THE MOST KNOWN UNKNOWN
Author Unknown / i-D / March 2006
From his debut feature Gummo to the upcoming Mister Lonely, Harmony Korine has swung high, dipped low and documented much of his journey along the way. Here in a world exclusive, Harmony delves into his diaries just for y'all. Read it and weep.
Seen here collectively for the first time are the drawings, collages, thoughts, poems and random scribbles of a then-19 year old Harmony Korine, at the time learning to define himself through his art and, in doing so, inadvertently helping to define film, celebrity and magazine culture from the mid '90s to present day. Started at the same time he wrote Kids, Harmony's diary-style entries formed an offensive, crass often and funny-as-fuck cut and paste style that was rubbed from fanzines and then claimed as his own. Reflecting Gummo's purposeful lack of narrative - scatty/bored, click your fingers and it's gone, five minute attention span approach - The Collected Fanzines can be dipped into and enjoyed like a copy of Grazia or read in their contained sections like a five part anthology telling the tale of an artist pre and post crisis.
Following Kids, Harmony was heralded as genius by everyone from David Letterman to Werner Herzog. People clamoured to touch a piece of his metaphorical ass, with his throwaway writings around this time hitting the internet for sale in excess of 500 pounds. He remembers fondly an early exhibition of his sellotaped-up art. "I was showing at Paul McCarthy's gallery. It was an experience I will never forget. He came up and took my hand. It was like shaking a pitcher's glove." Notorious to the last he drew a surprising allegiance from the hip hop community, with Hype Williams using Gummo as a background film in his debut feature Belly, and Pharrell dropping him a bell. It's a fanbase that, although surprising, is wholly welcomed by Harmony with Three 6 Mafia and Gangsta Boo replacing his previous black metal fixation, even going so far as a shout out to Triple Six in the back of the finished books.
After the highest highs came the lowest lows with Harmony sippin' syrup with the best of 'em and taking hits from the rest of 'em (see Fight Harm). He was on the super fast road to self-annihilation and he knew it. Not before time, Harmony left his spiritual home of NY, its trapping, his friends/hangers on, and went back to Nashville, ate fried food and chicken in breadcrumbs, put on weight, got sober and fell in love with the beautiful girl at his local diner. He started working again, doing videos for his buds, drawing, rolling with Project Pat, going to car rallies and in between such fun, found time to pen his next film script. Filming is due to start early this year in Scotland, with shared British financing demanding a move to UK shores. These days Harmony's weight is dropping off, his skin is tanned, his beautiful waitress girlfriend has upgraded to fiancee and his smile is easy, unforced and totally addictive as is his personality and talent. His books will come to fruition as of autumn this year: enjoy our big ol' world exclusive, soon to come - the on set report from the film set of Mister Lonely starring Madonna, Michael Jackson and the Pope. Betcha can't wait...
i-D (March 2006)