Here’s Looking at: Brook Andrew’s Sexy and dangerous

Detail of Brook Andrew, Sexy and dangerous 1996. courtesy National Gallery of Victoria

The young warrior looks out at us, his gaze averted. Dressed in his elegant headgear, a rod through his nose and his hair braided, he is photographed naked to the waist. His body decorations in bold white, suggestive of war paint – including one ominously encircling his neck – delineate his strong torso and arms. On his chest are two tattooed inscriptions. One in English reads “Sexy and dangerous,” the other in Mandarin loosely translates as “female cunning” or “shifty femininity” or “mischievous girl.” Who is he?

Brook Andrew appropriated this image of an unnamed “Aboriginal Chief,” a Djabugay man from North Queensland, from the archive of photographs made by Kerry & Co. in the first decade of the 20th century. The Kerry & Co. studio produced images of Aboriginal men and women, often posed in tableaux in front of a painted backdrop and with props of branches and undergrowth to situate them in the landscape.

These photographs on glass plate negatives were reproduced as Cartes de visite (photographs glued onto visiting cards, the forerunner of postcards) to document the “exotic” inhabitants of Australia for the tourist trade. Sometimes named, though in this case only identified as a person of authority, he is dislocated from any sense of locale by judicious cropping of the studio tableau in the background.

Comparing Andrew’s Sexy and dangerous with the original Kerry & Co. photograph there are obvious variances.

Aboriginal chief, 1901-1907, Unknown photographer, Kerry & Co, Australia.
Courtesy of the Art Gallery of New South Wales

Firstly, the rendering in colour of the sepia original brings this man to life, and the enhanced scale to larger than life size underscores his physical presence. He is depicted as a powerful man whose authority is evident in his demeanour, rather than suggested by the anonymous cipher, “Aboriginal Chief.”

The reworked image is designed to hang from the ceiling so as viewers we must confront this man individually, rather than control him in the palm of our hand. We walk around him in the space he occupies in the gallery, he is alongside us, and we are encouraged to engage meaningfully with him.

However, Andrew subverts our encounter by over-painting his body markings, beaded necklet, and armbands so that they seem to slice through the image, segmenting his torso and severing his head. This aggressive rendering of his body echoes a history of brutality inflicted upon Aboriginal people in this country.

Brook Andrew, Sexy and dangerous 1996.
courtesy National Gallery of Victoria

The body painting as recorded in the Kerry & Co. version would have likely acted as a means of communicating status or belonging, but in Andrew’s work, it is used to rupture his image. The physical fracturing further reinforces this man’s displacement from country, which is removed in both versions but more obviously erased in Andrew’s painted-out surround. In Andrew’s rendering of the image, this anxious warrior occupies no clearly defined place and the detached sections of his body merely hover in space.

Most intriguing though is the addition of the two texts: “sexy and dangerous” and “female cunning”. Through this overlay, Andrew fuses together the multiple readings he has already chronicled visually with additional inferences about sexuality and otherness.

In the smaller font English text, the sitter’s humanity is established forcefully as erotically charged but also threatening. We see him through the lens of our humanity. He is much more powerful and hence potentially more to be feared than in the Kerry & Co. original. He is the epitome of “rough trade,” who simultaneously evokes dread and desire.

The second and larger font text in Mandarin further complicates our reading of an image that has already engrossed us completely. Its suggestion of queer sexuality may reinforce the notion of rough trade, or it may be that Andrew is reminding us that Australia is now a part of Asia as much as it is a far-flung colony of Britain.

Andrew created Sexy and dangerous around the time of the confrontation in Tiananmen Square, and hence it can be read as underscoring the need for resistance in the face of oppression. Is Andrew urging us to readjust our understanding of what it means to occupy a country whose sovereignty is made manifest in this image of the Aboriginal Chief?

So who is he, this young man photographed over 100 years ago? We are told he is an Aboriginal man from North Queensland whose name was not recorded. He is now dead: all that remains is his image, yet through his act of re-presentation, Andrew gives him life.

As with much of the artist’s work, this image is also a conduit for exploring the slippage in identity by examining how we construct ourselves and how we are constructed through the gaze of others. Depicted with the slick production values of global media culture this Djabugay man is once again made visible.

His presence is palpable; he has iconic status in the gallery, in the media, and on our screens. In his ubiquity, he focuses our attention on the crimes of the past, on the failures of the present and urges us to work toward a just and accountable future.

Brook Andrew: The Right to Offend is Sacred is at The Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia until June 17.

The Conversation

Ted Snell does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond the academic appointment above.


Nelly Ben Hayoun on teaching designers how to change the world

University of the Underground graphics by Nelly Ben Hayoun Studios

Nelly Ben Hayoun has a CV that makes most creative careers sound dull in comparison. She has assembled an International Space Orchestra made up of NASA scientists and directed a feature film exploring what would happen if an asteroid were to collide with Earth. She is also designer of experiences at the SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) Institute, head of experiences at WeTransfer and an adviser to the United Nation’s VR labs. Her consultancy Nelly Ben Hayoun Studios has worked with Google, the Guardian, Wired and the BBC and she is a visiting professor at both the Royal College of Arts and the Architectural Association.

Now, Hayoun has teamed up with a formidable group of designers, thinkers and entrepreneurs to launch The University of the Underground – a free MA programme that aims to teach students how to “design experiences and events that best support social dreaming, social actions and power shifts within institutions, companies and governments”.

The course begins in October this year and the deadline for applications is April 1. It is run in partnership with the Sandberg Instituut (the postgraduate arm of the Gerrit Rietveld Academie in Amsterdam) and forms part of the school’s MA design programme. WeTransfer is a founding partner of the scheme and has pledged to support it for the next 100 years.

The course is directed and managed by Nelly Ben Hayoun Studios. An advisory board includes Phil Lee, creative director at XL Recordings, Christopher Hird, a former journalist at the Economist, New Statesman and Sunday Times, Professor Fiona Raby, a former tutor on RCA’s design interactions course, and Alex Schleifer, VP of design at Airbnb. The course is based in London and Amsterdam and students will learn at Shoreditch nightclub Village Underground for three months of the year.

International Space Orchestra poster designed by Our Machine.
International Space Orchestra poster designed by Our Machine.

The core teaching team includes Hayoun, architects Tom Greenall and Mariana Pestana, artist Nina Pope and Nicola Koller, a senior designer at Paul Smith. Hayoun has also recruited guest tutors from a range of industries to work with the programme’s 15 students, from Pentagram partners Paula Scher and Michael Bierut to science fiction author Bruce Stirling and Tea Uglow, creative director at Google Creative Labs.

Speaking to CR at creative conference Design Indaba – where she gave an immersive presentation on her forthcoming project The Life, The Sea and The Space Viking – Hayoun said it was important to recruit tutors who can inspire students. “It was really important to find what I call the dreamers of the day – tutors that will tell the students that they can positively make changes in this world,” she says.

Tutors also had to have experience of working with governments or institutions and be able to teach students about how systems work as well as how they can be adapted or modified. Students will learn about a particular discipline or form of storytelling – from film-making to theatre – and explore how this could be applied within a particular organisation.

The ISO performing in front of the world's largest wind tunnel. Photo by Neil Berrett
The ISO performing in front of the world’s largest wind tunnel. Photo by Neil Berrett

“The way that The University of the Underground is designed is that you learn about political practices, theatrical practice, design practice, film, music, but also sociology, ethnography and linguistics, which we put into the realm of humanities,” says Hayoun. “We teach you all of these different methods that come from each of these disciplines for you to make your own version of what an experience means – [to investigate] how you can use each of the disciplines to actually develop new ways to work with public institutions and do meaningful experiences within these contexts.”

“[A student might explore] how he can use, I don’t know, Greek Tragedy – in the way that Greek Tragedy has been designed, in the way that you try to communicate with a certain set of the audience and create a catharsis – and how you can then apply that maybe to the NHS and getting the public more connected with the NHS by getting doctors to perform a Greek tragedy,” she continues. “That’s just a thought … but we wanted to have [tutors] who are not expected or who are real explorers of things.”

With talk of Willy Wonkas and subterranean spaces, the course might sound a little fantastical – but it has a clear structure. The first year will consist of workshops covering performance, design for public engagement, politics, directing and production as well as field visits to conferences, theme parks, laboratories and political institutions.

Students will work on five creative briefs as well as live events at Village Underground and a still-to-be-announced Amsterdam venue. “Right now, we are working with the British Film Institute to develop a project where we will be talking about the importance of film-making to the government and how it might evolve – so the student will have to reflect on that and design an experience that can communicate this importance [of film-making] and the way that film has developed, and they will have access to the entire archive of the BFI,” says Hayoun.

In the second year, students will design events and experiences in collaboration with an institution or expert and work on a larger project to create change within an organisation of their choice. “I hope one student will pick Fox Studios, for example, and actually go and hunt the Hollywood system of developing film-making and renegotiate and re-think the way that storytelling is being done and the way it’s being developed, and what power structures are in place, and how can you modify them to develop experiences that are meaningful,” she adds.

The UoU Foundation has put out a call for students who are “bold, very hard working and engaged” – students who can become “Willy Wonkas of modern times”. As with most MA programmes, there is an expectation that they will have already developed their own practices and passions and will come prepared with ideas for how they can effect change.

“We can’t tell you how we want [students] to be when they come out. That’s impossible, because I’m really curious to know how they are going to take on that learning … but we need to have students who are going to be really bold and unapologetic about their creativity,” says Hayoun.

“[We want] students who are going to be able to strive through all of this total bombardment of disciplines they are going to go through during the first year and actually really take that learning and make it their own. Because otherwise, it’s going to be difficult for them to take things on from Greek tragedy, from political speechwriting, and still be able to remain an entity. We don’t want to challenge their identity – we want them to remain themselves – but we want to break apart the learning they had before and invade them with an awful lot of information.”

Hayoun hopes the course will offer a more hands-on learning experience than traditional MA courses. It will also have a greater number of tutors than students. If it proves successful, the plan is to launch similar programmes in other cities around the world and build a global network of “creative soldiers” who can challenge the status quo.

“We don’t want the foundation to stay in Amsterdam and London, we want to expand into every continent and we will make this happen,” says Hayoun. Other courses will also be held in subterranean spaces – Hayoun believes this is vital as students will be expected to re-imagine institutions from the ground up. It also conjures up images of rebellion and revolution.

“It’s important that [students] understand there is a scale to things, the same way there is a scale and system involved in each functioning of each institution,” she says. “We want our students to expand the bottom of life, in order to climb it, and maybe potentially become the next President of the United States or the United Nations and basically challenge their own disciplines and achieve these things where you don’t expect creative people to be. I think it’s so important now that we lead creatives into places where they can really make proper change. But change takes time – that’s why we have this 100-year commitment.”

With creative education becoming increasingly out of reach to all but the wealthy, courses like The University of the Underground show how industry and educational institutions can work together to provide more affordable courses. (The Sandberg Instituut is hoping that 80% of the cost of scholarships will be funded by philanthropic donations and 20% by government grants). WeTransfer sits on the advisory board – “but they are not actually inside the course” says Hayoun, and students retain their IP.

The University of the Underground will take place in Shoreditch nightclub Village Underground for three months of the year

“We are trying to figure out new ways to actually support education but at the same time [retain] this element of freedom,” she explains. “Just because a brand or company is donating to The University of the Underground does not mean that they own the work of our students.” The long-term aim is to create a more inclusive and diverse education model that is less focused on specific disciplines such as product design and more on using creative thinking to effect change in areas outside of the creative industries.

“We believe the designer nowadays is not just making tables and chairs. They have a multifaceted role and in that multifaceted role you can be a producer, a director, a mythologist … we want to support creative entrepreneurship, which is pretty much the way things are developing in the tech world, and the innovation world, but not in education,” says Hayoun. “We are trying to invent a new system, and we don’t know if this is the right one, but we are going to give it a try and we will try it for the next 100 years.”

Find out more about The University of the Underground and how to apply for a place on the course at Nelly Ben Hayoun was speaking to Creative Review at creative conference Design Indaba. See for details.

The post Nelly Ben Hayoun on teaching designers how to change the world appeared first on Creative Review.


Demian Licht on transmitting knowledge, being a demon of the light

Demian Licht is building a portal – one connecting us to a new future, one scrapping the parts of society holding people back, one linking the world. She’s not just making techno – she’s making a statement about the future with her music and practice, one that resonates with Detroit’s pioneers and the bleeding-edge aspirations of a new generation today.

Oh, and there’s some strange physical portal involved, too, one purportedly located at the geographic center of Mexico – uh, maybe. But you might want to watch that spot.

So, not only did we want to hear more about Demian Licht’s approach to music after being wowed by her Female Criminals series (now up to two volumes plus one excellent remix album), we wanted to hear about her thoughts on society, too. Demian is one of the top Ableton trainers you’ll find worldwide, and her knowledge and skills go well beyond just using that one tool into deep explorations of sound and meaning.

We take a look inside her studio, and get some of this knowledge transmitted directly our way, too – and have a glimpse at some of the emerging scene in Mexico and her own next audiovisual opus. And lately you were probably thinking the future was looking dim.


Peter: Let’s start with the theme “Female Criminals.” I know you had these personas in mind in the first volume. How has that evolved in volume 2? What’s your connection to the theme, or what are we hearing in this release?

Demian: Female Criminals is my script to explore sonically the deepest side of the female mind: the dark side, the savage, the intuitive, the mystical — skills of women by nature, but that have been suppressed by society for centuries.

Vol. 1 has been my first approach to exploring the ‘criminal’ side of the female mind. I am using this term not as an obscure way to think about it; it’s more in the sense of the ‘forbidden’ which has been imposed by society by blocking the real nature and power of the female mind. With this mindset, Vol. 2 narrates the history of a crime made by a woman from the desire to the act.

There’s to me a really cinematic quality to the music. Can you tell us a bit about the different vocal sample sources in these tracks? What about instrumentation, too, also connecting to the theme?

Definitely, and that was my main intention. I’ve always been interested in the cinema field; I want it to translate the cinematic language into a sonic experience. For this volume, I’ve re-sampled a piece of a wonderful Finnish composer, Kaija Saariaho, that has touched me really deeply. I’ve used a ‘secret weapon’ inside Native Instruments Reaktor to completely change the structure and sound of the piece. I’ve used some of the edited results of this experiment to construct the history of Vol. 2. 3.



I can imagine these tracks both in a listening sense but also for the dance floor – do you DJ with these, as well? Or how do you see the role of the DJ in your work?

I’ve always presented my work as live. I am interested in exploring the challenges and possibilities of performing live electronic music. All mixes and podcasts I’ve done have used Ableton. However, I’m starting to receive some interesting proposals for DJ sets, such as BBC Radio, for instance.

Probably now is the time to start challenge me further as a DJ.

You’re a certified trainer, and of course came out and participated in their conference Loop here in Berlin with us in the fall. Is there a relationship between being an educator and a producer for you? Has that technical development been something you apply in your music production? Does it inform your creativity?

Totally. My knowledge in this field started when I decided to study sound engineering. But when I felt I really mastered the concepts and techniques related to music production was when I learned to transmit this knowledge to other people.



Of course, working as a trainer, you’ve got people on a different level. Where do you start with them? How far in do you get, or what have you found is most useful to people working with you?

Yes, I’ve worked with people of all kind of backgrounds, musical preferences, and ages. To give you a broader perspective about what I teach, it starts from electronic music history (extremely important) — Theremin, Musique concrète, Krautrock, etc. — to essential audio digital/analog theory, Ableton workflow, signal processing, synthesis, into designing a granular sampler in [Native Instruments] Reaktor.

I think my main teaching skill is that I try to make technical concepts easier to digest.



You’ve talked in other interviews and even in the label statement about your relationship to Mexico. I know both feelings about sexism and the change in the country are things I’ve spoken at length with my Mexican friends and colleagues about … and, for that matter, with other Americans about the state of these issues in our own country.

Given everyone is describing this as some kind of change, what’s your sense of the current moment in your city and nation?

Through history, particularly within Mexican and Latin American culture which I come from, the female figure has had a passive role inside society. The Female Criminals trilogy is my statement to shunt this misconception.

We are living in a moment of worldwide changes. I believe it’s time to break down old paradigms, to be able to arrive into the next level as a society, as humanity. Besides, I’ve received comments from people that don’t know me very well including the label boss of a well-respected label (which I won’t mention) referring to me as ‘bro’ or [saying “well done, ‘man’,” as my name is asexual and in some press pictures you can’t see my face. But mainly I think because my music aesthetic is not ‘effeminate’. Therefore, this is a well proof of it. No labels, no paradigms anymore.



Is music something that can play a role in this societal change? What does that mean for you individually versus as part of a larger scene or community?

It’s a process. With the Female Criminals releases, I’ve had feedback from all over the world, which to be honest I’m very impressed by, as I’ve been doing everything in a very independent way as I’m not on a big label. On the road, I’ve had help from friends, producers that I appreciate a lot, such as Ian McDonnell aka Eomac, who has given me advice and contacts to be able to understand how the music industry works. But in general, I’ve made everything by myself, like producing my videos, tours, etc., with my label Motus Records.

I remember a particular message from an Asian girl who wrote me through my Facebook page saying ‘You are the future’. It was really stunning to me. From the early beginning, the electronic music field has been the way to challenge myself,evolve as a human, and provoke movement ‘motus’. (“Movement” in Latin)

I truly believe music and specifically electronic music as technology could be the path to take humanity to the next level, as music is probably the only link that connects all cultures of the world. So, by sharing the vision exposed earlier by Jeff Mills and techno producers from Detroit, I’m on this field as I visualize advancement, progress, and future ‘Zukunft’ by using electronic music and technology as a vehicle to make it happen.

I think my brief impression of Mexico City was, like so many of my Berlin-based friends, really of a rich sonic environment (the city itself) and then a terrific array of musical talent in the scene. What impact has it had on you working there? What influence has Mexico had?

I’m not living in Mexico City anymore. I recently moved to a city close by, and I’m planning to move to a town which probably is the most beautiful and mystical in Mexico, located at the country’s center, called San Miguel de Allende. It’s near Tequisquiapan, where there’s a strange monument that marks the center of the country — a kind of portal.

I have projects in the near future in this place intending to connect Mexico with the world (and other worlds) by using technology and avant-garde music as a link.

But by being born, growing up, making sound engineering studies, and living in Mexico City, I realize that even with the chaos, pollution, criminality, social and politics problems, Mexico City is a colorful place, full of life and future. This city has given me the strength to survive in any place in the world, as you must be very bold and fearless to survive in it.

Any artists or other elements of the scene in Mexico City we should check out? (Anywhere to go when we’re hopefully back?)

In terms of artists based in Mexico City, I advice to check out Dig-it, AAAA and A_rp. In terms of places to explore, definitely the main one is the Museum of Anthropology which personally is my favorite in the world. You will find the powerful heritage and wisdom of all the ancient cultures that built the beginning of Mexican history.

Can you tell us a bit about the artists on the remix album? These aren’t necessarily names I know, and there’s some great stuff there, as well.

The artists that I have invited to remix Female Criminals vol. 1 are the ones who I feel are more related with my music aesthetics. I find them to be honest artists taking risks with their work in the current Mexican music scene.

For instance, Dig-it is releasing amazing techno music with his label Vector Functions; AAAA is touring in South America with international artists, and Ar_p is pushing boundaries with his live act.

Lastly, I want to ask about this theme of violence in music, and particularly techno. We talk a lot about adding darkness or demons to the music somehow. And yet somehow the experience can be the reverse – the darker or more violent the music can get, sometimes, the more grounding it can be to listen and dance to, at least for me.

What’s the experience of violence as an emotion in this music? Is it catharsis? Is it related to real violence, or has it become emotionally something else for you? I don’t mean to take the title too literally – but as it’s satisfying for me to listen to, I’m curious what your emotional connection is?

‘Dark’ or ‘obscure’ is the easiest way to describe powerful, driven, wild, forward-thinking music. Personally. this is the only kind of music that can provoke me.

I need to feel a kind of visceral-ism within music to be able to feel attracted to it, or touched by it. I’m not interested in music for ‘entertainment’ or recreation, maybe because I feel I am a kind of demon — a demon of the light.

Upcoming visuals

Demian also tells us she’s got an AV project ready to go:

On this March 25th I will premiere my new A/V show alongside Olaf Bender aka Byetone co-founder of German label Raster-Noton. The premiere will be hosted by an event called Ciclo in a particular place which possess an occult power called Convento Ex-Teresa located exactly in the center of Mexico City, where Mexican history has begun.

And to give you a taste of her cinema work, here’s her original video for “Domina” – material that will be incorporated into that show:

Don’t miss Demian Licht’s wonderfully terrifying new release

The post Demian Licht on transmitting knowledge, being a demon of the light appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.


Fonts from Typejockeys now available on Typekit

We are excited to introduce our newest foundry partner, Typejockeys! Based in Vienna, Austria, the foundry has been producing quality type since 2008 for businesses all over the world.

We’re adding all their typefaces to Typekit Marketplace, with a few styles also available in our regular subscription library. We’ve highlighted a few here, and you can see the entire collection on their foundry page.


Henriette by Michael Hochleitner, from Typejockeys

Henriette Black, Black Italic, and Condensed Medium. Artwork courtesy of Typejockeys.

Michael Hochleitner designed Henriette after researching the street signage that has become part of the cultural landscape in Vienna. The typeface that was created for these signs was modified and stretched over the years, and Michael took a close look at all these versions. They inspired him to create this serif typeface, which shows off its idiosyncrasies at large sizes but also works for text. Check out the alternates too! Five weights of Henriette (along with their italics) are available in the Typekit Library, with the Compressed and Condensed styles available for purchase.


Ingeborg by Michael Hochleitner, from Typejockeys

Ingeborg Fat, Heavy, and Block, with italics. Artwork courtesy of Typejockeys.

Ingeborg is a Didone with a few quirks. The display weights make a statement, and the Italics get a little wild — look at that y! The high contrast and ball terminals add rhythm and weight to a typeface that is overall very well-formed. Didones can be notoriously hard to read at small sizes and on screens, but Ingeborg’s moderate tone opens up more possible uses than would be typical for the genre. Consider it for web use, as the vertical contrast is subtle enough to be pleasing on screen. All four weights and the eye-catching Block style are available for purchase on Typekit Marketplace.

Sauber Script

Sauber Script by Michael Hochleitner at Typejockeys

Sauber Script. Specimen by Ariadne Remoundakis.

We are always looking for that unicorn script: a brush script with just the right mix of casual, utilitarian, and vintage qualities. Hochleitner’s experience with hand lettering clearly shows here in the natural and relaxed letterforms of Sauber Script, which is nonetheless a robust and thoughtfully planned typeface. Features include wide language support, carefully considered letter pairs, and contextual alternates, making Sauber Script a fantastic place to get started with a script font if you’ve felt overwhelmed by them before. You can purchase it on Typekit Marketplace.


Aniuk by Thomas Gabriel at Typejockeys

Just a few of the supported characters and extras in Aniuk. Artwork courtesy of Typejockeys.

Designed by Thomas Gabriel, Aniuk is a display face optimized for use in large sizes. It comes in five weights and has great character support and figure variations. It is curvy and strong at the same time — and will keep surprising you. The Bold and Regular styles are available for web and sync in the Typekit Library, and the rest can be purchased on Typekit Marketplace.

About Typekit Marketplace

The fonts you purchase from Typekit Marketplace are yours to use as long as you have a Creative Cloud login — even if you end your paid subscription.

Questions about getting started? Any other fonts you’re dying to see? Let us know on Twitter or drop an email to