Posts

Fluidity – not fixed, firm, or stable.

008

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.

Jocelyn Allen, photographs from two projects

Jocelyn’s Allen’s self-portraiture explores, with poise, the blurred borders between self-exposure, exploration and protection. We present photos from two of her recent collections, Covering the Carpet (2014) and Amalgamated Anomalies (2014-15).  Read more

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.” 

Read more

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’.

Read more

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.

Read more

Censorship

Jerry Barnett On Censorship

In our first issue, the anti-censorship campaigner Jerry Barnett writes

It would seem unfair to label the British prudes, yet , the establishment in Britain has always seemed to be particularly determined to keep us far from erotica, pornography, and other instances of sexual expression. For a nation that prides itself as a global beacon of liberty, the UK has a multitude of censorship laws; a disproportionate amount of which are dedicated to keeping us all ‘safe’ from sex.

He goes on to argue that, far from simply keeping the people from sex, such laws represent – and underpin – the UK government’s large and powerful censorship machine. Earlier this week, a had a brief chat with Jerry about the issues raised in his article.

Read more

Condom Over Knife - Sasha Kurmaz - 2010 = Homonormativity

Richard McDonald on Homonormativity

In our first issue Richard McDonald asserts, simply, that

The ‘good life’ is a capitalist one.

From this position, he examines what happens when gay men are inducted into this good life through victories (marriage equality) and greater acceptance:

Gay (white, cis) men are now protected as members of the productive economy, able to buy into the dynamic of cruel optimism that lives in the image of the nuclear family: the stable job, the high wage, the relationship founded on marriage, the children born in wedlock, and so forth. This signals a momentous shift away from the radical rethinkings of kinship once so dear to gay men. As capitalism offers us a tool with which to carve out a space for ourselves in mainstream society, it tempts us to leave behind the radical aspects of gayness and queerness that it finds distasteful. When the dust settles, and your space is carved out, the template of sexual identity you have left is a very strict one. It represents a new wave of homosexual normality: the ‘homonormative’ template.

Read more

Woman's Emporium

Sh! Woman’s Emporium

I used to live across the street from Sh! Woman’s Emporium in Hoxton, but I didn’t go in until I interviewed their founder, Ky.

I’m not sure why: partly, until recently, men needed to be accompanied by a woman. And it was too close. I don’t like having to say hello to someone every morning (a problem I had with Goodhood) because, often, I am in no mood to do so. And, I always figured, if I needed to buy something from them I’d rather the experience be somewhat alien finding the erotic, generally, to reside in the unknown. After a few weeks, it simply ceased to really exist for me. It was just another shop I walked past, like Goodhood or, latterly, Prohibition Vapes.

Read more