Hiding in plain sight. I was always here. I was always one in the crowds. Head low briskly walking down the sidewalk; standing and sipping black coffee in front of the cafe; sitting on the bench in the park at dusk. I am the one with the red lipstick on; the one in the worn leather jacket; or maybe I am the one in that little black dress.
I am always one step ahead of you. As I pause for a fleeting moment, you can barely catch a glimpse of my face and I am gone. How far ahead in the future can you see? Only those who see as I see can see me.
But as always, I am sure those who seek beauty will find it.
For the future of beauty has always belonged to you and me. You know you’ve got to go that extra mile. And it was never too far away. The streets belong to everyone else.
The people who move through the city streets are all strangers. But we are all on this endlessquest of searching for one another; glancing sideways, eyes lock for a second, then dart away, seeking other eyes, never stopping…there is that something that runs among us, an exchange of glimpses like lines that connect one individual with another and draw lines, triangles, circles until all combinations are used up in that moment, and other characters come onto the scene.
At each encounter, we imagine a thousand things about one another; meetings which could take place between us, conversations, surprises, caresses, embraces— but words are never to be exchanged.
In each and every personal universe, it goes on to contain the great number of people we have never seen and will never see, names that bear with them a figure, a fragment, or a glimmer of an imagined silhouette. The catalogue of forms is endless: until every shape has found its own name,new shapes will continue to appear. When the forms exhaust their variety and come apart, another cycle of creation will come forth again.
What shape and form you are searching for?
Have you too, observed this curious feature of fashion? That it is quite a contradiction in it’s own sense, when we try to dress ‘fashionably’, we aim simultaneously to stand out and blend in with the crowd. You want to belong, but you also want to be yourself. You have seen the ‘in’ go ‘out’ overnight. Styles have been created and shunned; trends have faded and been recovered. The paradox of fashion is as present as ever— nothing is new yet there is always something different.
Yet, liberating are the possibilities to be found in fashion. Fashion, is now the barometer of the relationship between you and your surroundings, a means of maintaining the precarious balance between standing out and fitting in. In the city where one is constantly being exposed to the unknown, it is by manipulation of the self that one survives.
Fashion is at the heart of all this selfpresentation and manipulation. The idea of how we appear to others and how we should look is something that is illusory, subtle, and intangible, and it is constructed from the memories of our past whilst also being conscious about the present direction. It is on such a brutally indifferent and constantly fluctuating environment that we fragile beings are being imposed upon; fashion is our armor, in which becomes indispensable as we battle the realities of everyday life. It is on this never-ending quest that we search for who we are and what we stand for. How do you choose to look, and can they see you?
So let’s dress-up and make-believe.
You say that “no one knows me, no one shall look at me…I am a mere fleck of dust lost in that immense crowd.” Yet you are displaying yourself out in the open, so openly, that you are daring the whole of the metropolis to take you on…You have become this new adventurer of the sidewalks, and you aim to achieve your total meaning only in the context of the danger that surrounds you, the perils of everyday life. This visual display of self-consciousness knowingly flaunts in the face of the ordinary, the miserable, and the distressed.
Not cruelly or intentionally; yet the full essence of your performance emerges only in the context of imminent threat, the instant flicker of aggression and within the contrast of the pall of despair. Whether on the streets, in cafes and restaurants, by being dressed up in fashion, you are always there for the gaze of another, to a certain degree performing that representation of ‘yourself’. The message you are sending is clear, that there will always be a distance between you and them. Perhaps everything lies in knowing what words to speak, what actions to perform, and in what order and rhythm; or else someone’s gaze, answer, gesture is enough; it is enough for someone to do something for the sheer pleasure of doing it, and for their pleasure to become the pleasure of others: at that moment, all spaces change, all heights, distances; the city and space around you is transfigured, becomes crystalline, transparent as glass. You can see so clearly what is happening. You are almost there now. What you believe in has come to life. Is this what you want them to see and find?
You saw what you wanted, and you were overjoyed.
Our urban life has become a locus of desire, of transgression and of the exploration of our forms and bodies. Women, and men of the crowds, all will wish to call attention to their charms and individualize themselves. Our cities, like our dreams, are made of desires and fears, even if the thread of discourse is not always known, the ways and rules are absurd, the perspectives are deceitful, and everything conceals something else. We are all visible and invisible at the same time.
The city appears to us as a whole where no desire is lost and of which we are a part, and since it also enjoys everything we do not enjoy, you can do nothing but inhabit this all-consuming desire and be content. Such is the power, sometimes seemingly so cruel and unkind, sometimes so sympathetic and heartwarming, that the unpredictable city possesses. You become entangled and trapped in this endless cycle of laboring for desire, where your many fruitless labors, gives form to longing and takes from longing its true form. Like a cat chasing its own tail, the city always tantalizes you with hidden and new cravings, and round and round you go in this infinite game of hide and seek.
Emptiness is contagious, pass it on.
It is then we realize that we are lost wanderers, where we walk the streets, shuffle through the crowds, and gaze into the shop windows. We take in all the sights, sounds, and smells of city life from a position of cool detachment. We submerge ourselves in the fast pace and fragmented landscape of city life, only to maintain an affective aloofness, a result of our immersion in an environment of constant impermanence.
As we drift about within the labyrinth of streets, shops, subways, parks, and monuments as if in a dream world, becoming one with the crowd, absorbing observations and random encounters with strangers. As the city presents new sources of both pleasure and oppression, it is not in us to shy away but instead we maintain a deep ambivalence.
A surreal future is made concrete, material and immediate. This is a world in which the necessities and rhythms of nature have been abolished: yet at the same time this man-made landscape which has come to resemble a freak of nature, is now immersed in a realm of its own.
We could know how many steps make up the streets rising like stairways and the degree those backstreets and alleyways curve and bend; but we already know that this would be the same as knowing nothing. The cities we reside in do not consist of this, but of relationships between measurements of its space and the events of its timeline.
As waves of movement and memories flow in, we soak it up like a sponge and the presence of our cities expands indefinitely, leaving cavernous gaps that only emptiness could take up. It is within the darkened shadows of these gaps that we exist, seeking ever for ways to fill the void.
— Just one more thing.
visible and invisible,
in this concrete jungle of a city.
Sentiments attached to the
deepest desires of the seekers will
lead them to us,
and us to them.
Is it through instinct?
Or by mere chance?
I need not to know.
Come find me as I am.
There are no rules.
Styling Anastasija Kondratjeva,
Makeup Aki Maekubo using CHANEL,
Hair Kiri Yoshiki using Oribe,
Model Anastasija Kondratjeva @ Wilhelmina New York.
Creative direction & production Artistic cube inc.
Casting Artistic Cube inc.
Special Thanks to Jose Covarrubias.