FRIEZE WEEK: DIS Magazine

The online magazine's 'Fair Trade' expo looks at the art of consumption, from an anthropological point of view

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Genre-bending and contentually bombastic online lifestyle magazine DIS have been selected by Frieze Projects curator Sarah McCrory to present a project at this year's Regents Park event. 'Fair Trade', the third in an ongoing exploration of the anthropological quality of art consumption' will be shot and produced with the fair as setting and backdrop in their signature style merging the worlds of art, fashion music and technology through a close aesthetic examination which exposes hidden agendas and behavioural codes.  They're also hosting a rather massive party on Friday in collaboration with LuckyPDF... 

There are political issues at the centre of every human operation and so, by extension, of ours. The politics of our own work are so embedded that we may not even be entirely aware of them

Dazed Digital: How would you describe your 'look'?
DIS:
Young. Sexy. Free. “Whatever.” It’s a meta-masquerade in the vapid infinite, and everyone’s invited.

DD: What is the concept behind 'Fair Trade'?
DIS: In May, for our Art School Issue, we put together a story that we called ‘Competing Images,’ in which we looked at ways of documenting art in an attention economy. We were interested in what happens to the documentation of art when it also includes the people whom it is supposed to reflect, who gather to engage it and to manage it, and who themselves have a multitude of representations, concerns, distractions, agendas, and allegiances. 

In a related shoot—for our DIS Images project—we captured much of the work presented in the New Museum’s Free exhibition (2010-11). But rather than propagating the notion of the museum as a rarefied setting for artworks in various stages of their commodity-life, we essentially flattened that aspect and chose instead to invigorate the institution—both of the museum and of artwork documentation—by operating in and around the codes of stock photography. In those photos, we depicted museum goers of all stripes; docents and guards in action, curators posed in anticipation/anxiety(?). There is admittedly a kind of beauty to the life of art when it hangs on pristine walls in a controlled environment with no visitors, but what about the life around the art under quotidian circumstances? That’s the question we posed with ‘New in Stock’ (the museum as public institution/interface), with ‘Competing Images’ (an education facility as consumer/product focus group), and hopefully here with Frieze, where institution, commodity, social roles, and site/context are enmeshed in a fascinating and problematic way.

DD: How do you feel about the term 'Post Internet'?
DIS: For us, it’s a myopic term. It proposes to locate something that is not only not local but not even global—and possibly completely incomprehensible and insidious. It’s a valid response to a trend toward standardization inherent in globalization, but it is literally a misnomer, and it is figuratively impotent—a kind of full stop at the end of desire, of change. Though the term pretends to paint a network culture becoming aware of itself, it strikes us as a blasé attitude toward the culture’s lack of activity and engagement and imagination. A pun with no hope for a conceit. “Post Internet” assumes that the network is a given. But “of course” we know that nothing should be taken for granted, that nothing goes without saying, that language is a political and a poetic concern. Politically, “post Internet” is just a reinforcement of the good ole dominant modes of history—linearity, subjectification, imperial omnipresence. Poetically, the phrase just sounds lame.

DD: What are you drawn to?
DIS: Unsubscribing.

DD: What's important about being part of a group and collaborating?
DIS: It simply reflects an inescapable current reality...it seems that an active collaboration is the only way to understand our situation. At times it’s about distribution of labor; more nodes, more modes. Other times it’s about antagonism; how does the individual relate to the group, and is that even possible anymore? Or it’s about camaraderie and mutual support and mobilizing our talents, our desires, our shortcomings.

DD: Are there any political angles you work with?
DiS: There are political issues at the centre of every human operation and so, by extension, of ours. The politics of our own work are so embedded that we may not even be entirely aware of them. Nevertheless, there are small, almost undetectable beacons in our images and text and events that we hope are softly signalling to artists, entertainers, and audience that share our concerns.

DD: New York vs London?
DIS: Versus? We prefer New York && London, New York @ London, or New York x London.

DD: What does the future hold?
DIS: Which specific future did you have in mind?

DD: What's up next for DIS?
DIS: A book. A forthcoming stock photography site (disimages.com), an experiential lifestyle e-boutique, mass market, global expansion. Generally, selling out.

More Frieze coverage HERE and HERE

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