Yesterday, July 29th, I went to a concert by Chasms and Telefon Tel Aviv in Highland Park, Los Angeles, at the Lodge Room. And the audience was hip and diverse. So it did not seem like one single scene, but a large oblique collection of so many individuals. I noticed, looking at the floor, everyone’s shoes. No easy, generic shoes existed; each piece was a unique statement (of fashion??). Some looked like a mix of a sea urchin and athletic shoes; one person wore Doc Martins; others wore different athletic shoes; some were puffy. No shoes were the same, and I felt underdressed in red Converse high tops, without enough effort in my outfit.
I thought of authenticity and individuality: how some think an individual is only authentic if they are unique, wearing their own shoes. Here is an individual posited as a form of difference (now: a bunch of unique authentic people running around in their one-of-a-kinda custom shoes being unique and authentic). But, I think of the opposite: an authenticity as anti-individuality, all wearing generic Converse High-Top shoes. Or, beyond footwear: wearing brown, uniform monk robes, or the artists wearing all black. A white T-Shirt, black jeans, non-descript black shoes. Or, better: beige shirt, black pants, soft on the eyes, nearly invisible (“I’m just being me!” I might say with a shrug). Ways, like a Derridian crypt, of removing authenticity from fashion, from expression, from the visible. Or, of removing authenticity (are we tired of this word yet?) from the realm of the individual, merging it with “classic,” the “normal,” the “given,” or the non-descript. Individual or invisible--I do not really prefer either. How could you decide?