Margot Bowman Concludes Her Surreal Vision of the Holiday Season
Whimsical decorations light up with life and come together in a celebratory frenzy in the last chapter of artist and designer Margot Bowman's three-part, animated holiday premonitions series. The London-based illustrator used holographic paper to create a luminous, ethereal Christmas tree for a future in which plant life has ceased to exist naturally in the human world. An angel-like figurehead with magical powers sweeps in to top off the trimmings. Here Bowman opens up to NOWNESS about her favorite holiday traditions, imagining what she might be doing when the 2062 holiday season finally does roll around.
What is your favorite part of Christmas?
Waking up and knowing that it is a magical day, and helping my mother to make food with recipes that I’ll never work out alone!
What will you be eating for Christmas dinner 2012?
My mother’s home made gravlax (Nordic smoked salmon with dill), which is amazing.
If you weren’t home for Christmas, where would you like to be?
Floating in outer space.
What's at the top of your Christmas wishlist?
What are your favorite Christmas decorations?
My grandmother made these decorations years ago which resemble bows which you attach to the branches of the tree with wire. They are tactile and were made with love, which is ultimately what this time of the year should be about.
Where will you be for Christmas in 2062?
In my water-based high-rise building with family, friends and magical Christmas decorations!
Director Martin de Thurah's Intimate Portrait of the Indie Sensation’s Haunting Lament
Canadian chanteuse Leslie Feist swirls and twirls through a monochrome kaleidoscope while intoning her sultry ballad “Anti-Pioneer” in a new video by Danish director Martin de Thurah. A four-time Grammy Award nominee and 11-time Juno Award-winner, Feist honed her musical chops with electro-pop iconoclast Peaches and the Toronto alt-rock band Broken Social Scene. Her Gonzales-produced debut album Let it Die catapulted her into the mainstream limelight, and in 2006 her track “1234” from sophomore effort The Reminder went to number eight in the US after being featured on an advert for the iPod Nano. De Thurah’s video was shot with a tiny crew in an old building in Mexico City while the pair had a two-hour break in the middle of filming the promo for Feist’s “The Bad in Each Other,” lifted from recent LP Metals. “We had a window of opportunity to shoot something else, which never happens,” explains De Thurah. “I had thought about making something very simple, complex and emotional with Leslie alone. I found the song very intimate, and wanted the video to reflect that.” Currently touring Europe until September, here Feist opens up to NOWNESS about working with De Thurah, her Canadian music buddies and her fixation on puppets.
Why did you want to work with Martin?
Feist: Martin leaps out as this person with a really strange, beautiful language of moving poetry that isn’t spoon-feeding anything, but allows for a darkness and a buoyancy at the same time. Everything he had done I have a huge appreciation for, so I sought him out to recreate the language of those short films.
Are music videos important to your message?
Feist: It’s an addendum to making songs. I have an aesthetic taste of things that are going to reflect into the music, but it’s not something that I can do. There are people who have worked really hard in developing their eye and it is fun to join forces and see what you can find in the middle.
Are you still connected to the Canadian crew of Mocky [musician and producer], Peaches and Chilly Gonzales?
Feist: Ha! Very much so. Mocky, Gonzo and I are in constant contact, and Peaches travels as much as I do so we find each other when we’re in the same city. They’re definitely my original musical family for sure, and Mocky, Gonzo and I still work together all the time. They co-produced my last record with me so that’s a natural old friendship that’s just adapted over ten years. When we work together the inside jokes are flying at all times, but there’s a core sensitivity. Sometimes you can disarm the seriousness of a situation and truly look it straight in the eye if you’re jack-assing around at the same time.
There seem to be a lot of puppets in your work over the years, including last year’s The Muppets movie in which you had a small cameo.
Feist: Ha, yeah! For a couple of years on tour I had a woman, Clea Minaker, with me on stage doing live shadow puppet shows. I don’t know where it came from, but a natural answer is watching Sesame Street and The Muppet Show as a kid implanted that good-naturedness. Though also making the inanimate, animate. Even taking a salt and pepper shaker and marching them around or whatever is something of a mainline to good-natured happiness.
The Zen Routine of Columbus Park’s Elderly Chinatown Regulars
Berlin-born director Alexa Karolinski teamed up with design duo Zoe Latta and Mike Eckhaus to capture a group of Chinatown residents’ impressive daily morning work out in New York’s Columbus Park. The trio were initially looking for tai chi talent to star in a fashion film for Latta and Eckhaus’s burgeoning fashion label—Eckhaus Latta—when they stumbled upon the band of Chinese seniors and became mesmerized by their elegant routine. “We’d seen tai chi a million times but we’d never seen something this amazing,” says Karolinski. “For these beautiful old ladies who meet every morning it’s a routine in their daily lives, it’s part of their identities.” For the past 30 years the group has gathered daily to practice luk tung kuen, a specialist Chinese form of exercise. Before shooting, Latta and Eckhaus brought a selection of their label’s pieces to the park for the women to pick and mix with their own clothes, and the duo were delighted to see the importance of fashion was not lost on them. “When I interviewed one woman, she wouldn’t stop talking about these uniforms they used to practice in,” says Karolinski. “She wished they still had them and was nostalgic about a yellow one they had in summer. The way people dress is the way they identify themselves, and that’s exactly fashion.”
The short film UNIFORM will have its debut at Opening Ceremony New York in late August as part of a curatorial project by Eckhaus Latta at the boutique.