House of Ladosha Video presented by SPINE
Directed by Ernest Martin
We sat down with the Brooklyn based family and art collective who recently showcased, This Is Ur Brain in Brooklyn, New York.
The crew, Chris Udemezue AKA Neon Christina, Riley Hooker, aka General Rage Ladosha, Sze Li, aka YSL Ladosha, Antonio Blair, aka La’Fem Ladosha, Michael Magnan, aka Magatha LaDosha and Adam Radakovich, aka Cunty Crawford Ladosha talked to us about the show and making art in NYC.
HOUSE OF LADOSHA ON…
Neon Christina: I think that we have a lot of overlapping influences, but we also have a lot of individual inspirations and people that give us life, and have influenced our work and what we do. But of course their are icons like mother Naomi Campbell. Shout out to Moms!
I think in the show you will see a lot of our influences and a lot of our inspirations. I think we met for almost half of year and we were like what should we do. A lot of our heroes came up. A lot of famous queens and nightlife and the ballroom scene in art and writing. I think it’s a huge spectrum. A big ass tumblr of badass bitches.
YSL Ladosha: I think we all share a common sense of humor.
YSL: We all have a dark sense of humor. We love parody, we love skits. MadTV. Just anything that came out of that world.
General Rage Ladosha: I think we also have a certain level of criticism towards popular culture but also the highest level of veneration for it at the same time.
La’ Fem Ladosha: Yeah, I hate when people are like I don’t watch TV. I’m like you don’t watch TV?
GR: If you ride the subway you watch TV. I think the world has gotten increasingly more pop. Its just sort of in your face. I think we all sort of gravitate towards the orphans that get left behind. The people that popped off and then sort of disappeared. I think a lot of us don’t really want to let them go. Like the obscure ones.
LF: Like Candy Darling.
LF: Say like a Nina Simone. Whose so famous and so gigantic but could go from being a very respected, wealthy and famous person to living in squalor. But also their music and the love that everyone has for them that brought so much beauty into the world that she could come back from that.
GR: I think its about being obsessed with someone for the light that they give the world and continuing to love and admire them past their prime. And really championing them even in squalor as well as on the stage.
NC: I also think that’s why in the show nostalgia and memory kept coming up. As much as we are obsessed with what is going on now, there are so many ham things that have happened in the past that have influenced what we do and the art we make.
GR: I mean its very organic. I think just to preface we were not an artist collective until people started calling us an artist collective. We haven’t really changed the way that we do things in that context. A gallery approached us and asked us to do a show about two years ago, and we did it. We just did what made sense. And at that point we just hung up whatever we were all working on at the time. And it was kind of all over the place but for that reason it was kind of great. I think that was the strength of it.
Magatha Ladosha: That was more of a group show. While this show was more collaborative work that we made together.
LF: We had to like vomit out and purge out every idea that could make sense, didn’t make sense, could happen, couldn’t happen to get to a point where were like OK, what can we really actually do? At one point we were like let’s make a video game. But it’s like ok girl, how we really going to do that though?
YSL: I think also the idea of alter egos or just personas fascinates all of us in some sort of way. We are all such visual people. When we see a person on the street or see a person in the club. They are like cartoon characters.
The House: Who is she?
YSL: Who is she? Why is she so crazy? And I think that in itself is pretty entertaining because we were able to just carry throughout the entire way so many different characters and so many different looks.
La’Fem Ladosha: “I don’t think there is any group of people in New York City who is doing anything that doesn’t think of themselves and all their friends as the coolest people in the room.”
Cunty Crawford: It was fun. It was like we were playing dress up. Like when you put on your mom’s dress or something.
NC: And this goes without saying, but we also just wanted to have fun with it, and not overthink it. We just want to enjoy it. And so when we are actually producing work, we are like what is going to be fun? What can we enjoy together as a group. Because outside of shows like this we are more so family than anything else.
GR: I think the real turning point in our process actually was when we decided not to do one singular large screen and kind of collapse it all into this brain. This cerebral cortex, and it was non-linear and it was meant to kind of constantly interrupt itself. Just because we had such a large range of references and we are all such different people that it didn’t really make sense to have a singular thing.
CC: And there was this manic sense to it. When you walk in the sound is all over the place. It’s intense, like when you are in your brain.
THE WHOLE HOUSE EATS
LF: Well that’s a lyric from a song called “I’m Carrying” and it says the whole house eats, we’re some Hannibal Lecter’s and basically what that means is if you ate it up then you destroyed it and you demolished it and you put your name on it and you pissed on it.
NC: You shat on it.
LF: You ate it up fully! And so that was just a thing of saying I only hang around really bad, intelligent, unique people and we’re all like super cool.
GR: And we’re really humble too.
LF: I don’t think there is any group of people in New York City who are doing anything that doesn’t think of themselves and all their friends as the coolest people in the room.
GR: That’s how you survive in this city.
(photo by Xeno)
THE ART SCENE
GR: For me so many times I go to a show and I’m like Ok, this is whatever. And then I read the press release and its like marxism, and all these lofty ideas and I just think the relationship between the work and the press release becomes way too important and way too literal. Or the work depends on the press release to give it meaning. I think it just turns the viewer into being framed like a fool or like a clown.
And we just didn’t want to go there at all. We wanted to translate some of our language into a document that was generally kind of confusing and I think over the top. We concluded the footnotes so there is this subtext of like digging a little bit deeper into the subjective language that we have. Because as a collective I don’t think we produce a lot of tangible work, but the one thing that we do produce is language.
CC: And I feel like the art world, especially in New York is very exclusive and it’s so serious
The House: So serious.
CC: And what we did, we were like well fine. We are going to make our own kind of show and we didn’t have a huge budget but we just made what we thought was interesting and fun.
Cunty Crawford: “I feel like the art world, especially in New York is very exclusive and it’s so serious.”
LF: I know so many people who are artists and they are so tense and so caught up in their shit and what they’re doing. There are also so many people that produce a lot of ham amazing work and then when it comes down to who is controlling who is going to be poppin as far as who is going to get an art show or who is going to get recognized – There’s a very specific group of people that make those kinds of decisions and that’s why we just wanted to do our own thing.
(photo by Xeno)
GR: We actively create our own space and we build or own micro-world and the show is just an extension of that.
General Rage: “Nightlife offers a necessary alternative for a lot of people who came to this city because they didn’t know where the fuck else they would be able to be themselves or fit in or thrive. It’s not just a bunch of people getting drunk and forgetting about their responsibilities.”
CC: I feel like art and nightlife go hand in hand. The cool thing about being in New York is that any night of the week you can go to a function and you can pull a look and go out and live the fantasy and doing that as a group of friends is really fun. I’m glad that we made that part of the show like the after rage because that was just the icing on the cake.
GR: I mean we all love nightlife for the fact that it’s a party, but its also a really productive space in a lot of other ways. It’s a place where you can experiment and build identity and even if its just for a night you can try out some new ideas that might end up lasting years if not for a lifetime. And it’s also its own alternative economy. Its more than just an escape, it’s a reality for a lot of people. And it offers a necessary alternative for a lot of people who came to this city because they didn’t know where the fuck else they would be able to be themselves or fit in or thrive. It’s not just a bunch of people getting drunk and forgetting about their responsibilities. It’s a productive, active, world building community