Zie is about the notion of gender as a performance, one given to us at birth. During the performance there is a dialogue of what this idea means to me, and how it relates to the wider spectrum of social norms and gender roles. In an evolving world, we are still all bound to typical ideas of what we should do and what we should look like, if we are male or female. The gender neutral pronown 'Zie' is placed as a suitable metaphor to openly discuss the wider issue.

This was performed on the 28th September, 2016 at Marwood Cafe, Brighton.

 

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This started it all for me. A person, who I discovered at 14 years old, the college dropout. Although I was not in college at the time.
I remember hearing through the wire, like what is this, it sparked something. It sparked something within. I remember hearing the beat selection and how it varied so much from 50 cent and eminem at the time. And, I found myself lost in the albums.
Hooked from an early age, he slowly became my biggest influence. I was at college, I went to the printed with all my files to print and came to collect them from the printers. Walked back, ready to hand in, and that moment. That moment,  I will never forget. It was a moment that made me implode from the inside with hope that things would get exciting. And they did.
I realised my potential at 17 and have not taken my eye off it since, and Its slowly being chipped away at.

Last call, twelve minutes, got me feeling pretty hyped when I was working on my own things, and I loved the concept of a talking track, which has since been retaken over and over and over which only gives credit to Kanye. He talked of his journey and he made others feel as though they could also do this and well. It was exciting to hear. Raw and passionate and the spice of arrogance that has taken Kanye to where he needs to go.

Upon reflection, I see his musical influence, as one, but his personality too, as a huge inspiration. We can look at that in several ways, and his personality can be read in several ways. If you don't get him you don't like him because you would assume he is an asshole. But, if you listen to his music, and see him interviews, look past the facade created by fame, we are looking at an unbelievably impressive person. It is ideas.
He has been thrown into the spot light and tussled right and left like a lion, and his reactions were to react. Then the ideas started coming and it was just power. It was really exciting to see such a person rise from the ranks of music, but on a more art level, instead of just sound.
He actually had something to say.
Not everyone can say that these days.

I was in a tough spot emotionally and discovered a sadness that I always knew was there, but just didn't understand it. I would play The Life of Pablo, because it had a powerful feeling that managed to irradiate anything bad creeping into my mind. The narrative swept you up and you had no choice but to follow. It was carried with conviction, pure power.
The album may have come under scrutiny due to the subjects he talks about, but like most of his albums, he is dealing with his life at the current moment. If he is surrounded by famous people and money, then he would then talk about that because he wouldn't need to talk about anything else.

I had a talk with someone about the album and he said that the new album didn't take the fans into account. It was no longer catchy, were his words. I went on to say, his progression as an artist is for himself, not to sell album, he is kanye west, it will always sell. His progression is our progression too, and he shouts, swears and bellows for change. When he discusses famous people, people don't understand his music, because it is irony and he plays off this all the time. He is a misrepresented person, I believe and this is down to that fact that people see him as an asshole, but in fact, he is just honest. Famous people are not always real, because they do not live in a real world. Kanye discusses this but has removed the filter from his twitter page and lets anything go, and that is something we should all try to do. There is so much going on in our heads, lets let them out somewhere.

Regarding the twitter breakdown he had after the album was released, someone I knew said they would do a new project where they would insult him over twitter to see if they would get a response. I didn't get it, but I politely played interested to save face. But it is this anger and hatred towards the man that leaves people not willing to understand his music and feel his beat production and feeling that is powering through. It is after all, doused in arrogance and it is abrasive, he says things that he shouldn't say, but much like Tyler the Creator with his worrying lyrics, you cannot take them seriously. You have to look at them as a metaphor for the situations across the world. To the person who says he doesn't make music for fans, there are bigger and more important things out there than pleasing fans to make money, that is not progress, that is not anything. Music has the power to change and create something through the widespread reach that the words get. Through the medium of being an artist, he can project his thoughts to the world to try and highlight the things that are wrong in society, at the same time maintaining his lifestyle that he has earned through hard work. 

We can look at his music and say, I like it, but he's so arrogant. Or, we can take it as both are the same. And, his personality is the music and the music is his personality, but the lines get blurred to create a fictional world. The claims to Pablo, Picasso, the hail of being a lyrical genius, they are all ideas around his confidence to succeed. It's like a kid saying, look at me, I am David Bowie. It is aspiration, because we live in a generation today, where we are told to look up to people, but never succeed ourselves. Famous people are there for our entertainment, watch them on the tv, listen to them, but you will never be them. Forget that.
His music is a message to say, you don't need to look up to me, because I don't care about you, because why would he. Why would we care so much about him? Why would we have debates about how it is immoral to like him when he interrupted Taylor Swift.
How is that even a conversation?

The fictional character that shimmers between his music and personal life create a balance where we are shaken and given something but we are sometimes too stubborn to see. You can see him as an asshole, or you can see him as someone who is pissed off at the world, who is angry about the happenings and wants to make a change through his position of power. He is not abusing that power, merely aspiring for change, always.

And so I go back to when I was handing in my college work, you think we can still get that deal with Roccafella? You think I can make it to university, you think I can get to America and go on my own, you think I can qualify as a teacher, you think I can turn my biggest secret into a practice, you think I can run two marathons in seven days, you think I can conqueror depression, you think I can leave my whole life and start a new one somewhere else.
Listening to Kanye from an early age gave me the passion to not care anymore about all the things that go on, to stop you dreaming, and instead turn that into a drive to show you that we are all champions.

So I ask again, you think we can still get that deal with Roccafella?

 

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How many times have you said sorry in your life?

How many times was it a valid apology? Did you need to say sorry?

sometimes we say sorry for being ourselves, sometimes we apologise on behalf of other people’s insecurities and tone down the way we are to apease others.

 

A lot of this comes from angst and frustration towards the norm and we do not want to break it for others, we just don’t want to take the same route.

adventure,

you know those moments when you get lost in the eyes of another and they take you somewhere, when you run around with complete excitement and jubilation.

Opression,

This is something that relates to normality, the need to be normal so we are blending in, leaving us blander than the grey buildings around us, as hollow as the dead trees in the park

These are all constructs we don’t need.

 

All we need is money.

Then we need happiness

I don’t mean that money is the provider of happiness

But happiness comes once we have somewhere to sleep

All we need is shelter and food and survival is taken care of

 

And then the adventure begins,

This adventure can be anywhere, it can mean anything, it can create any situation without the financial backing needed to have fun.

The phrase, ‘ive got no money for fun’ is a ridicluous statement.

In most cases £5 is all you need, unless you live in london

(but then there are many reasons that london is probably bad for your health)

 

LETS VANISH INTO THE POOLS OF OPEN MINDS AND CREATE SOME KIND OF MAGIC EQUATIONS FOR LIFE,

RE THINK THE WHOLE PROCESS AND MAKE SOMETHING THAT MATTERS

MAKE SOMETHING THAT ACTUALLY MAKES A DIFFERENCE INSTEAD OF GOING SIDEWAYS.

WHY ON EARTH WOULD WE WASTE TIME, ADORING PEOPLE WE DO NOT KNOW, WHEN WE SHOULD LOOK TO OUR LOCAL HEROES

THE PEOPLE IN OUR LIVES THAT STRIVE FOR MORE, THAT DARE TO DREAM FOR THINGS WITHOUT PROFIT OR CAREER GAINS

 

YEARN FOR FEELING, EXCITEMENT AND A FUCKING GOOD LIFE,

WITHOUT ALL OF THAT, YOU DON’T HAVE ANYTHING

IF I DIDN’T HAVE MY PASSIONS, I WOULDN’T BE DOING ANYTHING INTERESTING IN MY LIFE, IF I WENT TO WORK, THEN WENT HOME, THEN THERE IS NO POINT OF WAKING UP THE NEXT DAY, WHAT IS THE POINT OF AN EXISTENCE LIKE THAT

WE NEED TO BE BREAKING NEW GROUND, OPENING THINGS UP FOR PEOPLE TO ACTUALLY FEEL LIKE THEY CAN DO THINGS, ANYTHING, THAT IS SUITABLE FOR THEM TO ACHIEVE

 

DON’T LET ANYONE TELL YOU YOU CAN’T DO SOMETHING

BECAUSE THEY DON’T KNOW ANYTHING

There are no limitations to the abilities of human beings, if what we are pursuing is heart felt and interesting.

 

 

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Gender as performance, 2016

Gender as performance, 2016

Constructed gender
 

It's the impossible question to ask yourself. Spirals into doubt and creates genuine fright to your system. Alot of people never know themselves. A lot of people never really want to find out, and that's okay. I have found it my life's mission to understand it, much to the dismay of my own body. The construction of gender has a lot of variants. They are all personal but fit a constructive sentiment within society. Who are you, is a question that is constantly thrown at us everytime we pass someone in the street.  If you seem different, feel different you are seen and perceived as different. The plight that comes with this constructs our own perceptions of ourselves.  I spend a lot of time looking at myself in the mirror, not to see how good I look, a lot of the time I look shabby, but to see what's really going on inside yourself. And the eyes are the portal to this. We have a vessel. We have a spirit. Not in the religious sense, but we have two separate parts that make one person, you. The vessel carries your spirit. Your spirit is what people respond to. Some people connect via vessels. Some people connect via spirits. Both experiences are different. Society is set up to take the vessel as the first port of contact and we are constantly misrepresenting people as we meet them. We judge before we know, unless the spirit is particularly special.    Some people radiate. And this can be down to several factors. Maybe it's to do with knowing yourself. If we know ourselves, and carry it with a happy conviction, why would anyone hurt us or even judge us. Human beings are always radiating feelings back and forth. We think were hard at work, but really were trying to survive our own battle inside. How much you get to know yourself determines how good our lives will be, in terms of simplicity. If we accept a 'normal' view of ourselves we follow a logical route and life is pleasant. If you know me, pleasant is something that makes me uncomfortable. But that's just me, everyone is different. If we begin to explore, and delve and take the time to know and listen what's inside us, then we take a rocky route through life. If we listen to our heart, then we are always ready to be hurt, in every aspect of life. But, we are open to exploration and complete self worth.  You never need to impress anyone, because why would we ever aspire to do that. Yes, we can take care in our appearance, that helps too. But we can also, present a truly honest version of ourselves and this is the ultimate happiness. This applies to all of us. I'll just explain what I've found out through this process.  

 

I am shy, I am timid, I am a worrier. I am sensitive and follow my heart not my head. My head usually serves up feelings that link to my heart. Through this sensitivity, I understand what my spirit yearns for, compassion and love. Adventure, excitement, all of these things that we want, that always cost nothing. I always struggled with masculinity, but always knew I was masculine. As kids at school around me were following the latest trends at school, I was skipping and singing les miserables to myself. At a stage when we were still kids. Something faded, into teenage years. Oppression, let's call it that. I was discovering things about myself that I had no way of comprehending, in the situation I was in at school and how life was progressing. It created turmoil within myself. I conformed. From the child who would always insist on wearing a bow tie and waistcoat to Sainsburys, had a bowl cut and said anything that came to mind. I found myself when I was a child but I lost it when I was a teenager. Growing up under a rock, I never really did anything out of the ordinary, played racing games, games of all varieties. Talked about girls at school that we'd never get, and with heinsight the girls we didn't really want. I always knew there was something big to discover about myself. I didn't feel normal and never truly felt accepted amongst people, because I didn't accept myself. Many years have passed. Bad habits enter and my vessel kind of destroys itself internally. But, when I thought I was stuck at open doors, I am beginning to make a step forward. This step was firstly letting people know that I crossdressed from an early age. That was like round one and it took me a while to step into the ring. Round two seems difficult because it's the last round. Just like I said to my mum, when she met someone else, she was reborn, to some degree and liberated from her older life. I am at the second stage.    I am growing increasingly frustrated with gender constructions. This statement can be misconstrued. However, I say in terms of how we are expected to present our vessels to people in the street. Men are oppressed by clothing because how those clothes make us feel. We may not even think about it, but men have it easy when it comes to what we wear. It is, however, this simplicity that means that we are always invisible. Because we blend into the blandness of the buildings around us. Women, are under incredible amounts of scrutiny. They are judged by their appearance and are forced into shallow exchanges based on how people see them. This is the way society had gone so far. But both of these are wrong. And it is to do with self expression.  How do you feel?  What do you want to wear today? These are two questions we all ask ourselves as we get up for our days.    For most men, chuck on some trousers and a t shirt. Put on a suit and be professional. For women, they have varied options and can express any feeling they have through their appearance. They are allowed to feel beautiful because society sees them as so. This is why some women do wear baggy clothes to escape calls of insults disguised as compliments from men in the street or wherever they may be headed. This too is wrong.    When a man says that he is fed up of being part of societies idea of what you are meant to wear, he is deemed many assumptions. You must want to be a woman, surely, oh no wait, you must not like women. How on earth can you want to dress different if you weren't in these categories? You believe this as some people might mention this to you as you explain. A small amount might I add.    People that do this know who they are by this point and they wish society would just catch up. If someone walks down the street looking different, they create fear, and fear leads to anger and a lot of cases, physical actions. Interestingly, someone waking down the street doesn't actually affect them in anyway. How would it?    Because I enjoyed the act of dressing a certain way sometimes, I would shave my legs for example. I remember being terrified that someone would find out or notice. But I realised that it makes no difference to their lives. It is hair.   It was hot one day, so I wore some running shorts, shorter than normal shorts. I was nervous. I stepped out of the house wondering what would happen. Let's call them, training shorts. Training to build up confidence in a field we cannot really know until we try. How can we know? I was born a man and I am a man. I am a man if I am in a dress or anything that is perceived as feminine. I am just, arguably, a feminine man. I am a man who is sensitive, I feel things, I can't sleep around because I want to hold their hands after, I don't perceive situations in a masculine way, and sometimes I don't feel like looking like a man should.    Breaking free from oppression, I don't want to label anything. Why on earth do we need to? I am a man but carry a feminine traits. But these traits should not affect our lives in anyway but a positive sense of self realisation. Why on earth would it be anything else?  Material defines us.  Perception and judgment defines us.  When we step out of judgment, we do things that we never thought we could do. We discover incredible feelings of love and compassion between others. And the only thing that stops us from being happy or falters our mood, is the perception from other people. If it is positive, it is self fulfilling, if it is negative it is damaging.    I've had to develop a thick skin because a lot of this happened inside and never left my brain but I knew the outcome and I'll summarise it in one sentence.    I am a man, but I enjoy feeling feminine through clothing or behavior, but I am no different now, than when I was seven years old. My interest and compassion for women and how they have shaped my life, drive me as I melt when I fall in love and feel with compassion. Maybe this is something within all of us. Maybe it isn't.  Maybe I'm the only one, maybe there are others. But importantly, we are human beings and we can only respond to how we feel. Society betters when society mixes and feels like we can achieve anything in life, because, you literally only live once.

 

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Ben Gore, Goodbye, Blue Monday, 2016

Ben Gore, Goodbye, Blue Monday, 2016

I hope gonz understands
Goodbye, Blue Monday
Ben Gore
 

Life's an adventure People follow you
For a week An hour a year
And we love them
The adventure never stops with your interactions with people. But Life has a way of getting in the way,
And that is money and responsibility. We need both to survive But life will never stop being an adventure
But it's the most challenging adventure well ever experience

Before me is a book, it is printed on a semi gloss paper with a matt finish
it carries a mourning quality plunged into doubt of the future, but excitement for the new.
as we see people evolve and discover their passions and interests we never really anticipate where we will be in 5 years. It is the impossible question.
Goodbye, blue monday
goodbye to the monday mornings, because every day is Monday
Goodbye to the feelings of doubt, relishing in experience, rich with presence of loved ones and new family members.
Goodbye to our past, progressing in the present and heading towards the future.
I realise I am twenty five but I feel fifteen. I feel like I'm seven, roaming around with complete excitement and a zest for life
and like the lemons that are given to us, we create something new

I will always follow you, because I love you, I am fascinated by you, I am fascinated by our experience. I am fascinated with our life, and I want to share this with you.
I imagine that is how they feel as I flick the pages of the self published book.
A man, who I know well, a quiet nature but lives life like a comic book, lives life with an innate curiosity about everything and everything. Quiet but not silent.
Thoughtful, caring and exciting.

The maker behind the work is a friend, a close friend, someone I hold dear.
I know of their life, I sat next to him at work, we even shared a bin.

His stories reveal themselves to me each item I purchase from him.
He has filled my wardrobe with white T shirts. He changed my opinions on fashion, he made me believe I can follow my dreams, whatever they may be. He made it seem possible because he did it, and so can I.

I will follow, like she will follow him, like I will follow him, we are always following. Digital following, manual life following, any kind of following is okay for me.
I imagine him rolling around on 4 wheels, wooden plank secured to his feet. The board wants to follow him and the two go hand in hand. His presence is fulfilling.

We are looking, for something.
Do you want to watch a film? I feel tired after work.
Lets get a dragon? How does that sound?
I hope gonz understands

a paw is lifted up, a smile covers his face. He sets down to draw, to edit, to collage to create. 'fun stuff' he might call it. 'arty stuff', I've heard him say. His being is to enjoy and reflects so many people today, growing up in the generation after our parents. We have all the opportunity.

so follow me, as I delve into depression, lets make it through together.
we are beautiful inside, even if the planet is full of terror.
internal panic, self doubt, losing family, surviving cancer, hugging parents, remembering parents, meeting people, making bonds, remembering, photographing, anything,

anything at all

anything is possible within our lives, and the bad stuff equals the good, but the goodness prevails.

Goodbye, Blue Monday, as I see a friend on a Wednesday, as I run and trip and fall and receive a match box with a number on.
I call it, it is the wrong number, or maybe I wrote it wrong.

I know how it feels. I know how they feel, at times, consistency, adventure,
the ground beneath our feet supports our adventure, where do we go today?
where do you want to be next week?

I love you,
I know they love each other, you can see it.

Goodbye to the past, where is the blue Monday when everyday is a blue Monday. Everyday is another adventure.

I will follow you, you will follow me, you will accept me, and you love me for it.
We can follow each other for a week, hour, day, year, 10 years
a lifetime

nothing is bad and nothing is good,
it is all living

and as a witness, we see the world through his eyes his excitement
an otter exchanges a glance,
he is always there, ready, to capture something of a snippet of life.

It is a collaboration, the way we interact, two quiet souls
doing arty stuff

that's all it ever is
that's how famous artists start
So,
goodbye blue Monday,
goodbye self doubt
i have a record of his life so far,
it is in the form of a book
a publication
a self made object funded with passion and creativity

hello, to new horizons,
the past has happened and here is a reflection of how it all felt
Here is a recollection of the past, as we transcend into the future

full of hope
full of excitement

follow me, because i love you
and i always will

even if our adventures prevail to new lands

I hope Gonz understands, that he will be traveling
a lot
he will be seeing the world as they voyage around feelings and compassion, drifting off into dreams of reality and imaginary thoughts

I have one question

whens the new ben gore t shirt coming out?

Ben Gore, Goodbye, Blue Monday, 2016

Ben Gore, Goodbye, Blue Monday, 2016

Ben Gore, Goodbye, Blue Monday, 2016

Ben Gore, Goodbye, Blue Monday, 2016

Ben Gore, Goodbye, Blue Monday, 2016

Ben Gore, Goodbye, Blue Monday, 2016

Ben Gore, Goodbye, Blue Monday, 2016

Ben Gore, Goodbye, Blue Monday, 2016

His show to release the book and the project is on the 21st July
You can pre-order this lovely book from his site

If you would like to hear more about this work head on over to the podcast done earlier this month.


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Pineapple, From the series Nothing's Happening, 2012

Pineapple, From the series Nothing's Happening, 2012

What does La Piña mean?

I have had a lot of people ask me about the nature of the site name. La Piña, seems like a jovial response to branding, drinking in the sun and sipping on pineapple juice on the beach. The meaning is quite different from the fruitless nature of modern still life photography. La Piña developed from a photograph taken in Spain. It was a Pineapple that had been crushed by a Mercedes, possibly my favorite combination. From there the idea of what modern photography seems to tackle on the boarding editorial market, it felt like the perfect metaphor to epitomize and discuss the validity and usefulness of such work. It is a metaphor, but nothing to do with bright colours and holiday destinations, but an acute awareness for what photography feels like today. To my mind, we had freshly squeezed orange juice and now we are left with weak squash.

A lot of the above opinions are no longer something I really consider these days. From the early days of being angry about the decline of photographic ideas and excitement I began to relish in art as a whole. This migration to the unknown placed me in my own university environment where I was in control of everything in that circle. I had no deadlines, no one advising me, and the advice I would receive was from my friends, non photographers. In leaving the photography world I managed to claim my creativity back, when I felt like I was constantly repeating the same action, over and over. With this in mind, La Piña has changed it's tone. It has changed its focus and has decided to discuss the broader spectrum. As my own practice evolves, La Piña comes with it. It's original meaning was to challenge cultural trends in photography but it has become an accompaniment to art, to a journey through the unknown. Photography is the base layer, but Illustration, performance art and creative writing seems to be achieving more to my mind. It feels more organic.

 

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A rude awakening
 

As an aspiring photographer you are left with the promise of expectation when you embark from the university doors, as competitions open up to you like old friends. There is an overwhelming sense of panic, that you have to do everything and anything to get noticed, appreciated and acknowledged. The process of leaving the university gates is different from person to person, some relieved that they can start working as a photographer and the studying no longer gets in the way, or one of panic as you realise the hub of photographers will soon fade thin. So you cling onto it, and your enthusiasm is rekindled with the newcomers, the new faces as you manage to get onto the teaching course – an aspect of the subject you wish to be a part of, but the timing falls right. A unique experience to one person may do nothing to reflect everyone else, but there is a sense of longing and excitement that lives in the year after university. Some may splash into the pool and throw their name everywhere, land on their feet or some might walk around the pool and assess the point at which to jump. Either is daunting for different reasons.

The concept of being a photographer is a hard one to grasp, as there are less public outlets, and more work based on experience roles. There becomes a point where you need to gather more firewood, so to speak, and attempt to rekindle interest in yourself as a creative output. This process is essential, but there is a part you saying you need to do everything and anything, fight like a dog to get that bone (in this case internships etc. are the bone) – all the while you attempt to explain to your parents why you feel the need to work a normal job so you can create things, photographs, articles, publications and events. Everything you do, from the outset of education is always up to you and no one else. This, to my mind, is why the photographer is such a great breed. They develop determination young – and that never dies within them, always attempts to find firewood to make a flame even when the air can be as damp as a gusty night up a mountain.

Aside from making, there is financial support that needs to become priority, and to decide how your going to ‘get by’ is perhaps the hardest decision of all. You need to cut yourself from all ties to promotion at work, as that gets in the way of anything creative – unless your in the right field. You need to ignore higher paid jobs because that’s a ladder you’re not interested in climbing. And if there were a photographic ladder, a stable one, then we would all be jumping for the same grasp of the first step.

When we think about our need to create, it is a process unmotivated by financial reward. Financial implications need to be considered in the production, yet if a project fails to make money, this does not mean the project was a failure. I have always relished in the idea that each project you do, you learn from and this builds you as a person as you begin to explore all your curiosities and passions, slowly becoming a fulfilled individual. Where this passion fits in with regular life, I am not so sure, and I have racked my brains thinking about it for the past year, since leaving the comfortable bed of university as I now approach my rude awakening a year later.

 

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La Piña podcast #2 - Sam Boullier, feelings, friendship & what an artist is
A conversation around the role of the artist, idea progression and how multi media work comes about.

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Androgyny, 2016

Androgyny, 2016

Lines of masculinity
notions of gender inequality

 

Gender has always had a divide. You are a man. You are a woman. That is down to genetics and genitals. It is clear to see that we are fundamentally different. The notion that men are from mars and women are from Venus is not completely untrue, but it doesn’t explain the whole story. Gender roles cripple us and create expectations when we are younger. The misogyny that arises from such traditional ideas translated into modern life create issues around inequality and how gender is a large factor.

When we are born we are segregated into our genders. That happens the second we are born. We wear blue or pink overalls and are thrown into world of blue or pink, depending on our genetics. This process is something that always happens, it is a normal process. It is only when we gather influences and thoughts and feelings when we begin to actually work out what we are like as human beings. We are most aware when we are young, however we do not retain much information. When adult life hits, we go into our stride as people and fulfill our gender roles and expectations. This was until we began to consider the subject. I have always had a close affiliation with the feminine side of the personality, through growing up with two women through my formative years, I began to realise how women felt at an early age. I rejected a lot of ideas around what was expected of me when I was to enter the said, ‘real world’. It has been a rocky path.

Feminine, 2016

Feminine, 2016

The question I have always asked myself is why can’t men feel beautiful like women are expected to do. Men’s fashion is built around functionality and blending in, we are invisible. We are not flashy, we are not beautiful and only in some cases we are desirable. This suits the male personality but suppresses our feelings and affects our lives and how we look at things. I have always experimented with crossing the gender barriers, but only up until now have mentioned anything about it. Its been done behind closed doors. But the process of accepting the situation has led me to embark upon a social experiment to challenge the role of masculinity. The lines of masculinity are crippling to our need to feel and how we respond to certain situations. Heaven forbid we discuss our feelings we would become exposed. Our role is to stand strong and supportive. But as an artist I find it incredibly hard to ignore the other side of my interests.

I have the desire to feel beautiful and reveal sensitivity and understanding.

My personality is naturally geared towards this process and is needed for me to explore my complete personality. I rejected this part of my personality in exchange for sadness and oppression. But once you open the door to these ideas, they reveal a part of your personality you always knew existed, it was just locked away somewhere, hoping it would crumble to dust.

 

Masculinity, 2016

Masculinity, 2016

Gender inequality. Where does all this fit in? It is the process seeing another gender and valuing that person less as a result. It sounds pretty bad and it is. Pay inequality, misogyny; special treatment of women has brought the notion of Feminism. A movement we all know and understand to varying degrees. The idea that we would treat anyone differently, whether that is positive or negative discrimination reduces the value of said gender. It is an unneeded process. We have made leaps and bounds from the earlier years of this issue, but it is far from complete. It is dwelling and concerning and swells up and explodes anger and passion from women across the world. As men, we need to stand up and say no to misogyny, inequality and different treatment based on gender. It is a process we need to eradicate and it needs to happen now.

The process of understanding this idea is to visualise the process of what women look like. How do we identify women? We see beautiful eyes, long wavy hair, different styles, softness and feminine behavior. This is deep rooted within women of course and is natural behavior for them.

The role of ‘Behavioral’ is to imitate this process in front of an audience. Going from a male to the visuals of a woman within a 30minute process. I appear as a woman but I am not a woman, just have some layers applied to my male base layer. Through this process we can see that our perception of women distorts how we treat them due to their feminine layers. In this process of removing the male layer and replacing it with a female sheen, we can see that inequality is actually a redundant idea and needs to be stopped. We are all equal.

Through this process I have discovered the process of being a behavioral artist. Molding into a different character through the process of applying layers. Behavioral aims to highlight that fact that we are all the same when we consider our potential and gender has nothing to do with success. Society has believed this but it is simply not the case. Masculinity, femininity is a process of choice and we can only judge it from individual cases. We are all different when it comes to our personalities and these lines are constantly shifting focus. There is no set way to be anymore and this is what the work will try to highlight.

 

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A discussion with Ben Gore about his new publication Goodbye, Blue Monday
The book launches on the 21st July at Doomed Gallery.

 

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Joe Pettet-Smith, Dover, 2016

Joe Pettet-Smith, Dover, 2016

Joe Pettet-Smith, Dover, 2016

 

I do not usually put the year on these articles, however it seems as though it is important in this situation. I met Joe today. He told me about his recent project in Dover and it really hit me how interesting it was to have work that discussed something so fresh in such a visual way. Through using what could be considered 'traditional' methods to record the subject, he went around to democratically ask people how they felt, leading up to the EU Referendum. You don't need me to tell you whats happened, if we have Facebook we cannot seem to escape it, and nor should we. We need our research now.

I am going to mention briefly the strong aesthetic because as though it seems secondary to its meaning, it needs to carry confidence to get out there on particular sites to raise awareness. It is the meaning that counts. The process of discovering what the people of Dover feel towards this countries question and decision is divisive to understanding the nature of a city that is on the border between immigration and traditional town life. I had recently made the trip to Dover, to head to Paris by car. I by passed the Jungle of Calais and headed to run the marathon a couple of months ago. I had no connection to this land until I realised the ramifications of this environment and how it could affect and swing the vote of the referendum. If we discuss some of the points raised from the people that live there, we see that they are on the cusp and have seen their town, deplete. This is down to being ignored, and forgotten about, like an old relic and has become centered around travel. It is a shell of the town it would have been one day. As beautiful as it is, it is still geared towards the border between France. A decision for them would physically affect them. This means their opinions matter and precisely why they reveal a very unique position that most towns will never face.

For the whole article including all images please visit here


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politics hijacked a public and personal decision

for those who didn’t believe in their ability to choose

all the stuff they said, doesn’t mean anything

and they have undermined themselves

and politics could take a revolutionary turn

for the positive

because no one believes in politics anymore

and when you stop believing in something,

it slips away

 

people will never stop believing in the EU

it is something that will never die and if it does

we will make a new unity

its just the way people should be and the way a lot of us naturally are

it all links with happiness

a lot of people are unhappy because they don’t have the necessary requirements to live and money is the cause of that, its not their fault at all

if everyone was happy, and not in the sense that material possessions make you happy, but in the sense of being happy inside, no worries or fears,

why would there be killing

we would all get on and co ordinate

its a spiral effect

bad produces bad, produces bad, produces bad,

start at zero

go back to a clean board

and lets start again

 

money is the issue

money is the reason for greed

and inequality is born from that

 

donald trump, britain first and nationalism has been bred into extremism. they provide short term options for our current problems, but offer extremely awful results later on in life and provide a chance to create civil war between civilians who just want to get on, but feel as though they are getting a hard time.

this is down to happiness, if they were kept happy, like the rich, then we can compromise for the best of all people. a neutral government. that oversees the country economically, and conducts things fairly for both sides.

this sounds impossible, but it is completely possible and needs to happen to remove dissatisfaction across the world.

we get the best of both worlds. 

human nature is the only thing in the way.

 

///

 

vibes

///

 

remain

 

///

Let's freeze time
So we never have to leave that moment 
It never ends 
And stays with us forever 
And forever may it continue 
Let's freeze time
Let's make a clock
This clock will allow the moment to never finish 
No beginning 
Middle 
Or end
My eyes feel like they have been reset 
And I'm not looking at the same place anymore
The world has transformed
Let's hug forever
Because we can
Because we want to
And because it's so easy to do
You create a world that doesn't exist but
A new world on top of another world
That is reality
But seems so far removed from what we perceive as life
It's fantasy that is reality 
And that reality
Is possible 
It's unexplainable
 
I never want to go to bed

 

///

15 years of self judgement has accumulated to the moment when i finally come clean. The response I received once I publicly put out there that I am a cross dresser, became too overwhelming to keep it all in. I cried 15 years worth of tears. I finally felt like there wasn't anything stopping me. Most importantly, there was no longer me putting a road block in front of my dreams because I judged and hated myself because of what I was.

I can progress on with life now, free, to do anything. I feel as if I have just unlocked the key to life and nothing now can stop me from being the most interesting and caring person I can be. I can begin to actually care about myself emotionally now. Thank you everyone for your overwhelming support.

I hope this can allow others who feel the same to admit the same for their own happiness, so we can raise awareness on this activity that happens a lot more than you think. Society is just built up to not accept it, but the support you showed me, everyone, has shown that in this time of horrible happenings and judgement across the world, in what is deemed normal, something people are dying for every day, to step out of the norm and create this as a norm for everyone to be honest with themselves and lead the happiest lives they can. I can't explain how I feel right now, I will say that I am overwhelmed and honored to have so many brilliant people in my life. I've won the lottery, it seems, and ill share it with every single one of you by being the happiest person I can be. 15 years of sadness and uncertainty has spilled into this. The most important moment of my life. thank you so much everyone. i have infinite amount of love for everyone i know and you all have given me so much hope in my own life. i cant thank you enough.

 

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The cave of forgotten dreams, 2013

The cave of forgotten dreams, 2013

 

The cave of forgotten dreams

 

Nervously shifting towards a girl at the bus stop. I seemed to ignore everyone around her and asked for her number. We were catching a bus to get back. I didn’t want to miss them. I felt something about this group in the process of getting to know each other. I was an outsider but I was all right. They had a kind of coolness I had never come across before. I didn’t really think about what was cool at the time. I had been a young man, aged 18. Fresh from college and hard work, I had seemingly avoided any sense of a social life. Attempting to break into the impenetrable group. I knew I could do it.

I called up a girl who called herself Luxembourg. Riddled with nerves I finally hung out with all of them. Speaking of Ray Mears and how he could set a fire up in 2 hours. Looking up to the building and shouting ‘block cock’. We were immature but brilliant. Something magic was happening. We headed to New York, threw snowballs, fell in the snow, it was a kind of bliss. Others were farting in bottles to trick the other as they groggily woke up. I was on the outside of this.

The time came to set houses. Headed to a new town and continued a kind of haphazard journey. The Dogfield dogs living in a shithole that had rats. Tewkesbury Tigers and the infamous 60 Tewkesbury created the perfect trio of locations. Only one mattered. Headed down the road incredibly excited with stubby beers in hand we would bombard politely into a room. Creating beautiful sounds with two master craftsmen on the vinyl decks. It became like a bit of a competition. Sitting on expensive vinyl boxes and getting told off for it. We were pushing the boundaries of what we were allowed to do. Or at least I was.

People formed, joined together through romantic forces. We became tighter as a family. An unconventional family that accidentally happened through the understanding that we all got each other and we all had our own uses. We were all different but created the perfect blend of chaos, love, experiences and general happiness. Arguing, shouting at each other, we were barbaric but we didn’t care. We were all on the same level.

The process was gradual but long. It felt like a lifetime to peak. There was a sense of going off, as if we had a sell by date, but everyone always bought milk and Jam so we always continued this transaction. It is difficult to put into words how all of this happened. It was such an organic process, experiencing when Gordon Brown lost his crown of the country. We were singing all the way for him to win, Scottish retard, why couldn’t you have been our priminister?

Going up and down the momentum seemed to drift in a kind of perfect transition, developing between sheer chaos and exhaustion. People came and went, jumped

into the group and out of it, but the core stayed true. We were bound and no one could un-stick us. No matter how much we would argue and hate each other in parts. It was like a runaway train that always knew how to deal with it if we crashed, eventually. The love was right between every conversation we had, every joke we shared, every hour we spent watching Lord of the Rings, every time we played street fighter in the kitchen, every time we performed satanic rituals of a plastic baby (which just appeared from nowhere). We were sensible but also a bit stupid when we decided to be. And through all of this, all of the parties, the people, the work we made, the feelings that were hurt, the relationships that ended, the friendships that got pushed it was still one of the most unique friendships we’d ever encountered. We were family. We would argue like family and love like family.
And just like the eventual end to a night, our bodies tire, crash on stairs, other people’s beds, in the arms of another, sometimes three in a bed, we were incredibly close as people. And we loved each other all unconditionally, even when people came and went, people crashed and fell, we all loved each other more than words can say. It is impossible to describe.
They are my second family but I hold their feelings in the highest regard and I love every single one of them.

It was the time of our lives, until they actually started. We will forever drift around in our minds thinking of the cave of forgotten dreams.

 

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If I was told I had a week to live
I'd do everything
But never feel sad
If I was ill 
I wouldn't panic
Because it gives you an excuse to do anything
Until you have no more life left

 

 

//

From the series, Behavioral, 2016

From the series, Behavioral, 2016

a behavioral artist

 

someone who imitates the activity of other people. To understand the world through their daily experiences. to provide an insight into people’s lives, struggles, happiness's, sadness, work ethic, passion, love, comfort, pain, ideas, sounds, their sounds, beauty, ugliness, character, ethos, mannerisms, hobbies, enjoyment, woes, worries.

the very sentiment of being a person can be accessed and can create a world where anything is possible. anything at all. 

the activity is gender based, but has nothing to do with gender at all. but it is the most important ingredient. when there is a base gender, man, alex, and then the other characters take on any form, within my physical capabilities. not extreme body alterations, like mass muscle growth or genital reassignment etc. the person stays the same as a base layer. within the boundaries of being a man, a human being, and a personality. identity doesn’t shift, it just puts on a new coat in the morning. the base layer always carries the person. i am the base layer, and the rest of the additional things added on, come off from each person that is imitated. 

gender is hard to define within the spirit of people. physically we can say that is a woman, that is a man. but personality traits always come through which constitute any feeling. their behavior within their vessel (body), is dictated by the spirit they have. spirit as in personality. their upbringing has a lot to do with all of this, when we were most receptive, as children. we are sculpted by experience. 

people are people and we are all the same. variants occur, but we are higher up than boundaries. lets do anything we want because we can. people say you can’t but why not. there's no limit to what the human body can do. 

i want to be a behavioral artist

i can be one i believe. 

each character is a medium. Alex, photographer, other characters have possibilities to grow from a stem. being the complete human being.

the characters can make me a better person as Alex

i can learn from them and pick and choose certain ethos’s gained through each experience.

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Self Portrait, 1st June, 2016

Self Portrait, 1st June, 2016

Self Portrait, 1st June, 2016

Self Portrait, 1st June, 2016

This is the second photograph. What I found quite brilliant is the fact that my whole face shape changes just through an adjustment in my head and posture. The head appears different. And this ties into the idea that we never truly see ourselves from the perspectives of other people. We are always looking at a reflected version of oursleves. Our eyes cannot focus on our skin, and see skin. We can only look into glass. This is a fundamental part of living and the ability to see our faces in the flesh is something that we don't have the ability to do. Therefore the only way we can see ourselves is through depiction. And we only see a copied version of ourselves. Never the real thing.

 

Self portrait, 2016

Self portrait, 2016

have you ever? (poem)

 

have you ever felt like someone else?

i have 

its liberating

 

you know you still exist

but you do not exist at that moment

you are something else

but you still remain

 

have you ever felt beautiful?

have you ever felt like someone that your not?

have you ever felt attractive?

have you ever felt complete?

have you ever felt like the complete human?

not perfect

 

have you ever felt like you can take on anything?

have you ever felt that you can take on anything?

have you ever felt that you constantly weren’t good enough?

have you ever hated yourself?

 

have you ever felt like an outsider?

have you ever felt sad?

have you ever thought about it?

have you thought about ending this?

 

have you ever woken up from that nightmare?

have you ever survived something you would never do?

but occasionally feel like its the only choice

 

hold me close

hold me close

friends, 

hug with arms

hug with your limbs

love with your hearts

support with your hands and your eyes

 

have you ever picked up on silences?

have you ever seen someone about to cry?

have you anticipated this

and released your arms to hug

have you ever saved a life?

just by saying, yes

by being there

 

have you ever felt like you could be someone else?

but

..

know that you are you

know that you are everything

 

have you ever felt like you are complete?

that you get it

that you understand it all

until something new comes up

 

have you ever finished a to do list?

have you ever felt loved?

have you ever felt complete?

have you ever felt like you can do anything?

and

have you ever felt that you will no longer ever struggle

because you get it

 

have you ever felt this?

i think i just have?

have you ever felt happy?

knowing that it will always continue

because you are complete

 

i think i have