Feminist music and fine art, anyone? We've got what you need in Special Collections & Archives. In honor of the last week of Women's History month let's take a look at a unique collective of female artists and the scrapbook-esque publication they produced in 2004.
Chicks on Speed (CoS) is an artist collective producing music, performance art, clothing, visual art, and more. Its current members are Melissa E. Logan and Alex Murray-Leslie, who founded the band/artist collective while attending the Munich Academy of Fine Arts in the late 1990s. "We've never seen ourselves as a band. We see everything as an experiment," Murray-Leslie stated in a 2005 Rockrgrl article.
Their first publication, Chicks on Speed: It's a Project, was released in 2004. At the time of release the members included Logan, Murray-Leslie, and Kiki Moorse. The book documents their lives and projects up to that point. The text is printed in their own handwritting and on multiple different paper stocks with images and ephemera printed in a scrapbook-like fashion alongside the text. Topics include the underground bar they ran while in school called Seppi Bar, their music production, song writing, clothing line, and performance art events.
The unique contents and eclectic range of tactile variations in the book function to create a very intimate space between the reader and the authors. Thanks to its unconventional format it reads like an artist's book, even though many prints of it exist.
The book is housed in a canvas bag with a CoS print on it. The bag contains a clothing pattern for overalls with fabric included, a book chronicling the group's activities, a poster, a feedback card, a CD, and more. According to an informational insert, all these items are "contorted for yours [sic] pleasure." It is self-described as "eight sections of selected images, ideas, good & bad, + guest stars. No, it's not a cook book, but it does have some recipes for survival."
Chicks on Speed: It's a Project will certainly get the creative gears turning. This women’s history month come to Special Collections & Archives to explore this and endless other examples of female strength and artistic excellence.