10 young artists create a time capsule of the future for adidas
Arvida Byström, Yung Jake, Emmanuel Olunkwa, and Lucia Santina Ribisi debuted new works to a giant crowd at NYC's New Museum last night.
The line wrapping around Bowery to get into the New Museum's adidas event last night was so insane people thought the brand was giving out free Yeezys. People weren't just there for adidas through. The 10 young artists and change-makers the sneaker giant had tapped to create unique works for its "Tubular Future" art capsule have loyal enough followings of their own. Among them: feminist cyber icon Arvida Byström, emoji king Yung Jake, Art Hoe founder Mars, video artists Emmanuel Olunkwa and Nick Thomm, and "Spiritual Advisor to the Flatbush Zombies" Phillip T. Annand (with his spiritual advisees in tow).
The capsule gave each artist free reign to interpret their vision of the future. Olunkwa, a photographer and filmmaker, approached the project by compiling a dream team of artistic collaborators. "Recently, I've been thinking about exposure, platform, opportunity, and the responsibility that should follow, and making a video asking artists pressing questions made the most sense," he told us. His vision of the future includes a rebalancing of influential platforms. "Most people with prominent Internet personas or platforms are mostly aesthetically driven and that is fine," he says, "but have some history, context, and intention behind that work you make."
Saint Laurent collaborator Lucia Santini Ribisi created an interactive piece that addressed confrontation and physical connection. "The rope is here to tie you all together but if you choose to disconnect at least leave your MARK," she wrote alongside her submission, part of which consisted of a trippy pastel wall painting that welcomed defacement. "We have the ability to bring together so many people and to connect us all online without ever having to participate in the physical world around us," she explained. Then, "I was drawn to the idea of physical connection, and decided to tie everyone in the gallery together. The original intention of the piece would push the audience to decide whether to confront being tied to a stranger through the artwork or to make a physical mark on the piece with provided drawing materials."
adidas' own, wearable vision of the future definitely took a backseat to the compelling installations. "I believe my image is a representation of the headspace I am occupying," concedes Olunkwa. "As a black queer man, my appearance is everything — my body takes up space in a different way. I appreciate dressing as both a form of art and expression and extension of myself." Despite joining heads with Hedi Slimane to create some of Saint Laurent's most coveted menswear, Ribisi has a different perspective. "I don't care about clothes," she says. "I wear pajamas every day and don't want to talk any more about it." Whichever way you looked at it, the future looked bright.
Text Hannah Ongley
Images via Instagram