Jefferson Hack

Jefferson Hack

Dazed publisher / Creative director

Why did you decide to write this book?
I decided to do it because it just felt like the time was right. I couldn’t have done it before because I wouldn’t have had enough to talk about!
You’ve said you refuse to talk about the past. What do you mean?
I really didn’t want to write a book about the past because I only want to look to the future. I had to find a way of doing that, and it took me a long time to make a hybrid work in which I could talk about the past and how it helps us understand what’s happening today and where we want to go tomorrow. That meant I had to create a lot of original works for the book. Designing new artwork and doing new interviews was part of it. And looking back at the past is a way of providing a way of thinking for the future, it gives us clues about what’s going to happen next.
What do you think will live on in this book?
There is a lot of psychology in this book because it’s about how we live today, how we think, how we apply our thoughts, thinking through our work and relationships. It’s about all the collaborations I have been involved in, the portraits I have done. By looking at them in the past, I have been able to see the things that were meaningful and important, that have stood the test of time. I could see that there was some sort of process that linked all of these things. They had things in common. What do Bjork, David Bowie, Alexander McQueen have in common? What connects these artists? How are our collaborative projects similar? It was interesting to join the dots. It’s all about the journey, not the destination…
"Everyone is media today but I feel like there is a lack of creativity, originality and authenticity. What I tried to show in the book is that I can share stories and help inspire other people." [Jefferson Hack]
You said you wanted to redefine the idea of alternative media…
That was the foundation. But what I really wanted to do was speak about independent action, about what it means to be independent and to own your own voice. We have a privilege. Everyone is media today but I feel like there is a lack of creativity, originality and authenticity. What I tried to show in the book is that I can share stories and help inspire other people.
Do you think it’s still possible, given the drop in advertising revenues?
Yes, I think it is still possible. But the conditions of today’s culture are really working against creativity. The speed of production and communication, the way the digital media hypes things up so quickly, and the fact that young people have to pay so much to live in city centres and get an education all really holds back innovation, progress and creativity.
So why do you still believe?
For me, a lot of the magic of 90s club culture doesn’t exist anymore. Things are more commercial today. People have to fight harder. But what I do remember about those artists is that I seemed lazy compared with them. Everyone I work with achieves such great things. They work really hard. I had the privilege of having access to their lives. So it’s all about looking forward and creating the next thing.
Do you really believe that there is a fashion or even a cultural revolution, or do you think that it’s just a marketing illusion, the latest fad?
It is not an illusion. I was really inspired by Nan Goldin’s book, The Ballad of Sexual Dependency, when it came out. She was talking about transitioning as one of the last rebellious acts because it’s about talking back control. I think there is a new identity, which is our new form of media.
We do live in an illusionary age in the sense that life is increasingly difficult. You cannot always distinguish reality from the virtual. I have many lives. There’s a “me” right now on Instagram who’s communicating with people, and there’s a “me” in my book who’s communicating with people. It’s like time travel. We have multiple simultaneous realities happening concurrently and it means everything is an illusion. My book is about these paradoxes and the shifting of identity. This is my personality: exposing myself and hiding myself. I’m never the same version of myself at any particular time.
What’s next?
I’m working with NASA on finding a connection between science and pop culture.
By Aurore Hennion

Jefferson Hack

Dazed publisher / Creative director

Why did you decide to write this book?
I decided to do it because it just felt like the time was right. I couldn’t have done it before because I wouldn’t have had enough to talk about!
You’ve said you refuse to talk about the past. What do you mean?
I really didn’t want to write a book about the past because I only want to look to the future. I had to find a way of doing that, and it took me a long time to make a hybrid work in which I could talk about the past and how it helps us understand what’s happening today and where we want to go tomorrow. That meant I had to create a lot of original works for the book. Designing new artwork and doing new interviews was part of it. And looking back at the past is a way of providing a way of thinking for the future, it gives us clues about what’s going to happen next.
What do you think will live on in this book?
There is a lot of psychology in this book because it’s about how we live today, how we think, how we apply our thoughts, thinking through our work and relationships. It’s about all the collaborations I have been involved in, the portraits I have done. By looking at them in the past, I have been able to see the things that were meaningful and important, that have stood the test of time. I could see that there was some sort of process that linked all of these things. They had things in common. What do Bjork, David Bowie, Alexander McQueen have in common? What connects these artists? How are our collaborative projects similar? It was interesting to join the dots. It’s all about the journey, not the destination…
"Everyone is media today but I feel like there is a lack of creativity, originality and authenticity. What I tried to show in the book is that I can share stories and help inspire other people." [Jefferson Hack]
You said you wanted to redefine the idea of alternative media…
That was the foundation. But what I really wanted to do was speak about independent action, about what it means to be independent and to own your own voice. We have a privilege. Everyone is media today but I feel like there is a lack of creativity, originality and authenticity. What I tried to show in the book is that I can share stories and help inspire other people.
Do you think it’s still possible, given the drop in advertising revenues?
Yes, I think it is still possible. But the conditions of today’s culture are really working against creativity. The speed of production and communication, the way the digital media hypes things up so quickly, and the fact that young people have to pay so much to live in city centres and get an education all really holds back innovation, progress and creativity.
So why do you still believe?
For me, a lot of the magic of 90s club culture doesn’t exist anymore. Things are more commercial today. People have to fight harder. But what I do remember about those artists is that I seemed lazy compared with them. Everyone I work with achieves such great things. They work really hard. I had the privilege of having access to their lives. So it’s all about looking forward and creating the next thing.
Do you really believe that there is a fashion or even a cultural revolution, or do you think that it’s just a marketing illusion, the latest fad?
It is not an illusion. I was really inspired by Nan Goldin’s book, The Ballad of Sexual Dependency, when it came out. She was talking about transitioning as one of the last rebellious acts because it’s about talking back control. I think there is a new identity, which is our new form of media.
We do live in an illusionary age in the sense that life is increasingly difficult. You cannot always distinguish reality from the virtual. I have many lives. There’s a “me” right now on Instagram who’s communicating with people, and there’s a “me” in my book who’s communicating with people. It’s like time travel. We have multiple simultaneous realities happening concurrently and it means everything is an illusion. My book is about these paradoxes and the shifting of identity. This is my personality: exposing myself and hiding myself. I’m never the same version of myself at any particular time.
What’s next?
I’m working with NASA on finding a connection between science and pop culture.
By Aurore Hennion