Inspired by the heritage of the House to play a role in ‘what happens next’, CHANEL is bringing together some of the most celebrated talent from film, art, architecture, dance, music, and fashion for intimate conversations on the future of culture.
Launching today, CHANEL Connects pairs innovators to reflect on the unique challenges of 2020 and imagine the new cultural frontiers of 2021, as galleries, museums, and stages prepare to reopen to a radically transformed world.
Their conversations span a range of topics from technology opening new avenues for creative work to advancing the role of culture as an agent for social change. Podcast participants include: actors Tilda Swinton and Keira Knightley; musician, designer and entrepreneur Pharrell Williams; filmmakers Lulu Wang, Garrett Bradley and Eliza Hittman; artists Arthur Jafa and Jennifer Packer; designer Es Devlin; dancers / artistic directors Akram Khan and Tamara Rojo; editorial director Edward Enninful; creative consultant and writer Amanda Harlech and curator Andrew Bolton.
Self-recording their contributions from their homes and studios, some are old friends while others ‘meet’ for the first time in this series. Together, they represent both emerging and established talent and include individuals from institutions where CHANEL’s patronage helps to catalyse innovation across the arts.
Yana Peel, Global Head of Arts and Culture at CHANEL, said the series points to an existential moment for culture as artists reconsider how, why and where they tell stories and connect with audiences.
“While galleries, stages and studios have been dark, artists have not stopped creating and imagining new ways forward. CHANEL Connects sees cultural gamechangers delve deep into their imaginations to share ideas across disciplines, projects and institutions. As well as fascinating insight into the minds of today’s most creative innovators, it’s a prescient reminder to continue supporting the arts, championing what’s next and celebrating work that has the power to transform lives and wider society.”
Es Devlin: “It's a different world. It's a different culture. Everything has changed... if we were to undertake anything right now, it couldn't be done in the spirit purely of communicating a poetic response, but also a response based in activism and an agency of change.”
Keira Knightley: “We need diverse voices. I think culture is there for escapism, obviously, but mostly it's there so that you can walk in other people's shoes and you see the world through different people's eyes... I think film and television has a massive responsibility to make sure that people feel heard. And that their experiences are seen and valued.”
Lulu Wang: "For 12 years, I was just trying to get a film made so that I could be heard so that I could even have a seat at the table. And now I'm much more thoughtful about how do I not just have a seat at their table, but how do I build tables? You know, how do I bring other people?"
Pharrell Williams: “Quarantining and social distancing has changed who we are as a species forever and how we see things and where we find value.”
Edward Enninful: “The media landscape has changed. Heroes have changed. And I think celebrities, celebrity culture will always be around, but I think it will be celebrities who stand for something, not just for themselves.”
Andrew Bolton: “It's made me think about what are the stories we should be telling now, readdressing the received narrative of fashion and looking deeper into these hidden stories, these untold stories, and re-evaluating those practices. So, I think it's digging deeper... to address the past - these difficult heritages and these difficult histories and not rewrite them, because you can't, but looking at alternative histories untold stories, hidden histories.”
Keira Knightley: “I filmed “Pirates of the Caribbean,” the first one when I was 17. I had this crazy five years between the age of 17 and 22. I did “Pride and Prejudice” and “Atonement,” and I had this incredible run of success. And I was absolutely aware that I was learning my trade. But when you do that in the public, it's a pretty brutal place to do that, particularly if you're a woman. So, my sort of growing up on screen and that sort of realisation of the kind of misogyny that existed in a totally worldwide way, both within the industry and within the kind of media industry and the portrayal of women and sort of suddenly finding myself right in the centre of that was incredibly difficult... Being followed around 24/7 by packs of up to 30 men, with their lenses, through my windows and being called a whore, every time I left the house in order to invoke a reaction because the pictures were worth more if I was crying, you know. Or being forced off the road, because there was a lot of money to be made out of car crashes. ... And trying to figure out a way when the, as we're all experiencing now, when the world goes insane around you, how do you keep your sanity? How do you keep, your view of who you are, and of what you want, and what you believe is right and wrong, sort of on the straight and narrow? It is incredibly difficult.”
Edward Enninful: “I like to think the world has moved on and the world has progressed to a place that a black man gay from West London, from a working-class family, can be the editor of Vogue. And the beauty for me is that people can now look at me and think, ‘Oh, if he can do it, I can do it.’”
Edward Enninful: “The interesting thing about this year was I think a lot of companies realised that it wasn't just enough to have people from different backgrounds on your feeds or in your campaigns. That to really affect change, employing people behind the scenes was as important. I think that was the most important message that's come out this year. But to really affect change, you need change makers behind the scenes with a seat at the table.”
Es Devlin: “There will be hope if the next generation decides as a movement, as a population, to not be the product... to not be used by the algorithms, but to somehow turn it, swivel it and take back that agency. And I do think that in the future of gaming, one of the things I'm very interested in is can we make a game that will seduce and entrance my son as much as Fortnite does, but instead of just keeping him entranced by the pixels, will lead him back out into the planet?... Because I've still got a body. This is the inconvenient thing. The pace of evolution of our minds is fast, but we've still got these inconvenient bodies stuck to our brains, right? They don't seem to be evaporating. They're still here. These weird appendages called bodies.”
Tamara Rojo: “For many of us, myself included, I have no living memory of myself without describing myself as a dancer... When you are not dancing it’s a very difficult question to ask yourself, ‘who am I’?”
Arthur Jafa: “I’ve tried to speak to the fact that there’s never one way of understanding or looking at a thing. And one of my metrics of success is if it does more than one thing; It’s got to do multiple things. My sense of beauty is not tied to what the thing looks like, but it’s tied to what the thing is doing - what it’s doing in relationship to some givens about the world that we may share, or not share. The question then becomes how do you inscribe what you witnessed in the thing and how effectively do you do that, and to what ends do you do that?”
CHANEL Connects will be available from January 15th on the CHANEL podcast 3.55 through Spotify, Apple and Chanel.com.