“It can be a blessing and a curse”: Jon Emmony on the polarising effects of the digital world

hg0088Working with the likes of Balenciaga, Nowness, Dazed Beauty and Selfridges, the London-based digital artist’s latest project reminds us all to take a digital detox.

2 March 2020
Reading Time
3 minute read

hg0088Jon Emmony: Vilebrequin, Selfridges

Alongside a trippy digital video for Balenciaga – a tech-infused spin-off from the traditional news broadcasting format – Jon also recently worked on a campaign for Grimes in collaboration with Dazed Beauty, as well as a recently dropped music video for British pop rock band The 1975, created with director Ben Ditto. Titled The Birthday Party, the project first arose around a year ago after Jon began floating some ideas with Ben “about the idea of a completely motion-captured, performance-led music video” for the band. Co-directing with Ben and working alongside Mimic Productions – a Berlin-based company that’s worked on feature films such as Avatar – the team 3D scanned the entire band in order to then capture their bodies and facial motions. “What you are left with is the ability to locate them in any environment with any lighting set up,” says Jon. “It really is a new form of photography.”

Ryan Vautier and Kylian Maupoint assisted with the animation and clothing simulation within the video, accompanied by a video game-like technology system that enabled the team to design for speed and performance, including real-time rendering: “which totally freed us up to try anything we could imagine with minimal impact on the project timeline,” adds Jon, commenting on how 3D is traditionally a highly expensive and long process, with renders usually taking hours. “It was refreshing to work in this new way with instant visual feedback.”

hg0088The result sees a new world where tech has risen above all else. Evaluating topics of narcissism and loneliness, its avatar protagonists enter into a ‘digital detox’ programme, a development going by the name of Mindshower – which is also a generator that pumps out a series of machine-learning online affirmations, designed by Rifke Sadlier. Although at first seemingly futuristic, perhaps this film is a reminder to us all of the polarising effects of technology. “We have ways of consuming content now that would feel completely sci-fi only a few years ago,” explains Jon. He concludes that, as there are both positive and negatives sides of the digital world, it’s important to remain conscious and to take a much needed break to experience real life – whether you go to a gallery or the cinema, it’s all much better than being sat at a computer.


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Jon Emmony: Dazed Beauty, Grimes

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About the Author

Ayla Angelos

Ayla was an editorial assistant back in June 2017 and continued to work with us on a freelance basis. In November 2019 she joined the team again, working with us as a Staff Writer on Mondays and Tuesdays. She's contactable on aa@simmingworld.com.

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