March 2020 saw the world thrown into complete chaos. As the COVID-19 pandemic took hold, sweeping from nation to nation, governments and leaders worldwide decided a lockdown would be the only solution to curbing infection rates. Over a year later, many countries are still in and out of lockdowns, with infections rising steeply in some places as much as they are slowing down in others. Our latest fashion film submission, Ferregamo20 ;), directed by Kwanza Kukubo, explores the notion of a 'lockdown' by painting a playful portrait of an internet user in isolation.
Taking a hallucinatory montage of COVID-19 lockdown related news clips as its opening scene, Ferregamo20 ;), sees the South Africa-based visual artist (also known as Pari$) spending the night messing around on his Apple iMac, filming himself on Photo Booth lip-syncing and dancing to Jamiroquai's funky anthem 'High Times.'
Below, Kukubo talks creativity in a pandemic, the comfort of the internet, and their real-life experience of isolation and how it compares to the one illustrated in Ferregamo20 ;).
Christina Donoghue: Could you tell us about the concept behind the film?
Kwanza Kukubo: The concept behind the film was a playful take on the experience of lockdown - a casual routine that quickly became an everyday affair. This was seen through my laptop's front camera lens, which became the whole world to me at some point during lockdown.
CD: What role did the internet play in your experience of lockdown?
KK: The internet really helped me cope by transporting me to worlds past and present that I had never experienced or heard of before. Learning about the hippies, fashion in the 90s, and house music, helped me see the seemingly bleak world we were in through a brighter lens. On top of that, each piece of art and culture that I discovered felt as if it were a lost part of me, in essence adding more and more to the mosaic that is my identity.
CD: How did your real-life experience of isolation in lockdown influence your fashion film Ferragamo20 ;) ?
KK: My real-life isolation in lockdown was a direct inspiration for the film. Lockdown for me, as for most, was a very up and down experience. How I coped with it all, as a then 18-year-old kid, was through escape into fantasy, not to mention a little 'medicinal' help too.
CD: Who is Pari$ and how did they come to be featured in the film?
KK: Pari$ is my artistic persona, and featuring him in the film was symbolic of how I felt during lockdown, very much torn between seeing things as they could be and seeing things how they were. There once was a time in which I believed 'Pari$' and myself to be two separate entities, and maybe this film is a continuation of that dichotomy.
CD: What would you like your audience to take away from the film?
KK: I think the beauty of what we do is that each member of said audience could view this film completely differently, so therefore, I would like the audience to see this as a reflection, a reflection of lockdown, imagination, and freedom. Whatever these mean for you could be whatever you take out of this.