When Superimpose presented their audience strategy to one of the world’s biggest sportswear companies back in 2016, it ignited a curiosity within the powerhouse brand that consequently launched one of the most progressive internal platforms to challenge planning, production and activation for global campaigns.
As part of their own DNA, supporting self-starters and having a diversity of disciplines, Superimpose recognised and championed a new breed of being - those who are carving their future on their own terms.
A partnership between D&AD and Superimpose for the series ‘The Future of Creativity’, we are embarking on a journey this time to find out what the future holds for emerging creatives.
The 'Post Ascending Authority' is a dedicated audience insight project we launched to profile the rise of a new generation leading trends and innovations from the bottom up. As an agency, we see influence and impact, causation and consequence. We have observed the power of brands, communities and consumers shaping ecosystems, giving birth to new inventions, and falling by the wayside.
But between industries, markets, businesses and individuals, it is the latter who are the definitive driver for change in any and every sphere of existence. The most exciting driver shaping creativity today and tomorrow are undoubtedly our newest creative and critical minds. The question is, what makes them so different from what we have seen before?
As a group of curious and open-minded individuals, the new generation of thinkers and creators see no barriers, only opportunities. Rejecting traditional frameworks and rules, they seek to partake in everything spanning multiple interests and passion points. They never stop moving, and their interests never seem to stop growing. This amalgamation of creativity isn’t always in the brightest spotlight - and even if the media and mass public aren’t aware of it, we recognise that there are always individuals creating something special.
The key characteristics for such an eclectic and evolving group are their relentless energy for exploration and experimentation. They are defined by carefree yet considerate collaboration, the multifaceted and multidisciplinary nature of their practices and passions, and the unusual nature of their path making - sometimes subverting traditional routes and expectations placed on young people whether it may be social, political, hierarchal or institutional. These are the people who are ultimately shaping industries, converging existing sectors and creating new landscapes.
Lilian Nejatpour, a British Iranian artist who shifts between making sculptural forms and sound structures, often investigates displacement and duality through unique settings and experiences. With influences from South Iran ceremonial practices and her northern background in bassline music from Bradford, much of her work is hybridity between performance, sound and installation.
Her recent work ‘Choreophobia’ is rich in socio-political complexities from her own background, combining sound and theory to develop sculptures of bodies that resisted and overlapped in response to her own geographical displacement, sampling movements from northern bassline club culture and juxtaposing against gestures associated with the now-banned Iranian solo improvised dance.
For her, collaboration is the future. She believes that one never finds their practice, rather it’s a constantly shape-shifting process, and something to enjoy along with the conversations that happen in between them. Her trust in community, grassroots guidance (for herself) and for future talent is key. Whether it is being a member of EAST or proactively seeking enriching spaces that allows for personal development and research - this could be beneficial without being a part of the formal education process.
REMEMBERYOUWEREMADETOBEUSED, an intriguing identity based between Paris and London who’s hidden all traces of their personal life, background and credentials caught our attention - by being unknown. By eradicating all preconceptions of a creative, they are able to experiment with no agenda; taking images, creating video and mixed media for themselves. They recognise the challenges and opportunities facing today’s generation.
Anonymity isn’t a fame courting exercise, it’s a purposeful decision and a more in-depth investigation into the behaviour of humans disappearing into screens, now seemingly more present online in a space that doesn't exist rather than real life. This ongoing and vast theme lies beneath their work and plays into a process which can manifest in various ways - from passing the images from physical to digital and back again until all trace is lost while in turn accruing incidental traces of usage, e.g. scratches on image or screen glitches. The fundamental question they pose is: ‘if we consider ourselves as images, more now than any generation before us, will these then belong to everyone else?’ With much of their work operating like a stream of consciousness, we see the distinct markers of creativity without barriers, unconstrained by artistic expectations or academic indicators.
Interestingly, they also understand the value of social media and the opportunities provided to collaborate with brands, artists and musicians to progress and take on new forms all the time. Their philosophy is that ‘the best things come as reactions against things’, being indifferent on the necessity of formal creative education and believing that one doesn’t need to be in a place that tells them that they are creative - the onus is on the individual to feed curiosity on their own terms.
One person really pushing the meaning of the term multidisciplinary is Liza Gusarova, who works concept first and brings to life her creations across film, installation, print, 3D and motion design, photography, animation and code. Her approach in dissecting and developing multiple ideas is impossible to be retained within a single medium - in fact, her curiosity is grounded in gaining a broader understanding of possibilities altogether.
Her most important project to date ‘It’s Time’ was an ever-changing digital form, the shape determined by time, visually unique at every second - combining her multiple interests of musical and mathematical background with art and design. Similar to the previous creatives, collaboration with closer networks, cross-borders and cross-disciplines is the most engaging learning process. For Liza, education is ‘simply time, precious time’ which fortunately or unfortunately, is required to understand one’s own creativity. Having worked with composers, choreographers and designers it has undoubtedly fuelled her desire to keep moving, in whatever direction that may be.
Our final polymath is Saul Nash, a London based menswear designer and dancer who excels across both practices independently, yet able to bridge them creatively to fuse performance with craftsmanship. His vision for his work such as ‘Static|Motion’ intertwines movers and bodies with how garments also move and behave to continue to push progressive pieces that captivate and hypnotise. Initially, through dance, costume, a fascination of clothing within society veering towards installations and clothing presented outside of the performance space, fashion become Saul’s next big passion.
His unconventional background as a graduate in both performance and menswear fashion from separate institutions shows that formal education has still a place for those whose expressions of creativity exceed singular academic pathways. Saul’s biggest recognition of formal creative education is the invaluable opportunities provided to help engage in thinking, questioning, and seeing different perspectives beyond what one is familiar with. An inquisitive mind coupled with a restless desire to continue sewing on a nightly basis (after being dropped from his design course initially), he suggests the key question to ask yourself for those in the pursuit of a new route would be the why, and ultimately how determined you are to reach your goal.
The view of the future from Saul echoes what we have already observed and identified, things can not be done alone and ‘collaboration is important because the world works as a community’.
As the ones shaping the future, we have seen the unusual yet striking elements from Lilian’s work that rejects expectations, the fractured yet excitingly unconstrained nature of REMEMBER’s approach, the truly fascinating way Liza nails the intersection of disciplines in one space, and an original creative ethos Saul brings forth driven by an exceptional determination to learn and progress.
The dynamic element of each of these creatives’ work is what has stood out along with their unwavering recognition of the importance of collaboration and community, something we will undoubtedly see more of in the coming months and years.
Why leave the future to fate? Take it on. Take a leap. Take on a D&AD New Blood Awards 2019 brief
"What is the future of creativity? That is the question a new partnership between D&AD and creative agency Superimpose Global aims to answer. Bringing on board opinions and analysis from industry experts, the partnership will see the launch of a new monthly essay series on the D&AD website. From the new technologies and skills creatives will need to master to the changing demographics of the industry itself, each article will offer unique insights from the most exciting topics to the most pressing issues facing the creative industries today and tomorrow. The essay series launches in October and will be hosted on www.dandad.org"