Rule of Three


Sip My Ocean

by Pipilotti Rist
Video art

View a still from the artwork

We are enveloped by a pair of angled, adjacent screens, each a mirror image of the other. Their bright, kaleidoscopic visuals take us on a journey along the sea floor, pausing on occasion to examine a particular facet of the strange aquatic ecosystem. A young woman emerges from the coral, a whimsical look in her eye, as the camera watches her swim. Domestic objects are shown sinking to land in a sandy resting place. Amid the video footage, we see a series of static snapshots that morph into one another with hypnotic symmetry. We are jolted out of this watery reverie only when the soundtrack splits into two voices. Both belong to the same woman; as one sings softly, the other shrieks.

Words by Katherine Fieldgate

American Psycho

directed by Mary Harron
Feature film

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Each morning, Patrick Bateman wakes in his pristine apartment and follows a rigorous beauty regime, narrating the processes and products used with superfluous specificity. His preening renders him all but indistinguishable from his colleagues, a drop in a monochromatic sea of expensive suits and refined sneers. In this world of yuppie one-upmanship, power takes the form of restaurant reservations, custom business cards, and the minutiae of formal apparel. Cold detachment and macho posturing are rewarded. Bored and bloodthirsty, our protagonist spends his evenings with axe or chainsaw in hand, stockpiling victims, thrilled by the prospect of being apprehended. But suspicions about Bateman’s killing spree never stick; far from raising alarms, his peers barely lift an eyebrow.

Words by John Wadsworth

from Selfie Absorbed

by Emma Summerton
Fashion, photography

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Three women stand outside a stylish suburban home: two together on the trimmed lawn, one on the spotless sidewalk slabs. Despite the idyllic surrounds, their eyes are locked on the screens of mobile phones. We imagine them engaging in expressionless staring contests, facing off against their own reflections in the hope of capturing the perfect selfie. Only the touch of a button can end the duel, though a rematch is likely to follow. The phones double as accessories, carefully colour-coordinated to match a bracelet wrapped around a wrist, a handbag hanging from a forearm, the pleated lower half of a summer dress. At the centre of the photograph is the house’s closed front door. Drawing our gaze from the vivid vacuity in the foreground, we wonder what secrets hide behind its unremarkable greys.

Words by John Wadsworth

Today's connection

All artworks are depictions of narcissism. Sip My Ocean was featured in an exhibition called Narcissus Reflected.

More to discover

Sip My Ocean: Watch the artwork here. Lily Bonesso has interviewed Pipilotti Rist, the artist, for i-D, as have Laura Barnett for The Guardian, and Jill Conner for Interview Magazine.

American Psycho: View the trailer here, and watch an excerpt from the film here. Angelica Jade Bastién has written about the ‘female gaze’ in American Psycho for The Village Voice.

Untitled [Selfie Absorbed]: Visit Emma Summerton’s website here. See the full series of photographs on the W Magazine website.

Question of the day

Which narcissism-related artworks would you recommend?
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I can’t think of a more enjoyable piece of narcissism than ‘I Am a God’ by Kanye West. He twisted his ego into fascinating shapes. It’s crass and I hear a kind of softness in it too. (→)

– Sandro Perri, musician, producer, and member of Off World (via The Brief →)

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