Abstractless Codes: Non-generalised Speech and the Upending of Contemporary Linguistics

If language, and its representational or coding function, makes up the world, or if, as Wittgenstein said beautifully in his Tractatus, ‘Reality is the shadow of grammar,’ what kind of world would we have if we spoke a language that allowed of little or no abstraction, generalization, descriptions of the past or the future? A view of reality that is ‘intensely and only immediate’ seems puzzling and impractical. Yet there are Amazon tribes, notably the Piraha, who speak of and view their experience in just this way. If a man goes around a bend in the river, no observations about him can obtain except for xibipio—he has gone out of experience.’ They use the same phrase when a candle flame flickers—the light ‘goes in and out of experience.’ Continue reading “Abstractless Codes: Non-generalised Speech and the Upending of Contemporary Linguistics”

François Halard talks to Filep Motwary

Self-portrait© François Halard
Self-portrait © François Halard

François Halard graciously agrees to an early-morning interview over the phone from New York. The French-born, continent-straddling photographer has been one of the world’s most highly regarded interior and architectural photographers practically since his teens, and his collaborative résumé is a roll call of legendary American and European artists, editors, fashion designers and art directors. The critic Vincent Huguet’s description of Halard’s work needs no translation: he photographs “en liberté, avec gourmandise, mais aussi avec une forme d’urgence, de nécessité”. Continue reading “François Halard talks to Filep Motwary”

Kolor: Liquid Pragmatism

Photography by Johan Sandgerg
Photography by Johan Sandgerg

The clothes that Junichi Abe creates under the label Kolor have a magnificent just-rolled-out-of-bed quality. They are crumpled, lived-in and perfectly imperfect, and come in cocooning shapes that are as comfortable as they are precise. Trousers are loose, with raw hemlines that can dangle down or roll up; outerwear has the softness of knitwear; precious details—embroidery, frills, a satin ribbon—pop up on utilitarian pieces, adding nuance. A jacket starts life on top as a woolen bomber, only to morph halfway down into something else, and end up at the bottom as a cardigan. A knitted piece is treated as a tailored one. Colors are dense yet watery, like a gouache with a hint of fragility. There is a sense of endless morphing to Abe’s modular wardrobe, the kind of hazy fluidity that you might get when you are half asleep and cannot decide whether you’re in the real world or still in the realm of dreams. Continue reading “Kolor: Liquid Pragmatism”

Brent Wadden talks to Lisa Wilson

Untitled (2012) by Brent Wadden courtesy of Peres Projects

Brent Wadden is a Canadian artist who has been based in Berlin since 2005. His paintings and weavings range from colourful displays of symmetry to subtle monochrome motifs of repeating shapes. By applying tools and techniques from handicraft traditions to contemporary designs, he blurs the line between the traditional categories of fine and folk art. Lisa Wilson is a folklorist and self- taught painter currently working as a graveyard conservator in the ghost town of Port Royal, in Newfoundland. Continue reading “Brent Wadden talks to Lisa Wilson”

The Medium Is The Massage

The self-proclaimed “multimedia magazine in a box”, Aspen, lasted just 10 issues, released over seven years, from 1965 to 1971. It was founded by Phyllis Johnson, former editor of Women’s Wear Daily and Advertising Age, and although it was a niche publication at the time, it is now recognised as a seminal event in publishing, with a list of contributors that reads like a sale catalogue for Christie’s Post-War & Contemporary. The archetype of multimedia expression and experience that it established is played out today in the tactile sensuality of Visionaire, the arch exclusivity of Egoiste and the whimsical intellectualism of McSweeny’s. Continue reading “The Medium Is The Massage”

Valentino: Modernists In The House

Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pier Paolo Piccioli, creative directors at the house of Valentino, form a solid, unbreakable couple, even if only in professional terms. They’ve been working together since they met, and immediately clicked, at Fendi in 1989. Their creative dialogue is fuelled by mutual trust, complementary tastes and a great deal of sincerity and ease. “I am a very loyal person,” laughs Chiuri, all smoky eyes and bursting emotionality. Piccioli has the nonchalant demeanor of a true Roman—he never seems to register stress—and an insatiable curiosity. He lives in Nettuno, a coastal town not far from the città eterna, and proudly enjoys the detoxifying balms of provincial life. Continue reading “Valentino: Modernists In The House”

Stephen Jones talks to Filep Motwary

Stephen Jones may be England’s most beloved milliner; he is certainly its most radical, and its most playful. In the late 1970s, he famously attended Central Saint Martins by day and the Blitz club by night, where his extraordinary self-made hats attracted the attention of New Romantic royalty including Boy George, Spandau Ballet and Duran Duran, as well as future fashion legends Isabella Blow and Jean-Paul Gaultier. The year after Jones graduated, Blitz owner Steve Strange offered him backing to open a millinery shop under his own name, and the rest is history. Jones is now entering his fourth decade of endlessly inventive collaborations with Gaultier, John Galliano, Thierry Mugler, Comme des Garçons, Vivienne Westwood and more, which he produces alongside biannual collections for men and women under his own name, and a seemingly inexhaustible flow of one-off designs for modern icons such as Grace Jones, Björk, Beyoncé, Kylie and Princess Diana. Continue reading “Stephen Jones talks to Filep Motwary”