Tuesday, September 30, 2014

She's dead ... oops, just kidding

According to a web site that simply creates and spreads rumors in order to increase internet traffic to its own site and therefore make more money from advertisers (ah, what a wonderful way to use this unlimited boundless technology to increase the knowledge of the human race), late last week kate died!

After fessing up, the headline on the site became:

"Kate Moss dead: 2014": Model killed by internet death hoax  

The report read as follows: "News of model Kate Moss' death spread quickly earlier this week causing concern among fans across the world. However the September 2014 report has now been confirmed as a complete hoax and just the latest in a string of fake celebrity death reports. Thankfully, the 40-year-old model is alive and well."

The piece continued on: "Rumors of the model’s alleged demise gained traction on Thursday after a ‘R.I.P. Kate Moss’ Facebook page attracted nearly one million ‘likes’. Those who read the ‘About’ page were given a believable account of 'our beloved model's passing at about 11 a.m. ET on Thursday (September 25, 2014)'. Hundreds of fans immediately started writing their messages of condolence on the Facebook page, expressing their sadness that the talented 40-year-old model was dead. And as usual, Twittersphere was frenzied over the death hoax." 

According to the site: "A recent poll conducted shows that a large majority (75%) of respondents think those Kate Moss death rumors are not funny anymore."

On September 26th the model's reps officially confirmed that Kate Moss is not dead: 'She joins the long list of celebrities who have been victimized by this hoax. She's still alive and well, stop believing what you see on the Internet' they said.

Just as kate's recent neon purchase led us to Wataru Komachi's work, so this hoax leads us to another interesting artistic frame of reference ... after writing obituaries for the Daily Telegraph in London, British-born, NY-based artist Adam McEwen began producing obituaries for living and breathing celebrities (including Bill Clinton, Rod Stewart, Jeff Koons and, of course, Kate Moss) thus highlighting the blurred line between history and fiction:
McEwen's Untitled (Kate), 2007

McEwen is concerned with pop and consumer culture and his work resides somewhere between the celebratory and funereal. He approaches this landscape with a directness that is disarming yet full of dark, dead-pan humor. In addition to newspapers, his work appropriates the familiar formats of cell phone display screens, shop signage and credit cards. McEwen has also created machined graphite sculptures of such everyday objects as a water cooler or an air conditioner. According to his NY gallery (Gagosian), his repurposing of the over-familiar creates "momentary ruptures". 

Adam McEwen: I'm not really interested in celebrities so much - the works are more homages. But the person must be famous so the reader knows that the person is still alive. I'm interested in that brief second when you aren't sure ... I only need that moment in order to disorient enough to sneak through to some other part of the brain - to achieve that split second of turning the world upside down.
McEwen's graphite air conditioner

I don’t know what it is, but I know for me, an obituary of Kate Moss is the same thing as an air conditioner made of graphite. There is a part of me that doesn’t really want to put into words what that thread is, but it always starts from the same place. It’s the same thread that ties together a credit card made of graphite, a photograph of a Jumbo 747 jet or hardware signs that read, ‘Sorry, We’re Dead’ or ‘Sorry, We’re Sorry.’

Life has now mirrored the art and we don't need the fake obituaries anymore ... we have facebook, twitter and social media giving us a constant barrage of uncertainty and supposed clarification.

Yet death, McEwen says, is “like a perfect rule: It’s going to happen, though emotionally, I don’t want it to.
Yes, but fake death? According to the internet survey 25% of responders still think it is funny.

Don't worry internet viewers ... ishotkatemoss lives on!
Sorry, Observe. Slow Down. Shoot. Submit.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

The anniversary of Gert's sale

"On September 25, 2013 - one year ago today - Christie’s London, King Street sold 58 images of Kate Moss from the collection of Gert Elfering for £1.67m/$2.73m. 
It was in reaction to this sale that I felt the need to undertake this project. Over the following months an interactive site, www.ishotkatemoss.com, was designed. 58 new unique images of kate - captured on film as in-camera montages of layered media we are all surrounded by in public spaces - were uploaded to the site which houses an interactive and participatory collage.

On Saturday November 2nd, 2013 the site was launched with an invitation to all others who wish to contribute. At present, the site houses over 300 images within the collage.  
A screen shot from the ishotkatemoss.com collage
The anniversary of the sale was an opportunity to, not only launch a slightly new look for this blog, but also to reflect upon iskm's progress and why I believe that this project matters:

I created ishotkatemoss as I am interested in how we exhibit, view and mass-produce images of each other and how these often carbon copied representations become individualized by the effects of time and location. Having explored such themes within other projects and exhibitions, I turned my attention to kate.

I was once asked 'Why her?' to which I responded: Kate Moss is the perfect subject to explore this theme given that her image is one of the most reproduced representations, used to market and commercialize the idea of beauty and now ‘art’, in modern history. 
There is no underlying reason why she is utilized by others in this way. She is not a politician, born into royalty, an athlete, artist or intellectual. She is now a mirror and a representation of something much more than herself.

This project looks towards the decay of a romantic portrayal of ourselves, finding a fascination with the distinct lack of control we have over what happens to images over time. As the human visage is constantly repeated, systemized and codified I believe that our perception of ourselves and others is altered.

My assertion is that if we slow down, particularly in today's fast-paced world of constant bombardment, we will experience and see the image, the change and the impact on ourselves so much more clearly. We experience one face in so many different forms and shapes that we become desensitized. As a result we stop seeing the transformation to who we are, beyond the superficial layers. This is why the collage will slow and become more accessible if the speed of our interaction and the movement of the viewer's mouse becomes unhurried. Just as in life, it is our own movements (more so today through constantly viewing countless photographs on screens) that dictate the momentum and urgency of the images.
Another screen shot from the ishotkatemoss.com collage
Shortly after launching the collage this blog was created in order to track the project while exploring universal artistic (appropriation, copyright, artistic interpretation) and societal (celebrity, privacy, sexuality, commercialization) themes. It does so through the lens of, use and analysis of manipulated reproductions of Moss’ image. I am pleased that so many people are interested in the work, particularly the collaborative Photographer Series where artists’ practices and processes are highlighted through the exploration of one or more of these themes. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all who have participated in the project to date, particularly the contributing Photographer Series artists including: Daniel Afzal, Neil Haddon, Cindy Hinant, Wataru Komachi, Keren Moscovitch, Alex Nunez, Matthu Placek, Jonno Rattman, Saul Robbins, Jeffrey Rothstein, Lynn Saville. They have given not only their creative input but a good deal of time during the interviews.I hope to have many more interesting perspectives to share over the coming months.
One of iskm's founding 58 unique images of kate
At present, the collage and blog have had approx. 20,000 views without any social media or concentrated marketing campaign. Not bad in 9 months for a seditious little project ... but there is a long way to go. So please send the www.ishotkatemoss.com link on to others if you enjoy and find this project at all relevant.

And most importantly, continue to Observe. Slow Down. Shoot and Submit!"
Zev Jonas,
September 25, 2014


Sunday, September 21, 2014

Neon kate and Photographer Series #11: watarushotkatemoss

Last week I was struck by the following headline:  

Kate Moss spends £100,000 on neon sign to see her name in lights every day

You see, kate has commissioned London neon “artist” Chris Bracey to fabricate a one-off of her own name in bright neon, hot pink tube lighting. Apparently the “eye-catching sign will have pride-of-place in the living room of her North London mansion”.

According to the rags "Kate became such a fan of Chris’ work that she wanted a piece she could call her own". So much so that one of her hanger-ons is quoted as saying that “the glitzy artwork makes her feel like a rock star, which she totally loves”.

"Maestro Chris" (a.k.a "the Brit godfather of neon art") learned the tricks of the trade from his dad and cut his teeth making sex-shop signs in Soho in the late 1970s. With his team of ten staffers, he creates the pieces either from scratch or by recycling vintage signs and old lights. He has a laundry list of other celebrity collectors of course … I mean who wouldn’t want to see their name in bright lights everyday in their living room?

All of this got me thinking as to some on-line images of an installation I saw recently by the Japanese artist Waturu Komachi. In 2007 he created his "Neon" series which included the following piece:
This piece followed his "God Save the Kate" series from 2005 which included:

Upon further investigation Wataru, who was born in Tokyo and now lives and works in Kyoto, has utilized kate's visage and name extensively within his art (many images of which are presented within this blog post) ...

Wataru began by scouting charity shops and fleamarkets for secondhand and discarded furniture, couches, chairs, hanging scrolls and lampshades. He would then re-cover them with detailed and vivid silkscreen prints of american elvises, chinese maos, indian bindi salesgirls, brit rockers and biblical imagery, all interspliced with subtle text messages. It has been stated that "it has nothing to do with recycling in an ecological way, he wants to refresh, reincarnate leftover items, offering them a second chance at life and investing them with a sense of spirituality in both the eyes of the artist and the viewer.

In 2000 Wataru presented his re-made furniture works at The Deep gallery in Tokyo. Since then he has exhibited his designs, installations, collages and paintings extensively in Paris and also London and even designed t-shirts for a Beck tour.

KATE Silk Screen on Japanese Hanging Scroll 2010
So, given the power of the internet and instant communication, iskm emailed Wataru and asked him about his work and more specifically: why does he keep coming back to kate?
Wataru Komachi (WK): I was using her a lot in 2005. She has something special that is not in the other models and celebrities. I had been using her as a sign of the times. I want to express the feeling of the times.

iskm: Why did you select the "God Save the Queen" image as your starting point with kate?
WK: I used it as a symbol of youth culture and transitioned to 'god save the kate' after the reports of her drug use of 2005. 
KATE Acrylic on Canvas 2011
iskm: How would you describe your art work?
WK: I always express the humor and sociality.

iskm: You have utilized so many interesting mediums in displaying work (including furniture, scrolls, handbags, neon). Why do you choose different forms for incorporation and display?
WK: Since Duchamp’s ready-made, in the history of the “Sampling and Remixing”, conversion of the value is not a recycling. I have done so so as not to have categorization for expression.

KATE LIPS Silk Screen on Canvas 2009
iskm: What do you do to your chosen Kate Moss images and why?
WK: At first I selected kate photos from the media. After that, I make a drawing based on that selected photo which is then scanned. The made images are then put into collage through photoshop and then I make silk screens, hand print onto paper/canvas. All works therefore are a unique edition.

iskm: Which photographer/s would you most want to most see involved in ishotkatemoss?
WK: Mr. Daido Moriyama. I respect his life story. 
KATE Photo 2013
iskm: Thanks so much Wataru. Anything else you'd like to share with the iskm audience?
WK: DON'T THINK JUST SHOOT//////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

More of Wataru's incredible work can be seen at www.watarukomachi.com

From NYC to Kyoto people...
Observe. Slow Down. Shoot. Submit.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Thar she blows

After seeing the following submission to the www.ishotkatemoss.com collage, I was struck by the overt whiteness overseeing the NY cavern.

The image of the reflected projection filled me with a sense of dread, but I couldn't exactly put my finger on why. It wasn't as simple as the chiseled, defined features creeping up on unsuspecting and desensitized passers-by, or the fact that we are all fed ongoing aesthetic, commercial messaging ...

Pure? Sublime? The contrast of the pale appearance against the activity of the street and the sea of blue took me back to the idea of the search for another great white. Someone far more eloquent than I could articulate the alarm ... from Herman Melville's classic novel Moby Dick (1851), excerpts from Chapter 42:

… how can I hope to explain myself here; and yet, in some dim, random way, explain myself I must, else all these chapters might be naught. Though in many natural objects, whiteness refiningly enhances beauty, as if imparting some special virtue of its own …
This elusive quality it is, which causes the thought of whiteness, when divorced from more kindly associations, and coupled with any object terrible in itself, to heighten that terror to the furthest bounds ... But how had the mystic thing been caught? Whisper it not, and I will tell;
"... whiteness, no man can deny that in its profoundest idealized significance it calls up a peculiar apparition to the soul"
… and there is a higher horror in this whiteness of her woe. Old as Pizarro, this whiteness keeps her ruins for ever new; admits not the cheerful greenness of complete decay; spreads over her broken ramparts the rigid pallor of an apoplexy that fixes its own distortions.
I know that, to the common apprehension, this phenomenon of whiteness is not confessed to be the prime agent in exaggerating the terror of objects otherwise terrible; nor to the unimaginative mind is there aught of terror in those appearances whose awfulness to another mind almost solely consists in this one phenomenon, especially when exhibited under any form at all approaching to muteness or universality. 
… But not yet have we solved the incantation of this whiteness, and learned why it appeals with such power to the soul; and more strange and far more portentous - why, as we have seen, it is at once the most meaning symbol of spiritual things, nay, the very veil of the Christian's Deity; and yet should be as it is, the intensifying agent in things the most appalling to mankind.
Is it that by its indefiniteness it shadows forth the heartless voids and immensities of the universe, and thus stabs us from behind with the thought of annihilation, when beholding the white depths of the milky way?
... and like wilful travelers in Lapland or New York, who refuse to wear colored and coloring glasses upon their eyes, so the wretched infidel gazes himself blind at the monumental white shroud that wraps all the prospect around him. And of all these things kate was the symbol.
Wonder ye then at the fiery hunt? Observe. Slow Down. Shoot. Submit.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

yet another campaign ...

... has launched in New York featuring you know who. Here are our favorite weekend submissions to the www.ishotkatemoss.com collage, captured - we understand - from around Manhattan. Keep them coming:
Dear NYers, if you see something ...
Observe. Slow Down. Shoot. 
Submit something.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

yet another another another another magazine

Hattie Crisell writing for "The Cut" (a subset of New York Magazine's web site) recently featured a 10th anniversary issue of AnOther magazine ... yes, a magazine's online presence featured another magazine, titled another! The world of fashion is such a self-perpetuating place that it puts iskm's idea of appropriation to shame.

That being said, in reading her piece, there is a sense that Ms.Hattie was not only a little tired of kate but also of the overly referential nature of her business ... here are some snippets (removing as many commercial references as possible as being subversive doesn't include encouraging you, dear reader, to actually go out and buy, or buy-into, any of this):

"Knowing that the world’s hunger for information about Kate Moss can never be sated, AnOther magazine has helpfully produced a mega–Kate Moss issue for superfans ... to mark the ten-year anniversary of her first shoot for the magazine and features Kate on four separate covers ...  the most she’s ever done for a single issue of a magazine."
another four covers
"As well as many, many pictures of Kate looking sleepy-sexy ... the issue also includes a thoroughly researched inventory of her essential stats. There are pages of useful, if not slightly creepy, trivia that you’ll soon be dropping into conversation nonchalantly - details of her tattoos, plus a few lists of facts that will never come in handy, like all the names of the previous occupants of her house (hello, Ann Divett of 1795)."

Hattie then goes on to highlight the "ten things we learned" from reading the magazine (which, we are proud to admit we have not done, so don't take iskm at our word as we can't be trusted). Here is Hattie's list with her musings included:
"1. Kate played tambourine (in a sultry manner, no doubt) on two Oasis songs: 'Fade Away' (1994) and 'Don’t Go Away' (1998).
2. In 1992, she starred in the TV movie Inferno!, directed by Ellen von Unwerth.
3. She shares her birthday (January 16) with many other charismatic celebrity Capricorns, including the late Susan Sontag and Aaliyah.
4. The most-visited Kate Moss fan site is KateMossOnline.net
5. According to AnOther, she’s started seven major trends, including gladiator sandals, grey skinny jeans, ballet flats, and vintage. (Vintage? Really?)
6. She opened John Galliano’s first ever show in Paris in 1989, at age 15.
7. Her first music-video appearance was in Love Don’t Bother Me by Stage Dolls in 1991.
8. Her 2007 bangs were inspired by Michelle Pfeiffer in Scarface.
9. She's been the subject of artworks by Banksy, Damien Hirst, Lucian Freud, and Tracey Emin, among many others.
10. She has a small heart tattoo on her right palm.
And sometimes, very late at night, when she’s on her second pack of cigarettes, she spends hours Googling facts about you."

Ok iskm needs to weigh in on some of these "facts":
- #3 kate shares a birthday with Susan Sontag! To that, all that can be said is: "Everyday life apotheosized, and the kind of beauty that only the camera reveals - a corner of material reality that the eye doesn't see at all or can't normally isolate; or the overview, as from a plane - these are the main targets of the photographers conquest." Susan Sontag, On Photography, 1973
- #5 Gladiator Sandals! Didn't that start with, well, gladiators? Or Russel Crowe? Maybe Xena: Warrior Princess? And kudos Hattie for calling them out on vintage ... um, Brand New, You're Retro
- #8 No comment as to the cocaine connection please.  But I am reminded of one of Michelle's best lines from Scarface which kate may also have taken for inspiration: "Nothing exceeds like excess. You should know that, Tony."
- #9 Can you believe that they have left out all iskm contributors!?!
and, oh yeah,
- #4 the most visited kate moss fan site may have been hacked. Thanks Anon.

All up, how many other kate's does the world need? We applied our own four color theorem and came up with the answer which has dutifully been submitted to the www.ishotkatemoss.com collage:
Another four covers ... iskm seeing quardruple
And just as kate discovers when googling "ishotkatemoss" late at night,
we like to Observe. Slow Down. Shoot. Submit.