Launched on December 16th 2020, SKY ANY COLOUR is an impressive mega-project, bringing together a diverse range of global creatives, with the express purpose of exploring humanity’s increasingly complex relationship with the future. The ACRONYM ® curated digital group exhibition features the work of over 50 artists and designers. By constantly adding new film, animation, music, graphic and photographic works, the high-scale exhibition is an ongoing project, led by ACRONYM’s Errolson Hugh and Race Service’s CCO, Rod Chong. “The term SKY ANY COLOUR gives the image that the world of imagination can still be an open story”, Errolson explains the leitmotif of the exhibition, “Humans are very adaptable and have shown such incredible creativity and inventiveness over the ages. We would like to give a feeling that there are still possibilities ahead but our collective paradigms will need to radically change. We wanted to explore these themes with the participating artists of this project.”
The latest addition to this visual feast is the collaborative music video for the latest single ‘Panic Attack’ by Pussy Riot, which has been released yesterday, on March 11th. Directed by award winning augmented reality creator Asad J. Malik and produced by his hologram company Jadu, the video shows Nadya Tolokonnikova’s hologram journeying through various virtual worlds. The art collective Pussy Riot has been the world’s most prominent art group in recent years and is seen as a global symbol of activism. ‘Panic Attack’ marries the virtual world building found in video games with the magic of a music video using state of the art volumetric capture. The video is one of the first from Pussy Riot to explore themes of mental health, featuring commentary on nature and the way we interact with it as a metaphor for the connection between mental health and the environment.
SKY ANY COLOUR was born out of a collaboration between ACRONYM ®, an independent design agency with as strong focus on the unification of style and technology in apparel, and the Republic of Gamers, an ASUS sub-brand dedicated to the world’s best gaming hard- and software. The result of this collaboration was a limited edition laptop titled ACRONYM ® X ROG ZEPHYRUS G14–ACRNM ®. Initial works were showcased inside the laptop and form basis for the SKY ANY COLOUR program launch. “We co-developed this laptop to be a tool for creators; a robust piece of hardware for the production of music, animations, films, photos and so forth”, Errolson explains, “As part of this project, we wanted to invite many of the friends and family of Acronym to use the tool to create new media outputs. We started from there and the program eventually evolved into its stand-alone online exhibition: SKY ANY COLOUR.”
For the exhibition, ACRONYM ® also partnered with the incubator accelerator HXOUSE, co-founded by multi-platinum artist The Weeknd, creative director La Mar Taylor and global innovator Ahmed Ismail. HXOUSE provided five of their young creatives to the project. These creatives, in addition to other selected young artists, were offered a chance to work with SKY ANY COLOUR’s roster of international participants, among them many well-known contemporary creatives such as fine arts photographer Reuben Wu, sci-fi concept designer Phil Saunders, Pussy Riot’s Nadya Tolokonnikova, Purity Ring’s Corin Roddick, futurist Monika Bielskyte, automotive concept artist Khyzyl Saleem, legendary electronic musician Daniel Bressanutti, comic artist Kim Jung Gi and many, many more.
All of them were invited to form smaller breakout teams where they each chose a different format with which to explore the theme. The finished works are as varied as the participants’ backgrounds, showing complex, edgy, multifaceted and sometimes hopeful visions of the future. “One of the aims of the program was to connect artists who might not otherwise get to create together. This was quite an enjoyable experience, as there was a great deal of excitement amongst the participants to meet and work with new people”, Errolson tells us, “Some of them had been long-time fans of the other participants and jumped at the opportunity to connect. We acted a bit as internal brokers and connectors – we’d make suggestions and facilitate the assembly of different groupings.”
During this process, established creatives were partnered with young artists, resulting in a collaborative, multidisciplinary process. “Some groups, once the introductions were made, operated like their own independent productions, while others sought our assistance in producing the content and facilitating the different pipelines and processes”, Rod adds on the matter, “We also tended to get more involved with the younger artists, offering some level of feedback and advice to push their projects forward.”
Having launched this high-scale collaboration, the duo admits that they occasionally get irritated with the term itself, referring to the over-saturation of brands, influencers and creatives ‘collaborating’ together. “But in the truest sense of the word, we believe that a sharing of perspectives, ideas and even artistic media across various countries and cultures is hugely important”, Errolson states, “If we want to build a better world, we all must work to deprogram ourselves from our biases and preconceived notions. There is no better way to do this than to connect and work with individuals from different backgrounds and cultures. If we can also help some younger creatives with their career development along the way, then this is all the better.”
In the middle of the program, the pandemic hit, changing the world as we know it in a radical and unpredictable way – and therefore having an immense influence on the project. “The global pandemic, economic crisis, climate change, Black Lives Matter protests, politically polarized US election, Beirut explosion, everything. All these events and trends are interconnected and form the background for the SKY ANY COLOUR outputs”, Rod reflects, “Our aim was not to broadcast everything that is ‘wrong’ with the world. There are many established channels and voices in this direction already. Our goal was to try to look a little deeper into the future to see what we can see and feel what we can feel.” Being faced with this challenging situation, the team behind SKY ANY COLOUR had to change some of their plans. Instead of shooting their planned film projects, they had to shift towards animated pieces, augmented reality creation tools and volumetric character scans.
“If we look at the events of 2020 and the first weeks of 2021, we see events, happenings and trends that have long been depicted in many forms of dystopian entertainment – especially video games, cyberpunk science fiction, and disaster films”, Rod reflects, “Many creatives have spent a great deal of effort visualizing the dystopian reality that humanity and the planet are now directly experiencing. It is very difficult to look into the future and feel any sense of hope now. It is very difficult to visualize something other than future dystopian societies and environmental meltdown.” It’s precisely this challenge that they wanted the SKY ANY COLOUR participants to address, articulate, or react against, in order to keep an optimistic and hopeful outlook on the future.
Only two thirds of the works have been released so far and many more pieces are coming, with regular updates on their Instagram account. However, a second edition of SKY ANY COLOUR looms on the horizon for 2022, including plans to incorporate museum exhibitions, NFTs and IRL media installations into the program. For now, we have some absolutely amazing works to look at to help us pass the wait.