Founded six years ago, Sang Bleu proposes multidisciplinary investigation of the body. With an eponymous magazine at center, the project encompasses a range of artistic activity spurred by the interests of its members. Fashion, fetish culture, visual and performative arts merge, with a interest in fostering fresh conversation and invigorating peculiar lanes of thought at the core of all activities. Our creative debate stems from a mixture of artistic and scientific ingredients, which inform the research and the multilayered composition of the topics themselves. It might be that the distance between the two approaches simply lies in the specifIc form in which they, in a totally different way, provide us with the same object: art in the form of ‘seeing’, ‘perceiving’ or ‘wondering’, science in the form of knowledge. Within Sang Bleu 6, they will be presented together, mostly emphasizing the importance of the relationship between the production of forms and their reception.
Issue 6 sees an expansion of the Sang Bleu project and a furthering of its scope. Within the publication’s pages seemingly disparate topics — from fetish matters to rap music — combine.
Our guest Betony Vernon serves as the official editor of fetish matters, which notably includes a feature on Bruce argue aka ESINEM, a master of rope bondage. Fashion activist Jason Farrer and photographer Adrian Wilson lead fashion collaborations and contributions from Michèle Lamy, Dior Homme stylist Mauricio Nardi, make up artist Isamaya French, Zana Byne, Char Alfonzo, and designer of Givenchy’s infamous “Bird of Paradise” pattern Simon Cook. These high fashion stories form a dialogue with a series of interviews exploring style and creative impulse with rappers — Apathy, Booba, Bushwick Bill, Nacho Picasso, Paul Wall, Stalley, and Styles P — each representing a distinct niche in hip-hop and regional background.
It is not at all superfluous to rethink the relationship between theoretical approaches and how the art worlds function in a practical way. In this issue of Sang Bleu, more than ever before, we’re asserting our tendency to avoid making distinctions between various types of art. Instead, a more integrative idea of art or even culture is favored. As a consequence, the value of what we call art can be formulated only on a very general level, whereas in practice very different types of art function in very different ways for very different groups of users. Hence, this issue has two aims: first, to provide art world practitioners with a proposition regarding what the arts can do with other sciences – both within local communities as well as in society at large – in order to support the strengthening of the societal power of the different forms of art and, second, to supply scientists and craftspeople with data regarding the organizational consequences of proposals for making the arts function in society.
In that regard, tattooing, as always, connects deeply to the arch of the Sang Bleu project. Issue 6 documents French tattooers Laura Satana and Tin Tin, the lettering of BJ Betts and Stephanie Tamez, fresh American styles from Mark Cross and Robert Ryan, and the work of Alex Reinke aka Horikistune of the Horiyoshi III family. Fine arts features include profiles on the artists Bruce LaBruce and Douglas Gordon; performance artists Dominic Johnson, Dasinya Sommer, and Jonah Bokaer; and multimedia artists Tobias Madison and Scott Campbell, amongst many, many others.
These projects all travel in and out of cyberspace, extending the online network to a real life network, specifically through the physicality of book and again following the work through documentation and virtual dialogue.
Yet, the most distinctive feature of Sang Bleu remains its bound existence. We recognize this fact and keep working on consolidating our dependence on such mechanisms through developing contributions that are born out of a physical existence and also manifested in the virtual space. Simultaneously, discussions with our editors and contributors results in an own physical and virtual network system, a growing one, feeding on exchanges of information and ideas, not necessarily anchored to the physical geography of paper. At core, this research structure emphasizes conversation between mediums and between audiences. It is an exploration of the dynamic interplay between high and low culture, debated, dissected, and viewed under varied disciplinary lenses. It is also, ultimately, about how far the Sang Bleu project itself can be pushed and pulled by its members.
Issue 6 has been produced under the stewardship of Creative Director Maxime Büchi and Editor-In-Chief Jeanne-Salomé Rochat. Guest editors are Betony Vernon, Jason Farrer, Thomas Hooper, and Nicholas Schonberger. On-going explorations of all themes investigated in print may be found at www.sangbleu.com.