Modelling creates a space where you cannot go anywhere or do anything but stand, sit or lie entirely still for an extended length of time, while your body is intensely scrutinised from all angles. As a trans person and artist, I found this process extremely profound. Trans bodies are scrutinised in public without our permission as people make rules for us and spread their misunderstanding to others in the form of disgust or hate. In this context I was displaying myself with full permission. It felt like a staunch challenge to a room of presumably cis people to stare and examine.
Zhang says of the piece, 'Lately I have been interested in the idea of “engineering encounters”; that for all the talk of other agencies, alien natures, symbiopoeisis and interspecies relations, these gestures are worthless unless there is a capacity for openness and sensitivity for other modes of encounter. It is not enough to say that everything is connected. We are all being eaten alive, and that is a good thing.'
i cannot help but think that only a white, cis, gay man living in a liberal city could pen something so ignorant and panglossian. throughout the piece jones downplays the lived experiences of abuse and violence for young trans and non-binary people, and queers of colour in rural parts of the world, and yes, even in london. any number of these people might have told jones how wrong he is about their lives had he thought to listen. this is what those patronising history lessons are trying to teach us: to give those queers still struggling a hand up, not to pull up the ladder and ignore their plight.
we recently spoke with edmund farmer about the upcoming sixth issue of his zine, pound shop. here's what he had to say.
pound shop is a zine that responds to our commodification of ourselves through social media, and the idea that, 'when you don’t pay for the product, you are the product.' it’s not an attempt to explain or counter the way we present ourselves favourably with pack shots and close ups, tag lines and small print, but it’s a response. if you’ve ever felt sexually attracted to a cartoon character, or have memories from childhood that may have been an advert for a he-man toy, there will be something in the zine to make your antennae twitch.
the title of the zine leapt into me after i came back from a trip to asia. i’d been living on seven sisters road in finsbury park in 2008, noticing lots of pound or 99p shops popping up on this same road, seeing the trade spill out on to the streets in a cascade of disposable vacuum-formed plastic items like buckets and spatulas and trays, and then in india i saw the reverse; trade was moving behind glass, air-conditioned and guarded by men with rifles at the door, as shops and malls slowly encroached on the traditional street markets selling that exact same marbled plastic detritus next to pyramids of spices and holi paint powders. at the same time as this i was on more than a few sex apps and sites and noticing how all of us were marketing ourselves for sex. 4 years later i had 20 or so portraits in a folder, and started to consider ways to share them in a way that wasn’t as disposable and unengaged as a facebook album. i didn’t need likes, i needed income… so i took inspiration from friends like sina sparrow (art fag) and adrian lourie (meat), and started editing the first issue of a zine. it’s limited to 200 editions; so it’s an artwork that exists in 200 sites around the world. i’ve always loved books and their design, and always felt excited by the formulae of cover design in series of books. the restriction of formula can bring out the most exciting ideas or at least frame them in such a way that encourages consideration of visual design decisions, because there is a range of responses to compare to.
all of my work is a response to imagery, which through the process of working into, avoiding, resolving and interpreting, i eventually discover meaning in. i wish i had ideas for pictures but i don’t – all my ideas are for stories, which i hope to turn into sequential art soon – the next project after pound shop will be narrative-led. the picture always starts with a photo because i can’t create something new without deforming and defacing something that already exists.
i have a hunger for beauty like everybody else, and anything that fascinates me, i want to cut it in half like an avocado and touch its slippery, stony heart. but i don’t want to make ironic things, retro things, violent things, ephemeral pop-culture things, i want that aching thing of beauty like when you see a photo on tumblr and you know everything would be alright if only it was yours; you’d love it like nobody else ever could and it will always satisfy and reward you like it does right there in that uncredited photo on that pretentious hipster porn blog. but I want that beauty to be convulsive. that grace jones album cover with the open mouth – jean paul goude was inspired by the agonized scream grace made whilst delivering their son. He amplified and intensified it and made something unforgettable and stylish from it. I suppose there’s a precedent there in francis bacon’s popes, which also have echoing repeated lines and a howling mouth, and an icon of power showing vulnerability.
when i started out i intended to hide behind this pseudonym, typ0, so I could be free to create without any embarrassment or persecution… but i gradually realized i’ve got nothing to hide and I’m not really looking to offend anyone. i still sign off the zines with it; i suppose consistency is a more significant virtue to me than comprehension.
pound shop issue 6 is available for purchase here.
these nighttimes come and San Andreas is a radial glow that gunshots crack like
easy plate glass.
baby, I think I should take myself more seriously.
i think these kind of thoughts when I’m up here:
that I don’t want to end up like my father,
that that’s the deal with the drug trade, isn’t it, it attracts the wrong kind of character?
I didn’t dream I’d spend my Saturdays
snorting Methoxetamine with my sister-in-law.
I didn’t dream I would be thumbing my way up Grapeseed Main
with a plastic suitcase.
But it’s true you’ve followed me through all the motels, blind as a
mouse, blind as my black aviators.
At night I sip an ice cold Sprunk
and I close my eyes and remember:
the Jelly Palms
the Fishtail Palms
the parking lots
how far away they are
I see the Hawaiian patterns of your pants, the
bubblegum sizzle of your heart.
Our true romance is baked
into the hillside with a
fast car and a chance
I bet every bit of us could be
My father used to line up Piβwassers on the wall of an empty lot like they were Easter
eggs and shoot them off
when I left school I shouted have a nice life you pathetic psychopath!
I went to the city to make real money.
Lately I’ve given up bending the ears
of my customers
and a prostitute:
it hardly seems worth my time.
But they all admit my breasts look excellent on billboards
my lollipop goes on forever.
Lately I’ve wanted to meet some real gamers (except most of them are pricks):
when I speak to them I’m nervous, pulling awkwardly at my
hotpants, watching the turquoise tank in reception, its
swirls of glowlight tetra fish.
It’s nice to get out of town. I could wrap my voluptuous mouth
around this mountain,
suck the fir trees out…
I could lay my tongue against
I don’t think anyone really understands my motivations.
But the thing that gets me about Brick Kid is not just that he thinks he’s it
but just how swiftly his promises fizzle: he thinks
he’s in love with freedom
he operates better
an LSPD scanner taped
to his dash.
by alice seville
first published in the literateur.
Words fall from your mouth like silk,
Mine irk, leave stains on the night.
I want to give myself to you.
The hollow of my throat,
My cock warm with blood,
Like clear skies in June.
I am treading water.
A veil that flirts with the light,
Falls from above as water,
I cannot see you.
You traced the nape of my neck,
Finger with broken nails,
Cut at the break.
Our gaze entangled,
An onlooker looked.
The sky danced with you,
Embraced by Ara,
Star and Crater overfloweth.
The night was youth,
The night was you,
Vast as rain.
I saw the devout in the shallow light of dawn.
Ink bled night into morning milk,
You lay still atop the lake.
Flora swelled under your skin,
Pink rose in claret,
You smelt of clematis.
Your lips drew the lake in,
Carved your skin alabaster,
And made you whole.
words by edward palmer, illustrations by alex c. foley.
for trace.'s inaugural show, misha mn created a confessional zine devoted to a recent breakup of his, complete with real excerpts of text messages between the two parties. entitled heal thyself, through religious iconographic imagery and kaleidoscopic collage-work, the zine recounted in excruciating detail the process of recovering from heartbreak. now, exclusively for trace., misha gives us his guide to getting over the man that spurned you.
top ten witchy ways to get over your latest breakup
1. put on your red shoes and dance the blues.
get ya best gals over and get into it. dress up. drink wine. get high by the beach. go out dancing. let yourself have fun. that boy stole from you; he tried to steal your time, your light and your soul. he might have sucked your spirits out through your dick/pussy, so imbibe more spirits, the ones that come from glass bottles. drink vodka with devil and dance to donna summer.
2. treat yourself better than he ever did.
hun, go wild with your pay check. buy yourself a new dress, a jockstrap, a big ice cream, a massive pizza, anything you want. treat yourself. love yourself. so what if you maybe can’t give your mate back that tenner you borrowed last night at the bar, she loves you and understands what you are going through, she’d want you to buy those rose scented candles too if she knew how much your aching senses needed them. your soul cures the senses, and your senses cure the soul.
3. tell your mother (ave satani).
take that goddamn hoodie he gave you off/out of your bed and lay it on the ground. light candles and encircle it with salt. burn pink roses. call out to the eternal goddess, the divine feminine, the sacred mother. tell her what he did to you, how he hurt you, how he let you down, who he left you for, how he made you feel. cry a little. let the goddess wipe your tears from your cheeks, lay your head in her lap and sleep. don’t worry, mother will protect you. she’ll send holy messengers to peck out his eyes whilst you dream of happier days.
4. live your best aphrodite life.
you can watch my fat ass twist, boy, as I bounce to the next dick, boy. make love with wild abandon. go home with anyone you want. don’t fuck with weak boys; get you someone who can make you feel again. choose someone who will worship your cock, pray to your pussy, kiss your palms. go wild. piss on someone. drink champagne out of an arsehole. bring a few friends, make a weekend of it. moisturise your skin with someone else’s juices. look absolutely glowing on that bus/taxi/street when you finally go home.
5. laugh in the face of death.
go out and buy yourself a dozen white roses. put them in a vase in your bedroom where you can see them every day. write down the name of that boy. hold it, and focus all of your feeling into the paper, all your anger, resentment, self-pity, even left over love that you have for him, let it be contained in this small scrap. submerge it in the water of the vase, beneath the roses, leave it there, let it drown. white roses absorb emotional trauma and mental anguish. every day, those roses will wither a little bit more, and so too will you pain. by the time the roses are dead, your sorrow will have ceased to exist. throw it all out with the trash, and have a glass of prosecco.
6. tell all of your friends.
i mean all of them. tell them everything. tell people you meet in bars. tell people you work with. tell the new friends you meet in the smoking areas of bars. tell strangers on the street. tell everyone exactly how awful that boy is. expose him. reveal him. you are a beautiful, powerful being, a god-given ray of sunshine, and if someone has been so dark-sided as to actually hurt you, then he must be punished. don’t let him slink around like he hasn’t done anything, hand in hand with his new victim. let everyone know how awful he actually is. throw a drink at him if you want to, it might make you feel better. you won’t know ‘til you try.
7. don't hate the other woman.
that boy left you for someone else, but that is no excuse to attack them. she didn’t betray you, like that boy did. she didn’t let you believe that she loved you, like that boy did. she didn’t cancel dates with you because she was seeing someone else, like that boy did. she didn’t sleep with you one night and someone else the next, like that boy did. save your anger for that boy. save all your venom for that boy. don’t dilute your bile by splitting it with someone who means nothing to you. save it all up so when you can finally spit in the face of that boy, he can feel it burn like acid on his skin.
8. the curse.
may his sky turn black above. may he choke on another’s tongue. may he never fall in love. may he smother in his lust. may his desire turn stale. may his dreams turn to dust. may jealousy prevail. may a lack of faith disturb him. may the coldness of love’s hand and its bitter distance confuse him. may he never understand. let the image of my face pressed up against his face and the time that he was mine be burned into his mind. may he never fall in love.
9. wash that man right out of your hair.
or better yet, cut it. cut your hair off. cut your hair as if you were slitting throats (new style, new you!). shave it all off. don’t let there be a single hair left on your head that he has touched. take that hair and bind it around that scrap of a note he gave you once, the one with his number on it because your phone had run out of battery. think about his dick, how he gave it to you, how it felt in your hands, how it felt pressed against you in bed. burn it. burn it with the flame from a black candle. inhale the smoke from the paper and your own burning hair. put the candle out with your spit. congratulations, you’ve just put a binding spell on him, and now he can’t get any more erections.
10. live your best life.
compile a 42 page zine of original content, photos, collages, hand written notes, personal texts, details of what he did to you, accounts of the men you slept with after that boy, poetry, witchcraft and self-care. exhibit it in a gallery. sell it to your friends. sell it to strangers. feature it in international publications. send it to be included in underground american fag punk zines. send a copy of it to that boy, go on, shove it right through his door at two in the morning. write an accompanying letter to go along with it, drunk out of your mind, telling him how angry you were with him and how much better you feel now. tell him this is your closure. scrawl bastard on his front step, but with hearts instead of “a”s. go home and sleep for two days. delete his number. it’s over. you’ve healed.
we sit down to ask dr. sharon husbands about her new role as an agony aunt in her monthly show at dalston super store, ask dr. shaz! or, more accurately, we ask and she answers brilliantly whilst rejecting the premise of the question, making us feel dumb.
we review the wolfgang tillmans exhibition at the tate modern, 2017.
in january we had our inaugural exhibition, entitled self-gratification, at dynamite gallery in brighton. for the opening night we had friends of the collective, naked boys reading, give a performance.