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MONO.KULTUR #38: GUS VAN SANT

Dear Friends,

in 1991, River Phoenix and Keanu Reeves, portraying two street prostitutes in My Own Private Idaho, took us on a trip to the dark side of the USA – a seedy, disturbing and vulnerable place entirely at odds with the great American Dream. It also launched one of Hollywood’s most unusual and distinct cinematic careers with Gus van Sant.

Since then, oscillating between classic Hollywood productions like Good Will Hunting or Milk, and highly experimental, challenging art house movies such as Drugstore Cowboy, Elephant or Last Days, Gus van Sant is one of the very few directors to work within and without Hollywood with remarkable ease and credibility, shaping a strangely addictive and consistently courageous filmography.

If anything, it is a recurring affinity for the fragile and excluded – addicts, hustlers, politicians, rock stars – and for youth, at that breaking point where innocence ends, that unites van Sant’s vast and diverse body of work.

Gus van Sant offers us a profoundly humane view of the world. It is a cinema defined by tenderness and slowness, preferring to observe rather than manipulate. A cinema of gaps and open endings, where mood reigns over meaning, where what we see and hear doesn’t quite add up, leaving us wondering.

In a suitably meandering interview with mono.kultur, Gus van Sant talked about his second chance as a director, inventing films on the spot and why Hollywood always wins.

Visually, the issue is heavily influenced by Gus van Sant’s quiet cinematic style, submitting itself to an endless horizon of American landscapes, leaving ample space to words, skies, and the occasional figure drifting into sight.

Winter will come to an end, we have been assured, and in the meantime, you can pass the time with our very latest issue, available as usual through our online store mono.konsum, and at the trusted book dealer of your choice very soon indeed.

Enjoy and all our best,
mono.kultur

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mono.kultur #38
GUS VAN SANT: IN LIMBO
“I’m not actually involved, but I’m observing.”

Winter 2014/2015 / English / 15 x 20 cm / 44 Pages
Interview by Anna Saulwick
Introduction by Kai von Rabenau
Film Stills by Gus van Sant
Design by Linda Riedl


MONDAY MUSIC: FLYING LOTUS

Admittedly, there is probably no one who has featured as often in our music column as Flying Lotus. But what can we do if the man continues to churn out the most impressive videos, one after the other? Point in case is his latest offering for Coronus, the Terminator, following a dying man through his last moments, hovering between this world and the next. Find out more in a short interview with the directors, Young Replicant, over at It’s Nice That.

MOCKED CRIMES

In the (post)digital era, our notion of time and ‘event’ is contradictory. As we all know, the heinous crimes of extremist group ISIS are devastating… The videos they publish online make the evil act, create a new ‘now’. The more we watch the videos, the more people they kill digitally – the event of death never transforms into a ‘past’.

Last Tuesday, ISIS captived two Japanese journalists Kenji Goto and Haruna Yukawa – unfortunately, they are left to uncertainty because of the Japanese government not paying the money ISIS demanded…

The response of the public was different than we have been witnessing so far. Rather than clicking the play button over and over again – to face with the burden of being able to do nothing – Japanese netizens reacted with mockery by the help of Twitter.

MEDIAN MODE

Rick Owens AW14

If you observe end of the year Google search term tallies, you’d see some of 2014’s most searched fashion argot were by healthgoth and athleisure, the toned alternative to nineties trends.  The list topper was, of course, the beast commonly known as normcore. Manifested even on the runway by designers such as Rick Owens and Heikki Salonen, the term defies definition.  Initially K-Hole–self-dubbed “trend forecasting group”–coined normcore to describe ultra-conventional Johns and Janes who don’t care a sock for fashion. Now it oscillates between describing ‘ugly’ yet nonchalantly quirky fashion born from thrift stores, hand-me-downs, and Target racks, the reclamation of traditionally mundane fabrics and garments into high fashion, and just plain boring fashion. If some of this sounds familiar despite the funny moniker, it’s because it’s fundamentally the same nostalgia wave that has flooded fashion for almost a decade now–and we have just gotten to the cusp of the 2000s, God have mercy.

While I appreciate the anti-commercial, anti-capitalistic, anti-trend philosophy that normcore ostensibly champions, in practice it’s quite the opposite. However, it’s hard not to appreciate the myriad ensembles that emerge from the normcore school, which are often hilarious and occasionally genius.  Just one last thing: is anyone tired of ironic fashion yet?

MONO.KULTUR #38 / SOUNDBITE 03

Out next week: mono.kultur #38.

The truth about everything

The Truth About Everything is the new group show opening tomorrow afternoon at Erratum Galerie, comprising works by artists Kandis Williams, GeoVanna Gonzalez, Mükerrem Tuncay and Mosa.

Erratum is a small and independent gallery in the basement of the backyard of a building complex in Kreuzberg, which opened its doors in 2013. The space is run by an independent group of artists from different fields, that specifically detach themselves from theory and academicism in the field of exhibition curating. Maybe that’s why their shows feel so honest and inviting — the space asks you to stay, to spend some time among the works and the artists and connect with the surrounding.

THE TRUTH ABOUT EVERYTHING (event details)

“When I was about fifteen years old we had retired to our house near Belrive, when we witnessed a most violent and terrible thunderstorm. It advanced from behind the mountains of Jura; and the thunder burst at once with frightful loudness from various quarters of the heavens. I remained, while the storm lasted, watching its progress with curiosity and delight. As I stood at the door, on a sudden I beheld a stream of fire issue from an old and beautiful oak which stood about twenty yards from our house; and so soon as the dazzling light vanished the oak had disappeared, and nothing remained but a blasted stump. When we visited it the next morning, we found the tree shattered in a singular manner. It was not splintered by the shock, but entirely reduced to thin ribands of wood. I never beheld anything so utterly destroyed.”
(Extract from Frankenstein by Mary Shelley)

“I went to open the room, I saw all this mess on the floor, cardboard, glass bottles over his cartoons, a real jumble. So I took the boxes, bottles, I put everything out.”
(Anna M. – Sala Murat, Bari)

Opening
January 24th
6 pm – 11 pm

Exhibition
January 24th – February 19th

ALTERNATIVES IN PRINT: ODISEO

The never-ending surge in independent publishing also has not spared that oldest genre of magazines that seemed long lost to the Internet: the erotic journal. With a good dozen of titles on titillating pleasures, Odiseo by the ever excellent Barcelona-based design practice Folch Studio sticks out.

In a refreshing modern take on the virtues of Playboy – of the olden days, that is, when they combined beautiful girls with high-quality writing by the finest of American authors and journalists – Odiseo offers a similar recipe: vaguely erotic imagery that plays along the idea that implied nudity is much more exciting than explicit sex, combined with strong essays on entirely unexpected social themes, such as gentrification or nuclear waste disposal. With the design crisp and classic, if somewhat predictable, it’s also a continuous work in progress with a limited lifespan, as revealed in a short interview here.

READING MATERIAL

Learn the recent trends in haute couture with i-D’s delightful video.  Featuring an impish spin on the classic “ABC” song by Toro y Moi.

BRONX BOYS

‘The Bronx felt like home to me because the people I photographed took me into their hearts and made me family. When you are family, a place can still be dangerous at times but it is home.’ It’s this discrepancy between violence and poverty on one side, family and belonging on the other, that are so perfectly captured in photographer Stephen Shames stunning series Bronx Boys, where he befriended and documented the inhabitants of one of the poorest areas in the US with a raw and touching honesty. The series was recently published as a book and you can find a short interview with Shames over at It’s Nice That.

Photography by Stephen Shames

Something Else

A professional skateboarder for almost two decades, Kenny Anderson is a triple dad, and the way he skates in this new clip for CONS is just too unpretentious, too effortless. What’s more, he’s going to be doing his thing in Berlin, later on tonight (free entrance, more info: see image below).