I’m in search of a uniform for a unicorn. Something mindlessly good, subtly disturbing, something neither high nor low, something that is mine, chaos magic. But my “technoviking” lookbook experiment during Gallery Weekend Berlin yielded the same befuddled response: Eh? What are you now? A DJ? (It’s the highest compliment a fashionista can receive, no?) Later, after seeing Wolfgang Tillmans’ show at Galerie Buchholz, I learned that I’d been channelling my inner Tillmans all along. (See here)
(my crooked shot of a Josephine Pryde photograph, found at the re-opening of Galerie Neu in 2015)
I(all four photos above, caption either “detail” from Wolfgang Tillmans, or as in the last picture just Wolfgang Tillmans)
Finally getting the chance to write about what I love has tapped into a funny, self-destructive streak in me. In obsessing over fashion, I’ve come to embrace the new “antifa” fashion (those in the know know and those who don’t should look up the French darling known as Vetements). And it’s with Audemars Piguet’s slogan in mind that I’ve framed my week of decisions. (“To break the rules, you must first master them.”)
But I still refuse to fork over a writer’s sweatshop wages for a sweatsuit. Vetements’s DHL t-shirt for 245 euro, for example, is sold out, so the decision has been taken away from me, thank god!
Yesterday, confirmation arrived that my antifa fashion was nothing new under the sun. It came via London, from the venerable Michael Werner Gallery. I love his invites. They are printed on a fine transparent paper simply folded into four like a child’s invitation to pin the tail on the donkey. This time the cover featured this:
Lidl, in case you are not a discount shopper, is a grocery store in Germany, and Joerg Immendorff’s take on it is positively in tune with the times. Who knew that Immendorff (in the 1960s no less) could be as savvy as Demna Gvasalia of Vetements and Balenciaga of late? (Which is to say nothing of my favorite Isa Genzken’s line of clothing from 1998).
All the better, then, when a clever Brooklyn boy, Davil Tran, came up with a wordplay on one of Vetements normcore rip-offs. His one-size-fits-all police raincoat plays on that of Vetements – and by changing two letters, he cites the most exciting thing that happens across the internet, the copywrong vanguard of “memes,” yielding his own tongue-in-cheek brand: Vetememes. Tran’s work is seen as so clever that Vetements fully embraced his design saying that they’d never draw up a lawsuit against him but rather see his action as the greatest flattery.
Which brings me to the original internet meme, the fellow who put flesh to the word:
The “Techno Viking” only got his name apparently after he was co-opted by a porn site in Panama (I wish! It was actually Uruguay) where he became tagged as “Thor.” Thor was then co-opted by thousands of others who remade their own “Kneecam1” videos of topless street defenders, chivalry street style, dancing in the streets amongst a motley crew. (The setting of the original is the so-called Fuck Parade, a rather piddling anti-Love parade of sorts, where the Techno Viking defends a blue-wigged dancer in the streets after she is sort of, well, slam-danced hugged by an otherwise harmless street thug lookin’ for a bit of love in old-time playground pull-her-pigtail fashion).
After Hey-Woman’s Veronika, one might even see the Techno Viking as being Berlin’s most representative internet star of street fashion. And he’s ahead of the game, even in the year 2000. Look closely to the original Kneecam1 vid and you’ll see that Miuccia Prada might have taken her (2016 Miu Miu) mismatching cues from the Viking’s mismatching socks. (see here)
And so I’ll end this with a tip for Vetements, Spring 2017. Talk about trail blazing! Orange paired with neon orange, color blocking easily co-opted. I wish I had this on when cutting a rug on the dancefloor on Friday. (Thank you, DJ Ali and DJ Atta, and thank you Rehberger for bringing them from Frankfurt!)
“Kehrt wieder“ is a double entendre, meaning both “will return” and “is sweeping again.” That is, it’s not just the leaves that will return… but also the garbage men.
PS: Thank you, Anne Collier, for putting including my better half in the middle of your Galerie Neu show!
April von Stauffenberg is an American writer who moved to Berlin in 1998. As a journalist, she has written about art, architecture, and fashion (under her maiden name April Elizabeth Lamm) for artforum.com, frieze, Weltkunst, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Süddeutsche Zeitung, Sleek, and the German edition of Vanity Fair. She has curated shows at the Schirn Kunsthalle in Frankfurt and the Schinkel Pavillon in Berlin, among others, and is currently working on her art-world novel, The Collector.
Portrait: Semra Sevin