Welcome to our new series of features: U.Mi-1 People where we interview people who wear our clothes and inspire us here at U.Mi-1 with their talent and creativity.
Founded in 2005 by Hannes Koch and Florian Ortkrass, Random International is the London & Berlin based collective behind critically acclaimed art work that explores nature, human interaction, technology and the future of AI. Creating thought provoking experiences that utilise, combine or obscure of all these elements is something the collective has become particularly adept at.
You might know them best for their work Rain Room (2012) which was first exhibited at the Barbican and has since toured internationally across 4 continents. Through the use of cameras and technology, the work reacts to the audience’s movements, creating an immersive and interactive experience which plays with the perception of being in a rain storm without the sensation of getting wet.
In recent years, Random International’s work has focused on behaviours in nature, creating art work based on studies into the swarming of starlings in murmurations. U.Mi-1 designed outfits for Random International ‘s Zoological (2017) exhibition at the Roundhouse, London which was inspired by this phenomena.
We catch up with Random International for a quick chat on the studio’s work, their personal style and a tease of what they’re up to next.
In your own words, please tell us what Random International’s work is about.
Through our work, we want Random to connect itself more profoundly, more publicly and more often to some of the most emergent and pressing concerns within our societies and our species at large.
Much of Random International’s work explores the boundaries and relationships between human interaction, technology and the environment and places the audience in the position of creating their own art. Do you view audience interaction as integral to the work? How do you think this interaction affects the experience?
The interaction is the experience and thus, it is the work.
Fashion is a tool that can construct and represent an individual’s identity. How do you view the use of fashion in your work, is it a medium Random International would like to explore more?
What one wears could be described as a nucleus of an immersive experience so fashion is incredibly interesting to us! If outfits are part of our work, they really support the audience in ‘reading’ the experience, and they often do that on an emotional / instinctive level.
It’s absolutely a medium that we would love to explore more. On so many levels. Fashion is a straight and accepted and widely accessible way to express ourselves, to show allegiance with values or groups or to distinguish yourself. It’s an incredible artistic language!
Fragments of Self (2015)
How would you describe your style?
We see ourselves as rather utilitarian, toned down / minimalists and very Deutsche ‘Form-follows-Dysfunction’ fetishists. It’s through reduction, through attention to detail and through a love for obscure materials that we express ourselves and through the mantra that ‘every surface is an A surface’.
How does U.Mi-1 express your style? Do you see parallels between your style and the U.Mi-1 aesthetic?
We generally dismiss decoration and unjustified waste of materials, but we do like the occasional burst of irrational theatrics.
Yes, we do see parallels between our own style and U.Mi-1 clothes.
Florian Ortkrass & Hannes Koch, Artistic Directors of Random International. Hannes wears a U.Mi-1 shirt.
What projects are you currently working on/ planned for the future? What do you hope to explore in these projects?
We’re working on a deep dive into our swarm studies, on more movement based works, some stunning, algorithm based yet un-electrified sculpture series and some super secret stuff that we cannot talk about just yet…but in any case: for the longest time (since watching Wes Anderson’s ‘Life Aquatic’) we’ve wanted to have a simple quasi-socialist unisex super elegant and useful work wear for the artist of the 21st century…just sayin’. Work trousers, shirts and jacket. Possibly hats. 🙂