[-empyre-] Extension on Sabela's text

Kristine Stiles awe3 at frontier.com
Thu Mar 22 00:10:07 EST 2012

Dear all,

Terrific commentary on dress and body decoration in the 1970s/80s, as well as some of the sources of tattooing in the emergence and "emergency of urban tribes," that Sabela notes below, and about which my Duke colleague Mariana Torgovnick wrote in Gone Primitive: Savage Intellects, Modern Lives (1991). There are other sobering sources about which I wrote in "Shaved Heads and Marked Bodies: Representations from Cultures of Trauma" (1993). Perhaps some would be interested in that text: http://www.duke.edu/web/art/stiles/shaved_heads.html


On Mar 20, 2012, at 7:48 PM, Michele Danjoux wrote:

> Hello All,
> I am fascinated by these discussions and feel that I can now interject and extend this notion of (shared) identity and self through body modification (Sabela) to also include dress as further extension. The 70's and 80's were indeed interesting times where social movements influenced the emergence of new sub-cultures and visual and sonic expressions of shared identities- fuelled by political and academic debate of the time. Beliefs systems adorned bodies and skins - in addition to body modifications such as tattooing, specific items of clothing were adopted and often customised to achieve the desired attitude of wearing and crafting of identity.
> Also in the 1970’s on the streets of London came the rise of black power and black consciousness. Men and women began to wear African tops and debates on black identity were similarly expressed through dress and styling with natural Afro hairstyles also enjoyed. (How different from today’s de rigueur straightening of unruly locks in the capital city of Kenya (inspiring such products as Nairobi Hair Relaxer) to achieve that chic and desired urban look).
> The body is central to the urban space, the clothed and adorned body, the naked body, the absent body where only bones and cloth remain (reference to Ana's post)… Bradley Quinn in his book The Fashion of Architecture, Fashioning the Metropolis says:
> “Clothes, being the form in which the fashioned body is made visible, give the wearer a public identity while fostering the construction of the self.”
> Kind Regards,
> Michele
> -----Original Message-----
> From: empyre-bounces at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au on behalf of Ana Valdés
> Sent: Tue 3/20/2012 1:05 PM
> To: soft_skinned_space
> Subject: [-empyre-] translation of Sabela's text
> The actual extended practice of the tattoing has their roots of the
> emergency of the urban tribes, associated with the movements around rock
> music and punk in the 70:s and 80:s.
> A selfinflicted sign of identity, traditionally the different uses of
> tattoin has been linked with rites de passage, initiation rites, belonging,
> hierachies or stigmatization. In this forum I shared the experience of the
> MAPI Museum, to try of expose the link between these practices and the
> bodypainting of differen indigenous communities, both actual as old and
> other kind of intervention showable in faces and bodies, very similar to
> our time's piercings, pendants and more aggresive interventions implicating
> deformating and appendixes.
> The incorporation of different tendences in the clothing, hair,
> facepainting and "attitude" of the urban tribes show a disconformity
> regarding the mainstream conventions of uses and fashion. This
> disconformity walk around the streets; their shelter is the appereance, it
> gives the implicite etablishing of collectives which interchange don't seem
> have other meaning than the gests and models of behaviour tending to
> accentuate the difference with the rest of people. These colletives impose
> upon the urban landscape a kind of movement in different times.
> From the loudness to the low key the members of those groups, linked or
> representated by musical styles where they feel they belong, they use the
> tattoo as part of their language: those marks which survive the pass of the
> time, which power resides both in the intimate evocation which exclude all
> "others", as in the show off of their designs.
> In Uruguay, most in Montevideo, the antecedents of this particular social
> expression goes to the end of the Uruguayan dictatorship, in the 80:s.  There
> is the beginning of the circulation of groups of young people with dark
> clothes and colorful accesories, pale faces and expressions showing they
> were nightowls and the use of alcohol, etc. They went to specific bars,
> pubs in special hours; displacements marking the limits between territories
> which fragility could be interpretated as frustration or as capacity of
> constructing microclimates, a kind of defense.
> Tattoomakers and tattoed were together during a month in a museum. The
> museum was a legitimating institution, constructing the collective memory,
> keeper of Art and the history of the old, which traditional role in the
> last decades has been analyzed, questioned and reformulated and whose
> social and cultural responsability it's not far from the educational
> emergency, the need of inclusion and the construction of citizenship.
> I share with you these open lines.
> --
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