One Block Down presents "SUBNOTESFROM"
One Block Down shines a light on the subcultural stories that are often left untold. It unearths the roots from which these different communities grow, illustrating how such a solid foundation came to be while documenting what sustains it.
A trusted source of knowledge, One Block Down and its editorial archive have grown exponentially since 2009 – the year during which the brand was founded. It is driven by curiosity and avidity to learn, educate, and facilitate the sharing of its findings through a medium that speaks to the youth of today. As a result, it has become a hub for those looking to explore the past and better understand how it has shaped the present and continues to influence the future.
"SUBNOTESFROM" is a collection of five publications developed in partnership with external contributors and content creators, Samutaro, Sabukaru, Contemporary Standard, and Otto Resource.
Each of the books in “SUBNOTESFROM” provides a framework of cultural analysis and exploration by focusing on a single subculture in a specific region of the world. These places are Brazil, Nigeria, Japan, the US, and the UK. Throughout the project, One Block Down and its four partners bring together facts, anecdotes, and viewpoints from these different continents to present unique stories about a single contemporary subculture and how its impact radiates worldwide from its nucleus.
“SUBNOTESFROM” offers an inside look into the contemporary subcultures that have contributed to the current cultural zeitgeist. This collection of narratives includes in-depth research and interviews with members of these movements, providing the body of work with an undeniable authenticity while helping to remove the one-dimensional understanding of these societies, which is perpetuated by the mainstream media.
The book will focus on the way Japan has traditionally and continues to import Western styles and subcultures to re-interpret them and make them their own. After two centuries of isolation (hakoku) have left their mark on society and the way ideas are conceived and developed (i.e. resulting in the so-called Galapagos syn- drome), Japan's hunger for new foreign influenc- es was enormous, especially starting around the 1970s. Associated with modernity, coolness and novelty, imported goods were the shit. The sheer rarity of these items that used to be exclusive to the West doubled as a status symbol and signalled status and knowledge. But as items came into the country, so did intangible subcul- tures. However, seeing that the English language posed a significant language barrier, Japanese people had to rely on information found in maga- zines or, in many cases, re-interpret the original Western item/subculture with their Japanese POV, resulting in a new, remixed subculture.
Here, we want to examine how this unique facet has caused Western subcultures to be re- mixed by the Japanese, ultimately resulting in the birth of new subcultures. We want to show how and why these subcultures (especially street culture and fashion) were repurposed by the Japanese. Next, we want to shine the spotlight on how these newly Japanese remixed subcul- tures and styles raised eyebrows in the West and were re-imported by celebrities, thereby coming full circle. Lastly, we want to highlight the current generation of Japanese youngsters that are tak- ing Western inspirations to add a Japanese twist to them.
Nigeria is a pulsating cultural powerhouse that has received incredible global attention in recent years. From Wizkid topping the Billboard 100 chart alongside Drake and headlining the first sold-out show at London's Royal Albert Hall to Wole Soyinka as the first black African play- wright to win a Nobel Prize in Literature, it's quite apparent that Nigerian art stands right in front of the gateway to Western popular culture. How- ever, the world is still just digging at the surface, not even getting an idea of the incredible cultural wealth and diversity that Africa's most populous country holds. Currently, the so-called "Giant
of Africa" is experiencing a cultural revolution, driven forward by groups of young artists, that challenge the status quo to finally unleash its incomprehensible artistic energies. The youth, representing the majority of the country's overall population, eagerly aspires to disrupt the indoc- trination of religious traditions and beliefs that conservative politicians and the elderly conse- quently aim to sustain.
By shedding light on Nigeria's subcultural movements, fiercely motivated to break through the country's limiting doctrines, this publication aims to showcase how youth cultures are capa- ble of shifting the face of history by challenging the status quo through creative expressions.
To test our updated definition of subcultu- re, Otto Resource will engage North America's "Freaknik," an annual party series that took place in Atlanta, Georgia, USA, from 1982 until 1997. Freaknik centered around Black musical acts from popular contemporary genres — particularly Miami Bass and R&B — and was attended mostly by Black Americans. At its peak, Freaknik at- tracted so many attendees that most festivities took place in the Atlanta streets, where attende- es would park their cars, shake their asses, and record the debauchery.
Our analysis of Freaknik is about more than the rise and fall of a subculture. It is also about how a subculture's codes generate its iconography, and how those codes can carry on in the mainstre- am. The nuanced reckoning with Freaknik helps us create a more robust methodology for how subcultures begin, what they are, and how they re-shape the parent culture that spawned them. Freaknik is an incredible case study for the way that subcultures develop, how they can change entire ecosystems, and how they generate resul- ting sub- and micro-cultures.
Our goal with this book is to illustrate the recent cultural and subcultural history of a country that, more often than not, has been over- looked by Western media, generally focusing just on two aspects of the country when making portrayals of its creative scene and population: the sandy white beaches and the dark corners of the favelas.
We want to look at the contemporary com- munity and subculture that has been self-de- fined by some of its most relevant members as "Sportlife," a new identity and lifestyle that is much more than just an aesthetic, and that thanks to uniting external influences, local pe- culiarities and global trends, created something new. From Brazil, this is influencing the rest of the world, thanks mainly to authentic storytelling and its relevancy in the era of social media.
Thanks to interviews with three relevant, young, and local talents that are, Fernanda Souza (@correrua_), Samir Bertoli, and @neguinhodefavela16, we were able to have a genuine per- spective on the movement, how it started, its influences, and what is at its core, together with an exploration of the cultural journey that birthed this new movement.
What happened at the beginning of the 80s in Liverpool, Manchester and London were nothing new in a certain way. The Casual Cul- tures' associations with the working-class and its distinct manner of acting and dressing differently compared to the mainstream happened before with Mods, Skins, Teddy Boys, and Punks. These groups of individuals channeled their anger and disappointment with society through a spontaneous camaraderie resulting from an obsessive interest in new music genres and the appropriation of clothes belonging to different, often opposite, contexts. This pattern works for all subcultural expressions but, for casuals, the music element was replaced by un- conditional love for football. Music (per se) was indeed part of the culture, not as a specific genre or through one particular band that embodied the spirit of the movement but more like an eclectic soundtrack that featured rap, techno, prog, new wave, acid house, U.K. garage, and pop. This affinity to a broad spectrum of genres and the ability to adapt to contrasting music waves is why this subculture'slongevity.
While bands and genres come and go, the undisputed love for a team is forever.
The energy of these firms fueled by the Europe- an success of several English teams quickly went viral, turning a hyper-local scene into a Global phenomenon where each country had its distinct adaptation. The diffusion of casuals not only crossed geographic borders but also permeated into different cultural sceneries al- lowing this movement to mutate, adapt and survive. At one point, football fans blended into raves and clubs, permeated into grime and graffiti until popular culture adopted football ele- ments as part of their uniform. The whole agenda went full circle from scallies wearing the latest fashion at match days to fashionwearing match uniforms on catwalks.
SUBNOTESFROM is a publication edited by One Block Down which explores recurring issues that emerge from global subcultural movements.
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Editorial board One Block Down (Greta Mariotti, Nicolò Usberti, Henry Vieler, Patrizio Vita).
Art Direction and Graphic Design by Viaindustraiæ studio.
Co-published by One Block Down, Viaindustriæ publishing, COLLI Publishing Platform.
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