Britain Creates 2012 is an art project celebrating the year of London's hosting of the Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Working with the Mayor of London and a panel of influential individuals across fashion and the arts The British Fashion Council/Bazaar Fashion Arts Foundation has brought together nine pairs of leading artists and designers to create new collaborative works.
Giles Deacon and Jeremy Deller; Hussein Chalayan and Gavin Turk; Jonathan Saunders and Jess Flood-Paddock; Matthew Williamson and Mat Collishaw; Nicholas Kirkwood and Simon Periton; Paul Smith and Charming Baker; Peter Pilotto and Francis Upritchard; Stephen Jones and Cerith Wyn Evans and Mary Katrantzou and Mark Titchner have created works reflecting Olympic and Paralympic values, to be auctioned off at a gala event this evening and displayed afterwards in the V&A (6th-29th July) and in the windows of Selfridges throughout August.
Mary Katrantzou and Mark Titchner spoke exclusively to Dazed Digital about their video collaboration, 'Tint The Pallid Landscape (Off To The Wars In Lace), 2012'.
Mary Katrantzou: So, we were put together for this project, though we had people linking us already, through a project at the ICA...
Mark Titchner: I’d seen your work and always saw the same photograph of you. I think it was suggested we work together because there is a similarity of our work.
Mary Katrantzou: With some fashion designers they are really strong on the cut, so they’re working with that sculpture side, whereas with me it’s very visual as an image. Obviously Mark and I work through completely different mediums, with a different message, but we're both comfortable with digital.
Mark Titchner: We were both interested to actually see how the other put images together.
Mary Katrantzou: It turns out we use Photoshop so differently! We realised this when we sat down to do the poster of the work. For me it was definitely interesting to see somebody coming in with the graphics from a completely different visual perspective.
Mark Titchner: Working with found images was a point in common. From there we had to devise a collage process – the challenge was where to put it all, we had a lot of stuff...
Mary Katrantzou: Basically, we both like a strong image and I think we’ve managed really well. There was the fear it could've become a really bombastic, crazy thing, so there is structure. There is a logic behind how it’s running and how it’s doing.
Mark Titchner: Remember my video which you said gave you a headache?
Mary Katrantzou: Our first test felt like kind of being hit and then having an epileptic fit because so much was thrown at you. We've literally spent months refining it.
Mark Titchner: The images have a beautiful aesthetic and it was a shame not to dwell on that, drawing it out to make something more sumptuous and involving and kind of... gradual.
Mary Katranztou: It’s on a loop and it constantly changes colour as the images come in at different depths and layers. Did I tell you they've put a cap on my internet because of how many big files we were exchanging? We were taking internet from the other buildings around us!
Mark Titchner: It's in HD, so it should look really stunning. For the words involved, they were a bit of a gift really because at the beginning we got some documentation about the Britain Creates project and there were all these aspirational, Olympic words: ambition, determination. Pause the work and it says courage but simultaneously rage.
Mary Katrantzou: Mark really hates green...
Mark Titchner: Never use green.
Mary Katrantzou: And I'm not a huge fan of red, whereas he loves it.
Mark Titchner: I think there’s a certain weightlessness both in the text and images. You're not quite sure where you sit with it. The text, in a way, stops the images seeming more kitsch and the images stop the text being some totalitarian statement. It doesn’t seem a very literal. Part of the title is the line 'off to the wars in lace'. I really like that, it points to the Olympic idea of sport as a ritualised version of warfare. That seemed to sort of sum it up quite nicely.
Photography Alec McLeish