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+++ Cakes Da Killa – Goodie Goodies +++
With their new singles Full of Fire and A Tooth for an Eye and the accompanying videos, Olof Dreijer and Karin Dreijer Andersson aka The Knife have already made very clear statements about where they are heading right now: Their approach in their own sounds, lyrics and artwork has become more opently political, more radical, and less easy to consume. With the full stream of the new album “Shaking the Habitual” on the duo’s website it is now finally possible to experience the consequences of their new turn in full force: Many of the songs on the record are longer than 10 minutes, most of the tracks have no clear song structure and are full of unidentifiable sounds and noises, the lyrics are full of open statements against heteronormativity, capitalism and patriachy.
After the interview I did with Olof and Karin for the German Intro magazine a few weeks ago I was really impressed by how hard the duo has questioned not only their whole project, but also the structures under which they’ve been working as artists and musicians in the past. I’ve rarely met artists in the pop industry that have so radically rethought their work and transformed it into something new and more reflected. This English transcript of the interview published below was edited by Sean Dunn, the German article I wrote about the interview and my experiences with the new album can be found on the website of Intro magazine. All pictures were taken by Alexa Vachon.
Olof: I was in Stockholm at the time at the Gender Studies Department and we both decided to study more and read more theory around the issues that we had already been into, like feminist theory and queer theory. We wanted to learn more about colonial history and anti-racist theory. We hadn’t studied so much theory so both of us were into learning more. So we kind of read the books from the field of Gender Studies, both of us, and wrote down many common interests that we wanted to learn more about and gather books on. And started a common ground, a good equal starting point.
Karin: Olof came to Stockholm and I’ve been in Berlin a lot as well in the past years.
Can I ask what you read?
K: First it was the literature list from the Gender Studies Program, like Mohanty’s “Feminism without borders”, also Franz Fanon, Judith Butler, Foucault, Spivak and some of Wendy Brown. Some fiction as well, I’ve been very into Jeanette Winterson… Olof, did I forget anything?
O: Well, there is so much, but I mean we’ve also read a lot of Swedish post-colonial feminists who are really good at summarizing different international thinkers and talk about intersectionality. Are you familiar with this term?
Yes I am…
O: … kind of how to use that. And that’s been really important for us. It has really helped us understand many things, like limits in feminist activism for example.
You’ve involved other artists into your most recent work, both the video and the album. At least four of them queer women – you worked with Shannon Funchess and Emily Roysdon on the song „Stay out here“ and with Marit Östberg and Liz Rosenfeld on the video for „Full of Fire“. Is the Gender Studies background the link to these artist, is this how you approached them and why you chose them?
Normal Love is a queer band project by Berlin based musicians Pauline P aka Pauline Boudry and Inka Kamp – both former members of the legendary Rhythm King And Her Friends – and singer-songwriter Ben Kaan, who joined Pauline and Inka shortly after they started rehearsing. The trio and its beautifully clear and moody post-punk-disco-pop already has quite a reputation in the queer scene of Berlin and has played a whole bunch of successful live gigs in Germany, France and Austria in 2012. With “Fever/Suddenly” they are now releasing their first 12″ single, accompanied by a debut video for the song “Suddenly” and a free gig in conjunction with the Precarious Bodies performance festival at Hebbel am Ufer on April 12. The Normal Love debut album will be released in autumn, you can already stream five of the album tracks (including “Fever” and “Suddenly” via Soundcloud. To order the limited “Fever/Suddenly” EP please contact the band via firstname.lastname@example.org. Picture on top by Goodyn Green.
Crime is an exciting new queer experimental goth-pop duo from Berlin, consisting of Mika Risiko of Sissters and Scream Club member Sarah Adorable, who started the project last summer. The duo has reached out to the public for the first in September with the beautiful video to their first single “This Party Blows”, followed by an extensive tour through Germany and the Czech Republic in November and December and a couple of additional gigs in Berlin in the last few months. Their latest song “Other Kids Live”, another dark, synth-heavy track, was released a few days ago on Soundcloud and we recommend giving it a listen.
As a contribution to our PICK 5 series Mika and Sarah have send us a commented list of their five favorite videos – an entertaining insight on their influences and interests. We’re especially happy about the video by Los Angeles based artist Jeepneys, who we just recently have stumbled upon, but haven’t managed to feature on the blog yet. For more contributions to our PICK 5 series by artists such as Cakes Da Killa, Alexis Blair Penney or Kool Thing please check out the section’s archive.
1. Harmony Korine – “Act da Fool”
“This theme of us against the world is touching, and the video is filmed in this slow dreamy way that mimics how she describes the pace of their everyday life in a small town. It has this feeling of going nowhere but still living for today and looking to the future. Not to mention these girls are total hot babes. It’s easy to relate to the need of going wild due to stagnation and the inability of coping with the outside world.”
In the summer of 2012, undergraduate student at Parsons The New School for Design in New York City, Yulan Grant, had the idea to make a zine. Her theme: a visual history of baby hairs, a technique of gel-sculpting the wispy hairs at one’s hairline, popular in Black and Latino culture. Given her studies in graphic design, she had no issue with the visuals, but needed writing. For this, she contacted her close friends and schoolmates at the affiliated Eugene Lang College The New School for Liberal Arts, Brandon Owens and Justin Allen. Brandon wrote two haiku on the topic, and Justin, a piece of prose poetry. Before the end of the summer the zine was finished, copies printed. By fall, it had been included into traveling zine archive the POCZine Project.
Soon their zine, simply titled Baby Hair, would be traveling the country with the works of numerous other people of color that decided to bypass the publishing industry in favor of complete artistic freedom. But not before they were offered a gig by aspiring curator Johnny Sagan.
Early meetings with Sagan, under the curatorial name Snowy Wilderness, left both Grant and Allen in bewilderment. Tasks were listed off at a rapid pace and seemed both promising and abstract. The gig: Sagan, curating a series of art shows in collaboration with Brooklyn-based gallery Superchief at Lower East Side bar and gallery space Culturefix, had gotten a hold of a copy of Baby Hair and wanted Grant and Allen to produce in house zines to accompany the gallery shows. Their first project, a zine for House of Ladosha’s show THE WHOLE HOUSE EATS.
The video below is a recording of “The Episodes”, a performance event by Oakland based writer, zine-maker, musician (Gravy Train!!!! / The Younger Lovers) and dancer Brontez Purnell, which was held at San Francisco’s The Garage between the 7th and the 16th of March and will be shown another two times at Temescal Art Center in Oakland this weekend (24th/24th). It is presented by THEOFFCENTER.
The evening opens with a screening of the beautiful B&W short film “Free Jazz” by the Brontez Purnell Dance Company, which was founded by Brontez in 2011 and debuted with a “Free Jazz” performance piece at the Berkeley Art Museum in the same year. The film is shown to the public for the first time and was recorded as well, check out the trailer here.
What I’ve posted below is the actual “The Episodes” performance – a 30-minute piece, for which Brontez has collaborated with performers Anthony R. Lucas and Sophia Wang. The piece deals with the power of everyday routines and shakes them up, with the “ultimate goal (…) to blur, destroy, (and most importantly) recreate the sacred repetitiveness of the everyday ritual of being human” (event description). It’s a lot of fun and I recommend to take your time to watch the whole thing. For a longer review of the show please visit the blog of RADAR productions, a San Francisco-based non-profit that produces literary happenings around the Bay Area.
The evening was recorded by queer performance ethnographer Mark McBeth, who explores and documents the Bay Area performance scene with videos, interviews and photography. Check out his Vimeo page for more of his recordings and his website for information about his work.
After his full-length feature I Want Your Love and the premiere of his James-Franco-collaboration Interior. Leather Bar. at the Berlinale in February filmmaker Travis Mathews is back with a new episode of his In Their Room series. The documetary project, which portrays gay men and their sex live and dating habits in their bedrooms, started in 2009 as a short film series for BUTT magazine with protagonists from San Francisco, followed by a full-length Berlin episode in 2010. For the third part Mathews has travelled to London and the result looks nice and a little bit more diverse than the previous episodes. The film, which was successfully funded on Kickstarter in spring 2012, will be previewed this week at the International Film Festival Prague and premiere next month at the Fringe! Film Fest in London (April 11-14). Fore more information about Travis’ work and the ITR series please check out our interview with the filmmaker from 2011.
Zemmoa is based in Mexico City and has caused quite a buzz in her home country throughout the past few five years – especially in the club scene and the queer community. Today the singer, artist, model and style icon has released the video to her new single “Te Enterraré El Tacón” (“I’ll stab you with my heel!”), and we’ve taken the video premiere as an occasion for a little chat with her about her self-image as an artist, working as a queer artist in Mexico and the video itself.
CF: You write your own music, you co-direct your videos, you do your own styling. Is it important for you to be in charge of everything that is related to your work?
Zemmoa: If I define myself as an artist in constant learning, I think everyday are wise and always have something to teach us. We are all equal but also very unique because we have different stories and inspirations, and we all have something to say. I am 100% involved with everything I do because it’s my way to express and discuss my views on life and love, and my own point of view may seem similar to someone else, but it’ll never be the same.
I always dreamed of meeting and working with Pedro, but at the same time I’m impatient, so I did my own mini movie tribute to Pedro to treat myself and to please that dream.
How many films have changed your life? What at first glance seems to be a tough question, becomes something pretty clear to me when I remember the first time I saw Arrebato by Spanish director Ivan Zulueta. Unfortunately, it wasn’t at the original première in 1980 – I was born four years later -, but at least I had the chance to see a special screening in an old Madrilenian porn cinema as part of the promotional events that came along with the release of the deluxe DVD edition.
Anyway, far from a porn movie, what you get for nearly two hours is a raw and deeply emotional experience through Zulueta’s inner obsessions, such as childhood memories subtly showing the so-called Peter Pan complex or his self-destructive love for the cinema itself, taken up until the very last consequences. In fact, the relationship depicted among the main characters and the cinema proves to be even more addictive and dangerous than the heroin openly injected by themselves.
This picture was quite popular on our Facebook page and I like it a lot, so I decided to share it here as well. It was taken by Los Angeles based photographer Catherine Opie for a Rodarte book published in 2011. You can order the publication for a reduced price via Amazon, fore more information about the book check out Artbook.com. I found the picture on the consistently amazing CruiseorbeCruised tumblr.
(c) Catherine Opie / Rodarte