FKA Twigs Shares the Amazing Story Behind Her Google Glass Collaboration at a Talk During Art Basel Miami Beach

At an art talk for SURFACE magazine, Hans Ulrich Obrist asked FKA Twigs and Alex Israel about their artistic careers.

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Image via Complex Original
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FKA twigs is an artist who a lot of people are talking about right now, and not just people who appreciate boundary-pushing music and music videos. She is definitely, and rightfully, becoming a favorite in the art world. Twigs, who sings, dances, produces, writes, and directs, has been touring the world after the acclaimed release of her debut album, LP1, last August, and tonight, her U.S. tour has a final show at the National YoungArts Foundation in Miami.

Earlier today, alongside Alex Israel, FKA twigs was part of a SURFACE magazine conversation, led by curator Hans Ulrich Obrist, who asked the two artists about how they use the Internet, their forays into design (via glasses and sunglasses), and much more at the Miami Beach EDITION hotel. In particular, Obrist asked FKA twigs about how her collaboration with Google Glass originated—a short concept film, which she directed, titled "#throughglass." The answer is fascinating, and reveals her brilliant self-awareness, in addition to her insistence on having creative freedom and being in charge of her image. 

Here's what she said:

"Google approached me, and they asked me to make this advert for Google Glass. My first reaction was 'no.' I was like, 'Why would I do that? That's ridiculous.' And then they asked again, but then I still said, 'No, stop hitting me up, stop hitting up my people, this is awkward.' And then they asked again, and I was like okay, maybe I'm setting barriers for myself, because I'm sitting here, living in East London, signed to a cool label, Young Turks, with all my cool friends wearing cool clothes, and maybe I just need to branch out of that and work with a corporation—a company that's essentially one of the biggest organizations in the world.

Why would I be like, 'No, I'm not doing that, I'm not associating myself with that,' when it's actually an amazing opportunity. So I agreed to go and meet them in L.A., and I went to the sort of 'Glass haven,' and they showed me these glasses and how they worked. I just had an idea straight away. That's how I am with my videos. When I make something, it's because I've had that idea within 10 minutes of creating it, and I just roll with it. I saw the whole advert in my head, even when they were just talking to me about how to press play on the Glass. 

I was like, 'Okay, I guess that's a good sign. So then they asked if I wanted to do it, and I said, 'Yes, I do, but you have to let me do whatever I want. Don't change anything. It's my idea, I'm going to be very clear about everything. I'll do a storyboard; I'll make it perfectly clear to you what I want to do, but once it's done, you don't touch it.' And they were down, and I think that working with an artist like myself, they knew that would be the deal. So I made it, and I guess it was as simple as that.

Even in the video, it was me putting a full stop on a chapter of my life. It was me putting a full stop on a style. It was me; I had all the little mini-mes whohad been wearing all of the things that I'd worn over the past two years at photo shoots, like the Jean Paul Gaultier jumpsuit or the jewelry, the chokers. They were all things that I pulled in that I'd worn before, like in the Dazed shoot for example. It was me acknowledging to myself how far I'd come and putting a full stop on that, and saying, 'Okay, it's time for me to move on, because I want to be bigger than a style or a certain way of being.'

It was also me playing on the way I know people see me. Sometimes, I'll be walking down the street, and people will be like, 'I didn't realize you were real! I thought you were just this thing on the computer. I can't imagine how you make it in real life.' So even me, without speaking, just making all these goofy words *does alien-like clicking voice from the commercial*—I know that's how people want me to be. It's not true, I'm not like that, I'm just a human, but I could just tell that that's how people want me to be. I read before that when I speak in my gigs, people say it's disappointing, because I'm a human. Well, yeah, I'm a human. I'm just a girl, a woman I guess now, but I wanted to be able to play on that and then put a full stop on that through working with an amazing company.

They were great to work with. They let me do whatever I wanted to do, and I think that it was a great collaboration, because we met each other half-way, and that's what a collaboration should be. It has to be half of one person, and half of another person, and that's exactly what it was."

Watch "#throughglass" below:


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