Mark Leckey, Fiorucci Made Me Hardcore, 1999
In essence, Fiorucci Made Me Hardcore (1999) is a film and audio collage that Leckey himself has said was about ‘something as trite and throwaway and exploitative as a jeans manufacturer being taken by a group of people and made into something totemic, and powerful, and life-affirming’. Taking found footage from the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s underground music and dance scene in the U.K., the artist weaves together the Northern Soul and Acid House movements, alongside footage and audio of the people and places that adopted the fashions that accompanied these sub-cultural scenes. The film work draws a meandering line through myriad influences from American soul, dance and funk music onto rave and acid House, highlighting the importance of early 1990s clothing brands upon a generation of working-class youth. The sound predominantly lends a sense of cohesion and narrative direction – the layering of spoken text and vocalization, manipulated field recording and the edited soundtracks to the decades being depicted – but there are some other visual devices at work, too. A cartoon-drawn bird, for instance, is animated at one point and ‘flies’ from the hand of a Northern Soul dancer and into the next frame of the film, where it lands on the arm of another, settling on the skin as a tattoo. Certain sections are edited for emphasis; faces are isolated from the crown and manipulated or caught in slow motion. Particular dance moves are repeated and glitched or slowed down lending a sense of ecstasy and pathos in equal measure. In totality, the world depicted is one of people attempting to transcend their own bodies and material realities via self-expression and communal experience.