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Martin Kohout x AQNB—A Nice Cap Limited Edition

6 May 2021

For this latest artist edition merchandise collaboration, AQNB teamed up with Czech artist Martin Kohout, and Los Angeles-based clothing brand HOHO CO CO to produce ‘A Nice Cap’.

Adjustable black hat with white embroidery, front and side.

AQNB presents a special podcast series for Rewire 2021’s online radio programme, featuring Evan Ifekoya, Jack Halberstam, Zach Blas & more

22 April 2021

Rewire announces the radio programme for its 2021 online festival, featuring a new podcast series produced by AQNB, Reversal Agents, to be broadcast via Rewire’s website from May 6 to 9.

Featuring discussions with artist Evan Ifekoya, queer theorist Jack Halberstam, artist and writer Every Ocean Hughes, AQNB’s Reversal Agents podcast for Rewire examines notions of the past and the future, human agency and healing, in music, art and online culture right now. Also featuring audio works by Most Dismal Swamp, Clay AD, Zach Blas with xin and Aya Sinclair, Reversal Agents cover topics including the structural conditions affecting health, queer notions of time and the apocalypse, contemporary mysticism, the psychedelic imagination today and more.

Rewire’s online edition this year runs over four days in early May and includes the likes of Aïsha Devi, Bby Eco, Hyph11E, Johanna Hedva, Tabita Rezaire and more.

Rewire’s 2021 online edition runs May 6 to 9, 2021. See the Rewire website for more details.**


AQNB x Rewire: Reversal Agents (2021). Promo image.

AQNB is looking for a WordPress expert to help with some site bug fixes & to move to a new host, starting ASAP

1 April 2021

Looking for a WordPress expert to help us with some site bug fixes & to move to a new host to start straight away.

You should be familiar with working on custom WordPress themes & ideally have built one. Experience with JavaScript, Shopify, as well as some proficiency in PHP, highly desired.

Email us at jean.kay@aqnb.com with tkobialka@gmail.com in cc.

Heavenly Creatures : an AQNB music & art compendium

23 March 2021

Heavenly Creatures is AQNB’s fourth release of new music and visual works compiled and curated by our London and Los Angeles-based team.

Heavenly Creatures takes its title from the 1994 dark biographical drama and queer cult classic film of the same name, with a nod to Los Angeles party Heav3n and its championing of a post-PC Music sound—born online and spread across communication networks the world over. Featuring music by young producers from across the internet, the compilation’s heavily-filtered, DIY DAW tracks present an online-but-intimate hyper-emotionality by artists addressing life, love and loneliness from the perspective of a pop-appreciating electronic underground. Together with visual art works that express digital modes of intimacy, it’s a space of vulnerability and introspection built on a melancholic sub-frequency that’s carried forward by the hopeless romantics and baby angels that inhabit it.

Music by:
blackwinterwells
Aj simons & umru
lei
heavn
oakscreen
BLOODZ BOI 血男孩 & bod [包家巷]
8485
kuru
dylann
luvox
reserv

Visual works by:
Adham Faramawy
Carlos Sáez
Maggie Menghan Chen
Tissue Hunter

Cover artwork by:
Alejandra Muñoz

Acknowledgments:
Steph Kretowicz, AQNB editor
Jared Davis, AQNB associate editor
Matt Dell, AQNB music editor
Caroline Heron, AQNB managing editor

Isaac Treece, mastering

CD edition of 50.
Packaged in clear jewel case with on-body printing on exterior and disc.

All physical purchases come with digital download.
First shipment begins April 15 within Europe and May 15 for Americas / ROW.

Mainline:RUS/Fr.CA/DE on airport waiting rooms & intimacy online for the launch of their Spring-Summer 2021 collection

9 February 2021

Mainline:RUS/Fr.CA/DE make acutely contemporary clothing. Their work doesn’t just look great both online and IRL, something essential for success in today’s fashion industry, but is designed to reflect the ways in which we live our modern lives. The classic two-piece suit is redesigned in tight-fitting stretch fabrics, pattern pieces cut up and reformed so the garment sits a little awkwardly on the body. Trousers are ruched as though one has been sitting for hours on end, tops and shirts are constructed to appear permanently crumpled. These strange shapes and tiny details are impressions of where the piece might have changed due to continuous wear, mini caricatures of how clothing mutates when we use it.

Mainline:RUS/Fr.CA/DE, Spring-Summer 2021 (2021). Video still. Courtesy the artists.

Although the country codes in their name indicate where the designers were born—Russia, French Canada and Germany—Mainline:RUS/Fr.CA/DE does not make clothes inspired by any one geographical place. Rather, the work is about the liminal spaces we occupy when travelling. “We’re nationless,” says Felix Karl, the German third of the brand. Karl met his co-designers, Alex Vincent and Zarina Bekerova (from French-Canada and Russia respectively) on the move. Now based in London the trio are far away from where they grew up, each using their second language to communicate.

Mainline:RUS/Fr.CA/DE’s contemporary traveller is not extravagant, but anxious and tired—more likely to be booking with a budget airline than chartering a private jet. To illustrate this, their performance for Spring-Summer 2020 took the form of a simulated airport waiting room. The models, sweaty and uncomfortable, sat around for hours and the audience, trapped in the space with them, were forced to participate. 

Rather than using a traditional runway, the brand prefers to use performance to show each collection. A video for Spring-Summer 2021 was choreographed by Nastya Livadnova and pre-recorded in Moscow, complimented by a soundtrack by Ewa Poniatowska. It involves models and a newly-repaired industrial robotic arm mimicking each other’s actions. The result is unexpectedly intimate, suggesting the strange ways in which a year of isolation has pushed us to access life’s pleasures through technology, rather than in the physical world.

**For your first performance in June 2019 for Spring-Summer 2020, what the models simulated reflected the design of the clothes—pieces looked permanently changed from the hours of sitting around these performers had to do. How is the movement of the body which informs your design translated into the choreography for this video?

Mainline:RUS/Fr.CA/DE, Spring-Summer 2021 (2021). Video still. Courtesy the artists.

Alex Vincent: I don’t think it really is. The whole idea with the robot was that performers would have this relationship with an object. The robot can follow the person’s movement, but then the person can also follow its movement. I think the whole story is about this relationship, how they feel with each other. Even though it’s an object you can still get something emotional from it.

Zarina Bekerova: We started thinking about how everybody was obsessed with those videos, which show that if you touch something and then if you touch a cup afterwards, using a light you can see stains made by the bacteria that was on your hand. We thought, okay, let’s see this from a different perspective. Maybe we’ll get a really nice performance from thinking about this interaction. Then it’s less about what the clothes are but these people are connecting them with another texture, which can make an imprint on them.

**The standard fashion show is said to mimic daily life—a model walking down a makeshift street surrounded by curious onlookers. This video, which is in place of doing a typical show, feels suggestive of a life lived right now. Having performers interact with technology seems fitting for a time in which human intimacy is predominantly carried out online. Does this analysis sit well with you?

Mainline:RUS/Fr.CA/DE, Spring-Summer 2021 (2021). Video still. Courtesy the artists.

ZB: It’s a robot so obviously the first thing you think of is that it’s very technological, very literal. So yeah, I think we can definitely connect it to something like this. But we also wanted to make it feel very sensual, to give it lots of texture: the fabrics, using sand and rocks and people actually touching the robot. So there was no technological-specific or COVID-specific concept. It’s more about touching something, feeling something—like ASMR. 

Felix Karl: Yeah, since COVID, there’ve been so many relationships which are just over the phone. There has been so much digital sensuality, also so much sex. 

AV: But it’s more sensual than intellectual. 

**The robot in the video reminds me of the robotic arms used in Alexander McQueen’s Spring-Summer 1999 runway show. This has been historicised as a comment on the industrialisation of clothing production. I’m curious to know whether you feel that this work sits in with this narrative?

Mainline:RUS/Fr.CA/DE, Spring-Summer 2021 (2021). Video still. Courtesy the artists.

FK: McQueen did it at that time because it was such an innovation, such a new technology. He showed that there’s something changing in the fashion industry, whereas we’re using this robot as a figure of sensuality. Even though the past few years there’s been such a conversation on production and technology there’s really no connection with McQueen’s robot. I think for us, it’s not the innovation itself, it’s the connection between sensuality and technology and how that affects the human body. 

**In the two performances you’ve previously presented [Spring-Summer 2020 and ‘Skin Me Tonight’ (2020) at Voo Store Berlin] there’s a process which is being carried out that the observer must watch. What do you think your interest in this observation of process is?

FK: That’s how we work, we work with a process. The performances show how our minds work. It’s a nice way to conceptualise this timeframe for people.

AV: And also to show a wide range of emotions and feelings and visuals in this short amount of time. It’s nice for us to say, ‘okay, this is the context’. I think [‘Skin Me Tonight’] was the most obvious one because it was an actual process. Here’s this couch, that’s the beginning and by the end this couch should be totally skinned. That was like a proper process where you can’t stop until it is over. 

Mainline:RUS/Fr.CA/DE, Skin Me Tonight (2020). Performance view. Photo by Thyago Sainte. Image courtesy the artists.

ZB: Most of the stuff we’re doing clothes-wise is very abstract but we like to also do a lot of literal things. For example, the sound of the robot is used by Ewa to create a soundtrack for the video. It’s very obvious. When it starts, when you realise what’s happening it takes two minutes maximum to understand the whole process. You kinda know what it is but then most people will stay and watch because maybe something else will happen. But nothing else does happen. There is no result. It’s just a process. 

FK: In ‘Skin Me Tonight’ the theme was quite literal because it was called ‘Skin Me Tonight’, so everyone knew what would happen. The moment she started taking the leather off the couch there were a few minutes of excitement but then it became exhausting for her—she was sweating and it was hard to watch. It’s related to time, it’s related to how long-lasting is this furniture? We, in this world, always push to be fast and to be always new, to be innovative. There’s this throwaway attitude, especially in the fashion industry. I think it was a beautiful moment for people to overcome that emotion that they need to do or see something stimulating right now. They were stuck sitting there and they had to just kind of ignore this emotion to enjoy the performance. Especially those of us who are in our mid-20s, we feel like we can have anything all the time. I think that was a beautiful thing, that people were sitting there feeling uncomfortable and wanted to be rid of this impatience.

Mainline:RUS/Fr.CA/DE, Skin Me Tonight (2020). Performance view. Photo by Thyago Sainte. Image courtesy the artists.

ZB: This relates to our first performance as well. It was a small box room and you could see the models felt like they were trapped. It was summer and everyone was literally sweating. As the viewer, you overcome it, and then it becomes something new to you. It’s really fun to do. Normal life scenes, scenes which you’ve experienced somewhere before. We recreate it and you see it differently.**

Mainline:RUS/Fr.CA/DE’s Spring-Summer 2021 collection debuted in October 2020, and will be available in stores from mid-March. Their Fall-Winter 2021 collection will be presented on rusfrcade.com on the 8th of March, 2021.

Don Edler’s hybrid political satire, experimental doc & speculative horror screening at Hunter Shaw Fine Art, Jan 10-Feb 7

7 February 2021

Don Edler is screening film Devil You Know online at LA’s Hunter Shaw Fine Art, running January 10 to February 7, 2021.

The LA-based artist behind last November’s Two Minutes to Midnight solo exhibition collaborated with OpenAI’s GPT-3 language model to write the script, which is described as a “hybrid of political satire, experimental documentary, and speculative horror”.

Devil You Know presents a near-future dystopia where the existing structures of contemporary United States media and capitalist nationalism is propagated through automated misinformation.

Watch film on the Hunter Shaw Fine Art website.**

London’s CURL drops a typically surreal & symbiotic group effort for their Curl Compilation 2 cassette & download release, Jan 11

12 January 2021

London label and collective CURL released their Curl Compilation 2 cassette and download on January 11.

Featuring artists, writers and producers such as co-founder Coby Sey, Roxanne Tataei, Daisy Moon, Bunny Hoova, baby___asl, and others, the LP consists original music and sound pieces made by people from CURL’s loose London network. Also including Leah Walker & Rebecca Salvadori, Wu-Lu, PK Brako, Sissy Fuss, Olivia Salvadori, Suny and Pelin Pelin, contributors have either performed at CURL shows and parties, played with their live band or attended their events and shown support.

AQNB editor Steph Kretowicz‘s ‘BSAD (buy shit and die)’ audio-narrative collaboration with producer Ben Babbitt also features—which premiered as part of Berlin’s 3hd 2020 last year. Kretowicz took part in CURL’s performance around recent Artist Statement podcast interviewee Akinola Davies Jr‘s ‘Mayonnaise, Corn on the Cob and My Car’ short film screening at an earlier edition of the festival. The filmmaker’s own musical field recordings make several haunting appearances throughout Curl Compilation 2.**

See the CURL Bandcamp page for details.**

Curl Compilation 2 (2021). Press image. Courtesy CURL, London.

Czech curatioral platform PAF concludes online event series with PAF New York, featuring BCAA system, galen tipton, & more on December 12 & 13

11 December 2020

PAF Olomouc is presenting their online PAF New York event on December 12 and 13. This is the final event of the Czech curatioral platform’s three-part PAF Olomouc series across London, Oloumouc, and New York.

Staged as a virtual game experience by Prague collective BCAA system with contributing artists galen tipton, Jonáš Gruska, h5io6i54k, Matyáš Maláč, medieval cortex, and ver, PAF New York creates a sinkhole of liminal experiences out of banal everyday routines.

The Prague-based interdisciplinary collective is the final contributor the PAF’s event series, which featured artists Babeworld, Jesse Kanda, and Billy Bultheel earlier in November 2020.

Check the PAF website for more info.**

BCAA system for PAF New York (2020). Photo courtesy PAF.

Speculative imaginings on AI, authenticity & a future Singapore in Lawrence Lek’s AIDOL 爱道 (OST), releasing via Hyperdub today, November 27

27 November 2020

Lawrence Lek is releasing AIDOL 爱道 (OST), via London’s Hyperdub, today, November 27, 2020.

This new soundtrack release features music from Lek’s feature length film first shown at London’s Sadie Coles HQ, and more recently as part of Unsound Festival. The third in a series of video by the artist that includes 2016’s Sinofuturism (1839-2046 AD) and 2017’s Geomancer, AIDOL 爱道 builds on Lek’s science fiction universes exploring notion around AI, authenticity, and geopolitics, set against a future imagining of Singapore.

As stated by Lek, discussing AIDOL 爱道 in his conversation with AQNB associate editor Jared Davis for our Artist Statement podcast earlier in the year: “it’s not just this idea of post-humanism, trans-humanism or non-humanism that’s interesting to me. It’s this allegorical nature of a non-human subject.”

See Hyperdub to purchase and listen back to our podcast episode with Lawrence Lek for more.

2 tired 2 cry: an AQNB music & art compendium

24 November 2020

2 tired 2 cry is AQNB’s third release of new music and visual works compiled and curated by our London, Berlin and Los Angeles-based team.

Part of an ongoing series of these downloadable packages, featuring work by artists in our international community, this next mini-compendium is the second of four to be dropped quarterly. It includes four new tracks and two new original artwork contributions, and is available for sale on our site, or free for our Patreon subscribers.

The theme of 2 tired 2 cry follows a year of collective difficulties and setbacks. Closing out 2020 with some silver linings, and a small shard of hope for the future, the compendium looks towards a long and hard road ahead, that’s not without optimism. This is the sight and sound of upheaval and uncertainty, living with the ebb and flow of life and death. Frustration and exhaustion, anger and grief all live here. We’ve been through a period of emotional extremes, and there’s probably a bit more to come. Hang in there.

Music by:
Angels in America
Acolytes
Mya Gomez
N-prolenta

Visual works by:
Ander Rennick
Giulia Essyad

Cover artwork by:
Gian Manik

Graphic design by:
Alex Deranian

The Artist Self-Publishers’ Fair returns for a digital cable TV streaming bazaar with 100 artists

22 September 2020

Returning for its sixth edition, the Artist Self-Publishers’ (ASP) Fair will take place this weekend on September 26 and 27, for a fully online iteration featuring 100 artists and publishers, presented by ICA, London. 

For this digital edition of the fair — which features self-publishers such as Emily Pope, Hate Zine, Black Lodge Press to name a few — ASP have drawn inspiration from cable TV and home shopping media. The fair will be a “streaming bazaar” online where visitors can chat with the stall holders, view performances, readings, screenings and purchase zines.

In addition to the publishers that also include the likes of Arts of the Working Class, Nervemeter among others, ASP has programmed guest performers for each day, such as “trans chancers” and arts writers The Right Lube, interdisciplinary artists R.I.P. Germain, Ruth Angel Edwards, as well as musicians Lolina and Scratcha DVA and more.

See the ASP website for more details.**

Exploring miasma as ghostly presence with a live sonic fable by Ewa Awe in London for AQNB x 3hd 2020, Sep 26

15 September 2020

AQNB x 3hd 2020: Hyperobjectivity, a performance event for small groups featuring a new work by Ewa Awe, takes place at an undisclosed outdoor location in London on Saturday September 26, 2020, presented as part of 3hd 2020’s ECO-Centers companion programme.

In keeping with the ECO-centers theme of a nature-centered political philosophy known as ‘ecocentrism’, Hyperobjectivity explores the ungraspable concerns around climate change, the pandemic and a failing capitalist system that problematise anthropocentrism, colonialist frameworks, and our false mastery over nature. Uncertainty marks this moment, but also a feeling of potential new ways of thinking emerging—away from rationality and objectivity.

For Hyperobjectivity, we have invited London-based Polish artist Ewa Awe (aka Ewa Poniatowska), who has performed at the likes of Tate Modern, London as well as Beursschouwburg Brussels, to respond to these themes. Her work for the event, titled ‘New Miasma Theory Chapter 2’—the second in an eponymous series of fantastical sonic fables—will consist of narrated sonic walks in an outdoor London location, culminating in a ceremonial performance. Exploring the notions of miasma as ghostly presence and ethereal symbols of collective beliefs, ‘New Miasma Theory Chapter 2’ welcomes an audience towards reverie, blurring boundaries between reality and fiction. Produced in collaboration with writer Sanja Grozdanic, the project evokes oral storytelling rituals.

Highly limited bookings for socially-distanced groups of six people are available via Eventbrite. For those unable to attend, the project will be in part documented and shared online.

See the 3hd 2020 website for more details.**

Quantum Natives release free download of otherworldly ambient video game Cryptic Island Eco-Sanctuary

14 August 2020

Quantum Natives is releasing a free download video game of recent signee enchanted landsCryptic Island Eco-Sanctuary today on itch.io.

Cryptic Island Eco-Sanctuary (2020). Courtesy the label.
Cryptic Island Eco-Sanctuary (2020). Courtesy the label.

Described by the label as an ‘an ambient exploratory experience’, Cryptic Island Eco Sanctuary intertwines the serene and surreal. Talismans and anthropomorphized stones are nestled across the game’s misty landscapes, constituting subtle details of this otherworldly getaway suitable for experiencing amidst lockdown.

Quantum Natives’ otherworldly ambient video game Cryptic Island Eco Sanctuary is available for free download today

Before and After explores the serendipity of nature, music, & isolation, July 19 – 26

23 July 2020

From July 19 to July 26 in the wilderness of Baveno, Italy, Before and After is hosting a series of events on sustainable futures and new environmentalism through sonic mediation.

The program is organized by Tones on the Stones in collaboration with Terraforma festival’s Threes, featuring Hyperdub‘s Mana, Nicolàs Jaar, as well as environmentalist practitioners Riccardo Blumer, Emanuele Coccia and others. Limited to an audience of 30 people and online streaming, the series will generate a temporary micro-community to assess the value of nature as a place for artistic possibility.

See the Before and After website for more information.

Between two stars : an AQNB music & art compendium

14 July 2020

Between two stars is AQNB’s latest release of new music and visual works compiled and curated by our London and Los Angeles-based team.

Following the success of the previous even my dreams don’t go outside compendium, we’re pleased to introduce an ongoing series of these downloadable packages, featuring work by artists in our international community. This first mini-compendium is one of four to be dropped quarterly—with four new tracks and two new original artwork contributions—and available for sale on our site, or free for our Patreon subscribers.

Between two stars takes its title from the mythological twins Castor & Pollux, inspired by the very chaotic Gemini season—which ran May 21 to June 21. Assigned guardians of sailors on troubled waters, these sons of Greek god Zeus became the brightest celestial bodies of the constellation named after one of the most controversial signs of the zodiac. The compilation’s curation responds loosely to the implied duality of its theme, exploring a liminal space that exists beyond binaries—a nebulous point between poles that escapes the limitations of language.

Music by:
Iku
Oxhy
Tadleeh 
Yikii 

Visual works by:
Roxman Gatt 
smallboydanger 

Cover artwork by:
Helin Şahin 

Acknowledgements:
Jared Davis, associate editor & compendium co-curator
Matt Dell, music editor & compendium co-curator
Steph Kretowicz, AQNB editor 
Caroline Heron, AQNB managing editor 

Isaac Treece, mastering 

LIMBO magazine launches today as an initiative to provide new paid work for creatives, July 13

13 July 2020

Launching today, LIMBO is a new physical magazine with all profits from sales and advertising going directly to contributing artists and the magazine staff. 

Edited by Francesca Gavin and featuring over 100 contributors, the magazine includes work from a broad range of artists including Paul Maheke, Danielle Brathwaite-Shirley, Evan Ifekoya as well as Lloyd Corporation. Spanning visual arts, music, fashion, essays and more, LIMBO also features contributions made by well established creatives and business such as Vivienne Westwood who have waived their fees for the initiative.

See the LIMBO website for more details.**

New Scenario x AQNB—Bodyholes Green Ear Limited Edition

10 July 2020

For this artist edition merchandise collaboration, AQNB teamed up with online platform and exhibition space New Scenario, founded by Paul Barsch and Tilman Hornig.

Purchase the New Scenario x AQNB— Bodyholes Green Ear t-shirt here.

The design refers back to their infamous Body Holes project—commissioned for the DIS-curated 9th Berlin Biennale in 2016—where contributors were invited to exhibit their work in a chosen human orifice. The show featured an exhaustive line-up of artists and openings, including Ed Fornieles, Rachel De Joode, Sean Raspet, Jesse Darling and more, along with Hornig’s own ‘Green Ear’ piece, featured here on the New Scenario x AQNB t-shirt.

Olan Monk enlists James K to explore dystopia & incalculable loss on the disarming electro-infused rhythms of ‘Morticia’

18 June 2020

Olan Monk is releasing album Love/Dead via C.A.N.V.A.S. on June 26, with preview track ‘Morticia with James K’ premiering on AQNB today. A co-founder of the label, the artist has hosted a variety of guests under the C.A.N.V.A.S. imprint nights in London, including Flora Yin-Wong and Elvin Brandhi. Olan Monk continues to push his experimental post-punk approach, enlisting the PAN-affiliated vocalist for the top-line of this electro-infused track.

A wailing baseline provides a steady jolt to the undertones of ‘Morticia’. Lo-fi kick and clap patterns rock mechanically as James K’s voice commands the headroom. The reverberated croons and industrial beat evoke stylistic elements of Portishead’s ‘Machine Gun’, sending the listener into an equally ominous and disarming state.**

Olan Monk’s Love/Dead is out via C.A.N.V.A.S. on June 26

Read an open letter by over 60 Black artists & cultural workers in Switzerland to address anti-Black racism in the country’s arts institutions

17 June 2020

Over 60 Black artists and cultural workers in Switzerland have signed an open letter to address anti-Black racism within the country’s arts institutions, in an action that could serve as a useful template for similar calls globally.

Sent to 77 Swiss organisations last week, the letter demands a long term and concrete commitment to change, following social media posts by these institutions on social media. As stated in the letter: “We hereby ask you to be truly accountable and take action beyond the stage of social media. We ask you to implement real, tangible change and to become section leaders when it comes to anti-racist practices in the arts and culture landscape of Switzerland.”

The letter is available in English, French and German, making for a valuable resource towards further action against anti-Black racism in other contexts worldwide.

You can read the letter in full here.