Muammar Abu Minyar al-Gaddafi
Since completing his transition from international pariah to statesman, Colonel Muammar Qaddafi—the longest-serving leader in both Africa and the Arab world—has brought color and his own eccentric panache to the drab circuit of international summits and conferences. Drawing upon the influences of Lacroix, Liberace, Phil Spector (for hair), Snoopy, and Idi Amin, Libya’s leader—now in his 60s—is simply the most unabashed dresser on the world stage. We pay homage to a sartorial genius of our time. Via Vanity Fair.
[...] M.I.A.’s Born Free clip is a docudrama-style depiction of American military forces rounding up members of a targeted minority in an unnamed city, taking them to the desert and executing them. Much-discussed reference points include the Peter Watkins 1971 countercultural film “Punishment Park” and, because the raided people have red hair, the South Park episode “Ginger Kids,” which satirized the idea of targeted minority groups by putting redheads in the victim role.
YouTube removed the short film by French director Romain Gavras for its graphic content, which included a child being shot in the head and a young man being blown up by a land mine — she simply declared, “BOOOOOOOOO” and provided a link to the “Born Free” video on her own website.
The transnational hip-hop star’s decision to team with Gavras and release a video that clearly connected to the history of political filmmaking is no rash impulse. With “Born Free,” M.I.A. lets her growing cult of fans know that she has no intention of softening her message to court the mainstream.
In fact, Gavras will soon release his directorial debut, “Redheads,” which takes the plot of the M.I.A. video feature-length and promises to be both ultra-violent and free of Kenny jokes. His work with the filmmaking collective Kourtrajme, which he co-founded, and on videos for other artists (most notably the French electronic duo Justice, whose song “Stress” became the backdrop to Gavras’ blunt depiction of Paris gang violence) lands smack in the middle of what’s long been fruitful ground for political filmmakers, including Gavras’ own father, Constantinos “Costa” Gavras: the killing field where dramas of racial prejudice, institutional control and minority resistance are enacted.
[...] The jittery scenarios of marauding military captured by hand-held cameras come very close to what we see in many scenes of Kathryn Bigelow’s Oscar-winning film, “The Hurt Locker.” That deep exploration of the contemporary warrior’s predicament left some people wondering what Bigelow’s politics might be. [...]
“Born Free” does away with the softening effect of exploring characters’ psyches, concentrating fully on the physical horror of gun butts and bullets hitting flesh.
M.I.A. doesn’t appear in the video, a formal choice that makes sense; the presence of a pop star in the middle of Gavras’ fully imagined inner city and outlying badlands would have made no narrative sense. The rapper’s decision to keep herself out of this first promotion for her third album further signals her determination to keep her message front and center. [...]
One of M.I.A.’s tricks has been to use the classic boasting style of rappers and Jamaican dance-hall toasters to lend a voice to what fancy academic theorists have called the subaltern — people who can find no place within society’s power structures. She does this again on “Born Free,” starting with the title, which becomes the main hook. Snapping out the words, “I was booorrnn FREE!” M.I.A. takes a phrase most famously associated with lions, the kings of the jungle, in the 1966 environmentalist film of that title, and offers it up to those people historically pegged as not quite tamed: immigrants, people of color, refugees.
“Got myself an interview tomorrow/I got myself a jacket for a dolla,” she says in the song, sounding a lot like someone who, in Arizona, might soon have to start carrying around a birth certificate at all times. Such pointed descriptions of poverty and living on the fly intermingle with more conventional boasts.
Then in a coda, M.I.A. turns the scrutiny on herself. “Don’t wanna talk about money, ‘cos I got it/Don’t wanna talk about hoochies, ‘cos I been it,” she snarls in what’s becoming the song’s most quoted verse. “And I don’t wanna be fake, but you can do it.”
Article written by Ann Powers for LA Times.
This post is made possible by Daniel van der Velden.
The Campari campaign is a post-modern approach around sexuality (& gender). How these subjects intersects with race, class, ethnicity, religion, age, and (dis)ability to produce and maintain power structures within society that ensure social inequality. With the notion that however one identifies, gender, sex, and sexuality are not intrinsic. In fact, sex, gender, and sexuality are socially constructed.
Asa Soltan Rahmati, a.k.a. A$A is an artist, musician and activist born in Ahwaz, Iran in 1976.
A$A: “Up until I was a teenager, I lived with my family in the immigrant ghetto of Hamburg. The general political climate in Germany was very active in the 80s with the lefts and German punks on one side and the neo-Nazis and skinheads on the other. As immigrants, our days were filled with the struggles of hatred and racism, and thereby our lives were in a continuous state of resistance and uprising.”…
“A couple of years after the Berlin Wall went down, the situation for refugees took a turn for the worse and my parents decided it was time to move again, this time to Los Angeles. In the 1980s, Beverly Hills had become an affluent Mecca for the Iranian Diaspora. My family was no longer affluent, and did not become so in America. I grew up in the margins of this society – in the slums of Beverly Hills, so to speak”
A$A’s work in her own words:
The ASAsin Manifesto is the outline of a politics of identity. It is a personal reflection on the current state of affairs in the US and in the world. Over the past years, our ability to think critically has been repeatedly put to the test. In the aftermath of violent strikes on the World Trade Center and Pentagon, the world is experiencing the onset of a new era of permanent war against real and invented enemies of the American Empire. The media has bombarded us with propaganda and manipulated the emotions of the people, causing more hatred and perpetuating violence. I feel this is the moment to develop a new geopolitical aesthetic of opposition. This is a difficult enterprise: many of the most recognizable icons of dissent – Ghandi, Mandela, Martin Luther King, Malcolm X and Che – have been incorporated by an establishment that only honors rebels when they are dead or no longer a threat. The images in my work are by contrast unfamiliar, even perhaps disturbing. My work draws on my life as a refugee. My politics are personal and this is my story.
Carly Ellis, newly graduated from Wesminister University with a day-glo neon style, Aspen-underground, cocktail glitz sportswear collection.
The 22 years old designers describes her inspiration as:
The book “Ultra Violet – Black Light Images of the Aquarian Age” was the starting point for my collection. Blindingly bright futuristic images graced the pages and left me exploding with inspiration, and I looked into how I could create the same UV effect on garments. The printed fabrics in the collection were all bespoke, designed by heat pressing UV designs on top of sequin fabrics, so not only do they glow, they glitter!
Following the UV theme, I used Live Edge Perspex to construct garments and create giant embellishments giving the printed fabric a three dimensional edge.
Pattern design by Pinar&Viola.