Brasilia and the body in Schorr's campaign for Yohji Yamamoto and Adidas' collaboration
Collier Schorr is an artist whose purity of voice allows her to cross from the gallery to the newstand to the billboard yet retain her vital point of focus. Her collaboration with Y-3 continues for Autumn/Winter 12 via 'The Precipice', a story taking its cue from the experimental city of Brasilia, with 20th century modernistarchitecture xeroxed into a dynamic with models Valerija Kelava and Harry Goodwins.
That’s why the video aspect of photography is so thrilling. It’s a chance to direct and write; even on a small scale one has the chance to create characters, arcs, challenges etc. And since it's fashion, it doesn’t have to make sense. It just has to mean everything for the few minutes someone is online
Buildings are presented as another (human) body in this study of environment and consciousness, soundtracked by field recordings, old sci-fi films and fragments of The Disintegration Loops by William Basinski.
While daring for a campaign to have such artistic, esoteric narrative, it's ultimately a great fit with the clothes of Yohji Yamamoto, Adidas and the strands that run through their collaborative line – androgyny, poetry and utility, a mix that has the aura of uniform and the pride that goes with it. Dazed Digital spoke to New Yorker Schorr to learn more of her process and desires.
Dazed Digital: Can you tell us about 'The Precipice' and what led you to be inspired by Brasilia?
Collier Schorr: I had known the work of the writer Clarice Lispecter through the artist Roni Horn’s work. When we started looking at the city as a physical center of the project, I used Lispector to pump blood into it. Because I think she was able to write about "it" as a thing, a place, an obstacle. I liked the idea of our characters being able to navigate a space and also be almost taken over by it. And I think that was the feeling Lispecter got when she imagined the affect on that architectural experiment would have on dwellers. Valerija's character in the film was named after Lispector and the film’s script was a re-imagining of her text.
DD: Your work is always about the human, the character. That's amplified in this campaign as the protagonists relate to a bigger framework. Can you tell us about your artistic viewpoint over your career arc?
Collier Schorr: I think, for me, the obstacle has always been asking someone to decipher some idea that's stuck in my head. That conversation creates a certain tension, for both the subject and myself. The picture is the expression of that desire, not just my desire for that face, but that person’s desire to understand what it is I want. What I want changed. Sometimes I want to know who they are. Other times I want them to act out a character. So it’s always a little confusing for them. Less so for women. More so for men.
DD: Has literature influenced your viewpoint over your career at all?
Collier Schorr: I really wanted to be a writer and my degree is in journalism. But I just didn’t have the stamina or confidence. Nor the attention span. Nothing and I mean nothing, is creatively worse than writing a bad novel. Nothing compares to a bad novel. And in the end I found that telling someone to act out a story was more exciting.
In a way I narrate my shoots, making them believe in this character. That’s why the video aspect of photography is so thrilling. It’s a chance to direct and write; even on a small scale one has the chance to create characters, arcs, challenges etc. And since it's fashion, it doesn’t have to make sense. It just has to mean everything for the few minutes someone is online.