Somewhere out there, in a galaxy far away, four pairs of Nike's newest edition of the Air Max trainer orbit the digital ether. The Nike Air Max 720 has the biggest air pockets in Air Max history and is made of more than 75% recycled manufacturing waste. Colourful, collectable, and positively anti-gravity with every spring of their step, the brand new 720 now adorns the hoofs, pads and paws of a gaggle of extraterrestrial lifeforms and cyborg specimens. We sent four of Dazed Beauty's favourite digital artists on a quest to document these beings as they tested out the trainers.
This is what they found.
On a vast and quiet plain, a human encased in an oxygen mask and viewfinder is exercising.
Birthplace: The Moon
Habitat: Daedalus neighbourhood of Lunar Settlement 47A. Far Side of the Moon, 5.9°S 179.4°E. Colongitude: 181 degrees at sunrise.
Uniform: Standard issue lunar uniform, made of advanced technical fabrics. Designed for extravehicular and intravehicular activity; the slim version. He’s modified the suit, as he’s had it for years – adding a non-issue fur collar, reminding him of his pastoral lunar upbringing. Note certain medieval elements, inspired by the armour of Teutonic Knights of the 13th century.
“His job is as a sentinel monitoring a huge radio telescope that is broadcasting data out into the blackness of space; the halls of his apartment ringing with the echoes of anti-static treadmills against a disjointed lunar skin,” his creator, Rick Farin, tells me.
Our hero is part of a cohort of avatars existing in alternative aesthetic imaginings of futures to come. Designed by some of our favourite digital artists, each universe has its own particular set of laws, and every inhabitant their own set of fears and desires.
Rick Farin: Nike Air Max 720 NORTHERN LIGHTS – NIGHT launching on February 1st
Rick tells me that our first character has “never left the moon – his family has been here for generations. His grandparents were one of the first to raise livestock on the settlement – goats and chickens, mainly. It’s both a dystopian and bucolic nest. So what is he training for? “He trains for survival – it is par for the course of living on a lunar colony.”
Will our hero mate? He has a mating cry. “He makes ambient music in his free time; producing hours of sound to mask the continuous hum of machines in the otherwise deafening silence of space. This music is broadcast on an interstellar pirate radio station from his satellite; reaching youth who are in the know. He hopes one day someone might try to seek out the person behind the music, behind the mask.”
Does he, like us, fear death? ”His greatest weakness is his own body – the price is high, staying human. His greatest wish is to swim out, naked to the bone, in the overwhelming vacuum of space."
Sucuk und Bratwurst: Nike Air Max 720 NORTHERN LIGHTS – DAY launching on February 1st
On another, colder, snowier planet, an entanglement of metallic bodies orbit. Lovers endlessly spinning in an eternal embrace, kissing, playing games, telling stories to one another. Their limbs combine to create an alien face that levitates, softly, above the planet’s surface.
“The alien head is a homage to a well-known picture of Dalí and a skull made of naked women. The metallic bodies are also a homage to Sorayama,” Alessandro Belliero, one-fourth of design group Sucuk und Bratwurst explains. “The upper bodies are two people in love. Two figures, on the edge, are playing rock paper scissors. The figure falling is a representation of falling in love.”
Despite their clinical exteriors, these romantic aluminium figures are more human than they appear on first glance. “They're like just normal people” Alessandro confirms. “They have the same problems, fears and desires, of losing people or lovers. Of getting sick. They look unbreakable but they are soft inside.” Just like us, they wonder if other life forms exist, if there's something else, something bigger.
Carlos Saez and Sevi Iko Dømochevsky: Air Max 720 SUNSET launching as Nike+ Member Exclusive on February 1st and on SNEAKRS app on February 21
A few light years away, a soft-bellied, Carollian character relaxes in a meta-universe. Our lavender hued giant tardigrade joyfully admires their own mellifluous silhouette. This beast is the cuddly offspring of designers Carlos Saez and Sevi Iko Dømochevsky. They’re plump from a diet of “bacteria, algae, cryptogams, rotifers and nematodes.” For fun, the tardigrade loves to swim and eat in filthy water. Undoubtedly, his six arms make backstroke easy, but they also “bring the hug experience to another level,” Carlos tells us. “I love tardigrades because they can survive such extreme conditions while being so small and cute,” he says.
“They love humans and they hope we survive the next global mass extinction event,” Carlos adds. We might do well to befriend the tardigrade, especially if the duo's predictions are correct.
Darío Alva: Nike Air Max 720 SUNRISE launching as Nike+ Member Exclusive on February 21
Our fourth and final appointment is with a feline fembot who’s currently floating in a bubble bath “somewhere in the digital ether”. She is disgruntled we are here. Designed by Darío Alva, her mechanical allure is famous. Whispers of her timeless beauty are carried on Milky Ways and through galaxies.
Other creatures attempt to respond to her mating call, which sounds like this, but all go unanswered. The immortal robot Circe is not in the mood.
On this fembot's doormat read the words: 'If you desire one thing for so long, it's a given that you'll miss other things along the way'. Time to go.
Artists: Darío Alva, Rick Farin, Carlos Saez and Sevi Iko Dømochevsky, Sucuk und Bratwurst
Words: Nellie Eden
Creative Directors: Isamaya Ffrench and Ben Ditto
Editorial Director: Bunny Kinney
Project Director: Simone Sebastian
Producer: Giuditta Dallerba
Managing Editor: Amelia Abraham