Sunday, 2 May 2010

Considering neotribalism from an unlikely quarter

Considering neotribalism I was reminded of two urban dance movements, clowning and krumping, which originated on the streets of South Central Los Angeles during the early 1990's.   The dancers expressed their individuality through their stage characters, freestyle choreography and various face paintings which caught my attention of course. The face painting that was once clownish has been replaced by more expressive, sophisticated face paint, so it is interesting to see the original examples of variations of 'tribal' make up from the documentary film 'Rize', directed by David Lachapelle in 2005.

The importance of cosmetic application as part of this tribalism cannot be underestimated.  In Rize, Chappelle has his subjects talk to camera while applying make-up; showing the disenfranchised forming new families among their friends.
'Marginalised people tend to create new structures, art, and ways of releasing anxiety and aggression. They validate themselves by creating a hierarchy where they are important.' 
David LaChappelle

A further example of how the use of make up from such an unlikely quarter and used as an exemplar of krumping can be seen in the Chemical Brothers music video 'Galvanise'.

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