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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.

Arianna Lago

  126331189488              screen-shot-2016-10-15-at-17-23-41              www-ariannalago-com

Initially, Arianna Lago trained as a composer and sound artist – look at those vibrant notes in her use of colour.

Arianna Lago is an Italian photographer based in London. Mainly using 35mm her work lets transpire emotions, effortless fragility, and a painterly organic feel. She’s both attracted by the beautiful and the odd and her aim in photography is to find a way to bring those elements together in one image. Fundamental parts of her visual lexicon are also the use of rich colour palettes, elements of surreal and nostalgia in the everyday.

See her full photo essay for LYRA’s second issue here.

Orgasm

Clare Lydon on the Orgasm Now

In the first of our series on how much has changed since the ground-breaking feminist magazine Spare Rib’s 1970s heyday, we look at the female orgasm and ask: is the orgasm still a feminist issue? Discussing this, Clare Lydon quotes a ’70s doctor saying

“The toughest problem to treat is frigidity, some say because a woman’s response is so subjective, varied and vulnerable to so many outside factors. In any case, success depends upon the goals of the patient. Some are happy to be having sex at all. Some want the moon.” 

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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.

Fighting Bricklayer - Masculinity

David James Fox On Aggressive Masculinity

Earlier this week, the artist Grayson Perry attacked Bear Grylls’ (that name!) for promoting a ‘useless’ brand of masculinity that’s ‘a hangover from a more violent age’. He argued that the sort of thing Bear (!) gets up to, hunting, killing, climbing et al, are useless in our modern age – well, obviously.

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Roots Frida Kahlo - Hair

Luisa Fernanda on hair shaming

My London friends had no idea that my natural hair is curly and unruly.

My natural hair is curly, undisciplined and frizzy. I have straightened it since I was very young. I liked it more: it was silky, sophisticated and, somehow, people reacted differently to it. I was definitely a fan of my straighteners.

My mum was a straight hair advocate, and I followed her steps. We used to spend hours and lots of money at the hairdresser’s. I never questioned our moth-daughter tradition of despising all hairstyles that were not straight and silky. When I came to London I realised that African hair, braids and corns where considered ‘unprofessional’.

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Fetish by Steph Wilson

Steph Wilson’s Fetish Photographs

Fetish; noun
1. a form of sexual desire in which gratification is linked to an abnormal degree to a particular object, item of clothing, part of the body, etc.

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