The Official Health Goth Fitness Manifesto
Perhaps a more recent lifestyle trend propagated by the imagination industry, or one form-of-life embodied by Tiqqun’s Young Girl, is the “Health Goth” fad, coexisting with numerous other same-same differences, such as Normcore, Lumbersexual, Cutester, or Spornosexual. Health Goth was initiated as a theory-practice “experiment in aesthetics” by Portland artists Mike Grabarek, Jeremy Scott, and Chris Cantino, first launched as a Facebook community in 2013. Its frame of references includes biotechnology, monochrome sportswear, fetish culture, extreme cleanliness, and rendered environments, with a stated interest in transhumanism and the pursuit of high-standard “perfection” through an obsession with mental and physical health. In this sense, the trend brings together the war machine raison d’être of the athlete-soldier urban warrior with the pleasure-performance quality control standards of the pharmacopornographic alpha-sexual. This video asserts itself as the “official” manifesto of the movement, though this has been disputed. Paying ironically fascist attention to the importance of a proper, low-carbohydrate (remember, it’s ONLY fuel), high-protein (both pre- and post-workout formats) diet, paired with a rigorous, regular, highly planned exercise routine consisting primarily of resistance training, the Health Goth’s metabolic self-regulation of internal growth is paired with an external presentation of highly codified, brand-identity sportswear, displaying a mishmash of club kid aesthetics with avant-garde fashion clichés. Approaching value judgments around mainstream society’s overconsumption of drugs, alcohol, junk food, sex, and excess with a modulated puritanism of moral superiority, the Health Goth vigorously defends his or her own well-being through an aesthetic-militaristic application of self-care and auto-therapeutic techniques. Self-realization through the liberation of consciousness, as imagined by the counterculture in the ’60s, meets today’s new ideal of freedom: lifestyle realization in the form of bioeconomic embodiment. Resistance belongs in the gym, not on the streets. Weary of the world, like her Gothic predecessors, the Health Goth knows the world is fucked up—and that’s why she strives to attain a militancy of self, for the self, by the self, or, as per Nike’s encouragements: Just Do It! And don’t forget, EVERYONE LOVES VASCULARITY—because perhaps seeing the veins popping out from underneath your skin may still prove that you are alive, and not already a hologram?
Ashkan Sepahvand‘s program We are the Intermorphs explores the notion of the “human” within advanced capitalist civilization, speculating on the possible “future” of a species undergoing transition.