EXCLUSIVE: Hussein Chalayan and Gavin Turk

The fashion designer and artist collaborate on a video work for Britain Creates, as part of the London 2012 Festival

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The British Fashion Council and The Vinyl Factory’s latest project, Britain Creates 2012, brings together leading designers and artists. Pairing Mary Katrantzou with Mark Titchner, Giles Deacon with Jeremy Deller, and Hussein Chalayan MBE with Gavin Turk has brought about interesting, innovative pieces which showcase British talent across disciplines.

I felt like a cheerleader of his words, and felt familiar with him very quickly. And, we laughed a lot!

Gavin Turk, who rose to prominence with the YBAs in the 90s, collaborated and produced a song with Chalayan − an incalculable design maverick whose pieces vary from the astutely cut and wearable to the notorious 'table skirt'. Known for his irreverent work, Turk's sculpture and pieces question authorship and artistic integrity. Similarly, Chalayan’s career in fashion has touched upon issues of cultural identity and technology. Their track, 'Four Minute Mile', takes its title from Roger Bannister’s record breaking speed, and begins with the sound of running feet (very apt for an Olympic year). Overlapping this bass beat is Turk’s and Chalayan's voices echoing a conversation the two designers had about identity, authorship and authenticity. Talking to Dazed Digital Hussein Chalayan told us more about his venture into music.

Dazed Digital: Did you know Gavin Turk before you collaborated on the project?
Hussein Chalayan:
Not really, we had briefly met at an opening.

DD: What was it like to work with Gavin Turk?
Hussein Chalayan:
I felt like a cheerleader of his words, and felt familiar with him very quickly. And, we laughed a lot!

DD: Why did you get involved with Britain Creates?
Hussein Chalayan:
It is based on artists and designers collaborating. I simply felt like we were two creatives collaborating and it was good to do a project in a medium outside our own spheres. After speaking to Gavin, his words in my view were gagging to be a song. It also felt exciting to monumentalise his words as a sound piece. And, like I said, I was drawn to the idea of doing something outside our own realms.

DD: You deal with identity, authorship and modernity in this piece – can you tell us more about this?
Hussein Chalayan:
They are Gavin's words and I think his work is directly related to these ideas, and to mine too, but in a completely different way.

DD: Can we expect a career change to musician now?
Hussein Chalayan:
No, but I do really feel all visual people are 'poor man's musicians'...

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