SLEEK Predicts the 50 Rising Trends You’ll See in 2017


For SLEEK’s 50th issue, we mused on the subjects and themes we think will matter for the next decade or so. This diverse round-up included everything from what we will be wearing and seeing to how we will get along with our presumptive robot overlords. In the spirit of collaboration, we even asked our favourite artists, writers, visionaries and thinkers what they thought, too.

It’s not comprehensive or objective: given the messy, contradictory state of the contemporary that would be a little much to ask, even for us. However, we think that what we’ve assembled here is at least an indication of things to come, and if it all feels slightly gothic, don’t blame us: we’re just the messengers. Read on for our predictions on the ideas, subjects and people that we believe are all set to become the “next big things”.



Gosha Rubchinskiy for Kappa and Fila. Images from
Gosha Rubchinskiy for Kappa and Fila. Images from

1. You’re Never Leaving the House Again: Athleisure, Digital Labour and the Emperor’s New Pyjamas

In 2014, the number of self-employed UK workers reached a record 4.5 million. Meanwhile in America, accountancy firm Intuit predicts that by 2020, 40 percent of the US workforce will also be self-employed. All of which means millions of people are discovering the joys of chasing invoices, living off pasta, waking up late and getting drunk at lunch because there’s nothing else to do.

Amid this has emerged “athleisure”, the freelancers’ unofficial uniform. Originally coined by The Wall Street Journal to describe a look that mixes sportswear with casual clothes – think yoga pants and unironed collars, lycra T-shirts and luxe tracksuits – it’s become the precariat’s outfit du jour. On the one hand, we get it: athleisure typifies the confusion of today’s labour market. On the other, its adherents look like they didn’t change properly after the gym. And if you carry on like that you might end up freelancing forever.


2. The future will be gender-fluid

The fashion industry has long flirted with androgyny and blurring the line between menswear and womenswear. Once seen as frivolous (in 1984 fashion editors walked out of Gaultier’s show for featuring men in skirts), today it’s being taken seriously and furthermore, it’s profitable. Last year Julia Roberts starred in Givenchy’s campaign wearing a suit, and this year Gucci’s SS16 collection includes floral suits for men and women alike, and men’s chiffon and lace garments. What’s more, this shift is also trickling down to everyday life. Stores like Dover Street Market and VFiles have started dividing heir floors by designer rather than sex, and in February, Zara, the world’s most popular high street brand, launched its first ungendered range. The future is set to be genderless and that won’t be just in fashion.


3. Jared Diamond and Self- Annihilation

Marguerite Humeau, artist, London

A quote from Jared Diamond’s book “Collapse” keeps resonating in my head: “What did the Easter Islander who cut down the last palm tree say while he was doing it?”


Grace Wales Bonner
Grace Wales Bonner, LVMH prize 2016

4. Wales Bonner And Mainstreaming Fashion’s Other

British-African-Caribbean menswear designer, Grace Wales Bonner, uses fashion as a tool to explore post-colonial narratives and aesthetics. Her collections criticise Western values, questioning who fashion is made for and what they should look like, resonating with customers from all backgrounds. She is challenging the foundations of “ethnic fashion” – a term that posits clothes by non-white designers as fashion’s Other. What’s more, her success seems to be part of a growing trend. Non-Westerners are gaining a voice in the fashion capitals of Milan, Paris, London and New York – though there’s still a lot more to do. And with the rise of fashion weeks in Asia and Africa, it’s a process that we hope will be unstoppable.


5. Immaterial Digital Labour

In a recent Facebook update, musician Dan Bodan declared, “It’s 2016 and everyday I wake up and sit in bed flipping through user-uploaded vacation photos and judge their aesthetic quality, while filtering out dick pics, religious propaganda and vanity watermarks. This is literally how I make my living, and a rather nice one. One day, possibly soon, I will be replaced with an algorithm. The world is very, very weird.” This sums up immaterial digital labour, the panoply of invisible, precarious jobs maintaining the illusion that algorithms are omniscient and omnipresent.
Keeping the porn and the slasher pics off Instagram and Facebook, a “secret army of workers in Manila soaks up the worst of humanity in order to protect us”, the tech magazine Wired noted. But it’s not just Manila: these jobs are found around the globe, regardless of education and social status. Facebook hired Ivy League-trained journalists to apparently train its Newsfeed algorithms – and themselves out of a job. Some theorists, (see our reading list below) hope that this transformation will pave the way for a world without work. But don’t delete your TaskRabbit account just yet.



Martine Syms, artist, L.A.

“ODWALLA88, they are an LA-based two-piece punk band that will rule the next decade. They’re the fucking best.”


Kim Kardashian Tweet. Image from
Kim Kardashian Tweet. Image from

7. Snakes, or How To Be a Better Fighter

Maxwell Williams, writer, L.A.

At the intersection of systems of oppression and supremacy, cracks are beginning to show. Snakes, better known as the entities who rely on these systems to remain dominant (men, white people, wealthy people) are lashing back – anonymously via the internet, publically on the political stage – like a cobra flaring its hood and hissing as it is threatened by a mongoose. The humble hedgehog can kill another type of venomous snake, the viper. We need both the mongoose and the hedgehog to band together, communicate and fight the power-snakes in the next five years. Make it your ten-year plan to be a better fighter than you were the ten years previous.


8. London: The New Sincerity

Osman Ahmed, writer

It’s impossible to be a romantic in 2016. In an era defined by political disillusionment, unemployment, debt and a love-hate relationship with the internet, there’s little space for optimism and conviction. Despite this, a new form of sincerity has emerged, redefining the future’s dominant cultural mode. And it oscillates between the two poles that governed the last century: Modernism (objectivism and the idea that we can affect change), and Postmodernism (a subjective reign of irony and conceptualism). Or to put it another way:, utopian ideology versus nihilistic individualism. This new form of sincerity attempts to grapple with both, valuing constructive progression and expression, while returning to craft, meaning and affection, albeit with a sense of cynicism and rationality.


9. The Post-Contemporary, or The Future is Now

What comes after contemporary art? As far as theorists Armen Avanessian and Suhail Malik are concerned, the answer is: the post-contemporary. This term might sound bland, but their logic is compelling. In their view, recently expounded in April’s DIS Magazine, this particular era of “postism” is defined by the future as much as the past.

In today’s terms, the present is merely the realisation of the future, and the past cannot serve as a guide. We have arrived at the “end of history”, as Francis Fukuyama declared in 1992. For contemporary art, this has resulted in a fixation with the present. Consequently, Malik argues that artistic practice has to address this new paradigm, in which the future now happens before the present.

A good example of this atemporal concept, which Avanessian and Malik call the ‘speculative time-complex’ is the evolution of media from analogue to digital, where many types of pasts and presents coexist in the same moment. Linear ideas about time are eroded, calling into question a variety of issues such as memory and the cultural archive. Sound confusing? Imagine turning it into an aesthetic.

“The present is merely the realisation of the future, and the past cannot serve as a guide” – Suhail Malik


Åyr Art Collective, London from our upcoming issue
Åyr Art Collective, London from our upcoming issue

10. Fucking Up The Househole

Åyr, art collective, London

P2P sharing and fucking up the househole. (Househole – a neologism that personifies the house / gives the house a body. As if the house had reproductive / pleasure organs.)


11. Hacking Your Way to Post-Humanity

Silicon Valley: the cradle of technology and world growth. Today, the surrounding San Jose valley has more billionaires than anywhere else in America. And naturally, such rampant wealth goes hand in hand with some weird lifestyle choices.

In a bid for an edge on their colleagues, some aspiring Apple bosses are adopting polyphasic sleep patterns, sleeping for only four to six hours a day. Worryingly, some of their cohorts are also supposedly beating the damaging effects of their sedentary lives by skipping meals every 24 hours (“interval fasting”). Lastly there’s the ongoing boom of professionals indulging in “nootropics”, smart drugs that help industry behemoths think smarter for longer. One potion popular with tech CEOs is Modafinil, a “wakefulness promoting agent” also used by the American, British and French militaries.

Now, you might think none of it applies to you. But think again: today’s executive fads sometimes turn out to be tomorrow’s work practices, meaning that one day our job descriptions might include eating less, sleeping less and getting high at our desks. Which doesn’t sound completely awful.


12. Identity as Ecology

Travis Jeppesen, writer and artist, Berlin

Secretly I’m an eternal optimist. I hope that a generational shift occurs, against the normalisation of pathological narcissisms that have already subsumed the entirety of the media landscape, and are threatening to do so in the field of art. This rejection will be rooted in a common understanding that the self is not a unitary structure, but a highly fragmented multiplicity. The future will be centred on the exploration and promulgation of ecstatic states of being, accomplishable via the wilful dispersal of each individual’s selves across increasingly fluid landscapes.


Zana Bayne X & Other Stories
Zana Bayne X & Other Stories

13. BDSM Beyond the Dungeon

BDSM-chic” is a trend that’s been popular in Berlin for some time, and now it’s segueing into the mainstream. Cue Zana Bayne, who has custom- made her cult harnesses for Dover Street Market as well as Beyoncé’s Formation tour, and Creepyyeha, who reimagines fetish underwear in baby pink, models them on her Instagram, and counts FKA Twigs as a fan. Mark our words, you’ll be seeing the look while shopping for milk at Aldi next.


14. The New Collaborative Mode

Last year, we investigated what we called “The New Collaborative Mode”. Starting from Berlin, we noticed that identities and practices had become unfixed, merging online with offline, the artist with the writer and curator, and the work with the project. We also discovered clusters of artists, curators, DJs, photographers and writers creating shifting platforms. These included radio stations, theatres and even woodland, all of which served as spaces for dialogic forms of artistic collaboration, where formats, roles and spaces bleed into one another.

Today, this trend appears to be growing, as Europe’s young visionaries turn their backs on corporate creative industries. This doesn’t seem like it’s going to change, either, with anti-hierarchical art networks curating biennials (DIS in Berlin, Raqs in Shanghai), and services such as Facebook Groups and Google Docs being used to distribute work and information, or hosted as part of larger endeavours, such as Rhizome. The conversations that start here, or at informal conferences at the Haus der Kulturen der Welt in Berlin, then drift through the ether, colonizing spaces and giving birth to new forms of discourse.


15. Technology as Nature

Paul Feigelfeld, media and cultural theorist, Berlin

Two things are transforming reality. Firstly, there’s the increasing ubiquity of computing elements in the environment. Then there’s the shift from the mere existence of technological objects to a state of organic being that changes the way we define nature (since nature has always only been “there” by definition). Technology is defining us as nature. The advent of true, non-retraceable, inventive AI is ushering in an unforeseeable species of intelligence. Additionally, realities are becoming freely creatable. But as always, who is in charge will remain to be seen.


Beyoncé with some of the women featured-in Lemonade. Image from
Beyoncé with some of the women featured-in Lemonade. Image from

16. Blackgirlmagic Takes Over the Catwalk

Blackgirlmagic was one of the most popular teen movements in 2015, with half a million tags on Instagram alone. Spearheaded by Hunger Games star Amandla Stenberg, it aims to empower young black girls by encouraging them to embrace their natural features and shun the “white is right” mindset prevalent in mainstream media. Similarly, in Brazil, the country with the largest black population outside Africa, the celebration of natural hair is in full swing. Brands have been taking note: 2015 saw Lineisy Montero modelling her natural Afro hair for Prada and Chanel, and Sui He became the first Asian model for Victoria’s Secret. This might not herald the end of systematic oppression, but it may well spawn a new generation that sees ethnic diversity not as an issue but as a fact of life.


17. Feminism Goes Universal

Petra Cortright, artist, L.A.

Stop asking women if they are feminists and start asking men instead. Please stop asking only white women – and not women of colour – if they are feminists. And stop asking for feminist soundbites.


18. The Nostalgia Cycle Screeches to a Halt

Trend scouts used to have it easy: when called upon to predict The Next Big Thing, they simply looked at what was fashionable 20 years before, aka the Nostalgia Cycle. The resurgence of Eighties neon circa-2004? Sure thing. Grunge-y lumberjack shirts and ripped jeans? My dog’s name is Kurt!

This incessant borrowing from the past can’t go on forever. Granted, in a few years there might be some people still rocking Aughties skinny jeans, loafers and pashminas, just as there’ll probably be the umpteenth iteration of hippies, punks and Nineties minimalists. But none of this will be new because none of it ever really ceased to be in style: its ok to wear everything, at once, all the time, and the Nostalgia Cycle has thus become obsolete.

Sure, we can we can give up on the future, and pretend like we’re living in an endless now. But as sure as night follows day, tomorrow will come around. So perhaps we’d better start making the clothes for it.


Metahaven "Black Transparency: The Right to Know in the Age of Mass Surveillance", 2013. Image from
Metahaven “Black Transparency: The Right to Know in the Age of Mass Surveillance”, 2013. Image from

19. A Future-Proof Reading List: Three Texts that will Shape the Next Fifty Issues

Keeping up with the Konversation, these are three texts you’ll want to casually reference at gallery openings:

“The Posthuman” by Rosi Braidotti:
Digital ‘second life’, genetically modified food, advanced prosthetics, robotics
and reproductive technologies are familiar facets of our globally linked and technologically mediated societies. These things have blurred the traditional distinction between the human and its Others, exposing the non-naturalistic structure of the Homo sapiens. Braidotti’s text explores what it means to be human under these conditions.

“Black Transparency: The Right to Know In the Age of Mass Surveillance” by Metahaven:
Published in the wake of Edward Snowden’s revelations, Black Transparency is a journey of subversion, examining the public desire for transparent governance and business models, and how it intersects with design, architecture, pop culture and power.

“Inventing the Future: Postcapitalism and a World Without Work” by Nick Srnicek and Alex Williams:
Srnicek and Williams argue that, despite present difficulties, emancipatory societies are still possible. Consequently, they demand an economy that’s capable of advancing living standards, ending wage labour and developing technologies that expand civil liberties. It’s difficult to agree with all their conclusions, but it’s thrilling nonetheless.


20. The Silent Zone

Arun Jain, urban strategist and designer, Berlin

Eventually the psychological overstimulation from the relentless presence of the media will become a severe global affliction. I can imagine a future in which communication blackout zones are necessary to preserve individual and collective sanity. I anticipate ‘switch off ’ options that will block all audio visual noise within our personal info-bubbles. A day may also come when live performances become the last credible way to experience authenticity. As such environments become coveted, the best options may become the exclusive privilege of those who can afford them.


21. Jeff Stryker

Bernard Willhelm, fashion designer, L.A.

The porn star Jeff Stryker! I really like Jeff in Cow! Also thumbs up for the real deal, [Thierry] Mugler. I miss humour in fashion.


Debora Delmar. Images from
Debora Delmar. Images from

22. Soylent – The Food Fad Hitting a Juice Bar Near You

According to its website Soylent is “a nutritionally complete, ready-todrink, meal in a bottle”. Mainly derived from algae, it comes in a liquid or powder form. Similarities to the lurid Nineties diet drink Slim-Fast are probably accidental – after all, Slim- Fast didn’t claim to provide you with a balanced diet.

Techies, scientists, life-hackers and vegans alike are looking to this pond life as a protein-rich alternative to meat and as a solution to climate-change related food shortages. Unsurprisingly, Soylent has become a hit with the lifestyle and environmentally-conscious art crowd, causing a run on the product when it was first released.

It is widely available in its ‘improved flavour’ 2.0 version; and yes, it comes with a free pitcher and scoop. We’ll have ours over ice, then. See ‘Hacking Your Way to Post-Humanity’.


23. Anarchic Democracy

Nadim Samman and Anja Henckel, curators, Berlin

The democratic imaginary is in crisis. Accepting that our system is wedded to despotic regimes, economically and otherwise, allows our political theatre to entertain grotesque self-images (Trump as Gorgon). But if petro-Wahhabism is paradoxically constitutive of contemporary liberal democracy, and vice versa, something else is true too: Democratic citizenship must also be compatible with anarchism. This liberating contradiction opens up spheres of action.


24. Putting the “cyber” into cybersex

It might have taken the porn and sex industries a while to catch up with virtual reality, but after 50 years of development, VR is about to revolutionise sex. Pornhub, the leading porn streaming website, is offering “360 degree experiences”, while Velvet Reality promises 4K high definition. From sex suits to digital dildos, we’re close to having completely romantic and sexual relationships with machines. And in a world tormented by unanswered Tinder messages, VR sex is likely to catch on.


Fashion Editorial: Black and White by Sebastian Johansson
Fashion Editorial: Black and White by Sebastian Johansson

25. Back to Black Again

At SLEEK, we predict that by issue 100, we’ll all be wearing black, just like French mimes, Nineties anti-heroines, doomed poets and fashion editors. The reasons for this are numerous, but boil down to one important factor: it’s very a flattering look for selfies. If those’ll still be around by then (see “Social Fatigue”).


26. The Internet Troll

Jon Rafman, artist, Montreal

“I’m interested in the internet troll: obsessive and shut in. For me, they are like modern-day tragic heroes. They represent a certain pole of existence that tells us something about ourselves. They’re often rude and offensive, but sometimes their criticism is revealing.”


27. Hyperlooping to China

As Republican politician Sarah Palin noted in 2008, from certain islands, Russia is visible from Alaska. Granted, those islands are in the middle of the Bering Strait. Yet that hasn’t stopped politicians from dreaming of a railway connecting Europe and North America via Siberia and Anchorage, as recent plans for the Trans-Eurasian Belt Development show. Consequently, our bet is that in the future globetrotters will trade in flights for boxcars. After all, it’s already happening: a test track for Elon Musk’s Hyperloop, which will connect LA and San Franciso with speeds of up to 1200 km/h is already under construction. All aboard.


Vetememes by Davil Trans. Image from
Vetememes by Davil Trans. Image from

28. Fashion as a Meme

A lot has been written about memes, and almost as many column inches have been dedicated to fashion’s transition to the digital realm. However, in an unexpected twist, memes and clothes are colliding in a curious case of art imitating life that’s imitating art. After season upon season of shirts featuring comedy slogans such as “Ain’t no Laurent without Yves” or “Comme des Fuckdown”, someone decided to up the stakes and invent the parody label. 22-year-old Brooklynite Davil Tran’s sole product is a cheap, black raincoat emblazoned with “Vetememes”– a nod to Vetements, the label famous for appropriating DHL’s logo. Of course, the internet got very excited. And what would have once simply been viewed as a knock off – and probably resulted in a lawsuit – has now become common practice for designers and brands. The meme – it’s in fashion, and it’s here to stay.


29. Block chain and Future Aesthetics

Francesca Gavin, critic and curator, London

Innovation – it’s a funny word to use in relation to art. Visual languages emerge and change, but I haven’t seen anything really new in art for a while. That said, I think that block chain, a digital database that records everything online, will change programming, the way the internet works and, potentially, give rise to new ideas about what aesthetics could be. It’ll give new forms of accountability and it’s absolutely fascinating because the structure is regimented by the way it’s made. It’s in the very early stages and not at all mainstream yet, but just wait.


30. Social Fatigue, Or Who Really Cares About “Influencers” Anyway?

Is fashion finally over Instagram, its self-described “influencers” and their quest for cutesy perfection? Raf Simons recently commented on the effect of social media on fashion, saying, “There’s this huge debate… Should we tweet it in this way or Instagram it in that way? … You know, all that kind of bullshit. Will all that stuff still be relevant 30 years from now? I don’t think so.” He’s tapping into a growing industry backlash. When Leandra Medine of Man Repeller published “Confession: I don’t get Vetements” earlier this year, many fashionistas nodded in agreement. While oversized cuts and appropriated logos are good for column inches, they don’t justify hefty price tags.

This isn’t really an issue – until you consider the recent appointment of Vetements’ Demna Gvasalia as creative director at Balenciaga, one of fashion’s last true luxury labels. Young designers are not encouraged to create cohesive collections, but are churning out “star” pieces that are easily identifiable in small photo-squares, with names aimed at the hashtag savvy Insta-generation instead. With the premature demise of promising new brands like Meadham Kirchhoff, we must all take Raf Simons lead and question how important those likes and followers really are.


31. Solastalgia and Ecological Catastrophe

Solastalgia is a term coined by the philosopher Glenn Albrecht in 2003, to describe “the particular form of psychological distress that sets in when the homeland that we love and from which we take comfort is radically altered by extraction and industrialization, rendering it alienating and unfamiliar”.

The Earth has entered the Anthropocene, an epoch in which human activity is having a significant impact on the planet’s environment and climate. As such, artists and curators have also begun reacting to this perilous transformation, and themes such as consumption, labour, overpopulation and economic stagnation are firmly on their agendas.

Instances of this are numerous but include: Daniel Keller’s installations inspired by seasteading and future communities; Julian Charriere’s cryogenic orchids and films about global warming; Bea Fremderman’s ecosystems; Katja Novitskova’s desolate landscapes, and Ecocore, a magazine / art object by Alessandro Bava and Rebecca Sharp. Expect more gloom at a Kunsthalle near you.

Walter Van Beirendonck, Hardbeat Collection,1989-1990
Walter Van Beirendonck, Hardbeat Collection,1989-1990

32. Nu-Nu-Rave

A host of twenty-something designers nostalgic for both Nineties rave culture and its dubious, NME-led resurgence in the Aughties (see also ‘The Nostalgia Cycle Screeches to a Halt’) are channelling the art of clubbing in their collections. Fashion East’s Caitlin Price showed a line based on clubbers holding it together at the end of the night. Another Londoner, Charles Jeffrey, who also runs cult party Loverboy, references Leigh Bowery and launched a line of ‘drunk’ tailoring. And in sportswear, Cottweilers focus on fabrics that allow you to dance and sweat, citing European forest raves as inspiration.


33. Shopping in the Future

A new form of consumerism is taking over our everyday lives. Today’s shoppers are increasingly purchasing digital goods – subscriptions and rentals rather than objects. The future of consumerism, then, is a virtual one, defined by on-demand availability and instant delivery. Automated recommendations based on past purchases are a key feature of this, but this also means that the consumer also loses autonomy. No longer is a book plucked from the shelf because of its appealing cover; instead, it is downloaded due to an algorithmic recommendation. Likewise, through automated reordering of products via the push of a button – Amazon’s Dash service springs to mind – choice is increasingly sacrificed to convenience and forced loyalty. We’ll have the crowd-sourced tech-coming-of-age saga with a side of Soylent, then.


34. Apotemnophilia or the longing to lose a limb

Omsk Social Club Feat. PUNK IS DADA, artists and curators, Berlin

The time of the individual has gone, we are now in a state of duality, but this has not rescued us from the epic cold loneliness of the Self.

We are still looking for the ultimate Form that one can use to gain surplus alienation from rather than formalized estrangement.

There is no revolution left inside this system. Why didn’t we learn to displace and decentralize ourselves from here. We should have lived the human strike of Claire Fontaine and meditated on our ideas of universal mass-breakdown. The culture of sacrifice is uncannily dead – we now have a culture of adornment. Let us release ourselves from the IVF bastings in favour of Van Gogh’s lost ear and the desire of Apotemnophilia.

The human body needs death as a tool of survival
“Zen, Speed, Organic:
3 lifestyle diets.”


Faustine Steinmetz by Nico Stinghe
Faustine Steinmetz by Nico Stinghe

35. Next-Level Denim

Kick-flare. Cropped-to-ankle. Raw-edge. The new denim rules have been laid down, freeing our legs from the ubiquitous skinny jeans. Expect Marques Almeida and Faustine Steinmetz, who are elevating the humble jeans to artisanal status, to lead the masses towards even wider cuts and super frayed finishes.


36. Post-Digital Identities

Alicia Reuter, writer and editor, Berlin

Recently, discussions I’ve had concerning the future of personal identity and innovation have entered a rabbit hole, where it’s become almost impossible to distinguish the physical self from the virtual. Today, we are increasingly focussed on our own social brokering and elevation, and developing platforms, both digital and analogue, recognize this. Indeed, they are necessary in order to thrive.


37. Virtual Reality as Artistic Medium

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a new piece of technology must be in want of an artist to appropriate it. So it is with Oculus Rift, a virtual reality headset that’s becoming less of a rarity in contemporary art galleries. Some artists, for instance, have been working with the kit to create immersive landscapes – a more dynamic version of the 19th century diorama. Here are some of the most notable uses of the gadget from last year. And, as we noted in ‘The Future Exhibition’, the format will shape gallery shows to come.

“Sculpture Garden (Hedge Maze)” by Jon Rafman:
In Rafman’s “Sculpture Garden (Hedge Maze)” the protagonist/viewer wanders down a virtual garden maze sculpture. It was a subtle, nuanced and clever use of the intersection between haptic and virtual environments.

“n=7 / The Wake in Heat of Collapse” by Rachel Rossin:
Rossin is the first New Museum virtual reality fellow. In “n=7 / The Wake in Heat of Collapse”, the audience enters a Dantean landscape made from hacked architectural designs and video game imagery. Gravity collapses, and all that’s left is a crumbling staircase composed of copies of Susan Sontag’s “Against Interpretation”.

“Phantom” by Daniel Steegmann Mangrané:
For “Phantom”, Mangrané scanned a section of Mata Atlântica, a fast-disappearing section of Brazilian rainforest, so that people could experience it first hand through digital goggles. It was quite an experience. As the artist writes, “[The show] rends you from your body – look down and you’ll find soil, not feet – and invites you to drift through the still image, scrutinise the inert ferns and bromeliads, gaze at the black dome beyond the canopy.”


Jay Boogie by George Nebieridze
Jay Boogie by George Nebieridze

38. Nodels – or, Not Models

From Joan Didion starring in Céline’s AW15 campaign to “plus-size” models gracing catwalks in Paris, fashion is becoming more democratic. And the final step towards a fairer industry is the popularisation of the nodel – a non-model model.

Nowhere is the nodel more popular than in New York, where cross-pollination in the creative industries has become indispensible for success, with NY designers recruiting their friends, family, lovers, club kids and even themselves. Some notable nodels include rapper Jay Boogie, who’s modelled for Moses Gauntlett Cheng, artist Juliana Huxtable, who’s graced many of Eckhaus Latta’s campaigns, and scenester Alicia Novella, who’s appeared in Vaquera’s subway show.


39. The (Ro)bots, They are Not Alright

The future of artificial intelligence continues to captivate and terrify humanity. 2015’s sci-fi blockbuster “Ex Machina” featured a sentient robot who evades her less-than-benevolent taskmaster and his – naturally nefarious – plans (see ‘Putting the Cyber into Cybersex’).

Earlier this year, Microsoft’s Twitterbot Tay caused social media uproar with its racist and homophobic messages. How on the mark are Ray Kurzweil’s predictions about the impact of automation in his 2006 book “The Singularity is Near”, and, how often have you wondered if a robot could not only do your job but do it better? In the coming decade, these concerns are set to multiply. And what’s more, they’re likely to be joined by new ones. If and when computers become aware, will they even like each other? And what will they make of AI portrayals in contemporary cinema? Who knows, but SLEEK hopes no one falls out over C3PO.


40. Fashion’s New (Un)Seasons

For decades, fashion has followed a rigid order. First collections are shown, then photographed, and then written about. About six months later, they’re on sale, by which time everyone’s forgotten about them. It’s a cumbersome process, and no one’s surprised that a number of brands, including Burberry and Tom Ford, are ditching it in favour of consumer friendly, unseasonal collections.

They’re eliminating the interval between fashion shows and release dates, as well as foxing counterfeiters waiting to pounce on next season’s clothes. It’s about time fashion moved on in this way. Consumers now buy items because they’re new and surprising, not because it’s winter or summer. In fact, the only losers are retailers, who are going to have to work harder if they want to keep up with the latest trends.


41. Snapchat, Periscope and the Artist as One- Hit Wonder

Peter Kaaden, photographer, Berlin

Art is going to become more personal, with artists finding new ways to exhibit works instead of just hanging a picture on a wall. With the rise of Snapchat and Periscope they can interact directly with the audience they want to reach. This gives you immediate feedback, rather than
having to read texts about your book that came out three months ago.

Everything will increasingly go hand in hand, with pictures, music, lifestyle, food and fashion all coming together to create mixed media work. People will once again show up and leave the scene in a very fast, interchangeable manner. One-hit-wonders will become the norm, but in a good way. Asger Carlsen and his ilk will do things that no one previously thought about.


42. The Future Exhibition

An android guide smilingly ushers in visitors. Are they an artwork, or another unwaged gallery employee, or something else? It’s hard to tell. A geotagged app to guide you and give you background info spells the death of the didactic panel. Fave works, create your bespoke take-home gallery. Like it, share it, reblog it. Screens, screens everywhere – 3D projections, immersive works, virtual spaces colliding with exhibition architecture. Is the exhibition an artwork or the artwork an exhibition? Who cares, and is that question even relevant anymore?


43. Helen Kaplinsky

Susanna Davies-Crooke, writer and curator, London

Helen Kaplinsky is a curator in the traditional sense – she cares for both artists and artworks, comprehensively examining the ecologies and economies of an artwork, and forming long term working relationships with artists through her platform #temporarycustodians. Instead of selecting from a ‘chorus line’ of artists, where to be exhibited is the be-all and end-all, she considers part of her role as providing a support structure for ideas and processes no longer supported in a post-austerity UK.

Her approach is a welcome release from the contemporary productivist dictum, and the rise of “curationism”. My hope for the next ten years is that this method of investigation and support becomes the rule, not the exception.


Installation shot of SHANZHAI BIENNIAL N°1, Beijing Design Week Caochangdi, 2012
Installation shot of SHANZHAI BIENNIAL N°1, Beijing Design Week Caochangdi, 2012

44. Shanzhai Style – Stealing is the New Original

What makes a fashion item ‘luxury’? Is it just the designer label stuck on the front? Could be. As a well-known fashion stylist – we’ll call her “Ruth” – tells us: “I used to feel that certain iconic handbags were something to aspire to, but then you see every blogger with them on Instagram and they lose their appeal. No one questions me not having the real thing as I wear them mixed with my actual designer pieces.” The fashion crowd has embraced the fake, and counterfeiting has become cool. Amen.


45.We Are No Longer A-“Mused”

Art and fashion have had a long relationship with the muse, female, male, and non-binary. But the role of the muse is changing. From Hari Nef to Bobby Jesus and boychild, they are claiming their place as artists and creators in their own right. On top of this, there are calls to discard the term altogether for its sexist connotations and history of objectification – and we’re down with that.


46. Disenfranchisement

Rózsa Farkas, curator and gallerist, London

Everybody is feeling the forces and effects of a state of permanent crisis. Yet its defining feature is the length of time it will take for something to snap. It’s not like it isn’t breaking in many corners of the world. People’s backs can only be pushed so far. Someone I love once told me that if things can swing to the right the way they have in our lifetime that they can go in the opposite direction, too.


Tracey Emin "My Bed". Image from
Tracey Emin “My Bed”. Image from

47. Messthetics, or: The Future will be Untidy

Having been bought by Facebook five years after it was founded, the inevitable has happened – Instagram has peaked. This also means the end of curated breakfast selfies, and the death of minimalist simplicity in favour of more chaotic platforms like Snapchat.

In 2015, Getty Images conceived the term ‘messthetics’ to describe this phenomenon. It’s not made the OED yet, but we think it’s here to stay. After all, who really has time to Instagram their aspirational smashed avocado toast snack while performing the One-Legged King Pigeon yoga pose?


48. The Layer State

Ed Fornieles, artist, London

The layer state is the idea of a shift towards many groups made up of ideologically allied individuals. The layer state is deterritorialised, potentially extending beyond borders or traditional state boundaries; it overlaps, replaces or supplements the function of government. In this sense it can be thought of as creating a layered or extra sovereignty.


49. Society under Hypercapitalism

Debora Delmar Corp, artist, Mexico City

I think the main issue that will shape the next decade will be the political, financial and social challenges created globally as a consequence of increasing hypercapitalism.


Chen Zhou, Spanking The Maid II, 2012. Courtesy of Arthub Asia and Aike-Dellarco.
Chen Zhou, Spanking The Maid II, 2012. Courtesy of Arthub Asia and Aike-Dellarco.

50. Cultural Capitals Inc.

Art Basel’s announcement of its Cities™ initiative during its 2016 edition in Hong Kong split the crowd. As the press release stated: “Art Basel will work with selected cities to develop a vibrant and content-driven programs [sic] specific to the city, connecting them to the global art world through Art Basel’s network.”

Cities™ then, is nothing but a Baselbrandedexercise in what used to be known as the ‘Bilbao model’, but on a larger scale and with more “creative consultants” attached. The idea seems simple enough: take a decrepit industrial town; shove a large museum of contemporary art designed by a big name architect in the centre; add in a few boutique hotels and spas, and voila, a readymade “cultural” tourism destination.

Adding to the misère, the advisory board for this enterprise doesn’t contains a single artist. Instead, it’s populated by architects, museum directors, collectors, and creative consultants, which speaks volumes about the attitude of the culture industry and their perceptions of the artist.




Written by:

Grace Banks
Hans Bussert
Gloria Cardona
Jeni Fulton
Will Furtado
Jessica Hannan
Alicia Reuter
Ira Solomatina
Jeppe Ugelvig
Maxwell Williams

Taken from SLEEK 50

The Brand Responsible for Models Taking Skincare Selfies