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In the early 2010s I found myself living between London and Athens. Where undergound Athens nightlife was all 1980s coldwave and gothic, a 90s tinged techno-futurist revival dominated London’s style, music and even intellectual fashions. These constant encounters with dislocated cultural signs – a resurgence of forgotten sensations and ideas – evoked memories of the late 80s.
I remembered ’89 as a total rupture in pop culture – the aesthetic negation, revolt and noise of the alternative scene, had melted away into the ‘one love’ positivity of club culture. That’s what I remembered, but of course nothing had actually been that straightforward.
I dug around looking at how the different currents of style were being looted by contemporary fast fashion, but also how original garments were being preserved and fetishised, whether online or in ‘official’ collections. All these wearable commodities old and new begged the question of the bodies that wore them. I remembered how there had been distinct gestural languages for the ‘romantic negationism’ of alternative culture and the ‘techno positivism’ of rave. Had any of that embodied sense of ideology and attitude survived into the present?
Fast Fashion is a series of videos, sculptures and an illustrated lecture that proposes a number of disruptive relations and oppositions: authentic artifacts vs digital copies; dead objects vs. living bodies; nostalgic historic material vs contemporary non-space; socially charged signs vs empty references; personal memory vs cultural history.
The work reflects on a disorientating, hollowed out, temporal uncertainty but also holds out for a liberation from the old hierarchies of signs and their disciplining structures. Does the decline of the theatrical, socially transmitted movements of past subcultures give way to something more urgent and destructive?
This is an excellent piece about the Time Crystals show: A Broken Type of Grace