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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.

On Pride and Vanity

Tuchi - Gallo

Tuchi – Gallo

 

“Pride goes before destruction,” we read in proverbs, “and a haughty spirit before a fall.”

“Vanity involves esteeming oneself for goods that are only estimable in opinion – that is, only because people agree to esteem them.”

Jeff J.S. Black teaches at St. John’s College in Annapolis, Maryland. He is the author of Rousseau’s Critique of Science: A Commentary on the Discourse on the Sciences and the Arts. He is working on a book on human nature and human enhancement in modern political thought. He frequently suffers from double vision.

Read his full essay “It’s all about me” in LYRA’s second issue here.

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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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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Ailsa Ogden Feminism

Nikki van der Gaag on Feminism & Men

In our first issue, the feminist campaigner Nikki van der Gaag argues that men, boys especially, must be inducted into feminism if the movements success is to be ensured because

boys who witness their fathers using violence against their mothers are more likely to use violence against their partners when they grow up. At the other end of the spectrum, boys who see their fathers sharing the housework, looking after the children and being respectful towards women are likely to replicate this positive behaviour when they become adults.

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We’ve launched our Kickstarter!

We launched our Kickstarter yesterday, and – obviously – celebrated last night. Well, to clarify, we all stayed up – at our respective laptops – until the small hours. Still, at least one of our team popped to the pub, for one drink.

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We Lived Like Strangers

Giorgio Bosisio describes We Lived Like Strangers, which he made with the composer Daniel Kidane, as “a restless stream of conscious and seemingly unconscious images and notes, that explore the distance and interaction between the ‘I’ and the ‘Other'”. To us, it seems an exceptional homage to forgotten places and glossy memories.

Giorgio Bosisio is a filmmaker and director from Italy; he shot our Kickstarter video in March.