The first collaboration between tattooist and fantasy artist Loren Fetterman and performance artist Stefanie Elrick, Written in Skin will see the stories of an international group of strangers [being] ‘blood-lined’ across the entirety of Stefanie’s body in one sitting. ‘Blood-lining’ is a semi-permanent form of tattooing without ink, the results of which are akin to scratches visible for weeks that gradually heal and disappear. Literalising the emotional marks we inflict and receive through experience, then transforming them into a customised piece of body art, this project explores vulnerability, intimacy and the regenerative process of love.
It explores. But of course. Oh, there’s more.
As the skin begins to restore itself the following weeks, photographer Jamie Alun Price will document the healing process via an online picture diary.
Written In Skin will be, um, performed at the Cornerhouse Annexe, Manchester, Sunday May 19th, between 11am and 5pm.
And those with a taste for even more daring and challenging work may prefer the theatrical stylings of Mr Ivo Dimchev, a “radical performer” acclaimed for his “gripping sensitivity” and whose performance piece I-ON “explores” the “provoking functionlessness” of various objects, before showing us “how to make contact with something that has no function.” Readers are advised that the aforementioned contact-making, which was performed as part of the 2011 Vienna International Dance Festival and is shown below, inevitably includes vigorous self-pleasure with what appears to be a wig:
When Jada Shapiro decided to raise her daughter from birth without diapers, for the most part, not everyone was amused. Ms Shapiro scattered little bowls around the house to catch her daughter’s offerings, and her sister insisted that she use a big, dark marker to mark the bowls so that they could never find their way back to the kitchen… “Elimination communication,” as the diaper-free method of child-rearing is called, is finding an audience in the hipper precincts of New York City. Ms Shapiro, who is a doula, a birth and child-rearing coach, says it is practically now a job qualification to at least be able to offer diaper-free training as an option to clients. Caribou Baby, an “eco-friendly maternity, baby and lifestyle store,” has been drawing capacity crowds to its diaper-free “meetups,” where parents exchange tips like how to get a baby to urinate on the street between parked cars. Parents are drawn to the method as a way of preserving the environment from the ravages of disposable diapers. Many of them like the thought that they are rediscovering an
ancient practice used in other cultures.
How daringly ethnic. Why, it’s practically like having your very own brown baby. I can’t help wondering if this, um, innovation will affect how often such parents find willing babysitters and dinner guests. To say nothing of how often they get invited round for lunch by friends who may wish to preserve their own environment.
In which the Guardian’s George Monbiot encounters the underclass and shows how his worldview is quite different from yours:
A group of us had occupied a piece of land on St George’s Hill in Surrey... Our aim had been to rekindle interest in land reform. It had been going well – we had placated the police, started to generate plenty of public interest – when two young lads with brindled Staffordshire bull terriers arrived in an old removals van. Everyone was welcome at the site and, as they were travellers, one of the groups marginalised by the concentration of control and ownership of land in Britain, we went out of our way to accommodate them. They must have thought they had died and gone to heaven.
Almost as soon as they arrived they began twocking stuff. A radio journalist left his equipment in his hire car. They smashed the side window. Someone saw them bundling the kit, wrapped in a stolen sleeping bag, into their lorry. There was a confrontation – handwringing appeals to reason on one side, pugnacious defiance on the other – which eventually led to the equipment being handed back. They wound their dogs up, making them snap and snarl at the other occupiers. At night they roamed the camp, staffies straining at the leash, cans of Special Brew in their free hands, shouting “fucking hippies, we’re going to burn you in your tents!”
We had no idea how to handle them without offending our agonised liberal consciences. They saw this and exploited it ruthlessly. Eventually the police solved the problem for us. Most of the cars parked at a nearby attraction had had their windows smashed and radios stolen, and someone had followed their lorry back to our site. As they were led away, my anarchist beliefs battled my bourgeois instincts, and lost.
Do read the whole thing. It brings a tear to the eye. And tune
in next week when George tries to reason with the tattooed Neanderthal burgling
Update, via the comments:
What’s almost – almost – touching is the
implied revelation, i.e., that members of Designated Victim Groups, with which Guardianistasfeel obliged to side whatever the
particulars, can in fact be obnoxious
and predatory scumbags. Apparently this thought hadn’t previously occurred to
George and, by golly, the news troubles him. All of which suggests a well-rehearsed imperviousness to reality. One Guardian reader praises Mr Monbiot for
his “refreshing honesty,” which rather gives the game away. Maybe George wrote
the article to show us how difficult it is to be virtuous, indeed heroic, at
least as he conceives such things. I suspect, though, that any moral lesson is
quite different from the one intended. You see, George believes in sharing, by which of
course he means taking
other people’s stuff. Yet he’s remarkably unprepared for that favour being
returned. Say, by two burly chaps with neck tattoos and ill-tempered dogs. And
as these burly chaps were members of a “marginalised group,” and therefore
righteous by default, George was expecting noble savages. Alas, ‘twas not to be.
more of George’s ideological crises, see here and here.
Oh dear. Mr Monbiot is now being assailed
on Twitter for writing such a “racist” article. However, the people doing the
chastising – including an indignant, self-described “agitator” - have yet to
explain exactly why the article is racist, despite being asked. One of the
chastisers is a “Marxist, knitter and student of critical theory.”
From the Castro District they seek to expand the nudity zone outward to
all of San Francisco; if the movement gains momentum, could it expand to all of
California, and then eventually nationwide?
Viewer discretion advised.
comments, David Gillies captures the protest’s essential neediness: “Look how
transgressive I am!” We can, I think, assume that
the ‘activists’ aren’t trying to share a glorious aesthetic experience. Even many of the locals, whom I’d guess are
fairly accustomed to juvenile displays, are finding the ‘activism’ a little
intrusive and annoying. Zombie cites an article in the Bay Area
Reporter, in which the protestors’ need for attention and provocation is pretty
obvious, if not actually pretty:
They have become more
aggressive in the Castro. Some don cock rings – euphemistically referred to as
‘genital jewellery’ – to simulate an erection. Others, according to witnesses,
shake their dicks at oncoming traffic, obviously seeking a reaction.
businesses and other residents, especially those with children, aren’t terribly
impressed. As Zombie says,
Although the Castro may be a gay mecca, it is not exclusively populated
by single gay men, nor are the surrounding neighbourhoods gay. Many families with
children live in and around the Castro, which means that children are out in public,
occasionally encountering the nudists. In fact during the protest itself families
with children needed to get from Point A to Point B along Market Street, and
had no choice but to navigate their way through the crowd of naked penises.
strike some as funny, at least initially and from a distance. But imagine
you’re out shopping with the kids in tow and having to weave your way through
large groups of unattractive men waving their tackle at you. And the standard
blather about “civil rights” and “body image” isn’t very convincing. One
doesn’t have to have “unrealistic issues of body shame” to find the
exhibitionism tiresome or inappropriate. And the denials of any sexual aspect
are also unconvincing, especially given that so many of the participants are
enthusiasts of fetish clubs and websites catering to people who like public sex
and scandalising others, and for whom the whole point is to have an audience, whether
titillated or repelled. It’s rather like how the people at last year’s
‘protest’ claimed they just wanted to be left alone - while
squealing for attention on a traffic island in the middle of a busy
supporter of the exhibitionists pops up, as it were, in the comments at
Zombie’s place and insists,
It’s only your selfish control freak streak that
wants to dictate what other people wear; your disrespect for the opinions and
lifestyles of anyone whose opinion and lifestyle doesn’t match what you
consider ‘proper’… Your statement reminds me of how selfish, childish
and disdainful of anyone else’s rights so-called ‘conservatives’ are.
to me this is more than a little dishonest. Setting aside the issues of
exposing oneself to children, the impact on local businesses, etc., I think
what’s objectionable is that random people are being made participants in the
exhibitionists’ psychodrama, whether they wish to be or not. For many, if not
most, of the ‘activists’, this isn’t even about an enjoyment of being naked per
se. It’s about confronting other people with unsolicited nakedness. That’s the
enjoyment – it’s a juvenile kink. Being nude in private or among consenting
nudists in dedicated bars, clubs, spas, on nature trails, at specialist beaches, etc., of whichSan Franciscohas plenty, doesn’t give the ‘activists’ enough of
a thrill. Because the people there are willing. Hence the demand to display
their genitals in front of random passers-by. An audience is required in order to feel transgressive and it’s pretty obvious that’s what
matters. They want to be naked near
you. They want you to witness their daring. It’s essentially a kind of challenge - an
imposition on others, and the act of imposition is, for some, the whole point.
And so the source of the “selfishness,” “childishness” and “disrespect” is also
If there’s one issue that unites Americans of all political stripes, it’s the sexual enslavement of children. Whatever our opinions on other issues, we all agree that sex trafficking and the prostituting of children is an outrage and a tragedy. Thus, conference attendees included liberal, moderate and conservative politicians; progressive non-profit organisations; law enforcement groups; religious leaders; and (according to the conference website) “social services, medical providers, mental health, education, probation, and community-based organisations.” In short: Everybody. Everybody, that is, except Occupy Wall Street, who somehow found a way to oppose the abolition of child sexual slavery.
This being Occupy, their thinking on this issue is knotty, dogmatic and a little confused:
Sex work, like all forms of work, can only exist within a society based on hierarchical economic systems like capitalism, which are protected by the police and patronising reformist organisations that keep exploited people from revolting. The pigs are the enemies of sex workers, and of all workers.
In the last nine years, the FBI – sorry, “the pigs” – have rescued over 2,100 children from coerced prostitution. But apparently we are all being “subjugated by the continued existence of capital.” And so, for the sake of the glorious revolution, no-one should object to the sexual molestation of thirteen-year-old girls. Or something.
As Zombie notes,
The protesters’ main banner said “Fucking to survive is life under capitalism.” This sums up the nearly incomprehensible cognitive dissonance at the core of the Occupy Oakland Patriarchy philosophy. They manage to hold two mutually exclusive thoughts simultaneously: 1. We are sex workers and proud of it, and there is nothing wrong with prostitution, so stop oppressing us with your prudish laws; And, 2. The only reason we are compelled to have this degrading and unpleasant profession is that capitalism forces people to exchange labour for money - only a total anti-capitalist revolution can put an end to prostitution.
The Occupiers attempted to stop the conference topple the capitalist patriarchy with air-horns and the obligatory “bum rush” – i.e., scuffles and vandalism. Nothing in particular was achieved, of course, but the Occupiers seemed happy with their efforts. It was, they say, “one hell of a performance.” Their own post-protest report, which is truly a thing to behold, includes such gems as this:
We set out with the intentions of shutting the fucker down and started the event with the distribution of some dope literature, some inflammatory speeches, the harassment of mainstream media and of course the all-out taunting of the police. It got taken a step further when the crowd attempted to enter the lobby of the Marriott Convention Centre. This all resulted in a rumble with the pigs, the vandalised facade of the convention centre entrance with eggs and paint, and a march to and from Oscar Grant Plaza. We would say that this was a nice way to spend an afternoon and, for a brief moment, fulfilled our goal of shutting the fucker down.
Yes, “dope literature” and “a rumble with the pigs.” Now get with the hipster’s moral vanguard, you patriarchal squares.
Aesthetes that my readers are, you’ll no doubt be familiar with the name of Jan Fabre, a Belgian performance artist and “theatre-maker” who, we’re informed, “expands the horizons of every genre to which he applies his artistic vision.” Mr Fabre’s acclaimed efforts at horizon-expanding include Preparatio Mortis, a piece unveiled at the Vienna International Dance Festival and which entertained us no end with its combination of moths, underwear and staggering pretension. While writhing in her bra and panties, the dancer, Annabelle Chambon, was tasked with nothing less than “an attempt to reconcile life and death.” Or as one commenter suggested, to reconcile boredom with public subsidy.
You will, therefore, be thrilled to the tips of your nipples by Mr Fabre’s recent curatorial triumph. Sweat is a performance piece by fellow Belgian Peter De Cupere, choreographed by Fabre, in which five narcissists spend fourteen minutes rolling about and jumping up and down - naked, obviously - while attempting to fill their transparent plastic overalls with all manner of body odour. “The intention,” we’re told, “is to catch the sweat from the dancers and to distil it. The concrete of the sweat is sprayed on a wall of the dance lab and protected by a glass box. In the glass is a small hole where visitors can smell the sweat.” Yes, you can smell the sweat.
If that’s not a good night out, I don’t know what is.
Oh, there’s more to it than that of course.
Peter De Cupere is creating his smell. Not just a smell, but a composition of the smells of his body, skin of different parts, breath, sweat, sperm, spittle, nose drops, blood and many more smells you can imagine with a person. The smells are and will be subtracted on different times, after different moments, after special dinners made for himself by himself. A research that will go on his whole life. His first edition of his perfume will be soon available... The perfume is called ‘Peter’.
Now, who’s up for fourteen minutes of excruciating toss?
Further to this, Zombie again, this time on Occupy Oakland’s general disarray – sorry, “General Strike”:
There was no purpose or goal to any of these confrontations; in fact, the act of confrontation was the goal. Everyone would mill around waiting for something to happen, and then some cops would show up and the crowd would go into a frenzy for no apparent reason. The mere presence of a policeman is all that it takes to send an Oakland Occupier into either blind rage or a life-affirming adrenaline rush.
So, what was the purpose of all of this? Nothing. Excitement for the teenage rioters. Moral outrage for the Occupy organisers. Overtime for the cops. Boarded-up windows for the businesses. And higher bills for the taxpayers.
The farm they seized was not a working farm per se, but rather a “research farm” for the University of California, near its Berkeley campus. The only difference between the way the farm used to be (prior to a week ago) and the way it is now is that the Occupiers have transformed what was essentially a well-maintained and important open-air laboratory into a dishevelled and ultimately purposeless pretend-farm for trustafarian dropouts… The scientists themselves are for the most part royally pissed off at the Occupiers and some may have years of work ruined by the Occupiers’ juvenile prank.
This being Berkeley, several faculty members felt a need to display their own mighty radicalism:
Some leftist U.C. professors are lecturing today at the farm to show their solidarity with the Occupiers, including Laura Nader (famous for helping to lead the field of anthropology toward self-critical Political Correctness); Gill Hart, a Gramscian anti-capitalist; and Paul Rabinow, a deconstructionist anthropologist. What do any of these professors know about farming, or plant biology? Nothing. But hey, they know about the significance of what it means to spout off a bunch of revolutionary socialist verbiage while absconding with stuff that isn’t yours.
As these are ersatz radicals with ersatz principles, the “farming” they do is also of the pretend variety.
Breaking into gated property and “liberating” land is exciting; the tedium of then spending endless hours over the next year in the blistering heat, in order to legitimise your actions and prove you’re not just jacking everyone around — not so fun. […] Only a handful of rows, right near the entrance, were planted all along their length, from end to end. Soon enough, those rows gave way to other rows with just a few plants near the walkway, seemingly just for show. Many rows’ plantings were pretty pitiful, or perhaps just symbolic; in this case, for instance, a single full-grown leek was stuck in the ground at the start of one row, to simulate the concept of “farming leeks.” […] Prediction: Very few, if any, of these “crops” will ever be harvested, or even grow to maturity.
Why, it’s almost as if the Occupiers’ “farming” were just a pretext for fatuous grandstanding and self-admiration. Say it isn’t so.
As the camp’s official volunteer sign-up sheet reveals, nearly 80% of the activities at the “farm” have nothing whatsoever to do with farming.
The FBI arrested five men Monday evening, saying they had planted what were believed to be explosive devices under the Ohio 82 bridge over Cuyahoga Valley National Park as part of a May Day protest… One of the leaders of the Occupy Cleveland movement, Brandon Baxter, is one of those arrested.
Via Daniel in the comments, Jim Treacher has more background here, along with the obligatory disclaimer: “Remember, everybody: Whenever an Occupier commits a crime, he’s not really an Occupier. All Occupier crimes are completely unrelated incidents, because shut up.” Sharp-eyed readers will notice that Mr Baxter – aka Skabby, the would-be ninja of social justice - is seen tapping bongos in front of a banner that reads “greed kills.” Unlike exploding highway bridges, of course, which have no physical consequences whatsoever.
It’s really about sensing and knowing that a system is no longer right or just or fair and no longer [being] willing to be an exploited member of that system… Occupy Wall Street is now having, and will continue to have, a profound impact on the status quo.
Alexander Penley, Occupier. Quoted in the Guardian, October 2011.
According to police, the men were part of a larger pack of 25 people who tried to use eight-foot-long galvanised metal pipes to break the windows of the coffee shop. Terrified patrons hid under the tables, scared that glass would fall in on them… Penley, 41, was arrested and charged with assault and inciting a riot after Saturday’s incident.
Alexander Penley, smashing stuff for kicks – sorry, for “social justice.” Metro, April 2012.
As so often, the mismatch of rhetoric and behaviour is almost funny. Prior to smashing windows and hitting police officers with 8 foot long steel pipes, the Occupiers had gathered at an anarchist book fair, where leaflets and workshops promised a softer, fairer, fluffier world. (“Indigenous solidarity event with Native Resistance Network.” “Equal rights for all species.” “Children welcome!”) In this temple of warrior poets and ostentatious empathy, the “activist and educator” Cindy Milstein cooed over Occupy’s “direct democracy and cooperation”: “This compelling and quirky, beautiful and at times messy experimentation has cracked open a window on history, affording us a rare chance to grow these uprisings into the new landscape of a caring, ecological, and egalitarian society.” Occupy, says Milstein, is all about “facilitating a conversation in hopes of better strategizing toward increasingly expansive forms of freedom.” Its participants, we learn, are “non-hierarchical and anti-oppression.”
Yes, it’s almost funny. But then you wonder what kind of mind doesn’t register the dissonance. And then you realise that the minds in question are probably like this one here and the minds of these caring, egalitarian people. Our purveyors of radical compassion are, it seems, much too entranced by a cartoon version of the world - and a cartoon version of themselves - to notice their own dishonesty and fundamental contradictions. Behold our betters, the titans of tomorrow.