To showcase Leila El Alaoui’s fashion collection, I was invited to create a series of short commercials and to design graphics for flags, postcards, t-shirts and keychains. These products challenged the ethics of reproduction integral to tourism and how it plays with our sense of reality. Her models travel to alternative worlds, a hybrid concoction of ideas, stories, rumors and pictures of these destinations (re)produced by travellers and tourists. The tourists themselves are just as unreal as the cities they visit. They are families, individual travellers, couples, agents of capitalism, but never having an identity of their own. In collaboration with Leila El Aloui. Leila El Alaoui takes inspiration from the visual culture of hyperreal tourism, and translates them into fashion through decontexualizing their initial meaning within the realm of popular culture. Text, video and visuals by Levi van Gelder.
series of three flags and video (2:00)
LEVI VAN GELDER (1995) — ARTIST/DESIGNER AMSTERDAM, THE NETHERLANDS +316(0)48839907 MA Design Sandberg Instituut (2020), BFA Product / Spatial Design HKU (2017)
Driven by visual storytelling, artistic research and pedagogic collaboration, I aim to unearth frictions between compounds of reality and fiction, representation and misrepresentation, and to tap into the dormant spaces of critical and whimsical play nestled inside others. By means of performative research, I sketch out a realm that ranges from provocative tropes within pop culture to history formation. Through quick-witted storytelling and critique, I create a (hyper)reality show of distorted nonhuman characters that question authenticity and reveal layers of depth in the superficial.