End of History (Yugoslavia)

Built to mark the doomed and outnumbered stand by partisans resisting an Axis assault of 1943, the monuments used to attract up to half a million visitors per year.

The spomeniks, then, owed their recognisable function and secure meanings to the framework established by the Communist Party which had commissioned them. But with the development of democracy through the 1990's, and that decade's wars and uprisings, the possibility that the monuments might celebrate a coherent, uncontested view of the past proved fainter than ever. That said, at a formal and symbolic level the structures had always (unwittingly) acknowledged the fragility of their own enterprise: they were all, of necessity, stridently and startlingly abstract. How else might the Party commemorate a war of liberation that spilled into a civil conflict fought on tangled political and ethinc lines of allegiance?

In Kempenaers' photographs they stand deserted, their concrete pitted, stained and streaked, and their concourse looks to be returning to meadow. But his work is of more than merely local and particular interest; for the physical decay and institutional neglect are in themselves symptomatic of a wider social fracturing. In other words, their obsolescence is at once communal, social, national and historical.

An earlier selection of Kempenaers' spomenik pictures was subtitled 'The End of History'; and perhaps that, ultimately, is his subject here. Not – heaven forbid – the triumphalist 'end of history' once announced by Fukuyama and the like. But the end of those certainties and histories which were momentarily so assuredly promoted by Eastern Europe's single party states. An end which – Kempenaer's minimally-captioned photographs powerfully attest – has resulted in incoherence, amnesia and the loss of meaning.

30 minutes with Fashion genius Karl Lagerfeld via W Magazine

Like an Energizer Bunny in black shades and biker gloves, Karl Lagerfeldjust keeps going, somehow finding time to photograph fashion stories,film short movies, and publish art books—all on top of designing twoclothing lines. Directing commercials has become his latest passion; andlast Thursday his series of three-minute spots for Magnum Ice Cream,each starring Rachel Bilson and her sweet-tooth, debuted as part of theTribeca Film Festival. Earlier in the day, W had the opportunity to sitdown Lagerfeld, and over sliced pineapple and Diet Coke, discusseverything from who ought to design Dior to the one thing he actuallycan’t do.

Lagerfeld: What can I tell you?
Well, let’s start with this ad campaign you’ve done for Magnum IceCream.
I’ve done many ads because that’s my new career. It’s an inspiringextension for my mind. I always loved advertising. If I hadn’t been infashion, I’d have been in advertising. I like everything about it. Ithink it’s an interesting expression of the culture of the moment. Ijust put out a huge book about the history of German advertising from1900-1920, because it was the best period. It’s not very well known, butthere were great artists. And those posters—when they show up, there arehardly any left—sell for fortunes. It’s a very interesting book, I mustsay. In fact it’s a box with 12 books.

So why ice cream?
Don’t forget my father was a milkman. He produced Carnation milk inEurope under different names, so I like to say he was a milkman. And icecream is made with milk, no?

Do you eat it?
I would love to if I was allowed to eat sugar, but my doctor told methat sugar wasn’t needed for me so I haven’t touched it in ten years. Ialso did the ad for Dom Pérignon and I don’t drink alcohol, but I thinkit’s a very civilized drink.

Do you crave sugar?
No. Gone. But I like chocolate. I don’t eat it, but I like the smell ofit. People can drink with their eyes; I can eat with my nose. I wouldlove to have a perfume based on chocolate.

Eau de Cocoa.
I love the idea.

You’re a busy man.
I’m always busy. You know, the more I do, the more ideas I have—that’sthe funny thing. The brain is a muscle, and I’m a kind of body-builder.

Do you ever take vacations?
I’m not an employee who goes to the office every morning at the sametime. Then, vacations are needed. I’m like a rock singer with one-nightstands on the road. I’m here for two days in New York; I leave in themorning early. I come back for Anna Wintour’s party at the Met, thenagain at the end of May for a prize I get from the Gordon ParksFoundation. I’m lucky that I can do all these things in the bestconditions. I don’t have to struggle for that. I don’t have to discussbudgets. I don’t do meetings. At Chanel, there are no meetings. AtChanel, we do what we want, whenever we want and it works. And Fendi isthe same.

What music are you listening to now?
A lot. But my favorite at the moment is the album that just came outfrom The Kills. It’s very good. I buy the CD because I think one shouldbuy them. It’s very important. Musicians have to make a living, no?

What are you reading right now?
For the moment, on the plane, I was reading a very well-done biographyof Edith Sitwell.

Do you ever think about cutting your hair?
No, because I’m afraid it won’t grow again. And I’m not very gifted forhairdos. This is the quickest thing in the world. It takes less thanfive seconds.

Do you do it yourself?
No, I have someone who comes to the house and washes it, puts in the dryshampoo, and takes care if it because I have no time. I don’t even havetime to go to the dentist. I’m busy but in a pleasant way. I’m the onewho wanted to do all of it, so I can’t complain.

What are your thoughts on Dior? Who should take over?
Well I’m not a consultant there, but I think Riccardo Tisci would begood, and then Haider Ackermann at Givenchy—not because they are friendsof mine, but because they are good.

But I read that you wanted Haider to succeed you at Chanel?
Not especially. It’s not his world I don’t think.

What about Balmain?
Forget about it! This was a job done by a fashion editor. I don’t evenknow the name of the man who did it, so don’t ask me about that.

You’re a designer, photographer, book publisher, filmmaker. Is thereanything else you’d like to do?
You don’t think four jobs can do?

Is there anything left that you want to do?
Is this a political question?

You don’t even vote!
No, I never ever vote because I know too much about the backgrounds ofthese people. No, but for me the advertising world is a new country toconquer. When you want something you haven’t done before you have tothink it’s the most important thing. If you see it only as a room thatleads to another room, you might make a mistake. I don’t want to crossthe room. I want to stay there.

So we’ll be seeing more ads from you.
I saw newspapers saying that maybe I do too much because I work with bigcompanies—Coca-Cola, Sky TV, Magnum, Schwarzkopf, which is like L’Orealin Europe. I’m not going to calm down, because that’s not my nature. ButI don’t have to think about what’s next. I think that’s a very healthything. The Ivory Tower in the end will kill you.

Is there anything you wish you were better at?
Yes, playing the piano.

Can you play at all?
No! Forget about it. For one year I had lessons and then my mother threwthe thing on my fingers and said, ‘Start sketching—it makes less noise.’She was right. She was a violinist and couldn’t stand poorly playedmusic.

You seem to have a love/hate relationship with technology. You havehundreds of iPods but you don’t use a computer. You correspond by fax.
There are people who only have a fax because of me.

Well, because it’s so outdated!
Well, I don’t want to be in-fashion.

But, really, why do you still fax?
It’s very easy to explain: For me, sketching and writing are the samething. I like to write. It’s a physical thing—I hate to be without paperand pencil in hand. And I write like a talk. I can put my way of talkingon the paper exactly the same way. The machines they tried to make whereyou write directly on computers are not perfect. The minute they’reperfect, I will use them.

So will we ever add writer to your list of occupations?
I’m not a writer, and I don’t want to be a writer because I have nothingto say.

A memoir?
I’m living my memoir, I don’t need to write it. But I do write a lot ofprefaces for books.

You’ve famously worn Dior Homme, Tom Ford. What menswear designers doyou like now?
Tom Ford is not as good on me as younger men. And you know why? BecauseI wore the same kind of clothes thirty years ago—Italian-made byCaraceni. I love the way Tom Ford suits are made. They’re chic; they’reelegant. But on my younger entourage, they look better than on me. Iwear Dior Homme—my old Hedi Slimane suits. The ones they do today, too,as long as they don’t get too flou. And a little Lanvin. I used to loveMargiela, but it’s not him anymore and it shows a little. I used to buyquite a lot of Japanese labels, too, like Undercover and Number (N)ine,but that one disappeared. Mister Hollywood does well-made clothes. Youknow, I hate made-by-order clothes. It’s up to me to fit into them, notto buy some orthopedic stuff to get the body into. I never had onebutton touched on a Dior suit. Size 48 is my perfect size. In the pastyou had to do fittings because there was nothing really good. But when Iwent to Caraceni thirty years ago, there was one fitter for waistcoat,one for jacket, one for pants—it took hours. You needed three months toget the clothes. No, no, no. I like things immediately.

How do you like a woman to dress?
It depends on the circumstances, her look, her life. There is no rulethat I could reduce to two lines.

Is there one thing that you don’t like a woman to wear?
I’m not mad for thongs.

The fall Chanel collection was rather dark, apocalyptic…
It was three days before the earthquake in Japan. It was right for themoment. But that’s what I felt. It’s instinctual. A collection is aboutwhat one feels, whatever it is.

When are you happiest?
Happiness is like a fever. I don’t take the temperature.

When was the last time you cried?
I’m trying to think of the last time I had onions.

Quote of the day!!

Even if you're on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there.

- Will Rogers -

10 Lessons for young designers

Some insightful lessons from Wieden & Kennedy’s Executive Creative Director, John C Jay. Although focused from a design perspective, I feel that these lessons would apply just as well for anyone working within the creative industry.

1: Be authentic. The most powerful asset you have is your individuality, what makes you unique. It’s time to stop listening to others on what you should do.
2: Work harder than anyone else and you will always benefit from the effort.
3: Get off the computer and connect with real people and culture. Life is visceral.
4: Constantly improve your craft. Make things with your hands. Innovation in thinking is not enough.
5: Travel as much as you can. It is a humbling and inspiring experience to learn just how much you don’t know.
6: Being original is still king, especially in this tech-driven, group-grope world.
7: Try not to work for stupid people or you’ll soon become one of them.
8: Instinct and intuition are all-powerful. Learn to trust them.
9: The Golden Rule actually works. Do good.
10: If all else fails, No. 2 is the greatest competitive advantage of any career.

Destination: Caño Cristales (Columbia)

A unique biological wonder, Caño Cristales has been referred as the "river of five colors," "the river that ran away from paradise," and "the most beautiful river in the world."

Once a year, the algae that grows on the rock-bed bottom of the Rio Caño Cristales blooms in neon shades of red, yellow, blue, green and black allowing the river to transform into a veritable living rainbow.

The site was effectively closed to tourists for several years because of guerrilla activity in the region along with concerns about the impact of unregulated tourist traffic. It was reopened to visitors in 2009, and today there are several Colombian Tourist Agencies that will fly travelers to La Macarena. From there, they must make their way to the river site on horseback (or donkeyback) and by foot as part of a guided tour.

Tim Freccia -- Mogadishu: City under siege

Despite the city's reputation as one of the most dangerous places on earth, Freccia describes its Somali residents as "elegant." He goes on to say "Men in kikoys step daintily through the street, shouldering RPGs and machine guns. The women glance furtively from the shadows, and smile flirtatiously. The citizens of Mogadishu sweep up after the fighting, glancing at me as I drive by, waiting for the war to end and the beach-side cafes to open again."

Two great causes:


Founded by Edna Adan Ismail who was recently awarded the French Legion of Honor, a French Knighthood.She is an activist and pioneer in the struggle for the abolition of female circumcision and is President of the Organization for Victims of Torture.

The health of the people of Somaliland is among the worst in Africa, with one of the highest Maternal and Infant Mortality rates in the world. Every year, one baby in eight dies in infancy while nearly 4000 Somali women die in childbirth. This tragedy can be attributed in large part to the long civil war which brought about the death or departure of nearly all of the country’s trained health care professionals.

Mission statement:
It is a goal of the Hospital not only to train fully-qualified health care professionals but also to train and dispatch 1000 midwives throughout the country. Another very important goal is to fight the practice of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) which is endemic throughout this region.



Founded by Hawa Abdi a 60-year-old family doctor who has treated, often for no charge, thousands of poor women and children in Somalia for over quarter of a century. She was recently listed among the "Top 100 people of the year" by Glamour & Guardian.

Mission statement:
The mission of The Foundation is to ensure that no treatable condition shall ever be an obstacle to health. Through a combination of foundation programs and social activism, we will work to guarantee that quality healthcare is available to underserved populations in the Somali and around the East Africa. Furthermore, it is our goal to promote health and healing not only by providing quality medical and preventative care, but also by creating treatment environments that foster hope.


Caves FTW!

Cave houses have been found in many areas of the world. They are cool in the summer, warm in the winter and generally utilize land that can not be used for farming. Here's four examples:


Some 35 million Chinese still live in caves and over a 100 million people reside in houses with one or more walls built in a hillside. Many of the cave and hill dwellings are in the Shanxi, Henan and Gansu provinces.


Matmâta or Metmata is a small Berber speaking town in southern Tunisia. Some of the local Berber residents live in traditional underground "troglodyte" structures. The structures typical for the village are created by digging a large pit in the ground. Around the perimeter of this pit artificial caves are then dug to be used as rooms, with some homes comprising multiple pits, connected by trench-like passageways.


Located in the eastern Iranian province of Azerbaijan, Kandovan is a mysterious village of the thirteenth century. Many houses in Kandovan have done in caves located in the cone-shaped, formed naturally compressed volcanic ash formations that make scenery look like a giant termite colony. Most of the cave houses are 2-4 floors high. In a typical four-story house, ground floor is used as an animal shelter, the next two floors used as living room, and upstairs is used for storage. Material hardens pillar is an efficient insulator and shelter.


Located in the ancient village of Urgup, this amazing hotel was carved into the side of a mountain. Yunak Evleri hotel includes 6 cave houses with modern bathrooms and 30 private cave rooms dating back to the 5th and 6th centuries.

Playing 'House' in the Great Wall

Two generations of a Hui family in Ningxia have made it their goal to protect this ancient structure, by living in a cave house at the foot of the former city fortress.

A tower once stood on top of the southern gate of Xiamaguan, where American journalist Edgar Snow interviewed general Xu Haidong in 1936.

A popular Chinese saying goes: "If one man guards the pass, ten thousand won't be able to get through."

Two generations of a family in Northwest China's Ningxia Hui autonomous region have been keeping that spirit alive, by staying at a section of the Great Wall and fighting to keep it intact. The tower, where the Yangs of the Hui ethnic group reside, was once the South Gate of Xiamaguan. Xiamaguan, which means a fortification where military officers rested in ancient times, once had a city wall built with rammed earth and bricks, like parts of the Great Wall.

Yang Guoxing, his two daughters and his mother in their cave house at the foot of a tower of the ancient Xiamaguan city wall, which is part of the Great Wall.

Aside from its ancient history, the Wall also stands as witness to a glorious moment in modern times. In the 1930s, Xiamaguan was the headquarters of a division of the Red Army, led by Xu Haidong, one of the generals who helped establish New China.

A devout Muslim, Yang's mother says her prayers, one of five times a day.

Yang says this part of history would have meant a lot to his deceased father, as the man had great respect about revolutionaries.

Squatting on the ancient city wall of Xiamaguan, Yang Guoxing and one of his daughters keep an eye on the wall his family has protected for two generations.