Brother Journal ︎ up -to-date info and resources ︎
Brother Journal ︎ up -to-date info and resources ︎
BROTHER CHATS ︎
INTRODUCING: KIRSTEN ALLEN FOR SS21
It’s all kicking off. The Spring Equinox is upon us, daylight is taking over the night and as lockdown eases the world is starting to open up again. Finally. So to commemorate this landmark change-up we’ve decided to collaborate with fellow artist and photographer Kirsten Allen to present our most positive collection to date.
We checked in with artist and collaborator Kirsten Allen on the inspiration behind the SS21 shoot, living in L.A and the future of this new world living. So just some light topics.
Hi Kirsten, first off, can you tell us a little about yourself?
I’m an artist and photographer who also helps run SWIM Magazine, living and working in East London. I was born in England but grew up on a tiny Welsh island run by monks - there were 4 kids in the school which was basically a glorified cabin in the woods and my mum was my teacher. We moved to the wild Welsh coast of Pembrokeshire when I needed to go to secondary school, and then besides a year and a bit of art foundation and being on the dole whilst living in what was essentially a cupboard I’ve been based in London, with stints in LA mixed in.
(fig 2.) Amy wearing SS21 + Expanding foam chair prop by Kirsten Allen
Let’s talk about the shoot and the idea behind it?
As soon as the idea of a shoot came about there was for some reason only one thing on my mind - shower curtains. I think like everyone I’m pretty done in by the current state of things (lack of fun) and wanted to use the opportunity to create a sense of hope and renewal, which was perfectly marked by the Spring Equinox that fell on the 21st of March. My work is often rooted in questioning the authenticity of reality and so the shower curtains appeared to transport Masaki and Amy into the ‘New Dawn’, where sunlight hours overpower the darkness and the first day of the rest of their life begins. I’ve been working a lot with PU foam over the past year so also took the opportunity to make some props, most notably the Sunrise Sandwich chair which is strangely comfortable even though it is a
‘My work is often rooted in questioning the authenticity of reality.’
Take us through your process a little bit?As I dwell inside my process and can’t see it from the outside it largely alludes me… I definitely use a lot of phone / handwritten / computer notes to form my concepts, along with definitions and language to help me distill ideas. My work is concept driven and can sometimes solely live inside my head quite happily, but I’m trying to manifest my ideas more within physical space so people can see that I’m actually doing things. Photography is a tool that often comes naturally in the cementing of ideas, and also causes daily existential crises as I’m pulled between what it means to be a photographer and what it means to be an artist.
(fig 2.) Propaganda 1 + 2 from The Infinite You Party
Let's go through the images you sent through?
These images are of work created in partnership with the Infinite You Party, an organisation that attests to the validity of miracles and asks people to believe in the impossible in order to achieve transformation. I’m in the process of helping them build their stock image library so have been photographing their believers witnessing miracles (Propaganda 1 + Propaganda 2), which will be for sale when complete (Hypetrain). I also made a portable place of possibility (Site #1 + Instruction for use), and a reimagining of a miracle from classical mythology (I can make you live forever) which is used in the science department for training purposes.
When I lived in LA I did a research project on the rhetoric used in institutions such as The Way to Happiness and the Self-Realization Fellowship, along with the preternatural language you can even find at smog testing centres or nail bars. That lead to working with the Infinite You Party which has been a great collaboration and really influential on my practice as we have some overlapping points of interest and investigation. PMA man. Put your hands where your dreams are.
(fig.3) Site #1
(fig. 4) I can make you live forever + (fig. 5) Instruction for use
How has lockdown affected your practise?
I’m super fortunate to say lockdown has on most levels been a dream come true for me, besides the obvious things like when we thought the army was coming to patrol the streets and they stopped the football. I’m beyond grateful to have been furloughed for half the year, and got my new studio last July so have been in there every day until late at night cracking on. It’s been the biggest blessing to have a space to escape to and leave a mess at (no more expanding foam all over the kitchen so I have to scrub it off with white spirit and get so high that my mouth goes numb).
(fig 6.) Masaki in SS21 + Masaki
Any other projects lined up?
The horizon is looking fun. Expanding foam keeps expanding throughout my life, more collaborative shoots with some talented friends are in the Filofax as well as a continuing partnership with the Infinite You Party which is always interesting. I’ve been commissioned to work on visualising their manifesto as well as designing their merchandise so that’ll be exciting. Then there’s the last bits of the latest SWIM issue to pull together which we’ll be releasing this summer - hopefully alongside an exhibition and launch party. After that I’m working towards filming a documentary with some mates of us touring every Premier League stadium in the UK from a Fiat Panda Italia ‘90, building furniture and digging a really massive hole for no reason. Shred.