Ahead of their event at Selfridges’ radical Agender pop-up tonight, the designer and pandrogynous legend talk breaking free from the ordinary
Tonight (31st of March) Yang Li and Selfridges present So Destroy the Expected, a live rooftop performance by Genesis Breyer P-Orridge / Aaron Dilloway and DJ set by Powell to celebrate Selfridges’ radical genderless pop-up, Agender. The event is open to the public from 7.30pm at the store on Oxford Street, London. RSVP at email@example.com. Taken from the Spring 2015 issue of Dazed:
This season, Yang Li and Genesis Breyer P-Orridge gave us words to live by. Collaborating for the first time, the Beijing-born designer and pandrogynous icon emblazoned garments with rebellious slogans including “nothing short of a total riot, nothing short of a total war, nothing short of a total love” and “our enemy is dreamless sleep”. It ignited a severe mood on the catwalk, heightened by an otherworldly soundtrack that paid tribute to paragons of the avant garde (Coil, Philip Glass and the hypnotic opening scene of Lars von Trier’s 1991 film Europa). And if such radical concepts seem ill-suited to a sphere not regularly confronted with profound existential quandaries, it’s in precisely this cultural dissonance, says Breyer P-Orridge, that these words of wisdom become all the more powerful.
“What Genesis does is very divisive – you either like it or you don’t. When I first came to London, I was listening to a lot of industrial music, and of course, Throbbing Gristle are the Elvis Presley of industrial. We met through Douglas McCarthy of Nitzer Ebb. I took a few days off and flew to New York and spent hours just talking to Gen before we even decided to do anything. It was very intense at times. She would tell me stories about her past. It was like she was spurting out the noise in her head, and through conversation, we picked things from both our minds which complemented each other, and thought, ‘OK, what can we make from that?’ If she was spurting out the material, I produced the record, so to speak.”
GENESIS BREYER P-ORRIDGE
“How can we wake people up from their malaise of the expected? This is why it says ‘so destroy the expected’. We all fall into biological and mental habits. It’s an easy way for us to navigate day-to-day work and life, but it also doesn’t do us any favours in terms of growing into wisdom, growing into a greater understanding of each other, growing into a deeper relationship – all the things that we really crave. We are always looking for ways to shake people – not with shock, but just with surprise or novelty or even a good piece of wit. Anything that’s unexpected or mysterious or curious. Curiosity is a great weapon for the artist.”
See Yang Li’s SS15 collection below:
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Sketches by Genesis Breyer P-Orridge (2014). Photography Amy Gwatkin; styling Samia Giobellina; model Diana; set design Amy Stickland; this collaboration will launch at Selfridges as part of the Agender project.