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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.

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Felix Conran on Tools & Desire

For our first issue we asked the young designer Felix Conran to name an object of desire – he chose

Tools, wonders that speak the languages of stone, wood, cotton, glass, metal and many others, that allow our flesh and bones to summon fruits we have only theorised. Take a stone-chisel: it is brutal, heavy – suitable for bludgeoning a man. Yet, in the right hands, with the right mentality, it can summon the organic curves of a Henry Moore or the delicate features of Michelangelo’s David. It is the space between violence and beauty that design sits: a place, so tiny, where destruction is called creation, where materials are stripped of their raw attributes to become whole. This is only possible from touch, it is the ultimate iteration of touch – the hand that moves nature toward beauty, and toward money too.

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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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