GOOBLE GOBBLE ONE OF US

Artists Roger Ballen and Asger Carlsen’s project No Joke can propel a fragile psyche into a state of vertigo. While Carlsen is known for his digitally-contorted silhouettes, Ballen’s work has long focussed on interior projections of the ego. This mind-body duality is the surface on which the hallucinogenic theater of No Joke takes form.

Through layering Ballen’s prehistoric-looking collages and sketches upon Carlsen’s liquified portrait photography, the artists created an enigmatic series in black-and-white. Grimy blankets cover bodies that rest serenely against bedroom walls. A bare-chested Ballen poses as a ventriloquist, propping his Carlsen dummy up on his lap. A large hand reaches for a crouching woman’s pelvis, her face painted and her body smeared with gaping smiley faces. A fishbowl-faced woman, whose outstretched arms have been replaced with a second torso, is pinched by a bystander’s smudged fingers. The masked subjects are rendered deformed, misshapen, with clubs for arms and wooden prostheses, as if created by a deranged Photoshop god.

10_Stretching
"Stretching"
8_Sniff
"Sniff"
26_Goatface
"Adjustment"
36_Carlsen and Ballen
"Carlsen and Ballen"
Scared Cat
"Scared Cat"
33_Listening
"Listening"
21_Morphed
"Morphed"
11_Crouching
"Crouching"
18_Threesome
"Threesome"
16_Outstretched
"Outstretched"
14_Up and Cover
"Up and Cover"
5_Slumbering_REPRINT
"Slumbering"

A creepy intimacy hovers over the spaces and figures in No Joke, yet the result is oddly whimsical. With Ballen residing in Johannesburg and Carlsen living in New York City, these images were the product of a digital correspondence that opened up the space for a kind of kinship. “I guess I always had a feeling when I was growing up that I wasn’t part of the group in a way. I think that photography and making art has helped me get closer to a sane world, so to speak,” Asger Carlsen said in an interview, “It’s like you have this awkward feeling, you don’t feel comfortable around people, and for me, these images are getting rid of this feeling a little bit.” Taken as such, the works reflect an attempt to deal with interpersonal awkwardness by pushing it into a physical presence. Like the Quantum Zeno Effect, a theory wherein particles only come to a stable form when examined under a microscope, Ballen and Carlsen’s bodies seem to explore the contours of what the body looks like in the dark – before it is wedged into form by social codes. This is the realest form of surreality, that which turns into something normal when it steps into the light.

 

No Joke was exhibited at Dittrich & Schlechtriem (Berlin, 2016). A catalogue documenting the work was published by Mörel Books.

no joke
dittrich & schlechtriem
asger carlsen
roger ballen

Published in

Issue #31 — Winter 2016/2017HELMUT LANG

Issue # 31 — Winter 2016/2017

From 1986 to 2005, Helmut Lang systematically deconstructed every assumption about clothing and the way it is worn and communicated. As he himself once said, “I kept all the traditions and shades that were good — and then re-thought it all.” The Austrian designer’s lists of “firsts” is so long it could double as conceptual art. Lang was one of the first designers to collaborate with visual artists. The first to show clothing for men and women in a single presentation. The first to pioneer backstage photography as we know it today with Juergen Teller. The first to move a fashion house across the Atlantic … and the list goes on. In a 48-page dossier, 032c Issue 31 explores THE HELMUT LANG LEGACY and how his abrupt exit from the industry in 2005 has been felt like phantom limb in the world of fashion. The comprehensive study features essays by Ingeborg Harms and Ulf Poschardt, a roundtable with Tim Blanks, Olivier Saillard, and Neville Wakefield, an interview with Lang himself, as well as rare material from the Helmut Lang archive.

Is Calabasas the new Abu Dhabi? Are the Californian suburbs the perfect place for new energy experiments in modern apparel? In an editorial shot by MERT & MARCUS and conceptualized by KANYE WEST, 032c travels to the Los Angeles exurb of Calabasas to bathe in the dust of the Wests’ under-construction home designed by Axel Vervoordt. The shoot features cameos by KIM KARDASHIAN WEST, KHLOÉ KARDASHIAN, AMINA BLUE, TRAVIS SCOTT, and others.

“At the time we started collaborating, everything in the world of art and fashion was polished. Everything was smooth, so we felt that Prada must be rough.” For the past decade, a windowless concrete hall at the PRADA headquarters has become an architectural gymnasium for REM KOOLHAAS and his firm OMA/AMO. Traveling from Rotterdam to Milan, architecture critic Jack Self examines the phenomenon of the firm’s catwalks for the Italian mega-house, exploring how Prada and OMA/AMO have teamed up to create the foundation of a new corporate aesthetic.

“You fuck. Or you don’t fuck. You can’t fuck a little.” In a 2012 reportage, writer Alexander Gorkow and photographer Andreas Mühe followed RAMMSTEIN on their tour of America. Since then, our private obsession with this document has become a matter of political urgency. What was once the anti-capitalist spectacle of an East German rock band in 2012, now reads like a seismograph for the right-wing political landscape of 2016. Here, we witness ideology’s opposite: raw energy unhinged from the burden of truth.

As our contemporary economy grows to demand CREATIVITY from all of its citizens, it has become increasingly unclear exactly what “creativity” is. In a double-feature illustrated by the Japanese photographer Kenta Cobayashi, Joachim Bessing speaks with Wolfgang Ullrich and Lars Vollmer on how society’s idea of a creative ethos has transformed within the digital revolution.

“People say this is vandalism.” 032c’s Bianca Heuser and photographer Nadine Fraczkowski take us inside ANNE IMHOF’s Angst, a grand and opaque artwork that has drifted across the world like a low-pressure system. Furnished with smoke machines, sleeping bags, razors, and bongs, the three-act immersive opera is a training camp for the denizens of hyper-capitalism.

Founded as sneaker blogs in 2005, HYPEBEAST and HIGHSNOBIETY have grown into large and disruptive forces in fashion. Simultaneously fuelling and gorging on a new generation’s appetite for content, they have set a rabid pace that has multinational brands following suit. Travelling up the feed and towards “the heart of content,” 032c’s Thom Bettridge and photographer Lukas Wassmann visit the companies’ respective HQs in Hong Kong and Berlin to suss out what this revolution spells for the landscape of media at large.

In the “SSENSE Files,” we present scenes of cross-platform madness from our work at ssense.com. The section features seven interviews with a range of cultural producers from rappers LIL YACHTY and SCHOOLBOY Q to jewelry designer GAIA REPOSSI, stylist ANDREW RICHARDSON, author NATASHA STAGG, artist SIMON DENNY, and artist/musician FATIMA AL QADIRI.

In our fashion section, WILLY VANDERPERRE and OLIVIER RIZZO shoot Clara 3000 in the editorial “Don’t Dream It’s Over.” GOSHA RUBCHINSKIY and 032c fashion director Mel Ottenberg team up for the ultimate study on Seinfeld-chic, while PIERRE DEBUSSCHERE and 032c fashion editor Marc Goehring vaporize Flemish baroque into a warped digital reality.

This issue, we also proudly introduce our “BERLIN REVIEW,” a section dedicated to our favorite printed matter of the season.

All this and more on 296 pages!