FEIT created an immersive audio-visual installation entitled ‘MAN VS MACHINE’ for New York Men’s Fashion Week. The beautiful short film was recently displayed at The New Museum on February 3rd, 2016.
Cult footwear brand FEIT sets man against machine in a visual celebration of the beauty of traditional craftsmanship.
Handcrafted footwear brand FEIT has created a one-off audio-visual experience that contrasts automated mass-production techniques with the spellbinding movements of the master shoe craftsman.
Incorporating scenes from the 1982 cult classic movie Koyaanisqatsi, MAN VS MACHINE is based on an original concept by FEIT founder Tull Price, drawing on his many years of expertise within the shoe industry.
Directed by New York-based artist and filmmaker Jack Riccobono (The Seventh Fire), it is a collaboration with Benjamin Millepied (Director, Paris Opera Ballet), composer Nicholas Britell (The Big Short, 12 Years a Slave), and installation artist/designer Jordana Maisie (FEIT Prince St & Greenwich Ave). Millepied and Britell’s Amoveo Company produced the work.
“For this film, we wanted to emphasize the rhythm, skill, and artistry involved in the process of making shoes by hand. There is a choreographed, dance-like relationship between the craftsman and his work that is especially beautiful, and that is ultimately reflected in the final product” says Benjamin Millepied.
Koyaanisqatsi: Life Out of Balance is the legendary experimental film by Godfrey Reggio that juxtaposes time-lapse footage of cities and technology with the natural world, highlighting mankind’s profound impact on the environment.
MAN VS MACHINE – FEIT’s first ever film commission – contrasts the iconic mass production imagery of Koyaanisqatsi with the unique artistry that defines FEIT’s commitment to handmade. “We wanted to create the arc of a battle between these two modes of creation, so that you feel the tension between the rote repetition of the industrial process versus the skill, beauty, and attention to detail in FEIT’s handcrafted approach,” says Jack Riccobono.
The number of shoes created globally doubles every 20 years, largely because of the proliferation of mass production. Footwear is a $190 billion industry, and its growing use of cheap, synthetic materials and automation is having an increasingly harmful impact on the environment.
FEIT believes that creating high-quality, handmade shoes from natural materials reduces the production of harmful pollutants such as solvents, while also extending the life of each pair far beyond that of mass-produced footwear. “In 2016, luxury doesn’t just mean a product of beauty,” says Tull Price, FEIT founder. “It also means taking a stand and being responsible. This trend away from needless excess towards quality, sustainability and individuality is what I call ‘neo-luxury’. Automation requires high volume, which almost always affects the integrity and depth of the product. In the future, luxury will increasingly be defined by the amount of human input in the process.”
At The New Museum in New York during Men’s Fashion Week, MAN VS MACHINE will be presented in an installation environment alongside live hand-sewers demonstrating their fascinating craft, as well as a presentation of the FEIT FW16 collection.
“The experience is grounded by live performance, allowing the film’s narrative to reach beyond the screen,” says installation artist Jordana Maisie. “Emphasis on the craftsman’s hand embodies FEIT’s values of craft, process and temporality, while celebrating the role of the master craftsman in a technology-driven world.”
The dramatic combination of film, sound, performance and design experienced in MAN VS MACHINE is a thought-provoking exploration of how craft-focused brands such as FEIT can find their way and thrive in today’s heavily automated society.