The New City Reader: Lifestyles (Diggin’ our own Graves)

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Subject: sex!
From: Kazys Varnelis
To: Klaus
Cc: Robert Sumrell

any chance you’d like to do some kind of terrifying orgy cartoon for our essay?

a tangle of bodies, a la hieronymous bosch meets the mitchell brothers?

i’m terrified… i’m sure you are too.

robert will elaborate.

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Subject: Re: sex!
From: Robert Sumrell
To: Kazys Varnelis
Cc: Klaus

I think it should be an orgy in the graves design section of wallmart

Sent from a tin can and piece of string

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Subject: Re: sex!
From: Robert Sumrell
To: Kazys Varnelis
Cc: Klaus

There is actually a pretty well know editorial cartoon of a bourgeois couple looking at a William Morris Teapot thinking “how can we ever live up to this”
Maybe this one could be a couple with a normal teapot looking at the Michael Graves or Martha Stewart Orgy thinking “They’ll never sleep with us, look at our teapot”
It would make sense with the content of the article…
R

………………………………..
Subject: Re: sex!
From: Kazys Varnelis
To: Robert Sumrell
Cc: Klaus

Perfect.

………………………………..

Subject: This is the cartoon
From: Robert Sumrell
To: Kazys Varnelis
Cc: Klaus


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Subject: Re: This is the Cartoon
From: Kazys Varnelis
To: Robert Sumrell
Cc: Klaus

Yes that is it. Perfect. except I think the couple should have the Michael Graves teapot. Could it be Brad and Angelina or some celebrities with design interest?

………………………………..

Subject: Re: This is the Cartoon
From: Klaus
To: Kazys Varnelis
Cc: Robert Sumrell

Hey, guys,

Lacking some context here. Could anyone send me the article, or sth.?
I woke up this morning, read your emails and still have no idea what you’re speaking about!!!

Best,

K-

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Subject: Re: This is the cartoon
From: Kazys Varnelis
To: Klaus
Cc: Robert Sumrell

Oh yes! We (AUDC) are writing an essay on the history of the idea of lifestyle, for the style issue…

in the US, the term “the lifestyle” refers to swinging or group sex.

k.

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Subject: Re: This is the cartoon
From: Klaus
To: Kazys Varnelis
Cc: Robert Sumrell

So, in the article this would illustrate, there’s some commentary made of Michael Graves’s industrial design as compared to Martha Stewart?

………………………………..

Subject: Re: This is the cartoon
From: Kazys Varnelis
To: Klaus
Cc: Robert Sumrell

There isn’t any particular commentary on them yet…

………………………………..

Subject: Re: This is the cartoon
From: Klaus
To: Kazys Varnelis
Cc: Robert Sumrell

Well, I hope there’s some way to make the connection, or people will think I’m just going mental…

………………………………..

Subject: Re: This is the cartoon
From: Robert Sumrell
To: Kazys Varnelis
Cc: Klaus

Hi Klaus,

We are writing an article for the style section about the development of the concept of lifestyle.

In short, the rise of commercial culture came with conflicting sentiments. The desire to emulate the luxury of previous eras, and the knowledge of the social repression and sexual deviance that they allowed.

The old cartoon epitomizes the relationship of an engaged couple hoping to show others the status they want to have through a teapot that will express them. In victorian times, the means of expression were reduced. Leisure activity was limited to religious and organized social outings. Tea was a safe way to interact with others and kept things from getting too sexy, which was a constant danger. The couple hopes the tea pot will complete them. It is ,after all a consumate object.

Moving forward and skipping a bit, with the rise of the internet came a new freedom in social interaction that coincided with women’s lib and equality. the early Well was rife with hook ups and dating offers. Singles bars came into being. The lifestyle developed as we had the peak moment of subculture. In the late 80’s material culture bloomed, sex hit a wall with aids. Subculture became marketed as Alternative and Alternative lifestyles became marketable Everything gained a place in marketing campaigns and that was the end of identity politics. With the internet and dot com booms modern lifestyle begins as do the creative industries. You define yourself as a story to be broadcast, complete with objects and clothing to match. Your image becomes as important or more important than your resume. The second cartoon would update the first. We expect others to judge us by how we present ourselves rather than by what we actually do (work is now completely abstracted to almost become unexplainable and no one produces anything). We go into huge amounts of debt to support this descriptive system. Not to sound too crude – but where the victorian couple was trying to maintain fidelity to an object we currently buy teapots so that we can enter into the orgy of consumption and find a place to belong with our peers…

I hope that helps.

R.

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The New City Reader: Music + Style. Edited by DJ Nron, DJ Rupture, Robert Sumrell and Andrea Ching. The New City Reader: A Newspaper of Public Space is a project created by  Kazys Varnelis, and  Joseph Grima. The New City Reader is a performance-based editorial residency designed as as part of the Last Newspaper, an exhibit running at New York’s New Museum from 6 October 2010‒9 January 2011. It will consist of one edition, published over the course of the project with a new section (Editorial, International News, Business/Economy, Politics…) produced weekly by alternating guest editorial teams within the museum’s gallery space. These sections will be available free at the New Museum and—in emulation of a practice common in the nineteenth-century American city and still popular in parts of the world today—will be posted in public throughout the city for collective reading.

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