A custom published one-off project, CABLE accessed a range of sourced material — out-of-print books, archival periodicals, YouTube videos, documentary films, album artwork, transcriptions, photo portfolios, first-hand interviews, and collected ephemera — to produce a disruptive visual document based on, and an electrifying testament to, over 50 years of contemporary Black culture.
Pulling creative inspiration from indie ‘zines, show posters, and Tumblr feeds, CABLE — printed glossy in an oversize A3 format — was an arresting print artifact, one which saw collectors drive a sell-through of stock at influential art book retailers, including New York’s Printed Matter and MoMa PS1, London’s Antenne Books and Tate Modern Bookstore, Berlin’s Do You Read Me?, and Oakland’s Book/Shop.
Bookended by quotes from Othello (“Speak of me as I am; nothing extenuate…”) and George Bernard Shaw (“…all progress depends on the unreasonable man.”), CABLE was centered primarily on iconic male heroes and antiheroes drawn from the Black cultural firmament; the contents a roll call of artists, intellectuals, entertainers, poets, and provocateurs: Gil Scott-Heron, James Baldwin, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Fab 5 Freddy, LL Cool J, Miles Davis, D’Angelo, Redman, Jimi Hendrix, Kool DJ Red Alert, Huey P Newton, MCA, Public Enemy, Nas, Prodigy, Yasiin Bey, Kanye West, Ishmael Butler, Cam’ron, and Seun Kuti.
The publication was anchored by work from notable photographers, filmmakers, and artists, including Ben Watts, Ari Marcopoulos, Tracey Bailey, Kudzanai Chiurai, Malik Sayeed, Kahlil Joseph, Kevin Davies, Alessandro Simonetti, and Thierry Le Gouès. The cover featured a reproduction from the seminal photography book on Cuba by Le Gouès entitled Popular (powerHouse Books, 2000).softcover, 94 pages, 12 x 15 inches, offset printed, saddle stitched, 2,000 copies
CreditsCreative Director, Editor: Lee HarrisonEditor: Knox RobinsonArt Director: Adam SquiresPrint Production Director: Ryan DoughertyDigital Design and Development: CHIPS Publisher: US&THEM
(1) Artwork by LEE HARRISON, based on a scene from JEAN-MICHEL BASQUIAT: THE RADIANT CHILD by TAMRA DAVIS (ARTHOUSE FILMS, 2010).(2) Layout based on a text excerpt and reproduction from EYE magazine, 1968. Photography by MICHAEL SOLDAN, text by MICHAEL THOMAS, and original art direction by JUDITH PARKER.(3) Artwork by CHIPS, based on the book jacket to REVOLUTIONARY SUICIDE by HUEY P NEWTON (HARCOURT BRACE JOVANOVICH, 1973). Book jacket photograph by STEPHEN SHAMES.
(4) Artwork by CHIPS, based on the book jacket to THE CROSS OF REDEMPTION: UNCOLLECTED WRITINGS by JAMES BALDWIN, edited by RANDALL KENAN (PANTHEON BOOKS, 2010). Original book jacket design by BARBARA DE WILDE with photograph by CARL MYDANS (TIME LIFE PICTURES / GETTY IMAGES).
(5) Books salvaged from the closing of the Martin Luther King Jr. Cultural Center in Beacon, New York, photograph by KNOX ROBINSON, 2011.(6) Reproduction from SPIN magazine, April,1990. Article by BEN MAPP, photography by MICHAEL LAVINE, and original art direction by MARK WEINBERG. Courtesy of LEE HARRISON.(7) Photographs by KEVIN DAVIES, 1980s. LL COOL J and PUBLIC ENEMY, originally photographed for i-D and NME, respectively. Published in CABLE courtesy of the photographer.
(8) Artwork by LEE HARRISON and CHIPS, based on footage of an interview with JAMES BALDWIN by DR KENNETH CLARK, from 1963, posted to YOUTUBE in 2008.
(9) Reproductions from the original LP gatefold packaging for BITCHES BREW by MILES DAVIS (COLUMBIA RECORDS, 1970). Original liner notes by RALPH J GLEASON. Cover artwork by MATI KLARWEIN. Photographer credit not listed.(10) Reproduction of a promotional vinyl EP entitled VOODOO SOUL ESSENTIALS by D’ANGELO (CHEEBA SOUND / VIRGIN RECORDS, 2000).
Sleeve photograph by THIERRY LE GOUÈS.(11) Photograph of a scene from "DIPLOMATS IN LONDON" by LEE HARRISON, from a video clip posted to YOUTUBE in 2006. Pictured: JUELZ SANTANA.
(12) REDMAN and (13) NAS, PRODIGY, and FREDRO STARR, photographs by ELIJAH "ALL-CITY" BRUMFIELD, circa 1995. Published in CABLE courtesy of the photographer.(14) Reproduction from the book POPULAR by THIERRY LE GOUÈS (POWERHOUSE BOOKS, 2000). Reproduced and published in CABLE courtesy of POWERHOUSE BOOKS.
(15) ISHMAEL BUTLER, of SHABAZZ PALACES, on the set of "BLACK UP," photograph by KAHLIL JOSEPH, 2011. Published in CABLE courtesy of the artist.
(16) and (17) Photographs by TRACY BAILEY JR., 2011 to 2012. Published in CABLE courtesy of the photographer.
(18) Reproduction from SMALL KINGS by ALESSANDRO SIMONETTI (AUTOMATIC BOOKS, 2011). Material courtesy of KNOX ROBINSON. Published in CABLE courtesy of the photographer.(19) Index and masthead page. / Memoriam to ADAM "MCA" YAUCH, photograph by ARI MARCOPOULOS. Published in CABLE courtesy of the photographer.
(20) Artwork by LEE HARRISON, based on a photograph of a scene from the short film "STANDARD OPERATING PROCEDURE," featuring YASIIN BEY and directed by ASIF KAPADIA. Released by REPRIEVE UK in JULY, 2013.
(21) Back cover: "TRIALS AND TRIBULATIONS," artwork by LEE HARRISON, based on photographs of a scene from CENTRAL PARK FIVE by KEN BURNS, SARAH BURNS, and DAVID MCMAHON (FLORENTINE FILMS / IFC FILMS, 2012.) / Front cover: detail of a reproduction from the book POPULAR by THIERRY LE GOUÈS (POWERHOUSE BOOKS, 2000). Reproduced and published in CABLE courtesy of POWERHOUSE BOOKS.