If you ever studied Artaudian theatre at school, then you'll be familiar with the technique of pulling an audience out of its comfort zone in order to increase their sensitivity to new ideas.
Wrenching people (psychologically) out of their seats is usually done by exposing the viewer to sights, sounds and feelings that are outside of the normal experience, either by making them louder, sharper or, as is often the case, more grotesque.
Fashion designer Gareth Pugh and director Nick Knight joined the canon or Artaudian theatre yesterday by staging a radical, deeply affecting film, in place of Pugh's SS18 catwalk show, as part of London Fashion Week.
Hosted by the BFI IMAX - the largest cinema screen in London, usually reserved for high-impact blockbuster feature films - the 16 minute fashion film was an assault on the senses and a bizarre, but brave and unique undertaking.The film, edited by art director Younji Ku, opens with a face-off in a dark room, between two beings who soon entirely remodel their faces with grey, red and black clays. But that's only the beginning. Soon the creatures enact scenes of cannibalism, birth, writhing bodies, a beautiful contemporary dance scene to symbolise flickering flames, interspersed variously with elements of Pugh's high-drama designs.
It is visceral, violent and certainly worth watching (after the watershed, to be sure).
According to Pugh himself: 'This is about choosing to present the work in a way that hijacks the mind, where the images are expanded to enveloping proportions and connect directly with the depth of feeling behind the work.'