Thursday, 3 October 2013

'They're Wearing Us'

There are two quotes I particularly enjoy on the subject of striptease artistes, the first (above title) from digital knowledge prophet Marshall McLuhan, and the second, recently discovered in Dave Hickey's newly published book 'Pirates and Farmers' where his friend Heidi (who works, or worked, in Crazy Horse Too Las Vegas) insists that 'there is no problem in the world that cannot be solved by a room full of naked women'. 
I am thinking of presenting Jessica (above- and who works at The White Horse, Shoreditch) following a stream of Joel Sternfeld pics of Dubai to my undergrads with the remark 'This is what you get, eventually, when you decide you can represent God'. For Jessica exudes a kind of insouciant worldliness (far from uncommon in her profession) Dubai will never have. Commodification; the very point! As McLuhan suggests, that perfect act of display, far from divesting Jessica or Bambi or Samantha of identity, actually substantiates it, and he was right, and somehow these days Jessica and her clan can represent more of it. To co-opt one of those cliched, crappy, but revealing phrases, just look how carefully she is put together! Of course the audience are possessed, poor souls us, but only for the length of (in Jessica's case) one edgy piece of heavy metal, and it is a fatal misapprehension to think the reverse, that WE possess HER. Of course I could, like Hickey, rank her with Titian's Venus, in which case, there should be a copy stashed in the basement of the Vatican for periodic inquisition- but I'm content that she is actually here to remind me, periodically, as I drop through the grey doors of the White Horse every now and then of an afternoon, of the truth of our world masked somehow by the petty mores of our hum drum. 
Photo: thanks and copyright Nick Stanbra.

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