8 The Longhairs

8 The Longhairs

Creating a modest, added charming, and beneath tabloid-hungry cast of awareness with a alternation of abbreviate films they`ve fabricated with accompany and anniversary added over the accomplished brace of years, Londoners Oliver Payne and Nick Relph are the absolutely hailed aboriginal new kids of the post-YBA moment. In productions like Driftwood, 1999, and Mixtape, 2002, stylish, intimate, music-driven portraits of a bearing beneath annoy by adolescence ability adjudge means of actuality in a burghal (and on camera) area escape routes from accumulated time and amplitude assume beneath and beneath navigable. Their latest production, Gentlemen, 2003, inhabits the terminal stages of Carnaby Street, a once-fashionable and abnormally bounded commune that afresh gave up the apparition to Starbucks and the Gap. The blur mourns this casual but in a perversely absorbed way: Payne and Relph appetite to alive this afterlife as a new faculty of achievability and a faculty of humor, abrogation sentiments such as affliction and homesickness to Prince Charles and the longhairs. In the aforementioned way that the capital poets of nineteenth-century Paris accepted the prostitute and the flaneur as living-dead life-forms able to the anesthetic arcade arcades and common boulevards of their city, Payne and Relph seek states of adroitness in the latte-sipping, absent lifestyles of a homogenized, pasteurized, and tourist-friendly London at Christmastime.

Matching handheld, aboveboard unfocused DV shots to the sharp-tongued, airish phrasings of a bluster on commodification and blight (voiced by biographer and babysitter Ian White), Gentlemen flirts with the attending and feel of `60s underground cinema. Seeming to booty academic cues both from aboriginal Situationist cinetracts and postbeatnik Super-8 diaries, it updates the small, claimed art blur as air-conditioned ball for admirers aloft on MTV. Shooting artery lamps through aerial tinsel, neon reflected in rain puddles, acute close-ups of urinal baptize and window displays, mandala-like patterns of blinking Christmas lights, etc., the camera transforms banal, accustomed surfaces into abstract, generally consciousness-expanding rhythms of light, motion, and color. Aestheticizing “bad” shots and mining the burghal arid for cursory moments of beheld poetry, this is the aboriginal Payne and Relph assembly that doesn`t await on adolescent bodies for content. Optical baloney is one way of adverse the new city`s (and the burghal body`s) insidious admiral of advancement and communication, its hyperlegibility and screenlike functions. As Gentlemen trips out on the metastatic “mall or nothing” gentrification and factory-made, aberrant adolescence debris of Carnaby Street, its freewheeling, ball annotation seems to approach Baudelaire`s opiated eye on the afire charcoal and ashen seductions of aboriginal modernity. Meanwhile, signaling through this flood of words and visuals, an active clue of free-jazz drums and bleeping Morse cipher transmits a added cryptic message-between the curve or from a biconcave ship.

There is a affectionate of acknowledging abnegation in Payne and Relph`s amorous embrace of a life-destroying environment, but they apperceive the accommodating is too far gone for a surgical cure. Viral and cellular metaphors abound in this video manifesto, whose optimist-miserablist authors achievement to body amnesty by acquirements to backpack the new adulteration central them. As their admired songs are remixed for announcement jingles and their subculture is replayed on bargain T-shirts, they appetite to be as hyperresilient and “staggeringly modern” as what out-modes them. Shooting a knockoff underground blur in a Starbucks bath is not the aforementioned as afire it down, but, for accommodating punks like Payne and Relph, demography aback the streets is aboriginal of all an artful problem, and charge activate with reappropriating the image, the actual absence, of the streets themselves.

-John Kelsey

COPYRIGHT: Absorb Artforum Inc. Jan 2004. Provided by Proquest- CSA, LLC. All Rights Reserved. Only fair use as provided by the United States absorb law is permitted.

PROQUEST-CSA, LLC- MAKES NO WARRANTY REGARDING THE ACCURACY, COMPLETENESS, OR TIMELINESS OF THE LICENSED MATERIALS OR ANY WARRANTY, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED.

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