C8LYN, 2021

with macy rodman
for façadomy, 2021

“C8LYN is both the critic, Macy Rodman and the subject, Caitlyn Jenner—a new enitity designed to the thrive in a state of disorentation by leaning in to fraud like a virtue. She is a 21st century iconoclast working in the immaterial realm. A vector of self determination programmed to deceive and to delight. A three sided coin. A lie which tells the truth—an attempt at a new realism.”  —Façadomy

C8LYN is a fashion editorial-cum-political satire conceived of and created in collaboration with performance artist, musician and comedian Macy Rodman. Having been a fan of Macy’s troll account @caitupdate where she uses snapchat’s face filter technology to impersonate Caitlyn Jenner. The videos Macy creates are hilarious, well researched, and hard-hitting—brilliant political satire. I approached Macy to build out the world of that character in the form of a satirical “magazine” which supposes that Caitlyn is pandering to the youth by creating her own fashion magazine, centering her, and her totally insane lifestyle.

Early on in the process Macy and I joked that if everyone in the US drew a line from where they stood, straight to hell, all lines would eventually intersect with Caitlyn Jenner—if not phsyically then symbolically, which is the level at which celebrity exists in most of our lives. Accusations of vehicular manslaughter were swept under the rug months after she came out as trans on the cover of Vanity Fair, becoming a figurehead for the trans community overnight (admitting at that time she had never met another trans person). Jenner supported President Donald J. Trump’s first campaign for office, but withdrew in 2018 after his administration attacked transgender rights. She later ran for California Governer, under the advisement of Brad Parscale, Trump’s former campaign manager. Her political affiliations are at odds with the needs of transgender people, to say the least. On the other other Jenner can be seen as wholesome, glamorous, philanthropic, a trans activist, and someone who has suffered tremendously on the journey of finding her truth. But what exactly is said truth? Jenner is complex character who contains multitudes which at times sit in astounding contradiction. The project explores Jenner as a complicated figure, putting her more adorable qualities alongside the privelidge of wealth, bourgeois white feminism, pollitical convservativism, celebrity and gun ownership (to name a few).

An big influence on the tone of the design and writing was Diane Von Furstenberg’s Book of Beauty, originally published in 1976. This reference was particularly salient for many reasons, but to name a few:

  1. The sheer absurdity of it. DVF is a literal Belgian princess with beauty standards that are virtually impossible to achieve
  2. A bizarre (edging on psychotic) admixture of severity and humor. We wanted to play up the athleticism of feminine beauty standards by presenting it as an extreme sport.
  3. The Wrap Dress, one of DVF’s claims to fame and a favorite of Ms. Jenner
  4. The 1970’s glamour and visual style felt relelvant for a woman of a certain age
  5. The subtitle of the book “How to become a more attractive, confident and sensual woman”

There is a rather disturbing association between feminine beauty and violence that feels like an important aspect of the darkest depths of the North American psyche—one that warrants interrogation. Given Caitlyn’s well-know affinity for vehicles, remote control helicoptors, and firearms—a collection of objects with a militant flair—we saw an opportunity to investigate this in the satirical world of the project. I started researching the NRA, and uncovered a long history of shock-value, fear-mongering advertising targeting both women and children.

In fact the NRA is a shining example of the weaponization of identity politics, engaging in myth-making to both expand their membership beyond gentlemen of a certain age and to propigate the myth that white women are living under the constant threat of violent attacks from random criminal thugs. This is not only statistically false (white women are the safest demographic in the US) but it simultaneously creates a new advisary—the mythic “criminal thug” which tragically, because of the racial dynamics in this country, ends up becoming a violent characature of black men. It is not our intention to implicate Jenner as agent of this unfortunate truth—but rather to use her as a site to explore and reveal it. Furthermore, in recent years the NRA had launched NRA Women, a YouTube channel targeting women featuring shows like Love at First Shot Sponsored by Smith and Wesson and Armed and Fabulous, lifestyle shows where women teach other women how to use firearms, with panache no less. You really can’t make this shit up!

We also started to make ad content to populate the world of the publication. MAKE DADDY JEALOUS, a video made in collaboration with daddy’s favorite little girl, PVSSYHEAVEN, is an example of such content. If you think this is extreme or in bad taste, first of all, thank you! But sadly, we only tweaked the truth enough to make it visible. Below you’ll find that this headline was appropriated from a 1980’s advertisement, along with more ads, targeting minors, from the “I’m the NRA” campaign seen by millions in the USA alone throughout the early 1980s.

There’s a lot more to this project, will update soon…

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