Posts Tagged ‘London’

Milking Mayfair: Daphne Guinness at SHOWstudio

Monday, February 18th, 2013

Daphne Guinness milking video

Nowhere is the possibility of milking as self-annihilation more evident than when it involves a beautiful woman with flawless styling. Daphne Guinness remarks later that ‘self-annihilation is a prerequisite to growth’. The milking of a model is the fashion equivalent to Pete Townshend smashing his guitar. Here, Guinness performs a wipe-out gesture of her own.

image

Milking began as an in-joke among young male Newcastle University students, a little light relief during exam time. Young people took bottles full of litres of milk and emptied them on their heads, for no discernible purpose other than that, for a time, it seemed like the thing to do. Milking quickly caught on through YouTube, generating tens of thousands of views, and spread to other British cities and towns, including Edinburgh, Oxford and Cirencester. People milked in trees and from a second floor window, soaking the man below and his cereal. Participants competed in choosing the funniest, most unexpected locations for their milkings, just as others had done with the phenomenon of ‘planking’.

image

Planking involved lying stiff as a board in a surprising spot, and became the quintessential Internet meme. Because of a rush to outdo other ‘plankers’ in choosing an outlandish site, a variety of injuries and one fatality resulted. So far milking has proven harmless, unless you consider the fate of the milk itself.

In fact, milking was displaced by the invention of ‘porting’ at Durham University, in which male students pour a bottle of port over their white dress shirts (which are thus ruined) and dark suit pants. Although port is much more expensive than milk, no one can construct much of an argument regarding the importance of its preservation. It is hard to argue that those who waste milk are improving the world, but some might see a virtue in those who waste alcohol. These competing memes (from competing universities) can be seen on YouTube, which critic Wayne Koestenbaum refers to as a kind of ‘shame-kiln’ in his book Humiliation (2011),[1]

Porting

Director Nick Knight’s suggestion began as a joke on the geographic spread of the milking craze, from its origin in Newcastle to Bruton Place, Mayfair, one of the most expensive neighborhoods in London. Multimedia artist and model Daphne Guinness hadn’t heard of milking before, but quickly latched onto the idea and saw that it was the best way to celebrate a pending move. Location was on Knight’s mind.

In fact, on the next day (1 February 2013), SHOWstudio itself moved to a new site on Motcomb Street, Belgravia. Milking Mayfair had the adults paying tribute to a meme developed by youth, and restaging it in a formidably expensive, grown-up context.

(more…)