You can now pre-order the spectacular Spring/Summer 2017 issue of Purple Fashion Magazine, available in-stores February 1st 2017.
"Today, we’re living a new sexual revolution. It’s not ideological, but purely technological: social media has enabled us to interconnect and expand our sexual constellation as much as we want and from wherever we may find ourselves. We can disperse sexual imagery — with or without nipples — all over the globe and express our sexual fantasies using tools readily available to everyone. This new game has certainly impacted fashion photography and fashion design," says Editor-in-Chief Olivier Zahm in his editor's letter featured in the newest issue.
Purple Fashion Magazine issue 27 includes interviews with 20th Century Women director Mike Mills, artists Julio Le Parc and Vanessa Beecroft, fashion and furniture with Rick Owens, a conversation between photographer William Eggleston and Glenn O'Brien, portfolios by Ryan McGinley, John Currin... and a special edition Purple Book by Carsten Höller.
See the latest from the Milan Men's Fashion Week F/W 2017 collections, including Alessandro Sartori's debut collection for Ermenegildo Zegna held at the grand Pirelli Hangarbicocca. Set among the German artist Anselm Kiefer’s "The Seven Heavenly Palaces" installation, Sartori delivered an astute take on the Zegna brand in a unified collection featuring natural colorways.
Last chance to see our recommended art show "The Others" curated by Elmgreen & Dragset, on view until January 22nd in Berlin.
The artist-curators have brought together fifteen works by twelve contemporary artists, like Tacita Dean, Ron Mueck, and Andrea Serrano, who have reimagined the portrayal of the body within Christian iconography. The show is fittingly exhibited at St. Agnes, the Brutalist former Catholic church transformed into the spectacular gallery space by König Galerie.
The Purple x Zana Bayne fetish-inspired choker and belt are on sale now on the Purple Boutique. These pieces are limited edition and handmade.
In collaboration with the celebrated New York leather designer Zana Bayne, Purple have reworked a classic black leather belt with a simple, brutalist stainless steel buckle. Each belt is crafted in Zana Bayne's New York atelier and the leather used comes from the highly regarded Horween Leather Company in Chicago, one of oldest tanneries in America founded in 1905.
"I was messing around with the idea of putting an image of a woman in my paintings, and I went to live in Rome for two months on this residency. I looked at a ton of paintings while I was in Rome, and when I came back I just thought: “Screw it. I’m going to do this.” It’s probably where I was in my life, and where I was in my family life — all of that."
Discover the full interview with the incredible painter and provocateur Carroll Dunham by Glenn O'Brien featuring photography by Alex Antitch.
People have concerns about the psychological effects of endlessly playing shoot-em-up video games but I sometimes wonder whether doing moral philosophy is just as corrosive. A worryingly large proportion of ethical thought experiments involve fantasies of homicide, requiring you to play God and decide who gets tortured or killed, with no option for everyone to get into a group hug or have a nice cup of tea.
Here are just a handful: would it be right to torture someone in order to extract information to prevent a bomb going off, killing thousands? Is it justifiable to hang an innocent man to calm a mob who would otherwise run riot and kill many more? Should a parent take a lifeboat to a raft with five children clinging to it or to another with just their own child, knowing there is not enough time or fuel to do both? Should a doctor let a patient die, knowing that the patient’s organs can then be transplanted to save five other people? Should you divert a runaway train from a tunnel where it would crush five people into another tunnel housing just one unfortunate person? Or should you stop the train by pushing someone in front of it?
Responses to such thought experiments are meant to expose the extent to which we think moral judgments should be made on grounds of duty and principle, or on utilitarian calculations about whether actions increase or decrease wellbeing. But interestingly, no matter what people’s ethical framework, the scenarios seem to most people to be genuine dilemmas. Those who take utilitarian options will usually be uneasy with the cold, callous, calculating nature of the judgement; while those who refuse often worry that trying to keep their hands clean only leaves more blood on them.
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You could explain this unease in purely psychological terms. Indeed, there is good evidence that psychology plays a major role in how we think about such problems. Generally speaking, we are more likely to make utilitarian choices where there is some distance between our imagined action and those who suffer as a consequence. But when we are up, close and personal with the victims, we tend to back off. The same distinction appears in real life: people have fewer scruples about killing others remotely with drones than in shooting them while looking into the whites of their eyes.
Although psychology surely does play a part, I don’t think it’s the whole story. What these thought experiments also bring to light is that, in one way, we value life above all else, and, in another, there are things that matter even more than life.
Life is, in a sense, of supreme value because without life there can be no value at all. That’s why, if we are asked to make choices in which there is more or less life as a result, it seems wrong to choose less.
But what is it that makes life valuable? Not, it would seem, life itself. Most people think that there is no reason to prefer a permanent vegetative state to death. In many ways, the former is worse because it prolongs the agony for loved ones and takes resources away from others in need. Furthermore, despite some radical vegans’ claims to the contrary, most of us find it absurd to value the life of a hamster the same as that of a human.
If life has value, it is surely because of what life makes possible: love, aesthetic experience, great moments, creativity, laughter. But even these things are not judged to be unqualified goods. The context in which they appear matters too. The love between two psychopaths, egging each other to horrendous crimes, might seem good to them but is an abhorrent perversion to others. Nor do we value the laughter of tormentors or the building of great monuments with slave labour.
If we go back to those life-or-death thought experiments, in each case we can see that we are being asked to choose between saving more life at the cost of something that makes life valuable in the first place, or preserving more of what is of value at the cost of more life. When we allow innocents to die to save more people overall, we are sacrificing some of the dignity and respect we have for human life in order to keep more humans alive. When we torture to save life, we allow more cruelty into the world in order to keep more people in it. When we choose multiple strangers over one loved one, we reject the special bonds of love so that others can have a chance to maintain theirs.
That’s why I believe most such thought experiments are never satisfactorily solved. Indeed, I would suggest that the best way to use them is not to see them as puzzles to be solved at all. If we ever face such situations in real life, we will be forced to choose, and will have to do so based on the very particular circumstances of each case. The only general lesson we learn from these thought experiments is that there is sometimes a tragic conflict between life and what makes life valuable in the first place.
Should there be an official civil status attached to being a co-parent?
When I was in graduate school in the United States in the early 1980s, a member of our women’s support group informed us that she was pregnant. Although she was single and not in a serious relationship, she told us she intended to have the baby and raise it herself. She decided not to tell the genetic father, as she feared that he would pressure her to get an abortion, or disappear and then later try to enter the child’s life. She preferred to parent alone.
My mother was in a similar position, even when she was married to my father. In the US at the time, it was common for fathers not to be involved in raising the children. What we would now call a ‘traditional marriage’ never really spelled out any principles for shared parenting, except to assign all basic childcare to wives. A father might be called upon occasionally to back up a mother’s disciplinary rules, but I felt somewhat lucky that my mine was never enlisted for this role. When my parents separated, there was no question about who would get the kids: the wife, my mother. Once my parents divorced, my father was around even less, and never got to know my children (my eldest was 12 years old when he died).
These scenarios – being a single parent by choice, and raising children in a marriage and after a break-up – point to the fact that the institution of marriage often fails to facilitate the complex and shifting nature of parenthood. The modern family is changing, and an increasing number of people are choosing to have children outside marriage in the first place. In 1970, 11 per cent of all births in the US were extramarital; by 2014, it had climbed to around 40 per cent. In countries including Norway, Sweden, France, Mexico and Iceland, more than half of all children are born outside of marriage.
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This trend troubles some observers, who think that marriage is necessary for the stability of the family. But people become parents under many different circumstances, and often these circumstances aren’t conducive to marriage anyway. Is there an alternative that adds a degree of financial and emotional security to the lives of parents and children?
Yes: akin to a public marriage contract, we need an official ‘co-parenting agreement’ and associated civil status, which not only enshrines the rights and responsibilities of each parent in respect of their children, but also sets out the principles by which they relate to one another and make decisions.
Although children benefit greatly from having the ongoing support of several adults as they grow up, they don’t necessarily need this nurturing from people who commit to marriage. Their parents simply need to cooperate effectively, to respect the relationship the other has with the children, and to contribute in comparable ways to caregiving and family finances. In the United Kingdom, parents who are unmarried, separated, remarried or step-parents can already enter into a ‘parental responsibility agreement’ that aims to establish the terms of shared custody of the children. This includes obligations to keep co-parents informed about a child’s basic wellbeing, and to assist with providing housing, schooling, medical care and other costs.
However, I think that we need to take the notion of official co-parenting a step further – to include parents who might never intend to marry or live together, or who don’t wish to enter into an emotionally intimate relationship. In the US, organisations such as Family By Design and Modamily have sprung up to help single adults find a suitable co-parent for forming a family ‘minus the couple’, as a New York Timesarticle put it. But without the state’s legal recognition, co-parents must draw up their own agreements. Such privately negotiated contracts could fail to protect the rights of weaker or vulnerable parties, or might reflect the quality of legal advice one can afford.
Of course, like marriage, entering and continuing a public, formal co-parenting agreement should be voluntary; parents should always be free to enter into private or informal arrangements, if they wish to do so. But without an institutionalised public option, we expose families to the risk of nightmarish conflict, especially when relationships break down.
When people become parents, they might not be able to anticipate all the ways in which their interests could be interfered with or undermined. Particularly after a break-up, parents often use tactics that they might admit are unfair, and would be incensed if used against them. But when access to their kids and involvement in their lives is at stake, moral consideration for the other parent is not a priority, even for otherwise decent people. Among my friends, and friends of friends, I have seen one parent use a partner’s lack of US citizenship as a bargaining chip to gain access to the children. Another took advantage of the circumstance that her same-gender co-parent had not obtained legal parent status. Yet another elected to move residence far away from the other parent, which made shared arrangements impractical. Many of us know similar stories.
Because marriage generally does not cover the terms of shared childrearing, public co-parenting contracts would offer a social insurance scheme for both ‘traditional’ and non-traditional families. An official contract would help to safeguard parents’ basic entitlements, such as the right to be involved in the lives of one’s children and to appropriate forms of child support from each co-parent. If and when cooperation among the co-parents breaks down, the existence of an agreement can guide courts or mediators in negotiating new agreements for shared parental responsibility.
The process of formalising one’s status as a parent would also encourage people to think through and communicate their expectations right from the start. When we cross the threshold to parenthood, surely it’s sensible for society to nudge parents to reflect on and discuss who will make career sacrifices to be at home with the children, how the children will divide their time if the parents have separate households, and how important decisions will be made that affect a child’s future.
Of course, it can be hard to know precisely what to expect in advance of something as momentous as having a child, and the contract doesn’t have to lay it all down in detail. But the point is that future decisions would take place in the context of a formal commitment and a public declaration about the primacy of the co-parenting relationship in one’s life. Such an agreement would also provide an incentive for parents to work things out to their mutual benefit – in part because they know that ending the arrangement has tangible consequences.
In short, one’s rights as a parent, and the relationship with one’s children, shouldn’t be contingent on the ups and downs of one’s love life. Co-parenting as friends, or at least as collaborators, is good for children, adults, and society. If a civil institution of co-parenting had been available, both my mother and my friend from graduate school might not have had to go it alone.