Artist Naomi Campbell on the Unsettling Nature of Technology


Artist Naomi Campbell on the Unsettling Nature of Technology

A few seconds with one of Naomi Campbell’s new interactive pieces is all it takes to transport you to a surreal state of examination.

Take a quick glance at her resume – Among more than a decade’s worth of exhibitions and awards, you’ll also notice dozens of permanent public and corporate installations, perhaps most notably her MTA Arts for Transit commission, Animal Tracks. The 450-square foot faceted glass display at the Bronx Zoo subway station is simply stunning, welcoming visitors to one of New York’s most popular family attractions with colorful flair.

While observing Animal Tracks, Campbell became fascinated with the reflecting sunlight’s impact on both the art itself and human response to it. With several years of fine-tuning, her latest work serves as a social commentary on technological advancement. These aren’t pieces of art on the wall; they are multi-sensory installations demonstrating the force of virtual technology and unsettling nature of progress. Light, darkness, and shadows are strategically placed to convey an intriguing sense of uncertainty.

Take for instance, Between the lost and found, an installation in which the viewer steps into a dark, curtained off booth to observe a chandelier. Upon entrance, the chandelier is eerily trigged to move toward the viewer and stop right in front of their face, exposing startling details. (Images courtesy of Tom Powell Imaging)

“This installation sheds light on the disturbing nature of progress,” Campbell says. “It’s attractive, but it’s unsettling.”

Campbell further explores light and transparency in a series of illuminated images spawned from her 2012 piece Body for Elizabeth (pictured first below, courtesy of Kevin Kunstadt), which pairs swatches of human x-rays with composite sketches to create a new chapter in the virtual world. Campbell and her team essentially design and fabricate their own lightboxes, applying Duggal’s vast knowledge and selection of display films and creative solutions in a truly unique way. Take a look:

The pieces are controlled by a remote or cell phone app. But at the same time, they possess a degree of control on the viewer in their ability to affect the body’s inner rhythms. Campbell says that’s where the takeaway lies – in experiencing and realizing our symbiotic relationship with technology and its unnatural power to mechanize the human body.

There is a gripping sense of spirituality to Naomi Campbell’s work, and we are proud to play a part in her creative process. Campbell is a longtime client and friend of retail consultant Hardy Rosenstein and several other specialized Duggal members who have helped bring her vision to visuals. We’ve seen her work grow tremendously over the years.

“Naomi continues to push the boundaries of multimedia and technology,” Rosenstein says. “It’s inspiring to watch her challenge herself, and she is an absolute pleasure to work with.”