Every year a lavish ball which is one of the biggest in Europe is held. The Life Ball was founded in 1992 by Gery Keszler and DR. Torgom Petrosian. Ever since its debut, the annual event has been committed to removing taboos and fighting against HIV and AIDS, as well as addressing socio-political issues surrounding the virus. This blog will examine the collages that were both the visual and thematic framework for the Life Ball 2017. Here, the organisers have drawn inspiration from the decadence and austerity of 1920’s-30’s Germany. First, in brightly colored deco couture that conjure up the glamorous and grotesque subjects of an Otto Dix painting. Then through architecture, referencing the monolithic classicism of nazi architect, Albert Speer.
The life Ball, to me, resembled an utopian dystopian ‘Hunger Games’ overseen by the fat elite with their brightly coloured fake personas. I’d be interested in the thoughts of the reader.
The slogan for this years Life Ball was #recognisethedanger – the organisers of the event state on their website that the Life Ball evokes the zeitgeist of the 1920’s and 1930’s. Recognizing dangers in all areas – from health to society – is the overarching theme.
This annual event is held in Vienna, Austria. The backdrop is reminiscent of the Capitol City in The Hunger Games.
For those whom, do not know this most famous scene, click below to see.
Metropolis is a 1927 German expressionist epic science-fiction drama film directed by Fritz Lang. It is regarded as a pioneering work of the science-fiction genre in movies, being among the first feature-length movies of the genre. Made in Germany during the Weimar Period, Metropolis is set in a futuristic 2026 urban dystopia in the city of Metropolis, wealthy industrialists reign from high-rise tower complexes, while underground-dwelling workers toil to operate the underground machines that power the city.
Otto Dix was first and foremost a critic of capitalism — a fact obscured by the bullshitting of his art by Hollywood, that is, the dumbing of it down into entertainment in such films as Cabaret, more pointedly, the neutralising and kitschifying of its critical content by its assimilation into the society of the spectacle we culturally inhabit.
Otto Dix’s prescient picture of Hitler as one of The Seven Deadly Sins (1933) is a brilliantly on-target allegorical painting.
In the above picture CONCHITA WURST poses in a mirror exposing both breasts.
In this shoot we see aspects of Otto’s famous works.
Raised by a grandmother in Dresden, Anita Berber fled to Berlin at age 16 where she supported herself in caberets. By the end of the war, she was dancing nude and performing in films. She was notorious and always in the company of lovers of both sexes. She could often be seen in hotel lobbies naked apart from an sable wrap, a pet monkey and a silver brooch packed with cocaine. She died of tuberculosis in 1928.
She walked in one direction and he in the other. Dix stopped in his tracks. “I must paint you, I simply must! You represent an entire epoch.” She was amused. “You want to paint my lacklustre eyes, my ornate ears, my long nose, my thin lips. You want to paint my short legs, my big feet – things that can only frighten people and delight no one?” To Dix, her depiction was perfect. The portrait would represent a generation concerned not with the outward beauty of a woman but her psychological condition.
2015 theme was Change, renewal and improvement that was the main topic for Life Ball which runs under the motto To every age its battle. To every battle its setting sun. The word ‘battle’ stands for the fight against the stigma associated with HIV disease and the social exclusion of infected people. The inspiration for the event came from both the religious practice from ancient Rome and the title of the magazine of the Vienna Secession art movement which was founded by artists like Gustav Klimt and Wiener Werkstätte designer Koloman Moser.
Each year, one or more famous fashion designers are responsible for the event’s fashion show. This year a fashion show by Francesco Scognamiglio dazzled the audience with its hunky male models in corsets and stockings along with beautiful women in one-of-a-kind gowns. The show ended with Dionne Warwick and her granddaughter Cheyenne Elliott serenading the crowd with a duet of “What the World Needs Now.”
Sources and further reading.
Life Ball 2017 http://lifeplus.at/en/
Life Ball 2017: A First-Hand Account of the World’s Most Explosively Decadent, Supermodel and Drag Queen-Packed Charity Gala https://www.wmagazine.com/story/life-ball-2017-inside-account-naomi-campbell-rupauls-drag-race