Saturday, 5 December 2009



by Glenn O'Brien

(from 10 MEN no.20, winter/spring 10)

"...And where are we now, in this nameless decade? What is the zero-zero look? There is no dominant fashion direction but a competing spectrum of retro looks. We now choose which past decade we want to live in...It's as if the 20th century's whole life is flashing in front of its eyes.

What is the future of fashion in this next century?

The futuristic future has been out of fashion since 1982, when director Ridley Scott imagined a failed future, a postmodern future dominated by the ruins of progressive modernist ambitions. And when the twin towers fell in 2001, it was a devastating symbol of the failure of monolithic futurism. The towers were about hubris and the assumption that the future would always be bigger and brighter. The towers were ugly, arrogant and unrealistic and, as conspiracy theorists will tell you, these buildings that stood for only 30 years were completely obsolete. But now, after decades of pessimistic or at least cynical postmodernism, at this moment of hesitant transition, we seem to have a nostalgia for futurism. Cynicism isn't working any more. We want to look back at the time when the future was bright and progressive..."

this article really struck a chord with me. not least because caffeine and solitude tend to make me emotionally hypersensitive and i'd had a considerable amount of both by the time i came across this.

growing up where i did in such a transitory environment in all senses of the word - cultural, political, historical, physical - our generation wasn't really made aware of or at least feel involved with any form of history that wasn't just on a superficial level. it was as if we had spent 16 years in a waiting room with nothing but a few back-issues of Vogue/Hello/TV Guide and maybe a few Disney films and the latest Hollywood historical/war epics (all on VHS) to inform us of a world and a future that lay outside of our bubble.

(note: a world and a future that lay in the west)

so the past wasn't something that we could particularly grasp conceptually, or at least those of us diaspora that never returned regularly to our homelands. all we knew was a weird kind of present/future that was never fixed, or that was unfolding right before our eyes. our outlook was bright, it was modernist and it was extremely progressive, but like the twin towers after 30 years is now seemingly obsolete. postmodernism was an exciting enough actuality but as i think about how it has run its course coupled with the obsolescence of my former 'futurist modernism' outlook it leaves me with nothing left to grasp idealistically.

I was reading something for my tutorial on thursday by Louis Althusser about subjects being created by and existing within their own ideologies so i guess what i'm saying is that as my own ideologies are apparently succumbing to obsolescence i myself am too. and the part that really gets me is that it's not even my fault but because of how poorly equipped i was in 'the waiting room'.

the future has just been made that much more cloudy for me. i know i'm letting this one guy's opinion get to me too much but it's made me so aware of my own need to change and to evolve if i want to continue doing what i'm doing and survive.

(photo :: Duane Michals / The Illuminated Man)

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