Am I a Belieber (IN MYSELF)?

Untitled (swaggy) – ink, skin, inner-strength, and societal expectations

Okay so I meant no disrespect with the mouse, it was just a friend and no disrespect to mouses or anything.  I’ve been doing a lot more visual stuff lately, because I recently have been going through a very difficult break up and I needed to share this feeling with my homie. So in order to commence my moving on, and pulling myself up, I expressed myself through a tattoo. The press sees the tattoo as a sign of ignorance and that’s not what I’m trying to put out in the world. If you are a Belieber, like, you don’t have to put ink on your body. You can if you want to. It’s just not up to me? I think at this point, people can do what they want if they like to. It’s just important to me, and for my fans, that I explain what the mouse tattoo means. Also, the word “Swaggy” on the side. For a piece to be understood, it is necessary to explain visual motivations. I need to provide societal context for a “skin-work” that has failed to gain traction in the art world.

So yeah, just allow me to imbibe the mouse head with a rudimentary perceptual framework. Like many would say, it looks like some balloons or a bunch of asses squished together, haha. It doesn’t really look like a mouse head to be real. Instead it looks like our ideal of a mouse head (given to us by the likes of Disney [go see Princess and the Frog. Cute!] Warner Brothers, and other influential animators of the mid-twentieth century). And by placing this nationally conceived head, itself a culmination of years of collective visual redefinition, atop a highly buff-ass body, I was saying something. Basically, this tattoo is meant to give back to the Beliebers. It comes from a deep place inside my heart-brain, which is a term I like to use for the combination of my heart and brain.

The mouse head on the buff body is a juxtaposition of two American ideals: That of subservience, conformity for the worth of the greater good (represented by the mouse, a biologically submissive animal) and tapping into our inner strength (represented by the buff body). While on tour in Minneapolis, which is a beautiful city and thank you so so much for having me there I love you all, I received a call from my girlfriend. She said some words that I disagree with. And she broke my heart. I need to share this feeling with my fans. But do I need to share that right away? Tears staining my shining purple sneakers that have eight velcro straps? I was being asked to stand for six hours in front of twenty thousand girls each of whom I love so much. And this is not something, even with my great staff which is very supportive and always there for me, that I can do. Day in day out? Being asked to perform, to give and give and become, for you all, a singing mouse? Maybe this is not something I want to do. Maybe I want to be a buff-guy instead. So that is what I live with, to be fully honest. I have the mouse-head, shaped by producers and the ever changing desires of the masses, and the buff body. For real, I workout very much. But it is also inner strength. Sometimes, as you can tell by how big the mouse head is, by the fact that it would literally crush any human frame supporting it, even a buff one… It is hard to live like this. So that is where the tattoo comes from. It is a statement; a physical manifestation of the clawing pain within me, Justin Bieber.

Oh and as for the word Swaggy… I don’t know what it means. I do not know why I am here, whispering the lyrics to “Baby” alone, on a darkened bluff off the Hollywood coast. The turgid moon hangs low here.


Check out my new movie “Believe” in theaters Christmas day! <3

Recent Posts


What is a piece of clothing that “works”? Who is working whom? Is the one who poses the one who actually “works” hardest? The S/S 2017 collection of Berlin-based, Swedish- Vietnamese designer NHU DUONG entitled ‘WORK COLLECTION’ plays with the ideas of professionalism, leisure and appropriateness through a range of garments that are inspired by work outfits and hobby uniforms. Overalls, raw denim outfits, kung-fu pyjamas, biker pants, baggy tights and gloves, bomber-jackets, bomber suits,… [read more »]

Preparing to Welcome the Chthulucene | Agustina Zegers

Preparing to Welcome the Chthulucene is a text made up of living exercises to accompany Haraway’s theorization of the Chthulucene and her upcoming book Staying With the Trouble: Making Kin in the Chthulucene. Haraway posits that not only should we name the Anthropocene carefully (including the terms Capitalocene and Plantationocene within its narrative) but that we should also be using this crucial ecological timeframe to move towards a dynamically multi-species, “sym-chtonic“, sym-poietic future: the Chthulucene.… [read more »]

Laboria Cuboniks in Conversation

Laboria Cuboniks is currently a group of 6 women working together online to redefine a feminism adequate to the twenty-first century. They collectively wrote Xenofeminsim: A Politics for Alienation in 2014. Here, in conversation with Postcontemporary Issue guest editors Armen Avanessian and Suhail Malik they discuss the dissatisfactions and limitations of historical feminism and the importance of theorizing “the future” as a feminist project. Armen Avanessian and Suhail Malik: The initial formulation of your political… [read more »]

Situating Global Forms: An Anthropology of Cosmopolitan Science

Aihwa Ong, interviewed by Armen Avanessian and Suhail Malik Constructing Globality Armen Avanessian and Suhail Malik: Your anthropological research pays close attention to specific emerging and inventive configurations of globally-constituted modernization, particularly in East Asia and its diaspora. Throughout this work you identity many ways in which ‘things that used to be fused together — identity, entitlement, territoriality, and nationality — are being taken apart and realigned in innovative relationships and spaces by neoliberal technologies… [read more »]

Ways Of Living ⎮ Arcadia Missa

Ways of Living, curated by the team behind Arcadia Missa, moves beyond the home as a site of political contestation and into the working place, the artist studio, the public sphere, and nature. While so-called ‘social practice’ taught us that any attempt of art to engage with issues outside its own institutional reality are easily coopted into the mythologizing machinery of individualism and patriarchy, art still possesses an ability to address issues far beyond the… [read more »]

What is at Stake in the Future? | Alex Williams & Nick Srnicek

Every ‘future’ inscribes a demand upon the present. This is so whether at the level of human imagination, or within the sphere of political or aesthetic action necessary to reach towards their realisation. Futures make explicit the implicit contents of our own times, crystallising trajectories, tendencies, projects, theories and contingencies. Moreover, futures map the absent within the present, the presents which could never come into actuality, the wreckage of dreams past and desires vanquished. Futures… [read more »]

Dog Plays | Hayley Silverman

Hayley Silverman’s “Dog Plays,” an ongoing series in which a cast of untrained dogs take on the role of characters from a range of pop-culture texts, disrupt the canon of identities traditionally represented in Hollywood as they are re-inhabited by animals. Calling on artifacts ranging from Richard Linklater films, to science-fiction thrillers, to Depression-era musicals that rhapsodize class difference, these performances investigate how our understanding of narrative, authority and identity transforms when we project stories,… [read more »]

A poem by Ser Serpas

ripped apart you rip me apart collage million dead collage donde queda mi cuerpo el temporal como dios en mil partes clothing as point of impact a totem is a wrap around a city as it is engagement with one’s surroundings and engagement with that which has been worn out discarded and filtered into alms buckets and newly tagged i wear my surroundings on my feet when it wears out i see only my vantage… [read more »]

DISCREET Call for Participants

DISCREET – An Intelligence Agency for the People The 9th Berlin Biennale for Contemporary Art invites you to apply for one of fifteen spaces open to individuals interested in taking an active part in a three-week-long public workshop conceived of by Armen Avanessian and Alexander Martos for the formation and development of a civil secret service organization. Held from June 22 to July 11, 2016, the workshop brings together renegade experts from art, theory, technology,… [read more »]

Parent and Parroting | Nancy Lupo

Each year retail displays are readied in preparation for the gestation and labor of the catch-all holiday season before floating into a colorless postnatal celebration of mundane plenty. Capitalism’s sympathetic pregnancy makes for a cold and lifeless pas de deux, at times humorously inseparable from the vitality of social milestones. In Parent and Parroting, Nancy Lupo continues with a series of interventions into commercial products and industrialized food. Her interferences often reveal or reconfigure the… [read more »]