using a fashion device.

Over the last year, i’ve been doing more and more conceptual work, primarily about the process of measuring spaces.

Not being a natural born killer on screen, and not wanting the work to be about ‘me’ per se, i’ve taken to using a fashion device as a costume of sorts: my black st pauli cap and a black hoodie.

It has been interesting to see it creep into my process on a semi-conscious level and to notice the relationship between what i wear when i am doing these process works and how it fits in with what other artists have used when making similar works, primarily joseph beuys, eminen and every graf artist in the history of the world.

I certainly didn’t set out for it to be that way. It just happened to be what i was wearing the first time i documented the measuring and patterning of the RMIT toilets. In fact, most of my friends will attest to the fact that black jeans and hoodie are pretty much my uniform during winter anyway. But the fact that it has moved from happenstance to choice is interesting to me. It has become a symbol of anonymity, comfort and specificity for me now. I step into a mode through this moda and it enables me to focus. Same goes for costume throughout the history of theatre.

The thing with the hat is kind of fascinating and little embarrassing in its obvious (although unintentional) link to beuys. i’m sure that mr beuys used the hat in similar ways- as a screen to hide behind, regular symbol of his process and a personal motif, so maybe it’s unsurprising that there’s a sartorial link.

And then of course there is the uniform of making (often uncommissioned) work in public- the black hoodie. Contemporary fashion device of blending in and hiding- a dime a dozen. Which also also happens to be bound up in political action, as suggested in the pics of G20 protests on flickr and eminen’s cool mosh vid from 2006. The hoodie has become a fashion item of the public space, in terms of interacting with it. It’s the street version of the black cloak and wig of law, or the black polo of architects (i jest).

if i had more time, and i was a fashion grad student, as opposed to half-arsed blogger, it could be an interesting point of research: fashion devices used in public and performance art.

In the mean time, you have this.

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the night we lost our banksy

last night, melbourne lost its banksy


image pinched from theage.com.au. left: nu-bansky, right: OG banksy

some jealous fuckheads kids tipped chrome paint down the back of the protective perspex, tagging ‘banksy woz ere’ on top. and as much as i find it ever-so-mildly amusing, i still can’t work out which i find sadder – ignorant bureaucrats from the tower of hamlets in london buffing over the helicopter because it’s just graffiti to them, or calculated and jealous artists/wannabes making a spectacle of its demise. ignorance or spite? which is most loathsome in a person. which is more dangerous?

as ridiculous as it was that the diver was covered in perspex, i was rather proud of melbournians attempting to preserve its street-art history. no-one tried to rip it off the wall and sell it. it wasn’t hawked as a money-maker, but was revered in its own way. perhaps more than it should – especially seeing as other well-regarded street artists get their work buffed all the time. but it says something about melbourne as a city, that a world-famous artwork sits proudly amongst the rats, on a building full of artist studios that has its drainpipes covered in gold-leaf as part of a public art program.

and i feel quite sad that is has gone now.

i hope that the pranksters look back and are proud of what they did. i hope they documented the process, have their own website about it, have put a vid of the event on you tube, have made limited edition reverse prints of the marker text and are working on following banksy around the globe, splashing over his other works as a political statement against the commercialisation of an essentially rebellious art form intended for the ghettos of america, and not the living rooms of the white nouveau-riche.

i want the spectacle of destruction to be a real spectacle. a show-stopper. a life saver, a fuck-off blast off and “holy fireworks batman!”. i want them to have done this out of a wider, more noble reason than an insipid combination of puberty, jealousy and some desperate need for 15 megabits of deluded viral fame in which they are a david to banksy’s goliath.

somehow, i don’t think i’m going to get what i want.

EDIT: banksy, if you did this yourself, i’m still cross. but i’ll forgive you eventually. and if you were in town, why didn’t you call?

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i’m banksy

funny how things can stick around. after my rant about street art and marc’s article, the debate “is it utopia or just a bit boring” from the tate street art show turned up in my tate itunes podcast subscription. the two debater were evening standard critic ben lewis and time-out writer ossian ward and it is particularly hilarious. while i can’t quite get my head around some of his reasoning, ben’s dry, nihilistic humour about street art and himself is really amusing and ossian’s picture of art’s future is deliciously bleack and his responses to ben are so sharp. great stuff.

listen to it here

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