Twin Issue XXV

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Days are darker and the nights are booming. Twin’s latest issue let’s you in on a secret: the party is right here.

Stories by Clare Shilland, Damien Krisl, Anya Holdstock, Jacob McFadden, and Zoe Taylor bring sparkle, creativity, chaos and play. It’s an extravaganza of colour and volume. Experimentation is irresistible. Control yourself, we dare you. In fashion Ward & Kweskin chronicle chill days by the sea, soaking up sun and surf. In ‘The Gaze’ Valerio Spada and Michelle Cameron capture a sense of languishing and longing – the art of hanging out. While Iris Humm and Anna Schiffel present massive energy in ‘Print Power’. After all, why be minimal when you could be major? 

It’s a time for re-imagining the ordinary and taking new perspectives on what seems familiar. Kate Neave talks to artist Marina Faust about documenting life behind the scenes at Maison Margiela for the last 20 years, and her practice of reworking iconic pieces and challenging the function of everyday objects. In ‘Balade’, curator Carina Bukuts invites us to look twice at the neighbourhood of Charlottenburg, and explains how a new exhibition explores the history and present of the neighbourhood, as well as its possible futures. And Emily Chancey spotlights on The Community, a collective breathing new life into Paris. 

Rethinking what we know got us thinking about heritage too. In an essay about her grandmother, Lara Johnson-Wheeler writes about memory nostalgia and the beautiful confusion of Anglo Indian dress codes, and how clothes connect us to our past. Daphne Milner speaks to the next generation of London-based talent, Feben, Marie Lueder and Wesley Harriott about reimagining the past for the future – photographed by Tami Aftab and Harry Ecroyd.Thinking about our roots in nature, Dr Ihnji Jon Lecturer in International Urban Politics talks about her book ‘Cities in the Anthropocene’ and the tensions and opportunities of environmental activism in cities.  And photographer Paolo Zerbini explores similar ideas in a stunning visual series that goes deep into our everyday connections with the natural world. Plus, Lucy Bourton chats with Faye Webster about her new album.

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Rhythms From The Metroplex: A Poetic Snapshot into a Pre-lockdown world

A tale of two cities: New York and London, circa 2017 to 2020 – this is the setting for Jermaine Francis’ Rhythms From The Metroplex. The photography book can be read as an anthology that takes the viewer on a journey through a pre-pandemic world, a world that is innocent and yet to be consumed by Covid; it acts as a prequel to Something That Seems So Familiar Becomes Distant (Francis, 2020).

Rhythms From The Metroplex, photographed by Jermaine Francis, 2017-2020

Francis’ work illuminates the different cultural parallels between New York and London – the ways people choose to communicate and fill the space (or lack thereof) and the somewhat theatrical essence between the two major cities.

Rhythms From The Metroplex, photographed by Jermaine Francis, 2017-2020

Each image is taken from a selection of frames, all layered together to create the narrative: some faces blurred and others in direct focus. The pictures play with a sense of closeness and distance, speaking to how people used to interact and exchange with one another.

‘In many ways, this book is about time and its intrinsic relationship to photography, but it is also about the poetic mystery of time. Time courses through us, like a heat wave in a vortex. It is a warm kind of whiplash, as life flashes before our eyes.’ – Oliver Kupper

Rhythms From The Metroplex, photographed by Jermaine Francis, 2017-2020

Rhythms from the Metroplex is a 106-page visual experience that encapsulates a time before now – one that shows the unbridled hustle and bustle of everyday life.  

The book was released on September 13th 2021 and be purchased on Francis’ website jermainfrancis.co.uk and clairederouenbooks.com.

Sorry If I Look Interested, I’m Not: A Whistle Stop Tour Around Scotland With My father & His Jack Russel, Jumble

This summer, I did a five day road trip around Scotland, visiting the Isle of Mull, Iona, Staffa and the surrounding countryside of Edinburgh with my father, Peter, following the death of his brother, Jamie. I had felt compelled, after this sudden and tragic loss, to connect with my father after many years of near-estrangement. Before our trip, the longest time we had spent alone together was never usually more than a single day.

Peter is eccentric, formidable – a man who marches to the beat of his own drum and no one else’s. The only one who’s kept up is Jumble, his closest companion, a 14 year old Jack Russell.

The trip was a chance for me to try to understand, and appreciate, my father’s unique, challenging and complex character. I wanted to keep a record of it, to capture our attempt at reconnection, to document the memories we made along the way.

The trip was emotional, beautiful and exhausting. My camera became a saviour, through it I could observe him – he was my muse. Though his reaction to being photographed was often in the form of a scowl, the interaction it created became a form of communication and connection between us. This was new ground for us both.

Peter Van, Edinburgh, (Olympus Mju 35mm Film) photographed by Lara Monro

Who is my father? Do I understand him? How well do any of us know our parents as entities beyond the role of mother or father? Does understanding his life better vindicate him of the mistakes he made as my parent?

Isle of Iona, (Olympus Mju 35mm Film) photographed by Lara Monro

I hope that these images have captured some of what I learnt: that Scotland is beautiful, that my father is strange and brilliant, and that my time spent with him has helped me to make sense of, and heal from, a complex family past.

Header image credits: Peter on Staffa Island, (Olympus Mju 35mm Film), photographed by Lara Monro

The Mona Lisa Effect: Curated by Francesca Gavin

The internet, NFT’s, and memes: what do all of these things have to do with digital art and its consumption? The Mona Lisa Effect seeks to answers these questions, through a live-streamed auction championing artists of the new digital era.

Taking its inspiration from Darian Leader’s book Stealing the Mona Lisa (2002), where he argued that the theft of Leonardo’s painting was the cause for its universal popularity. The absence of the piece became the enigma, which built up the anticipation for when it returned.  

James Kerr/Scorpion Dagger Pointers (2021). Courtesy of the artist and CNL.

The artists featured in the exhibition embody the task of displaying a reinvigoration in the consumption of art in the digital space. Sarah Judy, James ‘Scorpion Dagger’ Kerr, Damien Roach, and Thomas Webb all explore the binary of absence and presence – balancing between the two ideas, and in some way, finding a point where they meet in the middle.

This exhibition is led by curator and co-founder of Manifesta11: Francesca Gavin, known for her editor position at LIMBO, contributions at the Financial Times How to Spend It, and widely for her book Watch This Space which delves into how digital screens have a direct impact on society, culture, and the self.

Damien Roach, ‘Nothing (Sink Hole)’, from the series Four Types of Nothing (2021). Courtesy of the artist and CNL. (Still)

The live exhibition is set to take place on 30th May 2021 at 2pm (GMT) and will be hosted on Croy Nielsen and Emanuel Layr’s gallery site cnl.casa

Header image credits: Thomas Webb, Art Kids Online (2021). Courtesy of the artist and CNL.

Chanel J12 Campaign: Margot Robbie

The perfect accompaniment for every second: the Chanel J12 is a watch that embodies the words of Greek theologian Theophrastus “time is the most valuable thing a man can spend”.

The J12 is known as the most iconic Chanel watch, taking Jacques Helleu 7-years to create the first edition through meticulous crafting and reworking. In this new campaign, 9 iconic women share their personal experiences about a moment in time that completely shifted their life.

Chanel have made Australian actress Margot Robbie, known for appearing in thought-provoking films and playing dynamic roles, one of the faces of this new campaign. The intimate time piece is seen on Robbie’s wrist as she leans on her hand, eyes gazing at the camera. She holds the stare – making all who look at her pause for a moment in time.

“It feels incredibly special to be alongside such inspiring women in this campaign. Embodying the J12 watch to me is acknowledging and appreciating time.” – Margot Robbie, Chanel J12 SS21 Campaign.

To view the full collection and campaign, visit chanel.com/gb

Browns Book Street – Mayfair Flagship

Introducing the future of luxury physical retail: Browns Book Street opens the doors to their Mayfair flagship store. A carefully curated sanctuary that collates a world of fashion, food, jewellery – this space is an expression of expansive culture. Browns is a staple in experiential retail, with new concepts, designs, and internal architecture, their foundational belief being built upon cultivating personal connections with their community.

“I am thrilled to see us open our flagship, Browns Brook Street, as we kick off 2021. […] Our new magical home will inspire customers as well as usher in a fundamental shift in the way people shop as layered into this connected, tech-enabled experience is a thoughtful and human side – which is so crucial in the current landscape where personal and personalisation is pivotal. […] The space is truly sensorial; sight, sound, smell, taste and touch – offering a unique experience through each visit. The customer is truly at the core of what we do, and we hope that our new home will be one that you never want to leave”. – Holli Rogers, CEO of Browns.

The Focus at Browns (2021)

The space is built to make the shopping experience all encompassing – not just a place for buying clothes but an immersive retail journey. The building is complete with four dynamic floors that include a moveable Ground level which acts as a window to the store, a stairway with a Dimorestudio designed light installation, a gender fluid shoe room, and a restaurant centred around zero waste amongst a plethora of other innovative fixtures.

Britt Moran and Emiliano Salci, founders of Dimorestudio described Browns as having “intentional design choices which restore original features are paired with unexpected modernity”, which in turn helps to create rooms that successfully juxtapose the old with the new, creating a completely different genre.

“We don’t want to replicate what other brands do. What we do is instinctively Browns. With five decades of customer service both offline and online we are in a unique position to connect with our clients in a bespoke and tailored way through curated and one-of-a-kind shopping experiences all with service at the forefront.” – Lee Whittle, Browns Customer Experience Director.

Native at Browns, The Courtyard (2021)

To delve into the world of Browns, visit brownsfashion.com

Header image credits: The Facade at Browns (2021)

TWIN ISSUE XXIV BIANCA SAUNDER GUEST EDITOR

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Twin has always championed radical creativity. The artists, designers, photographers and writers who dismantle structural norms and put their independent, individual stamp on the world. So when it came to launching our first ever guest editor issue, it made sense to invite somebody who not only embodied our core values, but set a new precedent for them.

We’re stoked to have menswear designer Bianca Saunders as our first guest editor, fresh from her LVMH prize nomination. Working with the theme of body language and nuances, Bianca, who challenges the traditional tropes of masculine identity and subverts visual codes in her own design, selected a series of artists, photographers and designers to focus on who all explore elements of this topic in their work. Karoline Vitto celebrates the curves and folds of each body, artist Jadé Fadojutimi discusses painting the indescribable, and Sinead O’Dwyer explores how to create a new standard in fashion. Plus Bianca talks to friend and collaborator Saul Nash about body language and gesture, with a visual story by photographer Jermaine Francis.

Also in this issue, Francesca Gavin interviews renowned South Korean artist Haegue Yang, while new publishing house Hajar Press explores building radical change within the British literary establishment. Plus, writer and curator Anastasiia Fedorova celebrates queer joy through her work creating Russian Queer Revolution, and Gabriella Nkom looks at where sex and death collide in the work of Hervé Guibert.

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Phumelele Tshabalala: Becoming water from the same source

Presented by Pippy Houldsworth Gallery, Becoming water from the same source by South African artist Phumelele Tshabalala, is an enchanting and vibrant collection of work. The exhibition marks Phumelele’s first solo exhibition, and collates a series of his artwork which utilises a variety of mediums. Each piece is used to showcase both the individual and interpersonal experience.

The exhibitions title Becoming water acts as a metaphor denoting Phumelele’s own self-discovery, his experiences and those he has had personal and or fictional relationships with. Each piece of work takes on the life of his muses: with effervescent oil paint, the figures in his work are draped in garments dripping in a hodgepodge of colours with vivid faces that are familiar to the eye.

These paintings also appear to present Phumelele’s duplicitous identity, having recently relocating to Johannesburg after living and working in the US for a number of years. These individuals, many of which are black, with some key African American figures i.e. Ron Finley (seen in Gangsta Gardener). These figures are adorned in outfits that are akin to bright and dynamic patterns often used by Africans in clothing. Reminiscent of different cultural traditional wear, Phumelele presenting these African American characters in African clothing acts as a meeting point or bridge between the two: culminating his personal connection to both cultures.

Gangster Gardener, 2021

There is a fantastical element that is prevalent in each piece, as Phumelele incorporates different carving techniques that fragment the canvas. This is a practice that both deconstructs the original image whilst simultaneously constructing something completely new. Phumelele’s presents new possibilities, bringing in eastern philosophies and perspective into a western space through his artistic expression.

Let him Reign, 2021

Becoming water from the same source is being featured at Pippy Houldsworth Gallery from 19th March – 1st May. To find out more, visit www.houldsworth.co.uk

Eva Alt celebrates mature ballet artistry

Considered by many to be the first art, dance came before language: early humans communicated and expressed themselves through gesture and bodily movement. After all, dancers know that how you are in your body relates to how you are in your mind and how you move through the world. 

And in today’s increasingly saturated world of communications, it is rare to find someone who understands this and can merge a passion for communication, community and dance poetically. 

Eva Alt, Ballet1

Cue Eva Alt. Perhaps known to many on Instagram, as Glossier’s doe-eyed former Head of Social Media, Alt has, over the past few years, not only become known for building Glossier’s digital presence, but also managed to enchant New York’s fashion and beauty scene with her charme, wit and with her passion for dance. 

“It always seemed to me, as a person who is a “feeler”, that through dance and watching dance, I was able to inuit things that you can’t necessarily express with words. There’s power in that,” she stated during a Zoom call from her apartment in New York City. “So there is something very honest about communicating through gestures and, you know, you can’t lie!”

Eva Alt, Ballet1

A former professional ballerina, Alt’s trajectory into the world of ballet started when she was a little girl, realizing she wanted to get into dance seriously around the age of 11 or 12. After a brief summer stint at The School of American Ballet in New York, at 15 she auditioned for the Boston Ballet and was accepted. This then led to years of strenuous training in the Balanchine method by a former principal of The New York City Ballet. 

However, the world of ballet can be especially tough for young adolescent girls growing up and getting to know their bodies. 

Eva Alt, Ballet1

“In dance, at fifteen not only are you going through puberty but that’s also the moment when you start partnering. And all of a sudden your body is changing and it’s also being handled by the male dancers and that’s a very odd experience,” she recalls. 

And while many stereotypes regarding how a dancer’s body should look have now been broken, looking back, she wishes she had the knowledge she has now of her body. A lot of ballet is about the perception of line, and growing more self-aware of her form with time, has helped Alt embrace her body instead of working against it. 

“One of the things that continually amazes me about the human body, and through dance I am so in tune with my body and myself, is that we are changing all the time. We are constantly making new cells and regenerating. My body feels very different one day to the next! Yet, somehow, the body stores memories,” she quips. 

Alt stayed with the company until she decided to take a break and try out different things. This break then led her to fashion and after interning at a few publications and assisting a few stylists, she was then hired by Emily Weiss to work on Social Media at Glossier, and was there for six years, until she left this year to pursue her own personal projects. 

Yet, dance was always lurking around the corner and never really abandoned her in time of need. However, it was only after she joined Moves, her friends’ jazz class that she felt ready to get back to dancing full time and became what she believes is a truly rare being: a happy dancer.

“When I was returning to dance and getting in shape, in a lot of ways I felt like I was waking up again. My body wanted to remember the feeling of these movements, and in a lot of ways, it did.”

Eva Alt, Ballet1

It was then she decided she would create her very own ballet class open to all levels: Ballet1. The class proved to be so popular because of its diverse and inclusive spirit it attracted dancers from every borough of New York, and it also helped Alt discover her ultimate purpose: creating a safe and happy space for a diverse community of individuals passionate about dance who may not necessarily be professionals.

A class at Ballet1 pre Covid-19

“My purpose in ballet is that of creating more space for people. And something that is really important to me is performance, specifically for mature ballet dancers, or mature dancers. In a former company, there are lots of amazing dancers who dance for many years and then retire. I feel like there are things like broader life experiences, motherhood, you know, going to school, a job, whatever it is, that add something really valuable to people’s artistry and I feel like there is really no context for that idea to exist. I want to create that. I want to create a platform for mature ballet artistry. So that’s something that is going to be pretty central to the project,” she concludes.

Eva Alt, Ballet1

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ASICS X Vivienne Westwood

A collaboration between renowned Japanese sports brand ASICS and British brand Vivienne Westwood: The GEL-KAYANO™ 27 LTX sneakers are eclectic, sleek, and sophisticated. Drawing direct inspiration from Westwood and (Malcolm) McLaren’s 1974 collection ‘SEX’ which included leather bondage, t-shirts with zips and holes, and provocative slogans, these shoes are a statement piece that says “I am here”.

ASICS and Vivienne Westwood both as individual brands draw from long-lasting quality design and materials – their shared vision making the collaboration immediately eye-catching. The shoe takes on the essence of both brands, constructed with detailed rubber stocking seams and a statement zip, presented in a translucent matte material. Each shoe has the printed Westwood orb and ASICS details and the neoprene inner sock, imitating the look of rubber tights.

This dynamic shoe is different from a normal running sho features advanced materials and construction such as gel cushioning and dynamic Duomax, allowing it to meet the biomechanical needs of various sports and ensures movement is fluid and flexible.

The optimal shoe for both style and comfort – you can browse and buy the ASICS x Vivienne Westwood now at viviennewestwood.com

Wales Bonner x adidas SS21 Collaboration

A celebration of the diasporic connections between Britain and the Caribbean, Wales Bonner and adidas SS21 campaign is effervescent and vibrant in its entirety. The digital presentation for the launch was first shown at Men’s Paris Fashion Week.

This collaboration succeeds the ‘Lovers Rock’ collection for the AW20 release, which explored the early eighties origination of dancehall music, inspired by photographer John Grotto’s series under the same name. This SS21 collection emphasises the intricacies through tailoring as the designer evokes British morning dress, romanticized with magical, found buttons. The designs are heavily inspired by 70s era pieces which includes shorts, t-shirts, and tracksuits that have been elevated with vintage cut lines, rich ribs, mesh, and check prints.

The Samba and Nizza silhouettes have been revised with dynamic contrasting colours. Inspired by its rich footballing heritage the WB Samba sneaker is composed of a full leather upper with a suede toe cap and heel tab as well contrast topstitching details, satin lining, leather stripes. The classic silhouette includes two colour combinations: Core Black/Prime Green and Collegiate Navy/Cream White/Mono yellow. The carefully crafted sneakers have co-branded details throughout, with bright colours that echo both Wales Bonner and adidas essence.

The launch of the collection is accompanied by a short film and a photographic campaign, shot in Jamaica by Jeano Edwards. The short film is composed of cinematic scenes that showcase young Jamaicans playing football in a grassy field and riding horses at the Caymans Park equestrian centre.

The adidas Originals by Wales Bonner SS21 collection is available globally on March 26th at adidas.com

Watch the short-film below.

Drag in the desert: A photo series by Jane Hilton

Of all the people and places photographer Jane Hilton has documented over the past three decades there is one location that she can’t quite shake – Nevada. The sweeping desert state in America’s west is of course home to the brash and bawdy Las Vegas, but beyond the neon lights there is a grainier side of life she is drawn to.

The London-based photographer first travelled to the States in 1988, sparking a fascination with all things Americana that would become a hallmark of her career.

“I just fell in love with it,” she says of that first visit which took her to Tucson, Arizona.

 “It was like being in a film. It was those 180-degree, blue sky vistas, and the sunsets, and the light – it was the light! I’m so passionate about lighting and they’ve got it there, “god’s light”. They might not have got other things right but they’ve got the light.”

In 1992 she first visited Nevada on a job shooting the desert landscape, which covers the majority the state. Nevada is home to both Las Vegas and Area 51, with a transient allure that, beyond the casino tourists, attracts a myriad of characters often looking to either get rich or get lost. Over the past 25 years the photographer has documented many of the people that often inhabit the fringes of the place, including burlesque dancers, cowboys and sex workers.

“It’s in stark contrast to the way I was brought up in English suburbia. I think had I gone to New York first, I might have a different relationship with America. I’m more interested in the American west and the way that genre (of Westerns) has played out.”

It was the Western genre that inspired her latest project, Drag Queen Cowboys, which was recently shortlisted as a finalist in the prestigious Sony World Photography Awards. Drag Queen Cowboys is a series of black and white portraits of Las Vegas drag performers in Western-inspired costumes shot out in the desert. Hilton was largely inspired by 1961 film The Misfits, written by Arthur Miller and starring Marilyn Monroe, Clark Gable and Montgomery Cliff. In it, Monroe plays a recently divorced woman who meets an aging cowboy, Gable, and his friend, played by Cliff.

Since its release the film has been trailed by a macabre notoriety due to the death of all three stars within five years of its release. Gable died of a heart attack ten days after filming wrapped; Monroe of a suspected drug overdose some 18 months later; Cliff’s health deteriorated and he was dead by 1966. It was the last film Gable and Monroe ever made, and it is said that Miller’s marriage to Monroe was also a casualty of the film. Despite the playwright specifically writing the part for her, their relationship disintegrated during the lengthy and over-budget shoot.

“Arthur Miller himself went to Reno to get divorced so he could marry Marilyn. There were all these divorce ranches on the outskirts of Reno where people wait and have a good time while they are waiting,” Hilton explains.

“In the thirties and forties they were full of mostly housewives because their husbands had sent them there to get a divorce within six weeks, which was unheard of. They’d do that, then party with some cowboys while they had left the husband at home with his mistress.”

“So Miller went there because he knew about getting a divorce in Reno and the strange displacement of people who go to Nevada looking for a new life. Whether they are hiding from something, or trying to find something… In all my experience that is how Nevada is for me too; it’s people searching or trying to cover something up.”

After discovering the strange legacy of the legendary film, in February 2020, just before the pandemic hit, Hilton drove a handful of drag performers in their stage makeup and Western outfits in her ’66 Mustang to an isolated stretch of desert on the outskirts of Vegas.

“I was looking for another community, a different community, that I could document, one I didn’t know much about,” she explains of the process of choosing her subjects.

“I started to go to drag bingo in Vegas and got to know some of the girls. I was thinking about how they are perceived and how post-Ru Paul, social media has gone mad with drag queens. They are always literally lit with flash, it’s so artificial, with so much retouching or a filter, so that their imagery looks almost homogenous because of the way they all photograph themselves. I decided I wasn’t going to do that.”

Instead, Hilton photographed each performer in natural light, shooting on a 5×4 plate camera and black and white film, with no flash or retouching. Rather than just being passive subjects the performers worked with Hilton on creating the visuals, each creating their own Western-inspired outfit for the shoot. By removing the drag performers from their usual environment, that of a dimly lit bar or nightclub or karaoke stage, the portraits subvert the type of image often associated with drag performers and create a contrary energy that is both powerful and poignant, and typical of Hilton’s work.

Jane Hilton, United Kingdom, Finalist, Professional competition, Portraiture, Sony World Photography Awards 2021

As a documentarian she has long been drawn to sub-cultures; in 2000 the BBC commissioned a ten-part documentary from her about two brothels in Nevada, the only US state in which sex work is legal. She has spent the past few years filming the ‘The Last Lion Tamer’, following a family’s fight to save their livelihood as the government moves to outlaw the use of wild animals performing in circuses. Currently the photographer is riding out lockdown in her London home working on various projects, eager to start shooting again. As always, there is one place in particular she is waiting to revisit.

“I am doing a book about the state of Nevada because I’ve spent a lot of time here – almost too much time! No matter where I go, I seem to end up back there…”

Jane Hilton is a finalist in the Sony World Photography Awards 2021: Professional Competition. Overall winners will be announced on 15th April 2021. www.worldphoto.org/

Header image credits: Jane Hilton, United Kingdom, Finalist, Professional competition, Portraiture, Sony World Photography Awards 2021

Ekene Ijeoma: Breathing Pavillion

A sanctuary carved out of a time of intense loss and hardships, “Breathing Pavilion” is Ekene Ijeoma’s debut outdoor installation. In collaboration with Downtown Brooklyn Partnership (DBP) and Van Alen Institute, the installation will be available to view in The Plaza at 300 Ashland, in the heart of Downtown Brooklyn and the Brooklyn Cultural District, from 16th March – 11th May 2021.

Ekene Ijeoma as an artist and professor of Media Arts and Science at MIT, fuses his research in social inequality across various fields and his own experiences to create thought-provoking and inviting artwork. Breathing Pavilion was created in the context of Covid-19 and in the wake of rising concerns over the rampant police brutality and violence against black Americans. Ijeoma poetically reframes these social issues, and in the process reveals the stark reality of how these forms of oppression intersect.

The installation comprises a 30-foot circle of 20 nine-foot two-tone illuminated LED inflatable columns which gradually change in brightness and mimic a deep breathing technique, meant to trigger a meditative feeling of calm. The structure invites the public to enjoy a moment of respite, losing themselves in the lull of the lights allowing them to breathe, without feeling the weight of the world on their shoulders.

“Between the ongoing struggles in the racial and political movements in the United States and the COVID-19 pandemic, it can be difficult to find the time and space to breathe deeply and rest well […] I held my breath for most of last year, waiting to exhale into a new administration and new vaccines. It will still take some time before we see large-scale change. Until then, in these next few weeks, this pavilion is here to invite the public to breathe into the change within each of us, in sync with one another.” – Edward Ijeoma, creator behind Breathing Pavilion.

Ekene Ijeoma, Breathing Pavilion (2021) Rendering

Breathing Pavilion will be unveiled on 16th March 2021 and will feature a performance from Grammy-award-winning musician Keyon Harold, who will perform a trumpet solo. The piece performed by Harold will emulate the contemplative nature of Ijeoma’s structure and will be the first performance of many throughout the installation’s duration in Brooklyn.

“As we head into spring, outdoor public spaces remain at the core of our shared experience and Breathing Pavilion will serve as artwork with intention that can bring us together at a time when we must remain physically distanced. This innovative installation stands out as an entirely unique public art project that offers a much-needed moment for reflection after a challenging year. We look forward to sharing this thoughtful new public art project with our community.” – Regina Myer, President of Downtown Brooklyn Partnership.

To find out more about Breathing Pavilion, visit vanalen.org

Header image credits: Ekene Ijeoma, Breathing Pavilion (2021) Rendering

The Photographers Capturing Ireland Through a Queer Lens

Ireland has undergone tumultuous social change in the past three decades. The queer creatives who have come of age during this period are seeking to change the narrative when it comes to documenting LGBTQI lives.

The nineties were punctuated by a slew of queer pop culture moments that are still referenced today for their bolshy, unashamed arrival into the mainstream. KD Lang and Cindy Crawford indulged in a homoerotic barber shop sitting on the cover of Vanity Fair; talk show queen Ellen came out live on TV, and even the soaps, that most pedestrian of pop culture institutions, featured the first gay character and lesbian kiss on Brookside in 1994.

These iconic moments gave the impression that queerness was slowly but surely creeping from the fringes into a suburban sort of conventionality, but real life for LGBTQI people was far from that. In Ireland, still a social conservative country in the hedonistic nineties, homosexuality was only decriminalised in 1993. The Catholic church had an iron grip on many institutions (and indeed, still does) including the public school system and many hospitals.

Conservative and liberal ideology would continue to clash for the next few decades, culminating in the 2015 referendum that brought in same-sex marriage, and the 2018 one that legalised abortion. It was against this backdrop of seismic social change that a generation of queer kids were brought up, sort of as changelings of the Old and New Ireland. Now in their twenties, Gen Z and young Millennial creatives have a particular viewpoint of how they want to document and express the experiences of LGBTQI people.

Donal Talbot, 25, is a model-turned-photographer whose work has featured in publications including i-D and The Face. Most recently his portraits were chosen by Benjamin Wolberg for his latest book, new queer photography, which showcases work from breakout and established queer photographers from around the world.

Home project, photo by Eoin Greally

“My work tends to challenge how we, as a culture, see things like intimacy and queerness, and how those things correlate. There’s a softness and stillness that I try to capture in my portraits that aims to rewrite a narrative about how queer people communicate and interact with each other,” Donal says.

“I find a lot of inspiration from meeting people in gay bars and queer spaces but I’m interested in seeing what happens past that; the still moments of capturing someone after the lights go down in the club, or the day after a party in someone’s house.”

The photographer studied at Ireland’s foremost art school, the National College of Art and Design in Dublin, and it was in his final year that he found his medium.

“For my final project I knew I wanted to do work around queer narratives, but I didn’t have an idea of how to do that. I was in drag going to a boxing ring, then I started to take pictures and realised that was what I like. The project came together in the last two months and it was a portrait series of around ten different LGBT and queer people I had met. I photographed and interviewed them and that springboarded me into the art I make today.”

Eoin Greally is a 23-year-old from rural Ireland who has already carved out an impressive career in fashion and portraiture photography. While back in the family home during lockdown, the young photographer began working piecemeal on a project that has evolved into a cathartic reflection of his own journey as a young queer person. His rural upbringing, once something that he feared, has given him a unique perspective on how he has evolved both creatively and personally.

“At first I didn’t know it was going to be a project, they were images I was simply collecting. It’s a lot of portraiture, and also trying to capture the essence of my home. There’s that idea when people ask, are you going home, or are you going ‘home home’?” he explains.

“Now I’m piecing together the images I have realised there is a huge queer perspective but it’s not the typical gay male perspective from a gay mecca like New York. It’s all about a place I was afraid of growing up. I was in rural Ireland and I was afraid of being queer.”

“I was lucky, I always had support from my family about being queer but it still came with its discomfort. A lot of the focus is on my dad – he’s my favourite person to photograph, but also because he was the only person I was afraid of disappointing by being queer. I never received that sentiment from him, it was totally coming from what I thought I had to be afraid of. This project definitely has helped getting rid of some of that discomfort. It was something I largely put there myself, and now I’ve been able to take it away but it needed time. It’s been a healing project.”

While lockdown has given rise to a lot of creative output, it has also stalled many planned projects and events. 22-year-old photographer and sociology student Niamh Barry was on the cusp of launching her exhibition, ‘Queer Hearts of Dublin’ last October until yet another lockdown was announced. The exhibition is a range of portraits of queer people Niamh met mostly through a casting call on Instagram, with the aim of documenting as diverse a group as possible; “It was about reconnecting to my queer community but also so that people knew it wasn’t just a white male perspective (of queerness). The image is different to what people think. I wanted to collaborate with people who wanted to tell their story but it was also intersectional- it was a new narrative but yet one that’s always been there,” she says.

“I reached out people on Instagram and that’s how I met one of my subjects, Mimi. Her story was really interesting. She is a black queer woman and hearing her experience was amazing. She’s two years younger than me but so confident; I was almost surprised by her confidence in those moments because at the same time she was telling how hard it was to grow up where she lives, which is a small country town, very inward looking.”

“She told what it’s like growing up as a black woman in Ireland and what it’s like to not really have representation, especially also being queer. That experience made me realise that this type of story is not being told in Ireland.”

The resulting portraits are intimate and raw, quietly communicating what it means to be queer and young and living in Ireland at this moment in time. It’s a sentiment that Eoin echoes when considering his next chapter in his work.

Home project, photo by Eoin Greally

“I have realised my privilege within the queer community – I am a white, queer, cis gay male. I don’t by any means think that’s a bad thing but being a photographer gives me an opportunity to uplift other sides of the queer community that didn’t always get the limelight.

“What’s important to me now is focussing on the groups in the queer community that don’t always get the opportunity to speak. It’s still a work in progress, but that’s what I want to dedicate my time to now.”

Header image credits: Ming and their significant other Aisling, photographed by Niamh Barry

International Women’s Day: Female Voices of Latin América

In celebration of International Women’s Month, the digital art exhibition site: Vortic is set to host the first iteration of Female Voices of Latin América. This will showcase the work of over 150 living female artists from across the region, with 19 countries being represented across the board. The exhibition will be shown at over 60 galleries and institutions and will be launched on 8th March, the official date of International Women’s Day.

For so long, Latin-American artists have gone underrepresented in the art world nationally, with only a few names being highlighted. This exhibition aims to bring these artists to the forefront across generations, with artwork that spans from 1968 to the present day. Works from established artists like Liliana Porter and Adriana Varejão will be honoured alongside newer generation talent such as Sofía Clausse, Patricia Domínguez, and Nohemí Pérez.

“Madres adolescents”, 1988-1990 by Adriana Lestido. Silver gelatin print on fibre paper. Courtesy of the Artist and Rolf Art Gallery.

Galleries that will be participating include Museo de Arte Moderno de Bogotá, Museo Tamayo and Museo de Arte y Diseño Contemporáneo amongst a plethora of others established institutions. The initiative is all encompassing and will allow for collaboration and an exchange of ideas between galleries, whilst also exposing viewers to a range of diverse and talented Latin American artists.

“Sobre Isaacs”, 1989 by Karen Lamassonne. Acrylic on paper (116 x 85cm). Courtesy of the artist and Instituto de Visión.

“We have grown tired of not seeing female artists from Latin America receive the recognition they deserve in their own lifetime. As a platform, Voices of Latin America plays a well-deserved tribute to those with a remarkable artistic trajectory as well as promoting the current and next generation of artists. This presentation has been made possible by working hand in hand with the galleries, museums and non-profits in and out of Latin America that have contributed to develop the expanding arts scene. The future of our industry will rely on exchange, mutual support and collaboration. Through meaningful and memorable initiatives like this one, we aim to contribute to the art landscape in an impactful way”. – Elena Saraceni, Curatorial Director, Voices of Latin América and Special Projects
Consultant at Vortic

These shows will be hosted on the Vortic website, where they maintain efforts to support galleries and institutions by using cutting-edge technology to provide an immersive digital and physical experience of viewing art. The exhibition will be available to view from March 8th to May 2nd, 2021. Visit vortic.art

Header image credits: “Beatriz y Chelle en cuarentena” by Bernadette Despujols. Oil on canvas (39.4 x 29.9 inch). Courtesy of the artist.

TOGA AW21

Japanese brand TOGA launches their AW21 campaign, built around the three concepts: “simplify, expand, flatten”. The focus on simplifying the line with two-dimensional forms made using three-dimensional techniques introduces a variety of unique pieces that carry the cool, and dynamic essence of the brand.

A virtual runway presentation filmed and directed by Anders Edström emphasises the message behind the line. The plain white wall background and dark flooring draws the attention directly to the designs. Models walk in and out of the frame like pedestrians, their footsteps reverberating off the walls. The camera zooms in on the clothing and lingers on the ruffle detailing, the expanded fabric, and mirrored accessories.

Designer Yasuko Furuta utilised techniques by contemporary artist Tomoo Gokita to accentuate the curves and lines of the body. Thus the shoulders, sleeves, and ruffles of dresses which are seen in some of the designs, are a reflection of some of the figures and bodies in Gokita’s paintings.

Watch the full virtual show below:

Billie Eilish “The World’s a Little Blurry”

“WHEN WE ALL FALL ASLEEP, WHERE DO WE GO?”

A question posed in an award-winning album by singer-songwriter Billie Eilish, producer and Billie’s brother Finneas O’Connell. In celebration of the album and the artistic process, fans were invited to view the global live premiere for the release of “Billie Eilish: The World’s A Little Blurry,” a new Apple Original Film from award-winning director R.J. Cutler. 

The film premiered on the 25th February 2021, and featured a stripped back version of the song “ilomilo” by Eilish and her brother Finneas, exclusive video footage of Billie speaking to her fans, an interview with Cutler, all of which is hosted by DJ Zane Lowe. The World’s A Little Blurry shows a nuanced and intimate side of Billie’s life experiences, her struggles as a musician, the importance of family, and ultimately the growing pains of being a teenager in the limelight. The run time is extended just over 2 hours, and the production is from Apple Original Films, in association with Interscope Films, The Darkroom, This Machine and Lighthouse Management & Media. T.

“It’s quite a remarkable family story because it’s simple and it’s clear, and yet it seems almost miraculous. How is it possible that Billie and Finneas do this work together? How is it possible that their two prodigies that come from the same parents? There are so many aspects to it, but most of all they’re folks who are unconditionally committed to supporting their kids being truly who they are. And truth and empathy and the fundamental themes, I think of this film, I think of Billie’s work. I think of this moment – I think it’s probably why it’s her moment” – Director, R.J. Cutler

To find out more, and to watch the film visit AppleTv.com/BillieEilish

TTSWTRS Presents The Earth Series

Location: Planet Earth. Existing on a galactic plane, at 0o latitude and being made up of a collection of a crust, mantle, and core, which holds large bodies of water and life. This is where well-known Ukrainian brand TTSWRTS takes their inspiration from for their new SS21 collection: The Earth Series. Their aim? To discover the concept of the future of clothing.

The Earth Series takes inspiration from a hypothetical future that involves space travel and the possibility of inhabiting new plants. A world where visual culture – fashion and clothing, becomes the main mode of communication. Arguably, we have already begun using fashion as a way to transmit ideas about our identity, but TTSWTRS takes this a step further. The centrepiece of the designs is the concept of a ‘second skin’, which is embroidered with inscriptions and images that involve a series of mantras, sayings, and symbols. The pieces are made to highlight the human body and its duality; it decentres the body whilst also maintaining the essence of one’s identity.

The line includes unique pieces developed in collaboration with other creatives: the Naked Landscape coat was created together with photographer Kseniia Kargina and the Earth, Mars, and Venus hoodie was made alongside American designer and illustrator Jeremey Harnell. The materials and fabrics used range from silk, micro modal, net, and denim, with a predominantly white, beige, and black palette. Each piece of clothing captures the essence of the earth in its entirety.  

But where does this series fit in in the discourse of fashion right now? Founder and designer Anna Osmiekhina commented: “I would describe fashion now in 3 words – Mirror. Protection. Addiction. For me, fashion is the most honest form of contemporary art that helps me accept myself. What a wonderful time we live in when everyone can manifest themselves in any way they want.” 

TTSWTRS being founded in 2013 has maintained a high level of success, through the brand’s unique focus on utilising beige imitating naked skin, basic colours, and tattoos. The Earth Series is another instalment of the brand’s push to focus on wider ideas and conversations, and incorporating this into clothing.

Anna goes on to share her hopes for where she hopes to see TTSWTRS transcend to and where she hopes the fashion world will be in the future: “I would love to see how every detail of the current era has changed: the perception of fashion, communication, the emergence of new communication types, and people’s manifestations. The Art reflecting on current times. Its Speed. And of course the value of resources. The value of Water, Air, and Earth. I would like to participate in this direction to reflect the time and help others to be more open and sincere, to be more loved. To help in self-acceptance. And if suddenly garments are not useful in the near future, I would like to design natural phenomena.”

To view the full collection, visit ttswtrs.com

CHANEL: Introducing The LIPSCANNER App

The future of make-up is here. The Chanel Lipscanner app utilises new AI technology to allow consumers to find the right Chanel lipstick that matches any colour that is scanned. Finding the perfect nude is made easy now and can be scanned from a magazine, a poster, a pair of shoes, or even a friend’s lips – the possibilities are almost endless.

This app is a result of a collaborative over several months between the CX Lab and the Chanel Make-up Creation Studio. The scanner is intuitive, with a rapid response enabling its users to find the perfect lip colour instantaneously.

The technology is advanced, with a vast analytical capacity that is built on the basis of tens of thousands of facial images. And it doesn’t stop there – the lipscanner also takes into consideration the skin tone and shape of the users lips, ensuring the match is just right.

With the incorporation of Chanel’s virtual try-on application, the lipscanner works to further expand the brand’s presence in the digital realm. To find out more and explore the app, visit Chanel.com

‘Automatiste’: An AI x Art Collaboration Presented by Ania Catherine and Dejha Ti

Award-winning, LA-based art, and tech duo Ania Catherine and Dejha Ti have collaborated with Chinese gender-neutral luxury brand Mithridate to create Automatiste. The multimedia showcase will be part of Mithridate’s SS21 presentation at London Fashion Week on 22nd February 2021. This marks the second collaboration between the brand and the duo after their 35-minute immersive performance instillation “I’d rather be in a dark silence than” (2020) at London’s Serpentine Galleries.

Automatiste takes root in the French adjective which describes the Surrealist Automatism, a method of art making which suppresses the conscious mind, allowing the unconscious mind to have great control. The piece will work to provide viewers globally with an immersive experience, with portals that explore the richness, danger, beauty, and raw nature of the subconscious. The production will weave through the digital world through the AI integration, used to represent the chance operations and inner-workings of the mind.

The art piece is a full production incorporating performance art, interactive film, augmented reality, poetry, and web design amongst a plethora of other forms of media. The team is spread across countries and cities, including LA, Shanghai, Istanbul, London, Washington DC, Baltimore and Rome.  

Ania Catherine and Dejha Ti commented, “We cherish being trusted so fully by Mithridate, and that trust is bleeding into the rest of our phenomenal team, who are all pushing the boundaries with their own contributions to make an experience that we all believe will mark a new chapter in the history of fashion, art, and technology. We want to show that digital-only doesn’t need to mean second rate and everyone shouldn’t be sitting around waiting for the ‘real thing’ to happen again. This is the real thing. It’s thrilling to us that anyone with internet access can take this journey with us, share digital space and be introduced to Mithridate’s collection through our art.”

Other featured artists include musician Tony Cruise, XR artist Aaron XR artist Aaron Jablonski, 3D artist Curry Tian, and Immersive Kind Studios. The amalgamation of some of the most advanced technology used in fashion to date, and the raw artistic energy: Automatiste is a showcase that utilises the power of technology as a means to an end, and not an end in itself.

To view the boundary-pushing work, visit automatiste.mithridate.uk

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