OLIVER SIEBER – “THE NEW FUCK YOU”

May 19th, 2014

America, Asia, Europe… each continent spawns its own counter-cultures, centered for the most around music scenes. From these subcultures, Oliver Sieber creates an  “Imaginary Club” composed of goths, punks, skins and rockabillies – irrespective of their cultural demarcations. 

About 100 photos define the perimeters of Oliver Sieber’s “Imaginary Club, portraits taken in a makeshift studio of concerts, festivals and in clubs, and juxtaposed with black and white shots of deserted rehearsal spaces, street shots and club entrances. 

Oliver Sieber’s “Imaginary Club” is exhibited at the Villa Noailles in Hyères as part of the 29th International Fashion & Photography Festival, a variation on his most recent book of same title.  While setting up this exhibition, Oliver and his collaborator Katja Stuke spoke to The Stimuleye about the need of upheaval, total erosion of style and dress codes in youth culture and the need to find new forms of expressing positions of identity.

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Oliver Sieber, "Imaginary Club": Exhibition at Villa Noailles, Hyeres

THE IMAGINARY CLUB

The Stimuleye: Who are these people in your “Imaginary Club”?

Oliver: What really interests me is reaction and forms of counter culture.
After WWII, the teenagers in America and England started to discover new forms of music and fashion, new forms of liberation. Many people I met are still in this sort of idea.  Punk is a very good example, because it did have real societal meaning.

That is what is important to teenager culture: upheaval, the struggle to identification, to root themselves. To not only take position against the elder generation, but in general. And that has often to do with music. I am interested in music, and communication of style codes.

The people in my “Imaginary Club” are not always part of a subculture in the classic sense. I have also portrayed artist friends, that, similar to teenagers, are forced to redefine themselves again and again. Here for example is a photo of Rebecca. From a wealthy family, she received always best grades, suddenly something switched in her head. Rebelling against her intellectual parents, she was climbing down the eaves gutters and was not to tame anymore.

 

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Oliver Sieber, "Imaginary Club": Exhibition at Villa Noailles, Hyeres. Right Side: Rebecca

When I look at my work, I understand it as an entry for the viewer, or a window upon which I reflect myself. Often it is not really about what is on the wall or who is depicted, but about the dialogue between the image and the onlooker. That changes from person to person.

The Stimuleye: Looking at the Portraits there are many Punks, Skinheads, Rockabillies.- is there also something a bit like nostalgia?

Oliver: We have a very globalized music culture today. Subcultures developing real novelties is something rather sparse and rare.  Are there really subcultures that result from youth movements? I think it is not like that anymore. It’s more that youngsters try to identify with their role models of choice.

A good example is David Bowie that in the 70’s offered an image of “multi sexual liberation” for many people, also in combination with music and the song texts that bore a poetry and language that people picked up on.  Just because we have 2014 now, his music did not disappear. You can still buy the records and the language still speaks to people who want to identify with it. And as fans do, they associate themselves with this.  I think people living this don’t reflect on what they do, as we look at it. They just do it.

Katja:
There are always new aspects adding up and things get mixed up. So you have a development that can’t be called the “nostalgic”. It may be rooted in a source, and like in this case ideally there is a progression where new aspects ad up.

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Oliver Sieber, excepts from the book "Imaginary Club"

FASHION CODES AND THE INTERNET : THE NEW  “FUCK YOU”

Katja:
Today you often cannot rely on the looks giving an indication on who people are: In Germany you find nazis that look like left anarchist “Antifa” fighters.
That possibly has to do with the internet, where you can communicate your stance or orientation in different ways then through fashion and dress codes.
You also have to react on other people adapting what you personally take serious as a subculture, how they mix your codes, abuse or pervert them.

This makes it sometimes also difficult to determine whom are you following in a protest, where codes are so mixed up, that no one is able to keep up track.
For example in Ukraine its absolutely ambiguous who is protesting with whom recently. Unlike in the past, today it’s hard to determine who is on which side, from demonstrator to counter protester. Now you have young Nazi Hipsters in all black with tight jeans shouldering a jute bag, which really requires more than a second look to recognize what is going on.

In this position you’re forced to find other forms to show your conviction that are different and function without the need of fashion as we had it in the past.
I am sure there are subcultures, but they function really differently, without the involvement of fashion, as the channels are much more multi layered. It’s not about provoking through your look anymore, because nowadays people are not easy to shock. So you have to find other ways and places to put your orientation forwards.

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Oliver Sieber, excepts from the book "Imaginary Club"

Oliver: In Japan a lot of messages get transported through flyers and stickers. This was similar in Los Angeles up until recently, but it changed and is now functioning mainly through hotmail panels. Everyone has a smartphone, no matter to which group you belong. The Cosplay culture for example functions only through the forums in the web. That’s all chat, appointments for conventions and Skype.

Katja:
But the internet is not at all as public as you may expect.
Often it’s very difficult to access a certain online group or forums. There are strict admins that want to know who you are and what you do, and remind you that with access you commit to a regular contribution etc- so you can’t just get in and check out. It’s much easier to go into a bar or a club, even if you have to pass and convince the bouncer.

Oliver:
For example I photographed a young punk who realized how his style had been adapted and declared a trend. He totally changed his appearance to not be associated with this widely publicized new trend. That doesn’t mean though that his anti-ascist conviction or adoration for punk changed at all.

As label and the designers pick up on elements of subculture their message is watered down extremely fast, so you have to have to change your codes again. As Jason (Evans) recently said at the Tate: “The new normal is the new ‘Fuck You,'”, because you can’t be categorized like this anymore.

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Oliver Sieber, "Imaginary Club": Exhibition at Villa Noailles, Hyeres

PROTEST

Oliver:
That there is a new protest culture again is really great. These positions are getting from the internet to the street again, where you suddenly  have to make an effort, as the codes we’re used to don’t work anymore when you can’t diversify between “good” and “evil”, nor recognize “your” or “my” people.

Katja:
At the same time there is also these movements of parallel culture to create an existence and surrounding of some sorts of withdraw, even resigning.
This may be an approach resulting from being overwhelmed by societal developments. Specially in Japan we’ve met people that engage in small initiatives, artistic ones or others that take care of the homeless. There is this movement of “do it yourself” culture where people search for new forms of living for themselves apart from mainstream, norms and social graces, which are less visible.

Oliver:
When visiting Osaka soon for another exhibit, we plan to investigate deeper into this, meet with these “alternative” people that found a totally different life and structure within of Japanese society.
What I found puzzling was that we met many homeless who spoke great English or Spanish, and had lived and worked abroad, but this had lead that they were not fully integrable any more into society, because the’ve been abroad too long and back in Japan landed on the street.

Katja:
I think that also has to do that people with knowledge of languages have access to much more information over the internet for example, and thus are more open to ideas to try a different draft for their life than their parents, because that didn’t work that well either.
Specially as you can’t rely on social securities anymore- it’s not like our parent generation that studied, took a job and continued with a great retirement plan.

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Oliver Sieber, excepts from the book "Imaginary Club"

The Stimuleye: How do you work together?

Katja:
There are varying methods, but at times there are actual connections or a common greater theme and possibilities to juxtapose our work in an exhibition or we publish a book together for example at BöhmKobayashi.

The City of Duesseldorf has provided us with a space we curated for three years where we developed “ANT!FOTO” which was to show exhibitions on positions of photography we feel were missing. As a result we also started a publication the “ANT!FOTO Manifest”  which was a common project of us.

Oliver:
The “ANT!FOTO Manifest”  was a project where we asked 70 photographer and curators to word their statement after a 10 point thesis we created. Initially this was planned only as a magazine, but finally will be shown in the Museum Folkwang as well as going to the
Fotomuseum Winterthur .

The Stimuleye: What is the last thing that stimulated you?

Oliver:
After we talked so much on imagery, I would like to mention something that stimulated me:
when we talked to Frenkie (Bosnian Rapper) while visiting him in Tuzla, i asked him what is “heimat” (homeland) to him.
He said after being a refugee returning from Nuernberg to Tuzla, he realized what he missed: it was the scent of the firing wood that you can smell everywhere in the city. For my senses, apart from sound or music, the smell is very important.

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Oliver Sieber, excepts from the book "Imaginary Club"
Imaginary Club 2005-2012 
432 pages, Offset-Print,
a BöhmKobayashi/GwinZegal Joint
Imaginary Club is running at the Villa Noailles in Hyeres until may 25, 2014
and after that at the Galerie Stieglitz 19 in Antwerpen. Opening May 25, 2014,
further dates are at PhotoBookMuseum from August 19, 2014 and after that the Exhibition will be travelling

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#AllEyesOnHyeres2014: Interviews with Photographers in Competition

April 25th, 2014

By the time the Hyères Festival opened to the public today, Friday, April 25, more than 100 exchanges had already been had between the competing photographers and the established members of the photo jury. Brought together in the Cubist Garden at Villa Noailles—a Modernist masterpiece built by architect Robert Mallet Stevens in the hills above the village—each candidate met individually with every member of the panel, overseen by renowned fashion photographer Steve Hiett and assembled very much in his image: eclectic, open, progressive.

The Stimlueye took some time to speak with each of the competing photographers about their work and background.

All Photos by Filep Motwary

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ARNAUD LAJEUNIE, 27, FRANCE

Who are you? 

My name is Arnaud Lajeunie, I am 27, from France. I have a MA in Political Sciences (SciencesPo, Paris) and a BA in Photography (Les Gobelins, Paris)

What forces, cultural or otherwise, have influenced your work?

Some contemporary writers (Deleuze, Maldiney)
Painting (Cézanne, El Greco, Klee, Cy Twombly)
Music also played a rather significant role too, (Steve Reich, Gustav Mahler, Jean Sibelius, french rap and german electronic music)

How would you describe the body of work that you’re presenting at Hyeres?

Water meets colour, colour meets water is a project I started in 2011, when fascinated by the waves-rocks contact. I desired to overcome the mere spectator status and to engage nature. The colors came rather naturally, and after some research about the products I could use, I finally opted for food colorants. The introduction of colour serves different purposes: it thickens the transparent water, add density and then enables short-term sculptures that alter the viewers perception and understanding of the scene. But, more significant for me, the colour modulates the landscape and create the inner rhythm of the image. This notion of rhythm is crucial as the latter conveys sensations, which, in return raises questions. The images provide no straightforward interpretation and therefore offer a space for imagination, sensation and questioning. I feel there is a contemporary relevance to create area that contest this desire to render decipherable the physical space in which we live.

How does this specific suite of images relate to your larger practice?

Water meets colour, colour meets water adresses the recurrent idea of engaging nature through artificial devices, in order to modulate and then blur the initial understanding of the depicted landscapes. Through this collision between natural fluxes and man-made inputs I seek rhythms, that will generate sensations and, in a second moment, raises critical questions (notably about the issue of control and failure). However, the aesthetic sensation remains compulsory, I think, as it paves the way to a sort of “mental space” where these questions can blossom.

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ANNA GRZELEWSKA, 38, POLAND

Who are you? 

My name is Anna Grzelewska. I am 38 years old. I’m from Poland. I studied anthropology of culture, documentary directing and photography.

What forces, cultural or otherwise, have influenced your work?

I was always inspired by women that were photographers. First of my authorities was Julia Cameron, then Diane Arbus, Nan Goldin and recently Cindy Sherman. Not only their work but also their lives, their sensitivity. Also cinema and theatre had a huge influence on my work.  I explore  the line between true and fiction, reality and creation.

How would you describe the body of work that you’re presenting at Hyeres?

Julia wannabe project is searching for woman’s identity. It tells about maturation of the girl, my daughter Julia. About this ambiguous and mysterious period of time. Photographing Julia I discovered the transfer process. My childhood mix with hers and hidden, never expressed emotions revive. In that sense this is my self-portrait.

How does this specific suite of images relate to your larger practice?

Julia wannabe is a long term project.  Among others, this one is special. It’s about my identity my daughter, about myself. It is not finish yet. I will continue it.

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OSMA HARVILAHTI, FINLAND

Who are you? 

My name is Osma Harvilahti and I was born in Helsinki. My work is based on traveling and exploring different cultures through documenting and a certain visual philosophy and rules that I set to myself. Currently I’m spending about a third of each year traveling and shooting material for books and other personal projects. My background is in social sciences and still the most common motive behind my photography is social. The body of work that I’m showing at Hyères this year is titled as “New Colour”, simply because one of the dominant themes in my work is the use of colour and because it’s “new” as it’s shot during the past 15 months and within a period of 3 months.

What forces, cultural or otherwise, have influenced your work?

One of the greatest motives behind my work is the challenge of transforming my aesthetic to resonate between different cultures. The work is mainly build on very formal qualities such as combinations of colour, material and other abstract elements but on the other hand I’m always aiming to tell stories through abstract visual narratives.

How would you describe the body of work that you’re presenting at Hyeres?

The body of work that is on show at Hyères is an edition of photographs from my first monograph that got published in 2013. It reveals the sometimes abstract and largely visual philosophy behind my work and shows some of my favourite pieces I was able to produce last year. During the festival I will also show a new body of work in forms of a presentation and a print portfolio.

How does this specific suite of images relate to your larger practice?

It’s very important that the image I produce feels honest and unpretentious. Simply put, I’m always aiming to produce work that feels “real” and looks beautiful. One of the qualities I’m constantly aiming towards is that I could create a sort of a continuum and a connection between my older work and the new work, so that the photographs relate and resonate between each other and most importantly become part of something larger rather than just a body of work that get’s forgotten when something new appears. I’m hoping that the new work that I will be producing in japan and China this year will connect and respond to some questions I created last year at very different cultures and locations.

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ORIANNE LOPES, 25, FRANCE

Who are you? 

My name is Orianne Lopes, I’m 25 years old, I was born in France (Lyon) but my parents are Portuguese. I have been studying at ECAL (École Cantonale d’Art de Lausanne) in Switzerland where I’m living now.

What forces, cultural or otherwise, have influenced your work?

I was inspired by all the myth about the Venus and feminist preoccupations in all ages but also by the artists who had worked on these subjects. For this work precisely, I have been influenced by famous figures like the black Venus, Josephine Baker, Grace Jones…

How would you describe the body of work that you’re presenting at Hyeres?

I would describe it as a totally uninhibited and visual feeling about the black female body in the western culture and the clichés which are linked to. In a more larger view it’s a photographic work about the image of the feminine ideal.

How does this specific suite of images relate to your larger practice?

I have always been treating of femininity and body in my practice in different ways and with different use of the photographic medium.

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BIRTHE PIONTEK, GERMANY

Who are you? 

My name is Birthe Piontek. I am originally from Germany but currently based in Vancouver, Canada. I moved there in 2005, after graduating from the University of Essen, where I did my Masters in Communications Design and Photography. Since then I have been working as a photographer for various magazines i.e. New York Times Magazine, Le Monde, Esquire etc. while also pursuing my own artistic projects.

What forces, cultural or otherwise, have influenced your work?

I’ve always been very interested in portraiture and the different ways of how people’s identities are displayed. In the beginning I looked a lot at classical portrait painting from the Renaissance or the Dutch masters. I was also inspired by  a certain cinematic style that you can find in movies of David Lynch.

How would you describe the body of work that you’re presenting at Hyeres?

The work I am presenting at Hyeres is a continuation of my exploration of the idea of an image representing a person. With the work Mimesis I create a fictional world of representation that mediates our relationship to reality. I appropriate, change and reinterpret the original found images, in an effort to invite the viewer to look beyond the surface.

How does this specific suite of images relate to your larger practice?

I’m interested in portraiture and see my camera as a tool to investigate the question of identity. While in the past I worked in a more traditional way of portraiture, I am now more curious to include other art forms such as installation and sculpture in my practice.

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VIRGINIE REBETEZ, 35, SWITZERLAND

Who are you? 

My name is Virginie Rebetez. I am freshly 35 and I come from Switzerland. I studied Photography first at the Photography School of Vevey, in Switzerland, then I went to Amsterdam to do the Gerrit Rietveld Academie, from which I graduated in 2008. I am living now in Lausanne (CH), after having spent 7 years in Amsterdam.

What forces, cultural or otherwise, have influenced your work?

I am interested in photographic works having a real reflection on the Photography medium. I am a fan of Taryn Simon, for instance. But I can get inspiration to start a new project from many different things: People I meet, “faits divers” in the newspaper, movies or books (the description of “the psycho-magic acts” from Alejandro Jodorowski for example.)

How would you describe the body of work that you’re presenting at Hyeres?

The work I am presenting at Hyères is called «Under Cover». The serie counts 13 photographs (5 presented in the festival) and was made last year in the biggest cemetery of Soweto (South Africa). I photographed the tombstones which are covered with different materials (blankets, plastic..) and so are masking the identity of the deceased. This practice is part of the funeral ritual. When the tombstone is placed, after the funeral, the family covers it immediately. The tombstone will stay in this state until the “unveiling ceremony”, a big ceremony not to honor the life on earth of the deceased anymore, as the funeral, but to celebrate his life after death. This covering period can go from weeks to years.

I decided to photograph them in front of a black background to put them out of their context and so giving them a new status, a new identity. They become then statues, totems, silenced characters, or monuments waiting to be revealed to the public. Of course, the action of ‘unveiling’ is quite symbolic…

How does this specific suite of images relate to your larger practice?

All my works are closely related and follow the same research, the same interest for the invisible, the invisible world, the traces left after a disappearance, after death. I like to reactivate something dying or already dead in creating something new out of it, as an attempt to stop the final closure. I am interested in questioning our concepts of identity, memory both individual and collective as well as the medium of Photography itself.

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MARIE RIME, 24, SWITZERLAND

Who are you? 

My name is Marie Rime. I am 24 years old and come from Switzerland. I am actually finishing my BA in Photography at the Ecal in Lausanne.

What forces, cultural or otherwise, have influenced your work?

What inspires me the most is the place I come from, Switzerland. I have been raised and I still live there, so its culture, traditions, news and problems are part of who I am today.

How would you describe the body of work that you’re presenting at Hyeres?

I am presenting two different series at the festival : Armures and Pharma. Armures is a series representing seven pictures of women wearing armors that I created myself with household objects. Pharma is a reflection about the power of pharmaceutical industry and the ambiguity of its role, attractive but necessary.

How does this specific suite of images relate to your larger practice?

The two series have a very different esthetic but they both refer to the general idea of power and its ambiguity and attractiveness.

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MARLEEN SLEEUWITS, 33, NETHERLANDS

Who are you? 

My name is Marleen Sleeuwits and I am 33 years old. I was born in the east of Holland where I grew up in a small village. At age 17 I moved to The Hague where I studied photography at the Royal Academy of Art. After graduation I worked two years as a commercial photographer but this didn’t feel like it was something I wanted to do for the rest of my life. I started the MA in Breda to find out about my own fascinations and how to work on my own projects. With my photoworks I explore places with which it seems you are unable to make any connection. I construct and deform spaces in empty office buildings until an image comes into being that conveys this experience.

What forces, cultural or otherwise, have influenced your work?

I like wandering through cities I haven’t been before but mostly I am inspired by the buildings where I temporarily work. These are office blocks from the 70’s. Their interiors are filled with cheap short lived materials such as laminate flooring, self-adhesive wall tiles. It’s fascinating for me that these materials are like a shell that holds no memory and can be changed every few years.
Also I’m very interested in photographers who search for the boundaries in photography. In The Netherlands there are quite a lot of young photographers who make great work and experiment with the medium, combining photography with video, sculpture and installations.

How would you describe the body of work that you’re presenting at Hyeres?

The four photo’s shown in Hyeres are an overview of the works I made in the last three years. Their all interiors I have constructed in empty office buildings. It is unclear what their function is, where they are and what time of day they were photographed. They almost appear to be situated beyond consciousness. The feeling of estrangement and detachment is at the heart of my work. I try to capture the experience of being disconnected from a physical space by almost inviting the viewer to step inside the picture and relate physically to what is portrayed there. Print size and sharpness are therefore of essential importance. In Interiors I play with scale, perception, and the tension between reality and illusion.

4. How does this specific suite of images relate to your larger practice?

How does this specific suite of images relate to your larger practice?

For a long time my work was focused on generic urban spaces such as the empty corners of office blocks, waiting areas at airports or the deserted corridors of hotels. Interiors where we often find ourselves but are shut off, as it were, from our consciousness. Previously I searched for and photographed a portrayal of such places; three years ago, in order to delve deeper into the experience of these locations, I have began to intervene with such like interiors. These transformations mostly resemble temporary installations or sculptures and make the experience of disconnection transmissible on a more psychological level. The four photo’s shown here can be seen as a small overview of this last period.

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CHARLOTTE TANGUY, 35, FRANCE

Who are you? 

My name is Charlotte Tanguy, I am 35 and come from France. I actually studied drawing and illustration. I am self-taught in photography, it came later: five years ago.

What forces, cultural or otherwise, have influenced your work?

I was interested in a cinematic way of sequencing. Cinema and literature influence my work, but also dance, scientific essays etc.

How would you describe the body of work that you’re presenting at Hyeres?

It is a vivid sequence and experience. I put myself in a situation that creates distance between me and my surroundings, and at the same time it makes elementary forms visible.

How does this specific suite of images relate to your larger practice?

This series is the continuity of my previous work, which ended on an inability to read and understand my surroundings, it became my statement.

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LORENZO VITTURI, ITALY

Who are you? 

My name is Lorenzo Vitturi, and I am a Venetian photographer living and working in London.
I studied design and photography, and I started to work as a set designer in the film industry in Rome. I then I brought all this experience into my photography practice which revolves around playful site-specific interventions at the intersection of photography, sculpture and performance.

What forces, cultural or otherwise, have influenced your work?

The main force that influences my work everyday is my passion for light, colour and form.
Culturally I’ve been mostly influenced by my hometown Venice and it’s melancholic beauty.
Venice influenced the way I looked at the world, my experiences and expectations.  My memories are suprasensorial, and I’ve searched for ways to harness this, and translate it into photographs – to disregard it’s perceived intangibility, to manipulate space and the space of the image, and evoke smell in colour and memory in transforming forms and materials.

How would you describe the body of work that you’re presenting at Hyeres?

Here at Hyeres I am presenting a brief selection of my latest project, Dalston Anatomy, which is a book about the Ridley Road Market in Dalston– a unique place in London that is maintaining its authenticity in spite of a surrounding gentrification process. Its community represents perfectly the multicultural nature of Hackney and East London.

During the last year I have been taking pictures, making sculptures and collages with all sort of material I have been finding along the street of the market.

How does this specific suite of images relate to your larger practice?

My larger practice is a continuous dialogue between photography and sculpture. For this reason, in order to make the most of the space I had available here in Hyeres I chosen to present the suite of images as a site-specific installation using different kind of materials coming from my studio in London.


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MULATU ASTATKE: the bushes vs Debussy

July 29th, 2013

It may have taken decades, but the Ethio-Jazz sounds of Mulatu Astatke are now traveling throughout the world, through Kanye West samples and Jim Jarmusch films, reaching unlikely destinations such as the ecstatic crowds of Calvi On The Rocks in Corsica.

‘Doctor’ Mulatu Astatke as he likes to remind us, is not only a jazzman, but a doctor in musicology, who is eager to add to the lists of achievements of his home country, Ethiopia: coffee, inspiration to the Rastafarian faith, the invention of the musical scale, and it would seem, music conducting.

The bushes. Debussy. In the the mouth of Mulatu Astatke, it’s hard to hear the difference between the two.

MULATU_ASTATKE_4628_RENE_HABERMACHER_THE_STIMULEYE
Doctor Mulatu Astatke, "Father of Ethio-Jazz" as his business Card states. Calvi 2013. 
Photography by René Habermacher.

René Habermacher: How did you come to be part of this festival that is very electronic music related?

Mulatu Astatke: Well, you know, I’ve travelled to Europe a lot in the last 3-4 years. The band became very popular, very busy and we did also a completely beautiful cd which will be coming out in October for the Jazz Village. People seem to ask for my band everywhere.

I used to be involved with electronic music a few years back with Heliocentrics on the album “Inspiration Information” (2009). But I really love acoustic sounds very much: real sounds, real music, everything. It’s good for the people to be able to get both sides, they can hear the acoustic but also the electronic music. I think it’s a very good idea to bring me to this type of festival. It’s great.

RH: How do you feel about the younger generation of pop musicians referring to your sound or even sampling, as in the case of Kanye West and other heavyweights of the contemporary pop generation?

MA: I remember the film “The Broken Flowers” by Jim Jarmusch, with Sharon Stone and Bill Murray. (NB- The soundtrack to the film features an eclectic mix of music, chiefly using instrumentals by Mulatu Astatke as the main score mixed with garage rock, metal and reggae.) The film really made a push and brought different crowds to my audience.
Then people started sampling my music. So my audience keeps on growing. I love it, I have no objection to sampling my music, because every time they sample, the crowds come too.

I see all kind of people in London, in Paris, in Australia, everywhere, middle-aged, young, old ages, all kinds of crowd. It helps Ethio-jazz, and also for people to see different directions of music. So it helps so much. I enjoy it. Its beautiful.

MULATU_ASTATKE_4785_RENE_HABERMACHER_THE_STIMULEYE

Mulatu with drum sticks shortly before going on stage. The composer’s own signature instrument is the vibraphone,
a set of graduated aluminum percussion bars that resemble a marimba or a xylophone. Photography by René Habermacher

RH: Ethiopian culture pioneered a lot of different things in music. Your work is part of that tradition.
Do you think because you were so pioneering it took quite some time for the deserved recognition to come in?

MA: I put myself as an example and always say: never give up, just keep on pushing!

It’s so great when reality reaches what I always dreamed for this music to reach. If you just get to this point…  it took me around 43 years!
The thing which takes time always give great results. It is what it is: as a musician you come to Paris, play Ethio-jazz, you go to NYC, to Germany, Denmark, Sweden, England: playing Ethio jazz.
And then suddenly this music just develops. Its a great recognition.

I got my PhD from Berklee (NB – Boston, USA) and lectured in different universities all the time. It’s a great achievement for Ethio-jazz to be accepted at Berklee, a recognition of what we have given to the development of modern music, to dance and everything to the world. So I said: it’s not only for Mulatu, but this is a recognition of Africa, which is so great. So this is what we fight for.
Now I also do a lot of research at Harvard, at MIT and also lecturing for National Geography last month at the Royal Albert hall in London about Ethiopian contribution to culture and music.
I talk about African achievements and what it has given to the world

RH: So the theoretical reflection is very important for you.

MA: Very much! If you don’t know the historical aspect and the contribution of your country’s music, you can’t go any further.
The more you know, the more you do research, the more you enjoy.

And the more you can develop the music and show to the world your own contribution.
So research is very important. For example in Ethiopia I go to the rural areas, to the bushes.
There’s one tribe, the Dirashe, who plays a diminishing scale in the middle of a pentatonic five tone scale country like Ethiopia.
In Ethiopia we play only five notes, that’s how Ethio-jazz developed: five notes against the twelve tone scale of American Jazz, you know what I mean. When I studied at Berklee, they were teaching us how Charlie Parker created the modern jazz through diminished scale. But this tribe plays a diminished scale. And great composers like Debussy are on a diminished scale. So what is really very interesting is these tribes have been there for centuries and centuries, so what I want to know is: is it Charlie Parker, was it Debussy,  or this tribe ?

Who was first? This is the question. These tribes people knew nothing, no painting, nothing, and they play diminished scale. I don’t know how they got it, because they are in the middle of a five note country. How did they manage to get this?

So I raised this question at Berklee and they were so surprised. What they said is: “Oh Mulatu- you got us!”

MULATU_ASTATKE_4645_RENE_HABERMACHER_THE_STIMULEYE
Mulatu Astatke received late recognition: Originally supposed to become an aeronautical engineer he was
the first African student in the late 1950s at Berklee College of Music — “the only place in that time,” 
he said, to study jazz. Photography by René Habermacher.

RH: Is there a point where you thought the recognition is starting to come?
where you though somebody starts to understand what you were trying to do with Ethio-jazz?

MA: In Europe and America, they understand and love my composition all the same. But when I went back from NY to Ethiopia, they didn’t like it at all, because they were used to this musical form that we call the current form: malalala…dalala (sings) I remember a long time ago there was a town that told me to get off stage. It was too complicated to them. They could not understand: “is this a joke or what is it?” Playing around: wabadawadawa?” – they don’t dig it. So I finished the piece and went off.

But now, after 10-15, 20 years they go crazy. The whole town of Addis is Ethio-jazz now.
Finally it’s Ethiopians! So I always say: keep on fighting, never stop. That’s the result.

RH: When you worked with those tribes on interpretations, did they have any rejection? 

MA: No. You know, I don’t touch them. I just work behind whatever is going on. I can write beautiful counterpoints and harmonies and they do their thing. I just tell them how good they are. What they’ve done to modern music, their contribution to the world. So they love it.

I do a lot of experimental work with this people. I do beautiful jazz fusions with them.

(NB- Mulatu once brought musicians from four different tribes together in an Addis Ababa television studio and orchestrated a cross-tribal fusion performance. This giving traditional musicians, many of them farmers, an artistic exposure beyond their tribes)

The ideal way  to explore multiple forms of music is through jazz.

In fact there is a Dirashe track is on my new album, and another one with the Surma tribe.
It’s so interesting, I did an experiment with Fatou (NB- Fatoumata Diawara), the Malian singer who is featured in one song,
a fusion of their music with Ethiopian: east meet west. It’s so beautiful, its on my new album called “Sketches of Ethiopia”

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Mulatu in action at Calvi On The Rocks, Corsica 2013. Photography by René Habermacher

RH: Another culture that strongly relates to Ethiopian heritage is the reggae culture, yet in a very different way.
How is your relationship to this?

MA: I really respect them for introducing the Ethiopian, the flags and their love to Ethiopia.
But even though musically we’re in different modes, different scales, different things. When you hear Bob (Marley) and the other ones they use mostly their own stuff.
So actually its not like Ethiopian culture or Ethiopian music, but this is their own way of appreciating music. I like them for promoting our country, for promoting our flag in this world, and for it to become like part of national art. We enjoy them, we love them so much! And now, you see they are adding a lot of Ethiopian modes, Ethiopian scales to reggae currently. There are rastas living in Ethiopia in a place called Shashamane.
Hailee Selassie gave them the land in 1948, so they stay there. And now they start to come into our music: Ethio reggae you know.
But now there are more young Ethiopian musicians, they do a lot of reggae. It’s great I think.

RH: In  2008 you premiered a portion of the Saint Yared opera at Harvard.
Are you continuing on that project?

(NB- The Saint Yared Opera is a project on Saint Yared who is regarded as a saint of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church and credited founder of the Ethiopian Coptic Church Music. He is believed to have been the first to write musical notes, centuries ahead of Western civilisation, and use an ancient form of conducting stick. The composition of the opera will blend the old and the new, and incorporate traditional chant texts in Ge’ez, the Ethiopian liturgical language, but as well electronic elements)

MA: Oh yeah. Thats very interesting. It’s gona be completed very soon. It’s already done actually.
The problem is that l am so busy travelling with other projects: I write for films, I do my experimental works.
I need two to three months to finally put the opera on a stage.

This is a work I’ve done at Harvard.
My paper was about conducting being an Ethiopian contribution to the world.
We used to conduct music in the 6th century, with a stick called a mekwamia.

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Mulatu at Calvi On The Rocks, Corsica 2013. Photography by René Habermacher

So I studied the movement. If you look at the military band march, and the man in front waving sticks and things — 80-90% of that movement is from the mekwamia in Ethiopia.
But where did they get this from? This was before existence of symphony or conducting a symphony — and we have it.  If you look inside the Encyclopedia, were there symphony orchestrae in the 6th century? There weren’t.

So I said “OK, there were no symphonies, so then the conducting movement is taken from us.” Of course there were a lot of conducting, there were choirs in Europe of all kind.

But the most of the movement is what they use for the military also. If you use in the symphony a stick like this, the way you move it is exactly the same how we move it.

So they are telling us “you can do your reggae, you can do your jazz, you can do your rap.”
But they say classic music is purely European culture, which Africa has nothing to do with.
They are musicologists for Harvard, Yale, Princeton – so I said:
“look, I am open minded. This is what I found. If i am wrong, tell me, I am learning from you.”

They couldn’t answer me.
So I say: “one for Ethiopia”. They said: “we’ll see.”

[In the opera] there are two great conductors in the symphony, one european with a bow tie, conducting the symphony behind, and a church guy that conducts the choirs.
My dream is to do it in Lalibela (NB- one of Ethiopia’s holiest cities, famous for its monolithic rock-cut churches), the cave.

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Mulatu at Calvi On The Rocks, Corsica 2013. In the late 1960s he had returned to Ethiopia with
the first Hammond Organ and Vibraphones. Photography by René Habermacher

RH: What is the last thing that stimulated you?

MA: That’s really these people in the bushes. They inspire me so much. I have very great respect for them. The more you go closer to them the more you find them so interesting. They have created so many great musical instruments.

Now there are instruments in the bushes they sound like trumpets but made from bamboo. Strings, sound like violins, cellos, that kind of thing.

So I was wondering, let’s do a research – who inspired who ?
When you see these people never had a chance to go anywhere, they have no television, they have no radio, – they have nothing.

So I always think they inspire the developing world. Those are the people that inspire me. The more you go everyday, you learn something.
New ideas, something interesting from those people. They inspire me.

We call them backwards. But they’re not backwards people to me, they are advanced people.
They are ahead. So this this is my life now. I listen to them.
Whenever I have the chance I am in the bushes, I go close to them.
It’s so interesting, so beautiful. That is what inspires me truly.
Upcoming concert dates:
AUGUST 10 – Paris, Trianon

 


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Kostas Murkudis

July 17th, 2013

Putting Kostas Murkudis, with his East German utilitarian approach, at the helm of Closed jeans, a brand defined by the relationship between function and form, is a match in heaven, in a time where the initial idea of fashion is caught between mass production and the arbitrary grip of luxury-obsessed conglomerates.

They each bring their own interesting history and their associations to big names to a collaboration very much anchored in the “now” – on one side, Marithé and François Girbaud, who founded Closed in the 70’s, and on the other, Helmut Lang, with whom Murkudis worked during the label’s early and formative years, though both brand and designer exist in their own right.

For women’s fashion week in September, Closed will open its first flagship store in Paris.

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Overall "Illusion" from the FW 13/14 collection by Kostas Murkudis for Closed Jeans. Photography by René Habermacher

René Habermacher: When I heard you’d be working for Closed jeans, I thought it made great sense with your approach – sustainability, resistance, utilitarianism and uniformity are expressions that come to mind when thinking of your work, and all of these seem to be relevant in the context of jeanswear.

KM: I grew up in the DDR (German Democratic Republic), in East Germany, so these are surely aspects of my work that I value and are part of my professional ethos that I will follow up into the future. It’s my contribution, to make it accessible to more people than for example with my own brand.

I always had “two hearts beating in my chest”: one more poetic, free of necessities, and the other that is more about durability and functionality everyday. I always loved the approach of the Bauhaus, it is very important to me. But I really do love both aspects. Now with my new mission at Closed, I can really apply everything you described, I have all tools and a fantastic team I love working with.
For me this is the perfect balance between the two brands.

Whereas with my own brand, my mini-label that I call my laboratory, I don’t have to think about whether the piece is really durable, has the right pocket or whatever. I just can do projects important to me, which do not necessarily have anything to do with fashion. For example recently I have worked with a royal glass manufactory in Munich, Lobmeyr, that usually do stuff like church windows etc. I think there are so many possibilities and I am very curious for new challenges.

KOSTAS_MURKUDIS_CLOSED_THE_STIMULEYE_RENE_HABERMACHER_04-008KOSTAS_MURKUDIS_CLOSED_THE_STIMULEYE_RENE_HABERMACHER_04-098_B
Shirt and Jeans FW 13/14 Kostas Murkudis for Closed. Photography by René Habermacher

RH: You’re working for quite some time in fashion now. When you started, fashion was something different: in the 90’s, fashion still had a socio-cultural context, was a compass and expressive part of movements. Today it’s different, its not really that a social movement expresses anything through dressing codes.

KM: That’s true and has obviously social, socio-political, and sociological causes. There is very little happening that could tempt for re-orientation. I do really hope that finally something will be happening. Or has it started already? When you look what is going on in Brasil, or Turkey, in countries where I would not have expected that this kind of movement would be surfacing.

The situations in Greece, Portugal or Spain, France and possibly soon England, don’t look so great either, but something is happening and I am hoping very much that this will spread across cultures and regions, and maybe create the necessity to develop new codes. Obviously they have to develop themselves, we as designers can’t help it.

RH: For quite a while fashion hasn’t had a cultural value of progress, it has become more a simple “garment industry.”

KM: That’s right. Fashion is not allowed to be like this anymore. It’s the very capitalist approach to define success only through growth, to which the big houses are forced to: generating work, circulate money, this and that – it’s not about content at all. In fact it is even arbitrary who designs. It is the brand with its margin that is in focus.
If that’s what’s thriving in society, fashion can only be its image.

On the other hand, design has become another aspect – let’s take an example like the iPod, or the iPhone and what has been generated here: a simplicity, practicability and a beauty of objects that have not been produced like this in a while.

It’s not about developing funky variants and decorations, but to work continuously on refinement and improvement with every generation, which I believe impacts our everyday culture. Even kids are not seduced to just buy something new because there are some new crazy buttons added. And you don’t have the desire to buy a jeans with 25 embroideries and absurd stitchings on the butt that are completely pointless. This pointlessness, this battle of material is not working anymore.

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Jeans dress FW 13/14 Kostas Murkudis for Closed. Photography by René Habermacher

„First there is nothing, then a deep void and finally a blue depth.“
Yves Klein.(Leitmotif for the colour codes to the SKYWALK CAPSULE COLLECTION No.1)

For example my brother Andreas, who owns a concept store in Berlin, he affords himself the luxury to buy only what he thinks is really good, regardless of the label. He buys what is up-to-date in his eyes. He was totally shocked about the pricing for which it’s possible to get good design that is on top politically correct produced in Italy: good quality fondly fabricated from great fabric. Not that this is world changing…

RH: But democratic?

KM: Democratic in a positive way. I didn’t really want to use that word. When my brother saw the Skywalk Capsule Collection in Berlin, he went to order straight away several looks from the FW collection, saying: “wow, this is really cheap- and so cool, but really cheap”.
Of course we have the same approach, maybe also because we grew up in the DDR: for us longevity or functionality and beauty don’t have to cancel each other out.

RH: What is your relationship to glamour?

KM: I try to stay remote, but sometimes have to make compromises. My relationship is rather an aversion. I come from a very simple background and it really does not touch me to hear “who was where with who wearing what”, that doesn’t interest me.

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Right Side two pieces from the SKYWALK CAPSULE COLLECTION: Murkudis took inspiration from a vintage aviator suit,
using the cuts and details to create a minimal wardrobe: a shirt, a blouson and pants for men and women.
Boots: vintage DDR army. Photography by René Habermacher
„Earth is a delicate shade of blue“
Yuri Gagarin (Leitmotif for the colour codes to the SKYWALK CAPSULE COLLECTION No.1)

RH: Tell me a little more about the Skywalk Capsule Collection…

KM: The idea was based on the desire to bring the brand back to an international level, and the one of the brands defining aspects: the idea of unisex, that I thought very interesting and gave me also the possibility to explore menswear more, find a different angle and define their image more sharply.

Because the project was a very small range, I had to stay quite precise as well in material as colour and design, but it was the first time that I had the chance to show pieces that one actually can afford. If you look at the product, it appears at first sight quite minimal, even though its technology is actually very complex, which is something I wanted to put forward as well.

But because of all this, it was quite obvious to me to give the collection somewhat of a poetic moment.

RH: Yet here is also a practical thought behind it?

KM: Of course. It was to show the brand’s core, and a product that should function in the everyday life over long time.

Apart from that, the beauty of a product becomes apparent in its use, becomes part of our lives and our bodies. That’s what makes a jeans. It only becomes your jeans, and a great one, when it deforms on your own body, through use, through touch, through creases, through whatever. It becomes part of your being. That makes it truly beautiful when it is beautiful.

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Felt Perfecto Jacket and Jeans, both FW 13/14 Costas Murkudis for Closed. Photography by René Habermacher

RH: With a clientele living in the most various meteorological conditions, does it really make sense today to produce season-oriented collections?

KM: This is a totally legitimate question. Also as we know that the big producers often deliver new products up to twelve times a year.
So for smaller brands it is indeed worth considering to orient themselves differently because they have no chance to stand up against this moloch of an industry.

In a way we are overtaking ourselves with everything: when the sales start the season hasn’t even really begun, there is a resort collection, a pre-collection and a in-between collection- that is all a bit absurd. I see that with my brother, who says “I don’t need a pre-collection that is delivered in November when its perhaps snowing here and -30 celsius”. That makes no sense.

On the other side I am bound to the cycles of the classic way of producing 4 collections a year.
I think the problematics are there for everyone, but no one has yet found an ultimate solution, or takes the risk to say ‘I am going to position myself entirely new in this context.’

RH: In your case do you do a presentation, or are you considering eventually a show?

KM: Right now this is not a real topic for us. Maybe next year or after that, it really depends on how we develop and what our expansion will bring.

RH: The one thing I find puzzling is with all the coverage on the shows, once the products are in the shops, you are already bored of them.

KM: I totally agree with you that three weeks after the shows you vaguely remember and when the products are delivered to the shops you practically forgot about it all. This wish and desire to own the pieces immediately is fading in that period.
But that’s what you have Zara for: they deliver within three weeks after the show a dampened version for those who can’t wait at all and never really got it anyway: those will buy the cheap copy (laughs).
By then the others just saw the newest collections and are wondering that they have ever liked the current one…. I look at this smiling.

KOSTAS_MURKUDIS_CLOSED_THE_STIMULEYE_RENE_HABERMACHER_05-112KOSTAS_MURKUDIS_CLOSED_THE_STIMULEYE_RENE_HABERMACHER_02-136_B
Left: Jeans dress, Right: Split neck pullover and Jeans, all FW 13/14 Kostas Murkudis for Closed.
Boots: vintage DDR army. Photography by René Habermacher

RH: You do have a special relationship with Japan, is that right?

KM: Yes, when I was a small kid, I started to do judo. I had a fantastic teacher that I absolutely worshipped as a living hero.
I was excited to wear these suits, the belts. The scent of the mats, the bows, this outlandish language had fascinated me. To me it was of course an escape from my Greek moulded DDR prosaicness and the pressure to perform. I did virtually absorb all these words, ceremonies and preserve within for years.

When I started to be interested in the arts I read a biography of Yves Klein, and realised he was a judo master like me, and eventually lived in Japan. I think his work was to some degree influenced by Japanese moments, in their simplicity and splendidness. This has really accompanied me ever since. The Bauhaus would have been unthinkable without the Japanese influence. In many aspects this influence has developed with me, the desire towards the exotic but as well the austere, the sophistication and the celebrated. The handling of colours, surface but also the poetic moments and the spiritual aspects behind.

I celebrated plenty successes in Japan and grew with these, so I owe a lot to the Japanese. We found each other. I was always fascinated and excited about it, to the point that Gordon, one of the owners of Closed, and I started to take Japanese lessons.

This hunger is not satisfied yet- and will always find itself in my work again.

RH: What is the last thing that stimulated you?

KM: I was very inspired by the exhibition of Martin Kippenberger: the incredible freedom of a man in dealing with the most different tools. I have great respect for his state of mind that moved me to tears of joy. I haven’t laughed that much for a while. All my senses had been spurred through this.

CLOSED

This interview and photographs are a Stimuleye exclusive
interview and photography RENÉ HABERMACHER
fashion editor SUZANNE VON AICHINGER
hair JONATHAN GEIMON @ AIRPORT AGENCY using Bumble and Bumble
make up MIN KIM @ AIRPORT AGENCY
model KATE B @ NEXT MODELS
thank you VERSAE VANNI @ NEXT PARIS
and LIBRAIRIE Ofr PARIS for your support

 


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THE OPPOSITE OF GLOSSY

June 19th, 2013

 “Nobody wants to invade Marseille” claims Rudy Ricciotti,
architect of the MuCEM.

And yet everyone is flocking there since the Museum of Civilisations
of Europe & of the Mediterranean, dubbed MuCEM, opened its doors just weeks ago, the first national museum to open in the Phocean city, a project 11 years in the making. 

Having shot & directed the introductory ad campaign for this new institution, The Stimuleye introduces you to the man who designed it, a man as famous for the fights he picks as the building he designs.
Exclusive photos by René Habermacher.

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Portrait of architect Rudy Ricciotti by René Habermacher.

One side is the Fort Saint-Jean, linked to the city by a pedestrian steel bridge. A fort not unlike the Bastille – a bastion to defend Marseille against itself – the Fort Saint-Jean had been closed to the public for centuries.

On the other, also connected by a massive steel bridge, is Ricciotti’s creation, facing the Mediterranean Sea.
Refusing “architectural bling,” Ricciotti chose to have the new building dematerialize itself to complement the Fort Saint-Jean.

No reflections – leave it to the sea.

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The concrete filigree lace of the MuCEM, a second skin like a screen that allows views, light and air
to pervade the space. Photography by René Habermacher.

TV spot for the MuCEM's launch, directed by Antoine Asseraf with SayWho and Agence White.
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The MuCEM's a porous monolithic body planted on pier J4 in the Mediterranean sea, connected to the Fort Saint-Jean
with a 115m long slender pathway made of massive cast iron. Photography by René Habermacher.

Antoine Asseraf: Can you elaborate on your theory of world being split between two sides, matte and shiny ?

Rudy Ricciotti: Shiny is conceptual distance, reason, power and self-assurance.
Matte is frontal narration, intuition, defeat and regret.
Pick your side… I did.

AA: Mediterranean is a concept going beyond “local” but stopping short of  “global” — how do you situate yourself, and the building, within that notion ?

RR: The South is a travel certificate, not a birth certificate.
The inhabitants of Munich are more mediterranean than those of Grenoble.
The Valais region in the south of Switzerland more latin than the Vaucluse in the south of France, etc.
The MuCEM is mediterranean through anxiety and existential difficulty.

AA: What is your relationship to monumental architecture ?

RR: You are talking to me, you fucked my wife ?

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Top left: "Notre-Dame de la Garde" looming over Marseille and the the seven-level, 40 000 square meter
structure of the MuCEM. Photography by René Habermacher.
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As massive the volume of the MuCEM may seem at first, it is the use of negative space that gives the building
the air of the metaphysical. Photography by René Habermacher

AA: What is the last thing which stimulated you ?

RR: A fish soup made by my partner…
Read my last pamphlet to smile:
« L’Architecture est un sport de combat » [Architecture is a combat sport], edited by Textuel.

MuCEM

With SayWho & Agence White


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HYERES 2013 EXPRESS 03 EXHIBITIONS

April 28th, 2013

Besides the photo and fashion competitions, one of the Hyères festival’s strongpoints are the original exhibitions it curates. Amongst this year’s shows, Lacoste designer and 2002 Hyères winner Felipe Oliveira Baptista, up and coming photo/video/grapher Pierre Debusschere, 2001 Hyères winner photographer Charles Fréger, and ROUGH PROOF, a look at the early works of Guy Bourdin with special pieces from the private collection of Marie Laure de Noailles… of course.

A THE STIMULEYE PRODUCTION
directed by Antoine Asseraf
filmed & edited by Thibault Della Gaspera
interviews Filep Motwary
coordination Clementine Colson
sound design Ça Va Chéri


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HYERES EXPRESS: PIERRE DEBUSSCHERE

April 27th, 2013

Having seen his work evolve over the years, we are proud to announce Pierre Debusschere’s new project premiering at Hyères Fashion & Photography Festival, an installation featuring original photo and video, “I know simply that the sky will last longer than I.”

Pierre Debusschere, Portrait by Filep Motwary.

Is this your first solo show?
I did small solo shows before but i like to think of this one as my first one because it is the first time the work has been thought of for an exhibition medium.

How does it feel exhibiting alongside someone like Guy Bourdin?
It is already an honour to be present at the Villa but even more to be next to Bourdin.

Your subjects-models are worked in a way to look like paintings, what is your aim exactly ?
The painting, the Flemish painters are a big influence for me, there is no specific aim linked to the painting besides the connection to my inspirations.
The technique that looks like paint that you are referring to is there more in the idea layers, different layers that gives the image different steps of reading.

Photo by Pierre Debusschere.

Photo by Pierre Debusschere.

Your show’s theme is beauty versus ugliness. What are your true influences? Is it connected to the work of Umberto Eco ?
Beauty versus ugliness is one of the themes worked in this show, the idea of what is beautiful or ugly today. Yes it is linked to Eco’s work, reading his book
on ugliness helped me a lot in this show.

Your work is tied to the digital medium. Can you imagine yourself working in a previous era ?
For sure I can see myself working in a previous era, it is not about digital, it is more about the medium that fits the time, the idea of NOW.

Photo by Pierre Debusschere.

You have created yourself a whole structure with 254 Forest, which allows you to do an original photo series, a book, an installation and a film… How important is organization to be an artist today ?

Yes I would not have been able without my team to create the photo-series, the book, the installation, the film, the soundtrack and the website !

It is always about Team work for me and I’m really grateful to have them besides me. Organisation is a big part of the work, even more for project like this when we created all this body of work in 2 months. Today you need to be able to react really fast because of the technology era we live in, so that’s why a team is important too !

You need to be present on every aspect of production at the same time ! But then we can not forget sometimes that we need to disconnect ourselves 😉

PIERRE DEBUSSCHERE


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HYERES EXPRESS: PETROS EFSTATHIADIS

April 26th, 2013

Portrait by Filep Motwary.


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HYERES EXPRESS: JOHN MANN

April 26th, 2013

Portrait by Filep Motwary.


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HYERES EXPRESS: GRACE KIM

April 26th, 2013

Portrait by Filep Motwary.

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HYERES EXPRESS: PETER PUKLUS

April 26th, 2013

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HYERES EXPRESS: EMILE BARRET

April 26th, 2013

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HYERES EXPRESS: EVA STENRAM

April 26th, 2013

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HYERES EXPRESS: ANNA ORLOWSKA

April 26th, 2013

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HYERES EXPRESS : DAVID FAVROD

April 26th, 2013

portrait by Filep Motwary.


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HYERES EXPRESS: DOMINIC HAWGOOD

April 26th, 2013

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HYERES EXPRESS 2013/ JURY PREVIEW / IMRAN AMED

April 25th, 2013

One of the most unexpected and influential sites in fashion today is Business of Fashion. Imran Amed, its founder and editor, answers our questions before joining the Hyères 2013 Fashion jury.

Photo by Scott Trindle.

AntoineAsseraf: Along with Industrie Magazine and the rise of the fashion blogger as a class, your blog has drawn attention to a lot of work, which was heretofore considered a bit peripheral to a designer’s raw talent. What do you make of a place like Hyères that still somehow naively stresses the belief that talent will find its own way? If you were to create a Business of Fashion competition/festival, how different would it be?

Imran: At BoF, we firmly believe in the power that lies at the intersection of creativity and business. Both are essential to a successful fashion enterprise, and one can’t work without the other. It’s a true symbiotic relationship. If we were to do a BoF festival therefore, it would be a combination of creative fashion presentation and business plan pitches, and the judges would come from both sides of the industry.

FilepMotwary: It seems to me that many of the young designers who dream of a future in fashion are unaware about “the business” of fashion in general. Should they worry of how things have evolved, and turned the industry into this huge marathon of task, values that need to be constantly re-valued, trends that suffers from the lack of longevity etc…?

Imran: I tell my students that once they start their own business, they will spend 90% of their time managing the business, and only 10% of the time designing. This balance is not something that has necessarily changed in recent years, but it’s true that there is more and more for a young designer to do in the global, digital fashion world in which we live today.

Sean Santiago: The internet and its popular content-sharing platforms, i.e. Tumblr and Pinterest, are destabilizing traditional revenue streams faster than new ones are being created. How will original creative output find funding in the future and do you see crowdsourcing methods such as, for instance, a Kickstarter campaign, possibly becoming necessary to the creation of original artistic output? Or will a big brand always foot the bill when it comes to fashion-related content?

Imran: Brands and designers could certainly fund portions of their businesses — say specific collections or products — via crowdsourcing platforms. But ultimately, I suspect that they will need to turn to traditional forms of fundraising (selling equity or taking loans) in order to fund the business over the long term. A young fashion business is highly cash flow intensive, and therefore will likely require stable and planned funding in order to fuel growth and expansion.

Malibongwe Tyilo: BOF is recognized as one of the boldest voices in fashion writing, often publishing pieces that might not be appreciated by some PR people. Considering how important PR has become to design companies, how does that affect how the design businesses deal with you?

Imran: We are bold, but I believe we are also fair and balanced. Part of the role we see for ourselves at BoF is to surface and shed light on important industry issues that merit wider discussion and debate.

If we can do so in a way that is balanced and fact-based, then most PR professionals seem to respect us for that.

Certainly, there are some who would prefer to control all the communication about their clients, but this is misguided and unrealistic.

28th International
Fashion & Photography Festival
Hyères 2013
April 26>29


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HYERES-EXPRESS 2013 DESIGNER PREVIEW: YVONNE POEI-YIE KWOK‏

April 24th, 2013

Netherlands (25). and last year I graduated from the Amsterdam Fashion Institute graduate (2012). She is now in research of  possibilities to start her own label.

Portrait Filep Motwary.

How does it feel for you being selected for this year’s edition of Hyeres ?
It’s an honor to be selected for one of the top fashion competition in the world. It’s really nice to be in the South of France, meeting new people and working in a nice environment.

How would you describe Hyeres in three words ?
Beautiful, cozy, atmospheric.

What has been your favorite part of the process so far ?
Working in the garden at the Villa Noailles with sunny weather and great surroundings.

In three words, what is your collection about ?
Marionettes, handwork and youthfulness.

In what ways you think participating in a Festival like Hyeres will help you in the future ?
I think it’s a great platform to present yourself internationally. Getting in contact with different company’s, people in the industry and press is a great starting point to start your own label or to work for a fashion brand.

28th International
Fashion & Photography Festival
Hyères 2013
April 26>29


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HYERES EXPRESS 2013 / DESIGNER PREVIEW / XENIA LUCIE LAFFELY

April 24th, 2013

Swiss. Studied history of art and modern French before starting fashion design at the HEAD-Genève. About to start an internship at 3.1 Phillip Lim, with the prints team.

The stimuleye
Portrait by Filep Motwary.
How does it feel for you being selected for this year’s edition of Hyeres?
Three years ago when I came to the festival for the first time, it was love at first sight so to be a part of it today is a great honoured and I’m so touched and excited.

How would you describe Hyeres in three words?
Warm, sharp and respectful.

What has been your favorite part of the process so far?
Drawings and making collage.

In three words, what is your collection about?
Preciousness, sentimentality and drawings..

In what ways you think participating in a Festival like Hyeres will help you in the future ?
It will help me to be more aware of my own work and of the fashion world.

28th International
Fashion & Photography Festival
Hyères 2013
April 26>29


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HYERES EXPRESS 2013 / DESIGNER PREVIEW / HENNING JURKE‏

April 24th, 2013

Germany, Berlin. 28 years old. Studied at The Berlin University of the Arts, gratuated in October 2012. Working on his portfolio.

Portrait by Filep Motwary.

How does it feel for you being selected for this year’s edition of Hyeres?
Being selected feels like a dream came true.

How would you describe Hyeres in three words?
Inspiring, pleasant, fantastic.

What has been your favorite part of the process so far?
To meet the team of the Hyères Festival. It is great to have this people who give the support for me and my work.

In three words, what is your collection about?
Anticipation, melancholia, luck.

In what ways you think participating in a Festival like Hyeres will help you in the future?
The Festival is a great platform to represent me and my work as a designer. The team helps each designer , giving a great support with the shows and also the showroom. I hope to find a job as a designer in a house…

28th International
Fashion & Photography Festival
Hyères 2013
April 26>29


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