As global politics get bleaker with each passing day, the timing has never been better for a new political media. Surprisingly, Balenciaga rose to the challenge earlier this week. Just after scrubbing its Twitter account – perhaps in reference to the tweets that so often get politicians into trouble – the house began to live-stream a creepy, dystopian news broadcast, which is repeating on loop for 24 hours.
Balenciaga Summer 20 https://t.co/dp6lmuQuwa
— Balenciaga (@BALENCIAGA) February 18, 2020
The video, created by multimedia artist and director Will Benedict, is the latest in a series of imagery tied to the SS20 show, which saw creative director Demna Gvasalia stage his own take on EU politics. Model news anchors have their mouths manipulated by deepfake techniques, their facial features enhanced by the same cheek prosthetics first seen on the runway.
These images lend a sense of eeriness to headlines like “No More Traffic Jams!” and “Where is the Water Going?”, which flash across the screen as a soundtrack of experimental electronica plays on repeat. Further down the screen, a series of random facts (“it’s always fashion week somewhere”, “mushrooms have thousands of genders”) scroll across, drawing viewers into an endless cycle of extraneous information.
Gvasalia also toyed with these themes in the recently-released SS20 campaign images, shot by photographer Laurence Chaperon – whose usual field of expertise is political posters.
Conceived as a conceptual riff on “diverse workplaces with corporate iconography and symbols of social hierarchies,” the series of images features slogans like “LOVE IS FOR EVERYONE” and “POWER OF DREAMS”, which seem to mock the banality of political discourse under capitalism. It’s a multi-pronged approach to a campaign rollout, but one which offers key insight into the political world of Balenciaga. Depressingly, it’s way more comforting than the real thing.