M.I.A. Born Free

by United Blogs of Benetton on: June 28th, 2010

It’s been a good few months since the release of M.I.A.’s ultra controversial but ultimately rewarding video for single Born Free. Her new album ///Y/ has just been released and should prove M.I.A. to be an artist of indelible musical substance as well as a fighter of political emancipation.

In response to her new album, the controversy surrounding the Romain Gavras-directed video, media have suitably followed in Pied Piper fashion. Everyone from the New York Times to Dazed & Confused have featured M.I.A. heavily.

I’m eager to join the M.I.A. loving’ fanfare and say that her ///Y/ could potentially be my album of the year. I particularly like her statement in one of the many interview videos that she has done of late when she says that she doesn’t want to be a Bono-like figure when giving help to causes as some sort of act of philanthropy out of middle class guilt – she’s simply reacting to things she has personally experienced and with that comes visceral and ultimately moving music.

Photographer Ryan McGinley has perfectly captured M.I.A.’s spirit in these images that accompanied the New York Times article – a pity that the article then spiralled into a “He said, She Said” argument between interviewer and her subject…

I also love this short trailer that Dazed & Confused produced for their current June issue which features M.I.A. on the cover – the styling is spot on in the way the clothes move on shoot.

 

 

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 The Larger Scale

by United Blogs of Benetton on: April 12th, 2010

It’s interesting how spikes, studs and all things hard in fashion are fleeting moments where one season everything you see is studded and spiked and the next, they are completely banished. It was therefore intriguing to see artist Susie MacMurray‘s latest garment installation, currently dispelled at Manchester’s newly reopened Gallery of Costume; a piece entitled Widow, made out of black nappa leather and adorned with over 100,000 adamantine dressmaker pins.

These are not of course fashion friendly spikes, the supposed bits of hardware that make you conform to cliches such as tough biker chick. These are pins that could do serious damage if you ever felt the urge to touch the piece.

Neither is Widow meant to be on any level wearable either. In my mind, the piece seemed to speak of traditional notions of a widow, pining after her deceased spouse, and busying herself with cottage industry scale dressmaking. That’s just my interpretation though.

Murray has also used the recognisable medium of dresses to make other large scale garment installations such as dresses made out of turned out rubber gloves and coloured balloons.

In other large scale, track stopping and thought provoking pieces, one of the more recent ones to hit London is Alice Anderson’s Time Reversal piece that is quite literally spilling out onto the streets on Beak Street’s Riflemaker Gallery.

The French Algerian artist has revisited the story of Rapunzel to create an installation where thousands of metres of hair come cascading down from a window on the first floor into the gallery, entangled in amongst mementos of film, sculptures and photographs of a fictional childhood.

Susie MacMurray’s Widow on display at Manchester Gallery of Costume, Platt Hall, Rusholme, Manchester, M14 5LL until September.

Alice Anderson’s Time Reversal at Riflemaker, 79 Beak Street, London W1F 9SU until 24th April.

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