Contemporary artist Daniel Arsham has teamed up with hip-hop producer Swizz Beats and fashion designer Richard Chai for his first foray into filmmaking. Titled Future Relic 01, the short film is centered around a mysterious archeologist who’s searching for meaning along an ambiguous shoreline. “Much of what I create presents an undefined scenario,” says Arsham. “In Future Relic you see these objects that seem as though they have been uncovered on some future excavation, but it’s left to the imagination of the viewer.” Below you’ll find an interview courtesy of NOWNESS.
What did you draw on in order to create the world within Future Relic 01?
Daniel Arsham: The visual language draws from Lawrence of Arabia. The film was shot entirely at dawn, which is the same technique that was used in the 1962 film, this day-for-night quality. So we shot everything in the day and then the color was adjusted so it appears like moonlight.
Why was film the right medium for this project?
DA: A lot of the work I do is static. I work in many different mediums, and about six years ago I started to work with the choreographer Merce Cunningham, doing stage design. This notion of time-based art, something that creates a kind of arc, is a very different process from creating a static object in the form of a sculpture or a painting. Film is something that I love, but is definitely the sort of medium that requires collaboration. There are 20 or 30 people who worked on this film—it’s not like a painting that I can make myself. So it was really about waiting for the perfect moment, and finding the right collaborators.
How important is collaboration to your work?
DA: I think it’s extremely important. First of all, I can be a master of certain things that I do within the studio. But I can never master all of these other qualities in film. For me, collaboration has always been a way to recognize and learn from other people who have these amazing skills. For example, Swizz Beats did the score. This was something that was very outside of his normal way of working but I think he really made a beautifully subtle piece that was very much in key with what I was looking for.