Kanye West Is Our Susan Sontag, and Everything Else His Axel Vervoordt Interview Taught Us
Kim Kardashian is the Thomas Kincade of selfies!
Photograph by Aaron Verezovsky for Getty Images.
Kanye West just interviewed his interior designer, Axel Vervoordt, and true to West form, we learned everything we didn't realize we needed to know. Take this revelation, for example, that West is writing a book on philosophy:
Really big, be here now, now be here. I go to an extreme. I've got this new concept that I've been diggin' into. I'm writing a philosophy book right now called Break the Simulation. And I've got this philosophy—or let's say it's just a concept because sometimes philosophy sounds too heavy-handed. I've got a concept about photographs, and I'm on the fence about photographs—about human beings being obsessed with photographs—because it takes you out of the now and transports you into the past or transports you into the future. It can be used to document, but a lot of times it overtakes [people]. People dwell too much in the memories. People always wanna hear the history of something, which is important, but I think it there's too much of an importance put on history.
First of all, a Kanye West philosophy book: cool. But second of all, West’s musings on the collapse of past into the present through our fetishization of memories reads like a nifty digital-age addendum to Susan Sontag’s On Photography, in which she spoke about photography’s power to combine all moments in history into one chain of events of equal footing. What West is suggesting is that that very phenomenon has allowed us to become too attached to the past and unable to conceive of the present adequately.
Every other thing we learned:
Vervoordt perfectly summarized the essence of style in one phrase. Speaking of visiting English houses filled with antiques and art and mud-scuffed Wellie boots, he says, “They lived in a casual way with beautiful things.” Gentlemen, to Pinterest!
Kim Kardashian is the Thomas Kincade of selfies. “A designer told me that my wife was a master of light and I was a master of time,” West says.
Virgil Abloh’s appointment at Louis Vuitton was “a burden” on West. “When you walked into the room, I had been dealing with a very heavy concept this week that I couldn't get out of my head,” West says. “Just the way you're expressing yourself has lifted the burden on me.” He shares the news with Vervoordt and says, “It’s not good or bad…Because [Abloh and I] have been fighting to make apparel at a certain price that still has the same credibility and desirability as something at a higher price.” Is West implying Abloh has forfeited that desire by joining a luxury house? Hmm.
The word “brand” is over and the word “community” is in. “There are just a lot of words that I want to remove when you think about a company, like the word company. I like the word community better. I don't like the word brand because we don't use branding,” West says. The community is strong; personal community; time for a re-community—let’s roll!
The greatest interior designer in the world is God. “THR wants us to say what the most beautifully designed place in the world is,” West says. “My answer would be where the ocean meets the rocks in Africa or in Hawaii. Big Sur is close to that feeling. But that's designed by God.”
And finally, presented without commentary (red annotation courtesy of this author):