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The Odd Woman and the City

Sophie Calle

 

“Calle is a character in her own story, a false witness, an unreliable narrator. Feigning a hysterical kind of love coded female, with an analytical bent. With a sly humour, power relations are flipped and flipped again. Who is in control, who is the butt of the work? In the case of The Address Book, the victim, in response to having his friends’ opinion of his private life splashed across the pages of Libération, attempted to get his revenge on Calle by having the newspaper publish nude photos of her. Of that work, she said: ‘The sense of excitement was much stronger than the guilt’.

In Double Game, Calle allows novelist Paul Auster to fictionalize her life in a novel, before republishing his account with her own red corrections scrawled on top. Taking it one step further, she then requests that the author give her tasks to do, as though she is a character in one of his novels, and the interaction culminates in a project entitled Gotham Handbook.

Other works play out this repeated doubling-back, such as The Detective, where she asked her mother to hire a private detective to follow her, while she had someone follow the detective, engaging in a game of triangulation and elusiveness, the trick of being the woman who evades, always disappearing round a corner. An object that first receives the world before finding pattern in the day, letting things circle back around, playing out the real work of looking. This mode requires a certain shiftlessness, one not traditionally accorded to women, who rarely know what it feels like to be anonymous, to pass through space unnoticed.”

Read Madeileine Stack’s full piece here.

Photography by Sophie Calle.

Fluidity – not fixed, firm, or stable.

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Fluid – b. fig. and of non-physical things: Flowing or moving readily; not solid or rigid; not fixed, firm, or stable.

Beauty is an abstract concept. Century after century, philosophers have sought to define it and place it within the perimeters of language and meaning, yet still today beauty continues to evade such categorization. It knows no boundaries, for it is visceral and experienced emotionally within the present. Beauty is, by its nature, fluid.

Ever since antiquity, humans have endeavored to capture the immediate emotional impact of beauty, and solidify it into form. Take the child struggling in vain to net the butterfly in order to confine its beauty within the perimeter of a glass jar, or the husband, layering slab after slab of stone to transform the unpredictable beauty of his wife into the solidity of a statue. Each reflects an intrinsic human desire to capture beauty and make it one’s own by validating it through the process of art. Statues have long functioned as a way of cementing the fleeting, fluid and transient nature of human beauty and transforming it into an aesthetic that is easily accessible to the human gaze. Consequently, this desire serves to perpetuate vanity; by reflecting the beauty of another, statues allow for reflection of the beauty and idolatry of oneself. This desire to create form out of an ephemeral concept has lead to beauty becoming defined as a concept that is fixed, static and ocular. It has become a notion built upon social constructs, defined by its ability to be consumed and consequently validated by the human gaze.

Text by Alice Hall. Image by Beso Uznadze.

Read the full article here.

Genderless – Photo Series by Jessica Polar

‘The misapprehension about gender performativity is this: that gender is a choice, or that gender is a role, or that gender is a construction that one puts on, as one puts on clothes in the morning, that there is a ‘one’ who is prior to this gender, a one who goes to the wardrobe of gender and decides with deliberation which gender it will be today.’

Judith Butler

 

The only way to present ourselves as we truly are is by being naked. The rest are just add-ons that we choose to express our own personality based on social and cultural parameters.
Hair, style, clothing, make up… all these elements are used by corporations as gender-based fashion apparel products. But hair has no gender. Clothes have no gender. Style has no gender.
The break-down of gender boundaries in fashion can be translated into a break- down of gender boundaries in our society. Gender norms can be oppressive, but gender itself is also a white canvas to express one’s freedom.

Genderless is a photo series by the photographer Jessica Polar

Text by Sol Fauquier

 

Philippa Snow talks to artist Lauren Cohen

We have invited LYRA’s issue 1 contributors to interview, write or do just about anything for our blog. Philippa Snow chose to have a conversation with the artist Lauren Cohen. Philippa wrote about Showgirls for issue 1.

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LYRA’s Sunny Walkabout

It was so sunny yesterday that we decided to take LYRA on a walk around Camden. We went to a coffee shop and read under the sunbeams, chatting with locals about the beautiful afternoon and, of course, LYRA. Everyone wanted to touch it, and were drawn to its beautiful design, relevant topics and, perhaps, the nostalgia they felt toward print magazines.

We finished our stroll at the news stand, really touched by the warm welcome Londoners had given us. It was a beautiful afternoon indeed.

Subscribe to the magazine, support our Kickstarter & buy tickets to our launch party here.

Text and photos by Luisa Fernanda.

 

Jimmy Dabbagh – Transparent

Jimmy Dabbagh is, in his own words, a third generation kid: someone from many places. A true modern. His photographs of Lebanon appear in LYRA’s first issue, here he talks to us about identity and his upcoming project, Transparent which he describes as a ‘collaborative project with members from the Lebanese LGBTQ community’.

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Sappho

Jessica Worden on Sappho

We were casting around for a classic (a Linda Snell-esque word) poet to use in our first issue. It’s always difficult, though – the past. After deliberation, we chose Sappho: the foremost erotic poet of antiquity (imagine how Ovid’d shudder if her work was more than fragment!) We asked Jessica Worden to write about her for us, and she delivered more than the scholarly summing up we’d half-expected and not, really, wanted. Her essay begins

I think of Sappho by the sea. She sings against the noise of the wind and waves crashing, standing on the sand of Lesbos. She knew many forms of love.

And ends

She acknowledges the bitterness of absence in this fragment but pairs it with the perpetuation of desire through the corporeal traces within memory. I think of Sappho by the sea. She sings against the noise of the wind and waves crashing, standing on the sand of Lesbos. She knew many forms of love.

Jessica’s is a beautiful piece, gently lyrical, humble even. She does not force the poet into this or that corner, does not decide what Sappho meant, but shows her to the reader in the palm on her hand: a flower, a weed, a gorgeous blade of grass. By the sea.

– Jago Rackham

Read Jessica’s full article in issue 1: subscribe and support our Kickstarter here.

Bezo Uznadze - photography

The Photography of Beso Uznadze

Issue 1 features the work of the London based Georgian photographer Beso Uznadze. LYRA’s editor Jago asked him some questions about the role of identity and nudity in his photography.

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