Renata writes about REVOLUTION PIPE BOMB for NUNU
“revolution pipe bomb” by lisa kirk by Renata Last year, artist Lisa Kirk installed Revolution Pipe Bomb–tiny bronzed pipe bombs containing vials of a fragrance lisa kirk dubs “revolution,” you know, that smells like gunpowder, sweat and 1968–on the ceiling of P.S. 1. This past month, it lived at Invisible Exports, underneath House of Cards, her shanty time share installation, in what the real estate sale specialist (an actor in the gallery selling weeks in the time share) dubbed “the bomb shelter.” “Ask what's under the rug,” the press release coaxed. Once inside the bomb shelter-cum-terrorist cell, a “commercial” for Revolution Pipe Bomb: The Fragrance starts to play and you see legs in combat boots running through Soho, [INVALID]nating with shots of confused bystanders. Cut to a sniper, who shoots a person, then cut back to the running legs. At the end of the short film, two black-clad figures wearing face masks confront each other, then rip off their masks to reveal a beautiful woman and a handsome male counterpart. It's the kind of dramatic pairing-off you see in fashion or fragrance ads all the time, followed by a product shot: “Revolution. A new fragrance.” I can't quite remember the script, but you can imagine the voiceover, it's one we've all heard (I hear it everyday when I spritz myself with perfume). The production values of Kirk's “commercial” are as high as any fashion or beauty ad–and, in fact, I was reminded of the fashion films I watched when I wrote The New Fashion Porn for The Daily Beast, seductive yet frighteningly hollow and unaware of their own ridiculousness. But Kirk's “Revolution” is self-aware, of course; it's an execution of Guy Debord's concept of detournment - “culture jamming” - the reappropriation of the visual and narrative techniques used in advertising as a means to critique it. Oddly, fashion often quickly and un-ironically appropriates the very representaions used in its own critique, almost as though in doing so they are always one step ahead (if only fashion actually did think this way, but in reality it does things without intellectual basis). If Jeremy Scott can make a fragrance that smells like a teenage boy's locker room for Seven New York's Six Scents perfume collection, then it's probably not long before someone like John Galliano decides to make his own version of Revolution using Napoleonic guillotine imagery. Here is the display of the perfume inside the gallery - note the bullet holes in the vitrine, a nice touch. The pipe bombs can be bought as a bronze, silver, gold or even platinum, though Kirk tells me only bronze and silver have been produced and sold. (And, she adds, platinum just looks like silver anyway). Also downstairs in the shelter, gold-plated (or maybe just polished brass) Molotov cocktails on the left, and in the far right corner, one of Kirk's paintball paintings. She creates those by filling up paintball guns with Urban Decay liquid foundation, shooting them at the canvas and then taking a blowtorch to it for a burned effect.