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.


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.

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.

Menstruation and Art: Fighting the Stigma

The female menstrual cycle has long been heralded as the pinnacle of cultural taboo. For centuries, women have been encouraged to pretend the monthly percolation of blood that drives the circle of life doesn’t exist. In a way paralleling John Mirk’s fifteenth Century parable, history has determined the menstrual cycle as something neither seen, heard, […]

Art Brut – Sivan Lavie

We spoke to issue one contributor Sivan Lavie about her work, childishness and outsider art.

Read more

Drink Deep or Taste Not – Andre Viking

Andre Viking is a Danish visual artist currently living and working in Copenhagen. He describes his work as ‘photography created in different ways to keep me exploring the medium’ and told us that he’s ‘investigating things that come from something personal but that I hope to be universal.’

He describes his ongoing project Drink Deep or Taste Not as ‘an investigation of my senses photographed in a virile manner. The photographs are made in a very intuitively way and somehow work as diary of things I’ve seen and felt a need to photograph without analysing or adjusting too much beforehand. In this way of working, with a simple pocket camera, the editing is the part of my process where I make sense and take important decisions. It’s where everything comes together, and the photographs begin to ask the questions I’m interested in as a group.

The title is inspired by Greek mythology: “A little learning is a dang’rous thing; drink deep, or taste not the Pierian spring,” The Pierian spring being a metaphorical source of knowledge of art and science. I like the title because it works for me in different ways – in a sensual and straightforward way but also in a more poetic way knowing way, where the sentence is derived from.

The work is a never-ending project that I one-day hope to make into a book.’

Andre Viking‘s work appears in LYRA’s first issue, which you can buy here.

Apathetic Journal

LYRA Speaks to Apathetic Journal

Apathetic Journal describes itself as ‘a thematic, biannual arts and design exhibition and publication, aimed at disproving the fallacy that youth is characterised by apathy.’ It was cofounded in Australia by Anador Walsh and Morgan Brennan, in 2015, and it’s first two issues focussed solely on Australian creatives, though its third issue, to be themed Log Off, will branch out internationally. I chatted, over email, to Anador about the Australian scene and the future of print media.

Read more

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.

Read more

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.

Read more