Dear reader, how many unfinished projects do you have stored on a hard drive or hidden in a drawer somewhere? It’s the “condition créative” of the cultural worker, which – when blended with frustration – can ironically create wholly new works. Take Scott King’s The Debrist Manifesto as an example. Starting life as a satirical guidebook on deliberate failure, King realized its positive potential: that sometimes we need to free ourselves from our own ambitions. In this issue of No News News you can read the previously unpublished addendum to his manifesto – a warning to not fall for the “genius label”. And while debrism is something we hold dear, we’re just as happy to report on two very much finished projects by two friends of ours: Sia Arnika, the upcoming Danish fashion sensation, has just launched her SS22 collection; while Uwe Bermeitinger’s cannabis-focused magazine Stigma420 now has a second issue available. More after the scroll – as always.
Thanks for reading,
SCOTT KING DOESN'T WANT YOU TO FALL FOR THE GENIUS TRAP
In the world of edgy-to-glossy culture mags, Scott King is legendary. In the ’90s the visionary designer shaped the look and feel of iD, while nowadays he works with Arena Homme+ as a contributing editor – but it’s his 2001-2003 tenure as art director for the British magazine Sleazenation which secured his reputation for editorial sorcery. He has now established himself as an artist and professor.
Earlier this year the Yorkshire-born King penned The Debrist Manifesto, a 10,000-word “guide book” on how to deliberately fail at creative endeavors. Though is started out as satire – King admits the project was born from a state of deep frustration and anger – the manifesto ultimately argues for a space in which artists can create while free from both ambition and the choking grasp of the cultural industry.
For burnt-out creatives, King struck a nerve – he and his Debrist Manifesto have since been in high demand. This prompted, among other things, a discussion with Jon Savage for Interview, as well as a series of lectures for The Sun Machine Is Coming Down, the extraordinary art event held earlier this month at Berlin’s ICC.
In an exclusive for No News News, Scott King contributes a previously unpublished addendum to his manifesto: a warning for artists not to fall for the “genius label,” even when it’s oh-so-graciously offered by cultural gatekeepers.
The author wishes to emphasize that this is ‘just a thought’ that occurred after the publication of the first edition of this book:
The other side of Genius: As noted, the ‘genius accolade’, when applied to the culture worker by an internationally-sanctioned / Cultural Gatekeeper-led body, is considered to be both a ‘divine compliment’ and an enormously powerful ‘career asset’.
However, be warned: the ‘genius’ accolade can also be used as a weapon against the culture worker. It is not uncommon for the Cultural Gatekeeper to label a maverick / eccentric / uncategorizable ‘artist’ as a ‘genius’, because this is the most efficient way to marginalize that ‘artist’ and their output. So, although the ‘genius’ accolade (as described in footnote 1) is undoubtedly a compliment (intended to elevate the culture worker and forge a bond between that particular artist and those who sanctioned this label), there is a subcategory to the ‘genius’ accolade – an unspoken use of the ‘genius label’ – one that only the Cultural Gatekeepers themselves fully understand. This label might more accurately be described as (non-career) ‘genius’ (or, behind closed doors: ‘mad person’).
The defining of a culture worker as a (non-career) ‘genius’ is a very useful tool in the hands of the Cultural Gatekeeper: it allows for ‘compliment without commitment’ – the Gatekeeper subtly, but publicly, aligning themselves with / celebrating the (non-career) ‘genius’ (thus boosting their own credentials) without having to correspond with / socialize with / form any kind of (potentially draining) relationship with the (non-career) ‘genius’.
In short, the public labelling of a particular culture worker as a (non-career) ‘genius’, is a very effective tool; with which the Cultural Gatekeeper can both side-line a maverick culture worker (without fully dismissing their output), and simultaneously lay the groundwork for a potential future association, should a (most likely posthumous) career unexpectedly develop in the future.
Scott King The Debrist Manifesto is published by Cornerhouse Publications and is available at service industries. Also, on November 11 King will read from his book at Camden Art Centre. @scottkingstudio
FRIEND WATCH #1: FASHION SENSATION SIA ARNIKA LAUNCHES SS22 COLLECTION
For more than two seasons, our friend and favorite fashion designer (honest!) Sia Arnika has been laying the foundations for “Homecoming”, her new SS22 collection. Originally from the small Danish island of Mors, the Berlin-based Arnika takes us back to that forlorn place via her signature hand-cut jersey lace pieces and printed performance materials; conjuring an environment where “the penetrating wind carries whispers through the air and fishermen talk of it as a sensual poetic horror”. Make no mistake: This high-fashion return to home resonates with both urban women and their faraway counterparts who’re living their best lives – whatever the setting.
Sia Arnika’s current collection, FW21’s “Garden Party”, has been picked up by e-comm overlords SSENSE and will drop on the site soon.
FRIEND WATCH #2: STIGMA420 DECLARES “BEST BUDS FOREVER”
The 24-page biannual magazine for a “highly privileged” (read: cannabis-friendly) lifestyle, Stigma420 is the brainchild of Uwe Bermeitinger. Clearly lovingly made and containing varied supplements, the recently-published second issue features a sweet and juicy photoshoot by Matt Lambert (who knew there were so many ways to “gunshot” each other?); an interview with a lawyer, including a five-step emergency plan in case of a police visit; as well as updates on the ever-growing market of CBD/THC products. Readers may already know Bermeitinger via the sex-positive Tissue magazine, and with Stigma420 he really manages to translate the chill vibes of a hazy smoking session into print format. Puff, puff, pass!
Editor: Hans Bussert (V.i.S.d.P.)
Art Director: Enver Hadzijaj
Copy Editor: Redfern Jon Barrett
Special Thanks: Alex Nowak
© 2021 EX LIBRIS Hans Bussert
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