Gareth Pugh Creates A Digital World To Celebrate His Costumes For The Opera Antigona
Little known fact: we at Ten are partial to the occasional gaming sesh. Surprised? Well, we are pretty nifty with our thumbs. What, might you ask, does this have to do with extraordinarily talented designer Gareth Pugh? Well, Mr Pugh has teamed up with techy-types Werkflow to create an immersive video game that beautifully fuses his own incredible designs, baroque opera and hi-tech gaming graphics. Okay, so there’s not much in the way of power-ups or gold coins, but frankly, who needs all that when you could get all interactive with Mr Pugh’s breathtaking costume designs for the upcoming opera Antigona, which is kicking off tomorrow in Kassel, Germany. Working also with Turner-prize nominee Goshka Macuga on the opera, the duo’s artistic vision will be available to preview via this futuristic digital platform, which you can have a play about on here. We caught up with Gareth for a quickie on the project…
TEN MAG: How did the whole opera opportunity come about?
GARETH PUGH: I was approached by Goshka Macuga – the set designer and visual director of the piece – we actually hadn’t met before, but I was huge a fan of her work so I signed up on the strength of that. In many ways Antigona seemed like a perfect focus, kind of following on from my Autumn/Winter 2017 collection. I mean, it’s centred around a formidable, ferocious heroine, it’s about the power of love expressed through an act of civil disobedience, which felt oddly prescient, especially given what’s happening in the world around us.
TM: Can you explain the idea behind setting Antigona in space? What was it like to collaborate with Goshka on the costumes?
GP: Well, when Goshka first explained the idea to me, it sounded mad, but in a good way! It’s kind of a bold move: taking something as anachronistic as a baroque opera, and reframing it against a stark, futurist backdrop. But it’s been an amazing experience to work with Goshka; to be ambitious with costume design – working towards a final look that’s pretty hardcore and austere – but doing it with humour, and also with an eye toward pop iconography.
TM: How did the collab with Werkflow come about?
GP: I’d met the guys from Werkflow because we all work in the same building at Somerset House Studios. We’d been speaking about a collaboration for some time, and so when Goshka approached me about the opera it seemed like a pretty perfect opportunity. Opera is often perceived as a relatively remote art form; it’s high culture; it’s chilly and inaccessible – particularly a baroque opera like Antigona. But given the creative treatment, the idea of using contemporary technology to kind of re-contextualise that narrative – and to make it interactive – seemed like a strong statement; a place where our cultural heritage and a digital future could come together.