Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Bonny Doon, Naked Bodies & Iris Van Herpen

Weekly Update 2018-24: Bonny Doon croons their alternative country into my ear as I attend the Toronto chapter of the World Naked Bike Ride and the Iris Van Herpen exhibit at the ROM. It was quite a weekend, from no clothes to ALL the clothes.

This illustration from Portland-based illustrator Lisa Congdon feels like looking in a mirror.

Music: Bonny Doon
This Detroit four-piece took a somewhat-cliche trip to a secluded cabin in the woods to record their sophomore album Longwave and the outcome is a perfect soundtrack for my summer. It's easygoing, bright, and carries just enough of an alternative country vibe to be folky without going overboard. I also appreciate the ways they strip down their sound to seem really simple, though of course it only appears that way.

Check out the new album, released only a few months ago:

Bonny Doon will open for Snail Mail at the Velvet Underground this Thursday.

Our new Brazilian friend Mestre Memeu has now departed Canada, but not before we had another six hours of band practice with him last week. Not only did he teach us some amazing new beats and breaks (look out, streets of Toronto) but he managed to do it all without speaking any English (or, perhaps without me knowing any of the Portuguese he was saying). And as a bonus, after the last three-hour practice last Wednesday, I dragged myself up to Richmond Hill to be able to vote the next morning with my dad. It was a nice experience and I made sure my voice was heard through my vote, though of course none of that really mattered because of the final outcome. But I am not going to bring any more politics than that into my blog. So here's a shoutout from Mestre to our band, straight from the Brazilian birthplace of Samba Reggae: Pelourinho.

What a beautiful place. I'd love to go here to drum on the cobblestones.

I also managed to spend a bunch of Bunz BTZ at the Drake General Store - splurging on another neon lamp (because you can never have too many) as well as some cute provincial flower socks. Who knew Trilliums could make my feet look this good?

It's always Pride month in my room, I guess! I love how the rainbow colours mix together to provide a warm white light - this is a practical lamp for sure.

Thanks for the free socks, Bunz!

This weekend I had planned to join a bike meetup regarding the best and worst biking paths of Wards 19 and 20 (sort of a ward-based showdown). I signed up on Eventbrite and was on my way over to the Harbourfront meeting point along the Waterfront Trail - when I happened to notice a huge group of bikes and naked people. Not something you see every day, and this was definitely not the ward showdown meetup! It occurred to me that this was the Toronto edition of the World Naked Bike Ride, an annual event that celebrates the intersection of freedom through nudity and a less oil-dependent civilization propelled by “ass, not gas”. I had attended my first WNBR in 2017 in Portland (also somewhat by chance), so I made a quick decision to skip the ward showdown in favour of this bike ride instead. They just happened to be starting at the same time and in similar locations - too bad we couldn't join them together somehow!

 Disclaimer: I don't know any of these people or their lovely bodies and I doubt anyone who knows them will read my dumb blog but if you do, and you want your photo removed, please contact me by clicking "About" above!!

We biked quite a circuit from Coronation Park to Trinity Bellwoods to Kensington to Yorkville to Queen's Park to Dundas Square to Nathan Philips Square to Harbourfront and back to Coronation Park, with lots of chanting and bell-ringing along the way. I really appreciate the other participants' urge to bare all skin to feel free, though my heart leans much more toward the less gas-dependent living than the nudity part. I actually enjoy the wearing of clothing (especially when biking in the hot sun). This did not keep me from chanting and riding along with my 1,000 new naked friends of course.

I'll admit I skipped out of the ride at Nathan Philips Square.

Only a few hours after my 24km bike ride, it was time to schlep up to Yorkdale area to play laser tag for a friend's birthday. I suppose this might seem more like fun than an accomplishment, but I have more than a handful of un-fun memories of laser tag birthdays including a recent one with some overly-competitive coworkers at my last job. I'm happy I was able to get over that, because this time was actually fun! And I wasn't even in last place either, I landed right in the middle of the scoreboard for both rounds. For someone who doesn't have an athletic bone in their body, I'll mark this one down as a personal win.

Tomorrow marks an interesting event where left-wing voters will discuss how the new Conservative government will affect our lives for the next four years. It's called How To Fight Ford and I'm hoping it will help to fill in the pit of despair I've been feeling in my soul since the election results were announced.

This weekend I'd like to give my dad his father's day present, pick some cantrips to go with my levelling up in my D&D campaign, and hopefully check out the street festival down the street on College. Almost every weekend is a street festival this time of year :)

Random Thought: Human Bodies
Watching so many naked bodies flop around on the Naked Bike Ride on Saturday got me thinking. I actually love the feeling of being protected. One might even go so far as to call it contained, or perhaps curled up and tucked in. While it brought me joy to see so many people feeling so free (at once of both cares and clothes), I did not feel that way for myself. I like to wear clothing.

I also wondered whether I felt this way because of some internalized misogyny around assuming that I should be modest as a woman, but I couldn't really separate my own feelings about being naked from those that I feel others might impose upon me as a woman. That's probably not worth unpacking in this day and age, since I don't think that feeling will change in my lifetime.

Finally, one last thought about the wearing of clothing is that it does invariably separate our minds from our physical bodies. Clothing does this by the sheer fact that it hides the view of our bodies from ourselves. Not only are we less mindful of the subtle physical changes of our bodies, but we spiritually separate our minds and bodies in the process of applying a layer between them. They become more foreign to us, the more clothing we wear. It's sort of like an elongated version of a pregnant woman not being able to see her toes.

Inspiration: Iris Van Herpen
Always a happy consumer of arts and culture in the city, I took my mother to see the Iris Van Herpen exhibit at the ROM this weekend.

Hailing from the Netherlands, the young designer is considered a pioneer in using new technologies in creating her runway designs, with a particular focus on 3D printing. Her pieces certainly revolutionize the meaning of a garment of clothing, pushing boundaries of how we might augment the human body with new textiles and ways of producing wear. From the designer herself:
I don’t think of fashion as being clothes, or a discipline. I think of it being much more. I see fashion as a dialogue between our inside and our outside.
For me fashion is a form of art that is close related to me and my body. I see it as a very personal expression of identity combined with desire, mood and culture.
I was very impressed with the exhibit at the ROM, spanning across the two special exhibition rooms of the Crystal. One room explores Van Herpen's works from 2012 to 2015 and experimentation with repurposed objects as well as machine-manufactured and 3D printed materials. For one collection, Van Herpen repurposed hundreds of umbrella ribs to create a sort of cage-type pattern for collars and structural elements.

The shadows alone are incredible (the mannequin's left arm).

Another collection explored how we might create the appearance of flowing water, looking as though stopped in time.

Note the "waterfall" effect on the skirt.

I was also particularly enthralled with these shoes - I really wanted to see them on a person!

What even are these?! (The shoe heel is sticking out of the bottom right, and the top of the curves are meant to touch your knee).

I really enjoyed that Van Herpen had supplied some extra fabrics and materials from her works, pinned down to tables that you could touch, squeeze and hold in your hands. This really gave life to her collections, since their materials and weights are so related to their unique nature. It was also interesting to see how these materials moves and interacts with the model wearing them. We were encouraged to blow air onto the pieces to observe how they move, accompanied by video displays of models walking the pieces down a runway.

This material felt like plasticky rubber - maybe the texture of a toy dinosaur?

The second room was certainly my favourite, showcasing Van Herpen's artistic partnership with Canadian designer/architect Philip Beesley, whose amazing sculpture Astrocyte I discovered at the Exposition for Design, Innovation and Technology last September. Beesley's penchant for 3D printing and obsession with the intersection of natural and artificial seem to work seamlessly with the wondrous couture created by Van Herpen. The two designers have collaborated on numerous collections between 2015-now, many of which are displayed alongside a collection of Beesley's sculptures, similar to the one I had seen at EDIT.

One of Beesley's sculptures contained sensors that would react to someone standing underneath certain parts of the piece - robotic “hummingbirds” would raise and lower their wings as they “sipped” from liquid tubes above their heads. Apparently this liquid is actually a compound that can be used to self-heal certain kinds of materials in building structures, paving the way to a new construction method that is resilient over harsh conditions and long periods of time.

My mom looking at one of the Beesley sculptures.

I highly enjoyed the exhibit. If you do check it out, be sure to see the easily-missed documentary on Van Herpen and Beesley's creative process in building the exhibit (hang a hard left in the second room to enjoy it).

3D printing is definitely the future of art in some ways. As a final bonus thought, I received what may be my coolest Bunz trade to date - a custom-made statue of David's head as a planter for my spider plant. Check it out! 3D printing is super cool, both in its seemingly limitless possibilities but also in the way it brings the cost of manufacturing down enough for a single person to be able to make pretty much whatever they want!

His pupils are little hearts also :)

No comments:

Post a Comment