2.18.2007

Masky, mammalian zeitgeist

Regine posts images of Spanish designer Carlos Diez's new fashion line, featuring dapper plaid suits and black dresses topped by horny mammal masks. Maybe it's just me, but it seems... familiar.
Artist Adam Helms' tined and masked militiamen are members of the New Frontier Army, a fictitious group whose appearance hearkens mythology, historical separatist movements, and revolutionary heroes.

Cameron Jamie's horned, fur-faced beasts aren't his own invention: his film Kranky Klaus documents the mayhem wreaked by Krampus, St. Nick's alter ego who runs amok in Austria's Bad Gastein Valley every year on December 6 (see the Krampus masks he had created by Austrian crafters below). While not exactly mainstream, the film has been making the rounds; it screened at the Whitney Biennial and his Walker retrospective last summer.

Is this just art influencing art? Or is there something else, something masky and mammalian, in the zeitgeist these days? In Orwellian times, who can't confess a desire to conceal one's identity once in awhile—or, even, to appear more fierce than we really are?

Or is there something here about wildness? We've got no-fly lists and surveillance cameras that record our traffic infractions, neighbors snitching on Muslim neighbors and the regimentation of the military illustrated on the evening news every night. Like Krampus' mischief and the New Frontier Army's independent force, perhaps the animal metaphor stands for some other kind of wildness--some kind of untamed lawlessness...

1 comment:

Jake said...

Reminds me of Pan from "Pan's Labyrinth." The movie follows a young girl's retreat from violence and authoritarianism into a magical underworld where human folly is irrelevant. Could these masked artists be pining for supernatural salvation?