I completed this project in November 2013 as a way of expressing my high esteem for the Undercover brand and its aesthetics. The project has no relation to the label.
The notion of a world with “too many voices” and “constant distraction”, was the theme of Undercover’s SS14 show in September 2013, and this gave me food for thought when it came to a striking presentation at the Bourse de Commerce.
In the age of the smart phone, the statement is compelling – we are not able to concentrate on anything because of the whirlwind of images and voices which drag us away from our present reality.
It was this striking revelation of modern life, coupled with the LED shirts which were used in the show to convey messages, and project mapping technology, which were the basis of my inspiration.
Using the Undercover show as my template, the circular Bourse de Commerce building was transformed into huge display surface upon which projections could be made onto the structure in a dramatic fashion. This was not a strictly visual experience; projections were noise activated and used palindromes and manifestos to engender a feeling of protest against noise – the strongest facet of the Undercover presentation.
All it took were the audience sounds and camera clicks to automate the projections thanks to the hyper sensitive equipment used. The louder the noise, the brighter the projections, from floor to ceiling. This is a powerful experience in a quiet dark room, which remains so until the cacophony of sounds which accompany the modern day human entered.
The Bourse de Commerce building in Paris
The projection structure
The challenging of what exactly communication means was incorporated into many aspects of the Bourse de Commerce show, right from the invitation. A single 5×7 inch card was combined with a pocket UV flashlight to create a mini projection.
How did it work? The black invisible ink which contained the details of the event were printed on matte paper with a spot UV gloss-on-matte finish. Recipients used the flashlight to see the details on a card which initially appeared blank, reflecting the ‘dark room experience’ they would encounter at the event itself. The look was completed with a cardboard box die cut which mirrored the patterns designed for the collection.
I decided to split the visual identity in two, with one corporate pattern taking its lead from the projection mapping structure, and another more visual representation of the ‘Silence Yourself’ theme – an interrupted soundwave.
The redesign of the Undercover logo itself saw the existing graphic translated into a modern corporate image, while an accompanying press release included a very apt quote by Robert Montgomery, the poet vandal and artist.
A series of ads were run to support the event, and these concentrated their efforts on making the profound emotional impact which characterises so much of Undercover’s output. This quirky and provocative content was designed to appeal to the Undercover customer; an artistic and educated individual who is anything but ‘run of the mill’. Images were used to great effect – all pointing to the paradox of pointless communication. These are words with an ulterior motive – to bombard rather than communicate, and break down individuality.