Berlin Issue: Interview with Chicks on Speed


2018/11/30 10:30

(C) Tereza Mundilová

いつだってパワフルな女性が時代を駆け抜ける。元祖エレクトロ・クラッシュガールズ、チックス・オン・スピード(Chicks on Speed、以下COS)だってそう。1997年にドイツ・ミュンヘンで出会ったガールズたちは、瞬く間にわたしたちの世界を鮮やかに彩った。ミュージック、アート、ファッション、パフォーマンス何でもあり。ジャンルやルールに囚われない彼女たちのクリエイションは著名デザイナーやアーティストたちまで魅了するパワーを持っている。メンバーのメリッサ・E・ローガン(Melissa E. Logan)とアレックス・マーレー・レスリー(Alex Murray-Leslie)は、各々のプロジェクトを手掛けつつ、いまもなおCOSとして活動中。フェミニズムを超越したヒューマニズムな考え方、溢れんばかりのエネルギーはわたしたちの背中をぐっと押してくれるはずだ。

Powerful women always run past generations. The original electroclash girls, Chicks on Speed (COS) are also among them. The girls, who met in Munich in 1997, painted vibrant colors to our world in the blink of an eye. Music, art, fashion, performance - there’s nothing they can’t do. Their creations that aren’t tied down by genres and rules even have the power to fascinate prominent designers and artists. Members Melissa E. Logan and Alex Murray-Leslie balance their individual projects with being members of COS. The idea of humanism that transcends feminism and the girls’ overflowing energy is bound to give us a big push.

ーー2人はCOSと並行して、これまでどんな活動をしてきましたか? まずはMelissaから。

Melissa「グループの一員として、ソロアーティストとして活動することを学んで、いまはドイツ・ボンにあるGalerie Gisela Clementに所属してる。インスタレーションまでの数ヶ月間の間、セルビアのベオグラードへ行って仕事をしたんだけど、そこでのプロジェクトが自然な流れで多様なアーティストを含むプラットフォームに成長して。わたしはこの実践のために新しいNGO団体である”University of Craft Action Thought”、通称”UniCAT”を設立したわ。UniCATの活動、コピーライトに関するシンポジウムを開催してないときは、ティンゲリー美術館、スイス・バーゼルまたはドイツ・ケルン大学でたまにセミナーのゲスト講師もしてる。COSやサイドプロジェクトのVOOCHAでのパフォーマンスもね。テクノロジーを使って個性豊かなグループを導いているの」


Alex「ちょうどいまベルリンの劇場HAU3でシアターミュージカル『This Machine Kills』の舞台美術を担当してるの。7年前からオーストリアのリンツ工科造形芸術大学でファッションテクノロジーとインターフェイス・カルチャーを教えているわ。あと南スペインのハエン大学では教育学の芸術的なリサーチ、美学、方法について。いま現在は2019年半ばまでノルウェー科学技術大学のARTECプログラムに携わるゲスト研究員もしてる」

--What experiences have you two had paralell to COS? First, let’s hear from Melissa.

Melissa: “As a group person I have learned to work as a solo artist and am represented by Galerie Gisela Clement in Bonn. For a few months I worked on my own until the installation went to Belgrade Serbia. This projects naturally grow to a platforms to include diverse artists and for this practice I have now founded University of Craft Action Thought (UniCAT) a new NGO. When not building on to UniCAT and creating a symposium on Copy Right, I am guest instructor at seminars, which recently took place at Museum Tinguely, Basel or at the University of Cologne in Germany. Performing as Chicks on Speed or VOOCHA (with Nelly Ellinor) is just what I do, around this nucleus I can venture, but my core is a civilized but slightly untamed non conforming, using technology in a rough way to lead various groups forward.”

--What about you, Alex?

Alex: “I’m actually overseeing stage art for a theater musical, This Machine Kills at Berlin’s HAU3 theater. Since 7 years ago, I have been teaching fashion technology and interface sculpture twice a year at the University of Art and Design Linz in Australia. Also, textiles and performance. At the University of Jaén in Southern Spain, I teach about aesthetics. Actually, I’ve started doing sports recently. Theater, lectures, and sports are all connected.”

(C) Karl Lagerfeld


Melissa「ジェレミーとはオーバーオールを作ったわ。とてもタイムレスなアイテム。ジェレミーがパターンを作って、わたしたちがファブリックを提供したの。2004年に発表したアートブック『It’s a Project』の中にそのパターンが入ってるわ」

Alex「シャネルの音楽を手掛けるミシェル・ゴベール(Michel Gaubert)が紹介してくれたの。初めて会ったのはアメリカツアー中のバックステージで。セキュリティが”変わり者ポンチョ”って騒いでるのを聞いて、多分ジェレミーに間違いないって思ったんだっけ(笑)。案の定、彼はメルセデス・ベンツのスターネックレスと素晴らしいポンチョを着て中に入ってきたわ。ラブリーでおもしろい人よ」



Alex「カールもミシェルからの紹介。『V MAGAZINE』でカールが”the music looks beter with you”の撮影をするから、ミシェルがいろんなミュージシャンたちを招待してたの。その中にピーチズ(Peaches)やミス・キトゥン(Miss Kittin)もいたわ。そのときわたしが”『Fashion Rules!(2003)』のカバーをカールにとってほしい!”ってミシェルに相談したら、撮影後にカールと話してくれることに。撮影後、ミシェルに”戻ってくるからちょっと待ってて”といわれて待つこと5時間。カールが戻って来たの! 彼と一緒に仕事をするのはとても印象に残ってるし、一緒にモデルをしたときもすごくユーモアのセンスがあったの」

Melissa「カールは素晴らしいわ。撮影中に『Fashion Rules!』のカバーに使用できるかどうか尋ねたの。”あなたは知ってるわ、曲中であなたの名前が出るってことを”って。実際に彼の名前は出てるの」

ーー思いが通じたんですね。ちょうど話にも出てきた『Fashion Rules!』にちなんで、2人のファッション・ルールとは何でしょうか?


--COS is adored by many fashion designers including Karl Lagerfeld and Jeremy Scott. I’m interested in hearing your episodes with them.

Melissa: “We made overalls with Jeremy. A very timeless item. Jeremy made the pattern, and we supplied the fabric. The pattern in included in the artbook that came out in 2004 called It’s a Project.”

Alex: “Michel Gaubert, who oversees Chanel’s music, introduced us to him. We first met him during his U.S. tour in Los Angeles. In the back stage, We heard security raving about a “freak in a poncho”, and thought, ‘that has to be Jeremy Scott!’ Haha. Just as we had imagined, he came in wearing a fabulous poncho with a Mercedes Benz star necklace. He’s a lovely and funny person.”

Melissa: “He has strong ideas and is an incredibly talented artist. Oh yeah, my son was secretly wearing my Jeremy sneakers, rainbow with wings, a collaberation with adidas. He was very surprised when I told him I’ve met Jeremy in person.”

--That’s a charming episode. How did you meet Karl Lagerfeld?

Alex: “The Karl connection was also through Michel Gaubert. Karl was shooting for V MAGAZINE at the time “the music looks better with you”, Michel was inviting many musicians. Among us were Peaches, and Miss Kittin. When I talked to Michel about wanting to have Karl shoot our cover for Fashion Rules! (2003), he talked to Karl after the shoot. After the shoot, Michel told us, “Wait a little bit, I’ll be back” and we waited 5 hours. Karl came back! It was so impressive to work with him and be modelling with him, he’s got a very cheeky sense of humour.”

Melissa: “Karl was amazing, during the shoot we asked him if we could use the photos for the record cover of Fashion Rules, 'you knw, you are mentioned in the song'.Of course his name is in it.”

--Perhaps your passion reached him. Since you mentioned Fashion Rules!, let me ask – What are your fashion rules?

Melissa: “Right now I’m in a Versace mood. I like tacky fashion, and wearing Versace is interesting, bright and funny and bothers people with good taste. I love wearing something wrong and it looking right, deffinately would never wear anything that was in fashion.”

(C) Tina Winkhaus









--The girl’s power generation, and feminism today. COS has been through both. How do you view the current situation?

Alex: “It’s getting worse. It’s especially difficult for a girl band to continue a long term career. COS has worked hard to sustain our music and art making for 21 years, but we have witnessed many girl bands break up along the way, there’s a lack of support. Even if you say there isn’t any gender discrimination, it’s difficult. Even in the music industry, bookings, festival operations, and ticket sales are done mostly by men or based on men’s music taste and they believe they are correct, it’s boring to keep seeing all male line ups. I’m positive though that things are improving, every generation women get a louder voice, women are speaking up even more now, getting louder and that’s a good thing to insist urgent necessary change.”

Melissa: “It is a great time at the moment, many powerstructures are shifting, anyone can jump in. Too bad that in Europe the populist parties (stupid name for stupid ideas) got their foot in the door. I thought at first the #MeToo movement was a trend, then I thought it might be instrumentalized to knock out men from positions of power. I think now both are a little true, but so is the fact that #MeToo has changed our world. The tolerance level of sexism and phsical /sexual abuse is sensitized with a new awareness. At the same time it is crazy to see politicians who themselves are not law abiding are being manuvered through dubious means into in positions of political power, and from there working against human rights. I say it is a good time to be very active, amazing changes can happen fast, it is not a time to get stuck on detail. That is my socio/fashion tip for the times now. Don't be shy, fail better, don't miss out on your life, get your energy to make a company or group. Actively, glamorously, dangerously, and wildly.”

Alex: “In the beginning, COS wasn’t always the hip thing, people saw us as difficult and sometimes even “embarrassing ourselves”, which I interpreted as a good thing, a radical thing, that’s liberated and away from mainstream conventions and pre-prescriptions of what’s cool. It’s important to ignore such things and hold onto yourself, believe in yourself and face your mission head on.”

--I guess there are still many conflicts in Europe. In Japan, feminism and the sexual diversity has not yet become widespread.

Melissa: “It’s a good thing to be deeply involved about women, feminism, gender equality, racial equality. Through music and culture much of the social web can be changed, I see it as a more powerful tool then politics. The laws come later, first the change happens within individuals, not all indivituals but the cool people of the socities who make change happen.”

--It’s promising to hear that there are movements for improvement even among conflicts.

Melissa: “The worst thing to do is to argue within your community, we have space for multiciplicity. There is a spreading sickness of in-fightening, people attack each other and create a situation where you cannot speak about your own opinions. It’s really toxic. This can be seen among Feminists as well, the frear drivin attacks on others. Perhaps fear of living up to expectations. People who lack self-respect talk badly of the others - it’s jealousy. This is jealousy, and it’s important to notice these signs and get away from them fast. And if one senses even a little bit of jealousy within, it is good to analyse this, to see- what do I like or want ? This force of envy can be shifted into respect and motivation to be active in a new direction.”

(C) Tina Winkhaus


Melissa「ダダイストのバロネス・エルサ(Baroness Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven)。詩人、パフォーマンス・アーティストであり、マルセル・デュシャンの前に”レディ・メイド”を考案したの。当時のニューヨーク、パリでワイルドかつエキセントリックな存在だった彼女のアートはもちろん、大胆なところが好き。パフォーマンスの衣装も自分で作ってたのよ」Alex「米最高裁判事ルース・ベイダー・ギンズバーグ(Ruth Bader Ginsburg)。通称RBG。instagramで見つけたんだけど、アティチュードが好きなの。多くの若い女性のロールモデルでもあるわ」




--It's not just a problem of sexuality, but something everyone should notice. Who are some women who have influenced you two, who think this way?

Melissa: “Dadaist Baroness Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven. She was a poet and performance artist, the creator of the first “Ready-Made” which she gave to Marcel Duchamp. I love her wild and eccentric art in New York and Paris at the time, and her boldness. She also made her own costumes for her performances.“

Alex: “US Supreme Court Judge, Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Or commonly, RBG. I found her on Instagram, but I like her attitude, she’s also a role model for many young girls.”

--What are sources of energy or instances that you feel the most happiness that keep COS positive and powerful?

Alex: “during the process of art making, i don’t see it necessarily as “fun”. It’s continuous problem solving for me and sometimes I find I use sleep as a way to problem solve the artistic struggles ones having during the day on a project. when I sleep solve the problem, when I wake up, I feel joy, like when a projects installed in a gallery, or I’ve finished a piece. Like today! I’ve been struggling to come up with an idea for stage scenography, but a form finally came to mind and I feel more relaxed and momentarily happy, till the next artistic mission. Problem solving is part of artistic research and practice, just like all forms of new invention and discovery, I need this to be happy. Everyday mundane experiences aren’t for me, I feel the need to put myself in situations which arent comfortable or familiar, i never stick to a pattern of life and living in a predictable way, there’s good and bad about this, like not having a stable friends circle, but this sort of unrepeatable, unexpected life makes me happy and I’m meeting all sorts of incredible people who I collaborate with and form long distance friendships with along the way, that’s special too.”

Melissa: “Having money, holding good relationships with people, etc…people have many forms of happiness, but it’s always a thing that’s changing. I get excited finding these changes. Of course, hugging my cat, having dinner with my son and sleeping in a bed all bring me lots of happiness. The possibility to grow as a person with knowledge and through chalanges and physical mobility also fit into the happyness catagory.”

(C) Beda Munzer


Alex「12月下旬から音楽フェスティバル<Primavera sound>の運営するラジオでわたしの番組『Girl Monster』がスタートするわ。2週間ごとに、フェミニスト、トランス、クィア、サイボーグアーティストを特集するの。いろんな国の音楽も紹介したいから、日本のガールズ、トランス、クィアバンドもチェックしなくちゃ」

Melissa「最近は著作権に関するシンポジウムに取り組んでるの。これはわたしにとってチャレンジでとても難しいんだけど、他のアーティストのためにどうやってシステムを築いていくか勉強中。ヨーロッパではインターネットにどんどん規制がかかっていくし、これから完全に変わっていくわ。だからナビゲートできるようになりたいの。”University of Craft Action Thought”でも、シンポジウムなどを通してこのことを学べるようにしていくわ。新しい音楽のリリースもね。VOOCHAは12月20日にベルリンでローンチパーティ予定なの」



Alex「現在”COS gesamtkunstwerk”のさまざまなマイクロ要素を構築していくことにフォーカスしてるの。もちろん、またすぐにでもMelissaと音楽作りにフォーカスできたらいいと思ってる」

--Tell us about your plans from hereon.

Alex: “Starting late December, my show Girl Monster is airing on a radio Primavera sound, a radio station operated by music festival . Every two weeks, Feminists, Trans, Queer, and Cyborg artists are featured. I want to introduce worlding unheard music, so I’ll have to check out Japanese girl / trans / queer bands too.”

Melissa: “I’ve been working on a symposium surrounding copyright. It’s a challenge for me and is very difficult, but I’m currently studying to make the best out of the system for other artists. In Europe, there have been many regulations placed on the Internet, and things are going to change completely. So, I want to be able to navigate through it. Also as University of Craft Action Thought, I will provide opportunities to study this through Symposiums and we will be releasing new music. VOOCHA Robot Love Launch party December 20, in Berlin.”

--Lastly, are there any plans for a new album?

Melissa: “We had planned one for this year, but we’ve both been busy with our individual projects, so not yet. But we will definitely be back. COS is nonstop! Chicks on Speed Utopia Remix, January 30th”

Alex: “We’re focussing on building different micro elements of the COS gesamtkunstwerk right now and I hope to refocus on the music side soon with Melissa.”



(C) Tereza Mundilová

Chicks on Speedhttp://chicksonspeed.com

photography Tereza Mundilovátext Yukiko Yamane