horn symphony in LA played all across the city. Not all bunched together. Some in the south, some in Venice, some in Silver Lake—they’re all over the place. Beeping out a five part symphony. I have big list of all the different horn sounds, and if you have a certain car model you’ll get a certain sound. And from 6pm to 6:05 they’ll get an MP3 with their part on it, and then play along with their horns. Ba bap bap baaa! Unlike most projects, no one can experience this at all until afterwards. It’s what I call “a Fireside Method”, where everyone comes around the campfire and tells the story. And that way it creates the whole.

“The Fireside Method” was also used for Ocuparlation. Everyone had a different take—especially the three people who got arrested.
Sure, those guys in particular. Because inside there are some of the largest criminals that have ever walked the earth. Economic thievery of the kind that we have never seen before. The kind that has crushed worlds. Entire nations have been destroyed by what happens in that building. And then three kids take their clothes off in front of it and get arrested while everyone inside gets off scot-free…

There’s the obvious irony, but you seem to look at it with this hilarious, absurd perspective. Not cheeky, but most of your projects take on heavy subjects with a sense of playfulness, almost an innocent rebelliousness to them. And they walk a find line between authority and rebellion.
Thank you. My favorite artist is Andy Kaufman. That’s who I try to emulate. His most famous thing was probably…wrestling with women, maybe? Maybe lip-syncing Mighty Mouse? [Laughter]

How important is a sense of humor for you?
I try it with everything. If you think of any arty events—museums, galleries, what have you—they’re almost always devoid of humor. And if there’s humor, it’s insular academic humor that’s just so nauseating.

That reminds me of another project of yours, “New York Paints Better Than Me,” which I thought was hilarious. Was that your aim?
[Laughs] I got to this point where I was having a real problem painting. I’d painted for years, and it just really seemed to bottom out on me. It just seemed that the things I was making weren’t very good. And then I was walking around one day and I realized that New York is the most diverse city in the world, filled with enclaves of culture, also must have the most diverse trash in the world. So this trash lying everywhere, that’s the most diverse palette in the world. I couldn’t mix those colors up, you know—these colors don’t run! [Laughs]

But if you look out there it’s all piss, it’s all shit, cigarette ash, slurpee, chicken bones. All over. Human skin dust. Everywhere. So this idea of dragging myself as a way to take a swab sample of the free public parks. I’ve only done two so far, and then I kind of hurt my shoulder, which is slowing me down. It’s a continuing project.

I saw a video of you crawling through Washington Square Park and couldn’t help but imagine what these poor pedestrians were thinking!
Well the public is very savvy. It’s something I forget, something I think people often discount. The public really knows what the fuck is going on. At first a few people will be like, “Hey buddy, get up! What the fuck are you doing!” And then after a second, “Oh, uh oh, this is some kind of art thing! We’re probably on YouTube right now.” But overall it’s pretty hilarious. I had this one guy who had his dog run on me. That was funny. It’s not ok if I’m standing up, but if I’m laying down the dog can run on me.

What’s the suit look like afterwards?
After Union Square it was almost black. Times Square is next, and I think that might be a little dirtier.

How important is that unfiltered public reaction to your work? 

Well I appreciate the idea that art can be more engaging than what museums and galleries have right now. We’re in a gallery in Chelsea—we’re in the heart of the art world; people from all over the world come to see contemporary art right here. Granted, we’re in a smaller gallery now, but across the street is the second largest gallery in the world. They’ve seen maybe 100 people in the last couple of hours. If you do a project in Union Square there’s thousands of people within minutes.

And they’re not part of that world, either.
Right. They’re participating in something. It feels alive to them.

You referenced a John Cage quote that seems to run a fine thread through all of your work: “Comfort is not your friend.” And one of your more recent projects, “Take All of Me, New York,” embodies that completely. Tell me about it.
Yeah, I moved every month for a year. To a different neighborhood in a different borough each month.

What were some of the more interesting places you’ve lived in?
I lived with a prostitute in Hunt’s Point. I lived on a boat in Sheepshead Bay. I lived with an old, old man in deep Queens who was a total shut-in. He goes to Dunkin’ Donuts once a day. I lived with a Chinese family in Chinatown. They barely spoke any English and certainly didn’t give a flying fuck what kind of project I was doing. They just wanted a check.

Have you ever found yourself in danger?
Other than in jail?

It seems like going to jail would be considered a success!
Well, if I’m on point then I’m probably running into the law.

You’re very good at getting people to pay attention. But do you ever worry that these tactics get in the way of whatever it is you’re trying to convey?
I don’t know. As I said before, I think people are very intuitive and really do know what the deal is. Sure, there are some creeps, [especially with the “I’ll Raise You One…” nude poker piece.] But most people are very excited, stop to take pictures, ask what the deal is.

The craziest part was this man named Corey who would hang out everyday. And at first he was kind of a lurker. But a couple days into it he really took ownership in the project and would explain to people who were seeing the show for the first time. If somebody would start tapping on the window he’d step in and say, “None of that, it’s an art project!” Random man on the street claiming ownership. It was great.

Lane Koivu – Image courtesy of Zefrey Throwell

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The Editorial: Tweet. Tweet. Tweet. Tweet. Twaddle.

The Editorial: Tweet. Tweet. Tweet. Tweet. Twaddle.

I recently had a little tiff over Twitter with a website for grannies, ran by grannies. The site had come up in the context of a design project, and so I had to spend a considerable amount of time on it. Feeling out of place and a bit bemused at the site’s content (sex advice and chat for grannies! the best iPhone apps for grannies!), I grumbled my way through my research and like any good twentysomething in 2012, I spat off a sarcastic tweet about it.

Within minutes, the site shot back with a sarcastic response. I had insulted some grannies! And our little battle raged on for a good 10 tweets or so. Those grannies were damn witty. Tack sharp. Knocked me under the table.

Now, this is precisely the point of Twitter. It gives us a major means of communication free of the decentralized, sprawling and impossible-to-navigate systems of the past. It has given everyone no-barriers access to everyone else in a porous, horizontal network which just may be the most democratic platform on the web. You like Phillip Lim’s new design? Tell him. You think your politician is doing a crap job? Tell them. Corporations, celebrities and politicians are on the same playing field as anyone else who might have something interesting to say. It’s nothing short of a revolutionary change that has certainly had its part in creating its own share of revolutions: the Arab Spring and the Occupy movement represent great advances in democracy that probably couldn’t have happened in a pre-Twitter world. There’s no telling what this type of communication without barriers may bring next.

But in the days of yore, it was a considerably more difficult to accidentally get into a fight with some anon grannies. What I had intended as a sideways joke for my colleagues ended up mostly just demonstrating to granny’s thousands of followers what a sarcastic jerk I am. Misplaced, misinterpreted tweets meant for one group (but inevitably seized upon by others) have led to ruined political careers, PR disasters, killed friendships and even a fair number of arrests.

And so today, as your fashion queen friends OMG over their afternoon tea and everyone else shamelessly pours out self-promotion, take a step back and reconsider your contributions. Share knowledge. Information. Maybe even good joke or two. But don’t let the free-for-all go to your head. Just because you have the platform on which to say it, that doesn’t mean anyone really wants to hear it. And we’ve each been given a golden opportunity to say something worthwhile to the whole world!

So tweet wisely, kids: I have a feeling it might not end well for me if I should see those grannies in the street.

Lars Tunbjörk is a Swedish photographer who has published several collections of works in monograph form. His office spaces with their absurd-looking, uncomfortable workers seems somehow to look quite a bit like Twitter at its aimless worse.

Tag Christof – Images courtesy of Lars Tunbjörk

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