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    10 Jun 2020

    Text by Mikel

    ØLÅF Citizens: Chris Kore

    10 Jun 2020

    If 2020 has shown us anything, it’s that digital technologies have become extremely pervasive. The way our lives intertwine with technologies is striking, as it seems like it has become truly impossible to live without. Digital artist and designer Chris Kore is someone whose life revolves around the digital influence in our environment. In the middle of the Covid-19 turmoil, we had a call with her to talk about her work and ideas.

    WILLARIS K - COBAKI SKY - A series of video artworks for Australian electronic and ambient producer Willaris K on the Astralwerks Records label.
    Hi Chris, how is life at the moment for you? Are you still in the Netherlands?

    “Yeah still here! These are weird times, but as a freelancer, I think I’m kind of used to it. Many projects (especially physical exhibitions) have been canceled or postponed. But it’s interesting to see that many brands are now calling upon digital artists more than ever."


    How would you describe what you do?

    “I like to call myself a digital dreamer. You could see it as a combination of an artist, designer, and digital world explorer. I like to think outside of the (digital) box and about things that are not possible in physical reality. It’s very multidisciplinary. That’s nice about the era we’re living in. Many people work at the intersection of different fields."


    WILLARIS K - 5'OCLOCK - A video artwork for Australian electronic and ambient producer Willaris K latest release '5’OCLOCK', on the Astralwerks Records label.


    How did you come to this exact intersection?

    “I think everyone in the world wants to find themselves. I grew up in Ukraine and it was hard to find a fitting creative outlet for me there. I started studying Architecture in Lviv when I was 17, and after that, I traveled around a bit. I’ve lived in Florida for a moment, and I ended up at the KABK in The Hague to study Graphic Design. That’s where I found my thing."


    With two bachelor’s degrees you have plenty of formal training, do you implement your architectural background in your current practice?

    “A little bit. Architecture gave me knowledge of space which I still use in my digital work. I learned to approach my work critically and think creatively."


    I’ve always seen art schools like KABK as sort of separate ecosystems. I have the impression that everyone gets brainwashed with the same information and ideas.

    “I can understand that. Art institutions tend to be bubbles."


    ATTENTION.VALUE - Canvas is a video art installation initiated by TivoliVredenburg of 150 m2 situated in Park 6, Utrecht.


    How do you manage to get out of that bubble?

    “I’m not sure if I succeeded to break out of that, but I tried my best to get influences outside of the art institutions. My background and previous education surely helped with that. There are so many international students in the Netherlands who all bring a fresh perspective."


    Is it dangerous for an artist to live inside that bubble too much?

    “Yes, but it’s also hard to stand out. Even online; everyone on Instagram is influencing each other in a way, and the algorithms push it even further."


    Talking about that, your work has a lot to do with algorithms and AI. Could you tell me a bit about that?

    “I like to think about how physical and digital spaces merge. With my graduation project AImnesia, I tried to imagine how AI would fill in memory gaps by creating fake memories that are plausible enough to be perceived as real. Social media is already some kind of external memory, and that raises concern regarding the ethics of AI. I wanted to critically assess the centralized power of those who are sponsoring the research and creation of these algorithms, as well as the selection of the databases on which AI’s learn. I believe there is a general unawareness and bias regarding the rapid development of deep learning."


    AIMNESIA - The AIMNESIA project focuses on the concept of human hybrid memory, which can be augmented, influenced, and modified by AI.


    Where does your fascination with technology and the future come from?

    “It comes from my childhood. I’ve always been more interested in futurism and science fiction than in contemporary reality. It allows you to dream about things that aren’t possible. Things like space travel, teleportation, double realities. I think movies portray this combo the best."


    Can you name a few examples?

    “The Matrix, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Solaris, Blade Runner. I actually was partly inspired by the idea of memory from Blade Runner in my graduation project called AImnesia. It’s about human memory that can be augmented by digital technology. AI algorithms can be trained on these big data sets and, in theory, be able to recreate lost memories."

    Do you think we could see something like that in the future?

    “I think technology changes everything today. We had an industrial revolution and now we live in the technological revolution. It's interesting and frightening at the same time how this intervenes people and nature and our lives overall. With the recent news and changes in the world, we cannot deny how powerful the influence of evolving technologies is. It's crucial to find out how we can navigate through the new reality, which is filled with fake news, surveillance, data collection, and targeted content."


    SS-20 GROWTH & DEVELOPMENT, Helianthus Agapanthus.

    SS-20 GROWTH & DEVELOPMENT, Hidrangevia Nobilis.


    How do you translate that into new work?

    “I like to reconceptualize things in a more positive and thoughtful way. Our reality already feels like we’re living in a dystopian movie. I might be interested in science fiction, but I don’t want to live in this future; I just want to see it on a screen! I try to imagine the world I’d like to be living in in the future. My works are usually quite bright and colorful."


    Prime example: your latest work for OLAF HUSSEIN.

    “The timing was perfect. With the pandemic and everyone freaking out, choosing these colorful hybrids was a way to show that we can imagine this dream world where you can still enjoy beautiful objects indoors. It’s posing the idea that nature will adapt to technology development and change in the environment. These flowers don't exist in reality, but we already have gen-modified foods and animals, so hypothetically, it wouldn't be impossible to combine a part of a sunflower, with leaves from a lily and other flowers or plants. It’s based on MIT research on plant nanobionics. Plants can naturally evolve into hybrid species and adapt to the environment. Russian scientists have recently developed a glow in the dark tobacco plant, and it kind of looked like our project! That was so cool!"

    Tiffany Chung

    23 May 2022

    Text by Tiffany Chung

    ØLÅF CITIZENS : Virgil nicholas

    23 May 2022

    With honesty, well-being, and respect for oneself and each other as the foundation of Danish shoe brand, Vinny’s shoes, Virgil Nicholas has founded a shoe company with real soul. In this edition of Citizens, we step into the creative director’s classic leather loafers and discover more about his work, style, and way of life.


    Hi Virgil, why loafers?

    “Good question. I've always worn loafers and compared to all the other types of footwear in my wardrobe, they‘re the one pair of shoes that I wear to death. A couple of years ago, just before starting Vinny’s, I was looking at my rotation of the same four to five shoes I wore over and over and noticed I was missing that perfect loafer. I realized that's where I have a genuine heritage and story to tell, so it made sense that I bring that to the table myself."


    How should one feel when wearing a pair of Vinny’s?

    “I think the loafer, for me, is like when you put on a blazer jacket. It shapes you as a person, your back gets a little bit more upright and you carry yourself a bit more elegantly. Loafers do the same thing. I want both men and women to feel comfortable, relaxed, well-dressed, and feeling confident. I think when we feel our very best, we're better humans to ourselves and to our neighbors and next of kin. So, it's really about building self-respect."

    Still from podcast.

    From interview with Illum.


    Is that what makes you feel confident?

    “A good pair of loafers, yeah. I think one of my confidence boosters is definitely always a good outfit."


    Do you think good taste is something you’re born with, or can it be developed?

    “I think style and taste is definitely something that you can learn. It’s about what you're interested in, what you’re exposed to and influenced by. It's definitely something that you can adapt and grow into and out of. Personally, the influences from my mom and my dad and their post-colonial heritage, my African heritage, but also the urban references from when I was a kid, shaped my wardrobe. I always go to the same things. I have pieces in my wardrobe that go ten years back and it's the stuff that I love to wear the most. Then, occasionally you add new things."


    With Silas Oda Adler.


    What are your tips for someone who is developing their own style?

    “It starts with knowing who you are. A fashionable look or outfit can sometimes become a way to dress yourself up or to hide who you are, whereas style is about what we actually like and what you can see yourself wearing over and over again that resembles you. Also, read about pieces, find out how the penny loafer came about, the history of the slip dress, or research style icons. What makes hairstyles iconic today? Why do we like 90s fashion so much right now? Why's airport style interesting? I know a lot of men that research trends and decades and fashion and it's really been a way of shaping who they are. I've done the same, more from a research and creative perspective but it definitely helps me to also keep my own style universe sharp."


    Who's your style icon?

    “My dad. He always inspired me a lot."

    With kiddo.



    Do you hope to be a style icon for your son?

    “He already dresses way better than me. I think he already passed me. I just want to be a good role model, that's the most important thing for me."


    Has becoming a father changed the way you work?

    Only that I have to leave work a little bit early. I love to work, so that's why I hate having to leave work early. When he sleeps, I really love to work. Especially when I get to live out my dream. I'm so blessed and lucky that he loves coming into work with me. He's an open-minded kid and really at ease around my colleagues. I can bring him anywhere and that really makes my workflow a whole lot better.


    At parelstudios.

    On the road.


    What’s your favorite place to work?

    “We got our office four months ago and we have a red couch that I love sitting on. The most amazing thing is that our office is an old apartment, so we wanted to create a homey feeling. It's always hard to leave the office which is a good sign of a good workplace, at least for myself."


    Where do you like to relax?

    “Benches in my city. I love just sitting there and people watching. Not having any plans or any distractions, just a good pair of sunglasses to watch people. If you see me on a bench, you know what I'm doing. It’s the most relaxing thing ever."


    As a successful creative, you’ve had a lot of great ideas. Tell us about your worst idea.

    “My worst idea? Ha, that’s a good one. I don’t know, I’ve had a few. There was this one project, it was right after I started my first label, I wanted to create something that was more urban. So, we started making baseball t-shirts and the execution was good, but the name was horrible – it was a combination of three French words. I speak French with my parents, so it’s a big part of me and almost everything I do creatively starts with French. We actually got a lot of traction in France, but no one understood what we were trying to say. It was just the most horrible thing I've done. We had to shut it down quite quickly for numerous reasons but mostly the name was just a killer."


    Name one thing you hope to get better at.

    “I'm always on the go, always thinking about the next step, the next collection, the next campaign, am I picking up my son? I think what I need to be better at is enjoying the present. Enjoying the moment with people that are really dear to me. The thing I really value the most in my life are my relationships. It’s easy to make up an excuse not to meet up or make time for family and friends, but if it matters, then you need to remember to prioritize them. Time flies so fast."


    Counting blessings.


    Tell us something you hate to do but have to.

    Every month, I have to go through all my expenses and find all my receipts. It’s a work thing that I hate to do. I try to be really good at it, but I hate it.


    And something you love to do but rarely get to.

    I love to read and listen to audiobooks. I hate that I don't have or take the time to do it enough.


    Do you have a favorite book?

    The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. Love it. It was really a kickstarter for how I started to believe in myself and knowing that anything you set your mind to is possible.


    What's one song you listen to on repeat?

    Gold by Prince. I saw him perform it live at a festival here in Denmark. It was a crazy experience.


    Young Virgil.


    Lastly, name a person, place, and thing that inspires you.

    One of the places that inspires me a lot is Marrakech. I like it because it's a place where I always calm down, but I also see so much culture and so much honesty and genuineness in the population. I think, in general, Africa is fun because it's very true to its roots.


    For people, I've always been a huge fan of, it’s so cliché, but Denzel Washington. I love that guy mainly because he's really talented and he can wear a lot of hats, so to speak. His body of work combined with who he is as a person, from what he says, how he thinks, how he operates, and his composure is inspirational.


    I'm really inspired by tech and how it creates communities. For example, who would have thought even just ten years ago that there would be a car service where you can drive awesome cars without taking anything but your mobile device, logging in, driving it, then leaving it to share with another human being? It’s stuff like that, the whole shared economy in tech, I think is fantastic. It's about being helpful to each other. If the shared economy in tech could be integrated with fashion in a mainstream way, not just in the niches where it is right now, it would definitely be game-changing for the whole world.