Chicks on Speed

founded 1997

Wordy Rappinghood

Chicks on Speed, Wordy Rappinghood, 2004, videostill, Courtesy of Jeffery Deitsch and Gallery Milani, photo: Ludwig Forum für Internationale Kunst Aachen

The artist collective Chicks on Speed (CoS), founded in Munich in the mid-1990s by Alex Murray-Leslie, Kiki Moorse, and Melissa Logan, is known for its transgressive, interdisciplinary work in which performance, music, and fashion merge into a form of Gesamtkunstwerk. They organize exhibitions, run their own independent label, and they are cultivating an (anti-)aesthetic of DIY. Networking, improvisation, and provocation result in nonconformist, feminist, and participatory works. The single Wordy Rappinghood is the electroclash cover version of a song by the band Tom Tom Club with the same title. “What are words worth?” the lyrics ask, revolving around words as the central medium of rap, a rhythmic chant, better known for its sexist, homophobic or anti Semitic contents. Using a simple linguistic style, enjoying the nonsensical, they sing of the force and power of words, those elements of communication that can describe and influence every nuance of human feeling or action. Several guest artists were involved in the production, including the godmother of the Neue Deutsche Welle, Inga Humpe, and the French electro artist Miss Kittin. In the music video, the singers move about at a beach and in the spheres of a big city. Paper signs with phrases such as “middle-class white girls”, “anger”, “pollution” or “solutio” are held in front of the camera, then tossed to the ground, one after the other, with a contemptuous gesture. So what are words worth?! What’s left is: “Rap it up for the common good, let us enlist the neighborhood.”