If Beck’s are known for anything apart from their green beer bottles (the first non-brown ones in Germany, apparently), it’s for their love and generous sponsorship of contemporary art!
And it doesn’t stop at Tracey Emin designed labels, because they’ve recently rolled out the Green Box Project, a “global cultural commissioning project”, which will be hitting seven cities, including New York and London, over the next three years. Great creative minds from the worlds of art, design, fashion and music have been tapped to come up with work that will appear as an “augmented reality” which members of the public will be able to see when they look at the Green Boxes through a Beck’s Key smart phone app. It’s co-curated and mentored by Nick Knight and Sam Spiegel who have commissioned the likes of fashion designer Hussein Chalayan, Glaswegian record label Lucky Me and set and costume visionary Petra Storrs, who’s worked with Lady Gaga, Florence + The Machine and Paloma Faith. i-D online caught up with Storrs to find out what’s in her Beck’s Green Box.
What have you done with your Green Box and why? I had a little nostalgic trip into the world of old computer game graphics. I personally only owned Tetris, Lemmings, and one of the first versions of Sim City and my next door neighbour had Donkey Kong. From this I have ended up with 4 x 10 second clips of what I like, which is currently: fantasy Tetris buildings, cheerleaders, lemmings and synchronised sky swimming.
What do you make of the project in general? I think it’s a clever way for Beck’s to advertise whilst giving artists a great opportunity to develop work, which otherwise they would never have the money or time for. I guess Beck’s is becoming a modern art patron. I’m also very interested in the technical side of the project. I think augmented reality is a really wonderful new medium, but it needs creative people to think about how best to use it to make something truly amazing.
What were the challenges and what were the joys of working on this project? This was the first time I have ever tried to make a green screen animation so there were lots of little details to learn and things to get right at the beginning. I worked with photographer Becky Palmer who lit everything perfectly so it was easy for John Malcolm Moore, the after-effects whizz, to cut out and animate everything. One of the hardest bits was watching cheerleading videos and trying to work out routines by drawing stick people in different positions then trying to do the routine in front of the mirror. I don’t know why I thought I would be able to do the moves – cheerleaders train for years – but luckily our models Ashley and Zoe were both trained as dancers, so they knew what they where doing. For me, the hardest thing was the video interview! I really can’t be normal in front of a camera. I’m always visibly pained and talk hesitant rubbish. It’s a skill I’m working on.
Can you sum up the style of your work? I’m interested in fantastical other-worldly objects whether they are costumes, props, sets or small, surreal architecture. I’m drawn to a wonderland romantic aesthetic. I try to keep everything quite simple. I’m quite craft based and try to constantly learn new making techniques, which can then be applied to different materials. Making things by hand in my studio is my favourite thing, although more and more I’m emailing, designing on the computer, planning and making lists whilst other people do the fun stuff!
Petra Storrs’ commission is part of the Beck’s Green Box Project: the world’s largest commissioning project of its kind.
Text: Stuart Brumfitt