CULTURE: NEW NEW YORK (SUPERSUPER! VOL 1 #23)
New York, New York. Whether or not we’ve actually set foot there, everybody has an archetypal image of ‘The Big Apple’ – be it a snow-shaker globe of towering skyscrapers and gridlocked yellow taxis, a blood-stained Patrick Bateman shopping in Bergdorf’s, or 40+ women sashaying down ‘sidewalks’ in haute couture. But New New York? What’s that?
‘New New York’ is SUPERSUPER!’s take on the collective spirit defining the most inspiring and creative innovative talent to have come out of the city over the last few years, leaving its star-spangled mark on every artistic field (from fashion to media to music). Names like stylist Jason Farrer, the TELFAR label, and newer entities like DIS magazine are part of an aesthetic community that is slowly but surely starting to grab the attention of the rest of the world, with their collective creative efforts distinguishing NYC’s first steps into the new cultural decade.
Though the city itself has been a great environment to foster this crop of creative expression (as designer Telfar Clemens says, “NY is small – you can start projects easily, and see your friends every day!”), it cannot be denied that New New York has the Internet to thank for a large part of its prominence as a movement.
“The Internet has been a major factor in getting (the NYC creative scene) noticed at this particular time”, says DIS writer Patrik Sandberg. “The real sense of community should be attributed to the World Wide Web.”
$hayne, resident GHE20GITH1K DJ agrees, maintaining that it is the Internet itself that is the determining factor behind this creative work, and thereby represents the amassed collective spirit of NNY. “NNY is heavily based on friendships, conversations and lifestyles, and the Internet is the vehicle that brings this lifestyle to the masses. The members of this community have a very clear, strong voice, which is why it comes off as a movement online.” It is this accessible, online aesthetic that really packs the punch for NNY as a creative force; its cultural prominence is achieved not just by its contributors’ designing the right clothes, or making the right music, but rather through engineering a potent, engaging online presence.
Note that this isn’t just another underground ‘punk’ movement, reacting against the status quo in fashion/art etc – but neither is it an evolution of previous mainstream expression. As online artist Ryder Ripps puts it, “DIS magazine says, ‘We’re not high, we’re not low, we’re medium’, and that concept is really relevant right now”. To reiterate, New New York is less about making a statement, and more about producing solid, credible creative work. Fatima agrees, saying, “It’s more about action than reaction”.
So, with this concept in mind, if you want to get into the New New York vibe (without having to fork out uber quids for a ticket across the pond), – think slick, cosmopolitan and all encompassing. NY fashion sees a utilitarian approach to style, with modern, urban cuts that prioritise function and wearability. It’s not about contorting yourself into statement ensembles, but rather embracing the concepts of inventiveness and technique within the defined realm of city style. TELFAR’s designs, for example, consciously experiment with shape and silhouette whilst still retaining a ubiquitous appeal – just look to his open knee capri pants for a case in point.
This attitude is also seen in NNY visual art and online media, which borrows from both old and new influences in the production of distinctive graphic features. Dump.fm sees users conversing with each other through GIFs sourced from all over the World Wide Web (whether they be first-gen or contemporary) to create a novel, free-flowing visual structure, while Khaki-Chase’s pages and online shopping products, in their groups of colour and texture work to elicit in the viewer a feeling of appreciation and beauty for otherwise ordinary lifestyle objects.
In addition, reflecting the kaleidoscope of ideas, styles and backgrounds that makes up NNY culture, we can see that the definitive essence of the movement’s music is that of amalgamation, with DJs like Kingdom and Ghe20 Goth1k’s Iceberg Venus X borrowing from a huge range of sonic influences in their sets. Check out DIS magazine’s ‘Disco’ section, which hosts all sorts of mixes – like Ghe20 Goth1k’s mixtape, which blends sounds from genres as divergent as chilled ambient, reggaeton and aggrotech. Similarly, their club night, along with Kingdom’s ‘Infinity’ night draws revellers from all walks of life, evoking again NNY’s spirit of approachable, diversified aestheticism.
Whichever medium or individual you feel most inspired by in the New New York arsenal, one thing you can be certain of is that the spirit of creative innovation will resound through their work. If New New York is all about moving forward, then 2011 is certainly going to be an interesting year.
As Patrik Sandberg reflects, “In this day and age, in our generation, if you can’t evolve – what’s the point? You’re engaging in something throwback. As long as everybody embraces the spirit of making original work, and tries not to regurgitate what’s already happened, then it will inevitably evolve into something unexpected.”
+ DIS Magazine
DIS magazine is the collective online lovechild of Lauren Boyle, Solomon Chase, S. Adrian Massey III, Marco Roso, Patrik Sandberg, Nick Scholl and David Toro. Moving away from established attitudes towards fashion, art and media, the philosophy behind DIS is to ‘dissolve, distort, disturb and disrupt’ our concepts on these creative fields, with their razor-sharp perspective dissecting everything from style trends to the possibility of alien life.
Patrik Sandberg speaks to us about the magazine.
SS: How integral is New York itself to DIS, and the aesthetic spirit of NNY in general? Could this essence be easily transferred to other international cities (e.g. London, Berlin etc)?
DM: New York is our home and it is integral, in that there are so many of us and we can be face to face that way. But there are people in every city who write to us and identify with us, and who would add great new creative voices to the conversation. The Internet, for this reason, is even more important. I attribute the real sense of community to the World Wide Web.
SS: What are DIS’ opinions on New York ‘subculture’ – do you think that there is still such a thing, or is it something that is now becoming consolidated with factors like pop culture and mass production?
DM: Subcultures exist still. I don’t think of DIS as being part of one; DIS wants to be its own genre, maybe. Psychologically, we inhabit a space outside of mainstream culture. We just think about things a little bit differently. I don’t think it’s in our generation’s best interest to fall into a system of labelling… nobody is anything except themselves.
SS: What’s in the future for DIS magazine?
DM: I would like to see an expansion into bigger media, television and film, because more opportunities for creative voices to be heard would have positive benefits for society. DIS will probably not ever assimilate into the status quo, but we could love to become status quo – because then anti-assimilation would be the status quo; independence of thought, and freedom to dress.
- The ‘Evolved Lifestyles’ section has features on everything, from meditations on multi-modal existence to the work of innovative designers to Dog Yoga (‘Doga’).
- ‘New Style Options’ brings a range of wholly original and bold fashion alternatives to try, including socks with sandals and functional nipple clamps.
- The ‘Dawson’s Creek Fan Art’ feature in the ‘Discover’ section – see ambient interpretations of everyone’s favourite ‘90s teen drama! Oh James Van Der Beek…
Telfar is 25-year-old Telfar Clemens, NYC-based unisex designer behind his label of the same name. His designs are renowned for his utilitarian take on urban function and comfort, with his S/S11 collection seeing a range of rib-cage cardigans, square neck shirts and open-knee capri pants in cool neutral colours.
SS: What’s the ethos behind your designs?
T: Utility, functionality and fashion. The ‘Telfar’ man is ageless and progressive, and anyone who looks good in my clothing!
SS: Give us some words on NYC fashion…
Kingdom is a DJ/producer/remixer from Brooklyn, with an addictive sound spanning a huge range of genres (from juke to RnB to tropical). He also puts on a regular night called ‘Club Infinity’, which is known for sounding out ‘future-minded music from around the world’, and draws names like Girl Unit, Roska and Ghe2o Goth1k’s Venus X to spin the decks.
SS: How has the NYC club scene evolved over the last few years?
K: When I started DJing in 2006, everyone was playing hard electro, bmore mashups, ‘80s music etc… no one was really touching RnB and mixing it with club music/old rave/grime/dark crunk etc. Now that’s basically the go-to fusion of sounds for NYC DJs.
SS: Five words on NYC music?
K: The names of parties I’ve done over the years – Club Vortex, DDARKK, Club Infinity.
Another prominent star in the DIS galaxy, Khaki-Chase (aka Solomon Chase) uses his distinctive Tumblr page to project images relating to the world of web-based consumer culture. Pages of products (including bedsheets, exercise balls and sanitary pads) are placed against a minimalistic background to produce an altogether abstract, yet recognisable reflection of the contemporary shopping experience.
SS: Tell us about your blog…
SC: Khaki-Chase is a project revolving around the online sale of products and objects. Styles of web catalogue photography create these beautiful abstract shapes and forms that are textured and tactile.
SS: What are you trying to communicate, visually?”
SC: I reform, colour and combine images to explore the aesthetic of online marketing and the virtual shopping experience as a means to create new entities and object concepts.
+ RYDER RIPPS
In addition to his numerous other online projects, 24-year old Internet whizz kid Ryder Ripps is perhaps best known for co-founding the GIF-tastic website dump.fm, which allows users to communicate entirely through the use of images in a real-time old-skool chat-room format. Another site, ‘Internet Archaeology’ archives GIFS – as the ‘graphic artifacts’ of Internet culture – with everything from dead Tamagotchis to Coke-drinking kittens.
SS: Is New New York essentially an Internet-based movement?
RR: I have this whole belief that NYC is analogous to the Internet. If you are in any field, artistic or otherwise, and not acknowledging the Internet in your work… whether purposefully or unintentionally, you are failing to address the current state of society.
SS: What’s behind the collective spirit of New New York?
Ayshay (translating as “whatever” in Arabic) is the musical project of Fatima Al Qadiri, who is the pioneer of a new genre called ‘Muslim Trance’. Sampling sounds from Islamic song, including phrases from the Koran and Shi’ite and Sunni acapella, Ashay adds layers of tripped-out percussion to create this wholly unique sound.
SS: Tell us about your sound.
FAQ: Ashay is a thinly veiled homage to the style of religious anthem singing in Islam.
SS: What kind of spaces do you play your music in?
FAQ: This year I played at the Tate Modern, and the PPOW Gallery in NYC. The Ashay project lends itself more to art establishments than music venues, because it’s not something that you can even remotely dance to!
Iceberg Venus X is the founder of one of the hottest underground club nights that NYC has to offer, GHE20G0TH1K. It’s an event dedicated to ‘TOTAL XTC’ and, well, anything ghetto/gothic! Expect dance-offs, sets by the likes of Kingdom and Telfar (along with resident DJs Iceberg Venus X, Physical Therapy and $hayne), and remixes of anything from juke to dark wave to R Kelly.
Iceberg Venus X talks to us on behalf of GHE2oG0TH1K.
SS: Tell us about GHE20G0TH1K – what’s it all about?
VX: GHE20G0TH1K is a party and DJ crew where we attempt to create an irreproducible party, and push everyone’s button. Our nights are as New York as NYC can get. We play a little bit of everything, from merengue to UK grime and Middle Eastern, and DJs like Kingdom and Robin XXJFG have helped us to have one of the nastiest parties that NYC has seen in years by developing their extremely experimental and bitchy sets that make the crowd gag. It’s like sound bondage sex play.
SS: People like Pictureplane and DJ Rashad have done sets at GG in the past. Who would you like to play there in the future?
GG: We want Amber Rose and Lil Kim to host. We want Angel X and Mike Q to have a battle performance. We want Jayhood to DJ. We want Dipset to perform. We want lots of things, big and small.
+ JASON FARRER
Editor/stylist Jason Farrer is making a pretty serious name for himself in the fashion world, having styled for the catwalk for names like Meadham Kirchoff, Hiroshi Sunari and Cassetteplaya, as well as other New New York bigwigs like TELFAR and DIS magazine.
Words: Charlotte McManus
GIF art: Ryder Ripps
Product collage images: Khaki-Chase
Posted on 05/03/2012, in Culture and tagged ayshay, charlotte mcmanus, culture, DIS magazine, fashion, fatima al-qadiri, GHE20G0TH1K, jason farrer, khaki-chase, kingdom, music, new york, patrik sandberg, ryder ripps, solomon chase, supersuper magazine, telfar, venus x. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.