Every week a different FADER staff member will pick a clothing item or accessory that he or she has lately been spending a lot of time with—or would like to—and write a little love letter to it. We would’ve done a column on who we’re dating but that seemed a little bit much. This week Alex talks about Eddie Borgo’s Black Sun necklace.
Eddie Borgo’s choice of symbolism has always made him one of my very favorite jewelry designers. He's long been doing studded gender symbols and criss-crossed lightning bolts, playful, subversive takes on beloved common imagery in beautiful, shiny silver and gold. I feel a kinship with anyone who admires the Aztec pyramids as much as I do, who likes crows and isn't afraid of spiders, who, judging from the use of the occult in his work, probably checks his horoscope everyday and may have a Ouija board in his house. His Black Sun necklace, though, is my all-time fave and right on the money, a beautiful enamel iteration of a fantastic, mysterious symbol that's been iconic for thousands of years, an ambiguous icon that’s hovered over cultures for centuries, meaning different things to different people.
The black sun endures in mysticism and the occult, popping up with various significances at different times, but it's never meant anything particular. It's symbolized varying things throughout the centuries—there are some muddy stories about it being a generally positive omen in certain Mesoamerican mythologies, and a more terrifying one in Germanic neopaganism, but the black sun's history is vague. Even with no palpability, maybe people have always just liked the dark arts as something to contrast with optimism and brightness. Sometimes darkness for darkness' sake, darkness as a defense mechanism because you don't always feel like pretty flowers and yellow sunshine, represents the real truths, a glowing orb for the murkier sides of people's lives. The black sun shows up time and time again in music, and seems to represent the same kind of dangerous depth. Porter Ricks, a techno duo from the 1990s, has just had their album Biokinetics reissued by Type UK with its original album art, a beautiful black sun over the clouds, controlling the tide, front and center. The music inside matches: decorative, sad, humming depression that is somehow fun to dance to. It feels like slaps and slaps of cold water that break in the scariest way while everything else around you is quiet. It has easily been my favorite album this year, not quite shiny enough for easy listening during the day but a bit too down and out to play at a nightclub, Porter Ricks exists somewhere in limbo between darkness and light, something like a black sun.
There is also Demdike Stare’s song "Black Sun," from their Voices of Dust record, which is actually less a song and more just a vibrating mood, the sound of a computer breathing and something forebodingly dystopian but still really strangely relaxing and enjoyable, something like the SOMA drug from 1984. There's Sisters of Mercy’s "Black Planet," a typically cold affair from the '80s goth band. And lest we forget Soundgarden’s famous video for "Black Hole Sun" that middle schoolers had to watch behind their parents' backs since its creepy, dark arts imagery was a major MTV moment back in the days when music videos were still controversial and enlightening and frightening for young kids, the first windows into coolness and adulthood. "Black Hole Sun" was only played late at nights, on the glow of TV screens in dark dens.
With his Black Sun necklace, Eddie Borgo presumably understands that the same way darkness can sound great, can fulfill and satisfy angsty teenagers and depressed adults in deep, deep ways, darkness can look good, too. Borgo is a New Yorker, and in New York we wear all black, let our skin get pale, see the sun less often behind the tall buildings then we would if we lived somewhere less dense. We live in cramped apartments that never have good light. My window looks out over an airshaft and gets no sunshine but it's still pretty to me. This Eddie Borgo necklace will probably live longer than me, a sturdy mesh of enamel and silver. Maybe someone in the future will find it and wonder what the artifact represented when it was first worn a hundred years ago. Or maybe they'll just wear it themselves because it's so pretty.