Don’t know what an air dancer is? Well, it’s one of those bright, inflatable tube men (or women?) – the kind you might have seen outside a used car dealership. ‘Why is it so loud?’, ‘Why is it flailing its arms at me so violently?’ and ‘Why does it have such a sinister smile?’ are just some of the questions you might have asked yourself when confronting such a strange object. And while they somehow manage to be terrifying and annoying all at once, the Houston Administration Office went a bit mad in 2010 and banned them entirely for contributing to, “urban visual clutter and blight and adversely affect(ing) the aesthetic environment”. Wow.
In Michael Olestad’s new short film he attempts to redeem the air dancer, using its attention-grabbing nature to comment on the constant stream of advertising and marketing gimmicks that demand we buy, buy, buy on a day-to-day basis. Shot by Swedish photographer Kristian Bengtsson, the film – entitled Dance With A Stranger – was commissioned as part of the fifth presentation of AMAZE STHLM – the project curated by Sara Forsberg and Nicole Walker that provides a creative platform allowing painters, musicians, filmmakers and fashion designers etc. to collaborate. For example, the alien faces of the air dancers in the film were painted by contemporary artist and mother-daughter duo Ida and Lilja Ekblad.
The air dancers themselves are dressed in pieces from Michael Olestad’s SS17 and AW17 collections reimagined in matching material to the billowing dancers themselves. The soundtrack is provided by Norwegian producer, Purpurrpurple, whose choral chanting and tribal riddims lend the work its overt sense of drama.