11 June 2010

Chicks on Speed: Guitar Stiletto Shoe

Alex in a DIY limited edition dress

How does one describe Chicks on Speed? A hybrid of art, pop, music, DIY fashion, performance, filmmaking, poetry, makers, designers, creative’s and the kitchen sink rolled into one would be one interpretation, but perhaps their appeal is more to do with not knowing how to categorise them?

The there two founding members of the ‘clan’, Alex Murray-Leslie and Melissa Logan and after 14 years together (and with hundreds of collaborations, projects, agendas, achievements under their belt) the girls are currently celebrating an exhibition of their work at Dundee Contemporary Arts. On display are some of their films, zines, protest banners, home made instruments, clothing, posters, textiles, photos and music. Alex attended the symposium specifically to talk about their recent venture – the construction of a shoe guitar.

Firstly though she gave us a potted history of the ‘girl band project’ who went on to shake up the notion of what a girl band can do and achieve.

These highlights included:

Paying their way through art school by selling alcohol at impromptu parties in Munich

Selling a fake box set (when they only had one song)

Getting a major following thanks to coverage in the NME

Exhibiting internationally

Using their naked bodies as instruments

Constructing clothes and textiles that make music

The girl's fake box set

The girls imaginations knows no boundaries and once they decided stilettos that double as guitars, was their next adventure nothing was ever going to stop them, even if it meant name dropping Lady Gaga in order to get attention.

And so began a journey across the world collaborating with shoe designers, technologists and manufacturers until after many, many failures the shoe was born just a couple of weeks ago. They have already been played at an inaugural gathering recently, but are now on display in the exhibition until Lady G’s stylist comes calling.

What a shoe!

Listening to Alex and seeing the exhibition was completely awe-inspiring. COS are the kind of role models that every girl in the UK should look up to rather than being sucked in by talentless reality TV stars. If only Alex could go and deliver the same speech in assembly at every girl’s secondary school in the nation we might have more motivated and inspiring guerrilla groups among the next generation.

Musical tapestry

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