A Punishing Take on the World of Beauty From Legendary Electronic Label Mute
A flashing, pixelated depiction of a material life is achieved to stunning effect in this video by Diamond Version, a new project from Berlin sound artists Carsten Nicolai and Olaf Bender, courtesy of the stalwart British electronic music label Mute. Made to accompany “Live Young”, a track taken from their EP4 release due out this week, the work channels 80s commercial culture and excess through spliced footage of rouge being applied to plump lips, models walking the runway, and thick mascara on long lashes. “We drew our inspiration from fashion shows and beauty products, since we really love that world,” says the duo. “Beauty and youth are key elements of the marketing we are confronted with in our daily lives. We cannot avoid being affected by it even if we try, so we use the same imagery and strategies to promote our content.” Diamond Version was born out of Bender and Nicolai’s performances at the end of shows put on by their joint minimal electronic label, the cult Raster-Noton, and the use of slogans and aggressive rhythms distinguish this latest collaboration from their respective solo projects, Alvo Noto (Nicolai) and Byetone (Bender). Next up, they'll embark on a European tour with synth heroes Depeche Mode later this month before releasing a debut album in the autumn. Diamond Version also hopes to spread a singular, upbeat philosophy: “We really like to be positive! We like to be universal! And we like to deliver the best possible,” they say. “We are scientists for a better life!”
The Culinary Rogue Reveals the Secrets of Chinatown and the Music of Sichuan Cuisine
Sporting his trademark long bleached hair, maverick foodie and Sonic Youth aficionado Danny Bowien shares the kitchen antics at his celebrated Mission Chinese Food restaurant and feasts at his favorite local joint, where he finds inspiration in peppercorn- and beer-braised chicken and pork pancakes, in this new film by Jordan Bahat. The Korean-born, Oklahoma-raised chef has been drawing visitors to his small Chinatown outpost in staggering numbers since it opened in Manhattan last May, placating lines of hungry guests with a keg of free beer. It’s worth the wait: hybrid dishes like Kung Pao pastrami, catfish à la Sichuan seasoned with Old Bay and barbequed pig tails marinated in Coca-Cola have earned him a place at the top of The New York Times critic Pete Wells’ 2012 “Restaurant Triumphs” list. Bowien first gained cred for his signature brand of Chinese-American dishes with a pop-up venture in San Francisco’s Mission District. He picked up his culinary spark working odd restaurant jobs—not in formal training—and happily credits neighborhood haunts like Spicy Village as keys to his success. “Danny really let us in on his process,” said Bahat, who has shot music videos for indie acts including Josh Osho and Grouplove, and chose the sounds of Ducky to accompany this new short. “Danny goes somewhere, orders everything on the menu and then goes home and tries to recreate it. He’s the Mayor of Chinatown.”
The Outré Designer Delves Into the Mystic In His Entangling Short Film
Stepping into the role of High Priestess, muse and artist Taiana Giefer gets intimately acquainted with a writhing octopus in multimedia artist Paris Kain's gnostic short film. A frequent runway collaborator of Alexander Wang and Francisco Costa, Kain is best known for his talismanic jewelry line Abraxas Rex, founded in 2007, in which he embeds materials including meteorites and dinosaur bones into gold and platinum-silver alloy. With Octo-Pussy he expounds upon his favored themes of mysticism and the occult. "In tarot, the octopus represents insight and esoteric vision. It is in constant motion, waxing and waning to the moon and guided by its goddess the High Priestess," he says. We asked Kain to take us behind the scenes.
STATS FROM ON SET
Essential ingredients: A brave muse, a badass production team, and a seven-pound cephalopod mollusc of the order “Octopoda.”
Understudy: One smaller teenage octopus who wouldn’t stop texting, so we ate him too, but privately.
Inspiration: The alchemical ‘great work’ and life journey of Alejandro Jodorowsky and Pascale Montandon. To quote Jodorowsky, "In the tarot, the octopus with its eight legs represents the perfection of the unconscious, transcending or extending beyond the limits of the personal or individual."
Soundtrack: I composed the music, wanting the eerie repetitive sounds to take the audience into a hypnotic state. Unfortunately, while we were editing the film, hearing those sounds over and over again for many hours, we fought very hard to not lose control of our minds.
High Priestess attire: Rick Owens spring 2011 black leather shoulder dress.
Palate cleanser: Taiana had a cherry lollipop after the octopus because that’s just what a High Priestess does.
Shoot time: We did it in one take. And then we shot the other six films that belong to the series.
Acting secret: The octopus that appears in the film is actually dead.