The Swedish artist teams up with Horizn Studios for a Soho pop-up.

Arvida Byström

It’s likely that you’ve probably already stumbled across the Instagram account of Swedish artist Arvida Byström. Pastel-haired self-portraits. An image of a peach ‘wearing’ netted underwear. An iPhone lying face down on a bed in equally teensy lace pants, a charging cable coming provocatively out of the port.

Candy-coloured and vibrant, the artist, photographer and model uses her evocative work to explore themes such as feminism, sexuality and body image. And now, Byström has teamed up with premium Berlin luggage and bag brand, Horizn Studios, for a London-based pop-up installation, exploring the connection between art, fashion and technology.

Taking place in Soho tomorrow night, the pop-up shop will be an immersive experience featuring LED light displays, photo-printed furniture, plus glowing bag installations connected to phones – all displaying dizzying GIFs (using none other than Horizn Studios products, of course). Oh, and DJs will soundtrack the entire evening (yes, Honey Dijon).

“Arvida is spot-on the kind of artist we like to collaborate with: an incredibly talented creative mind, unique and bold in her approach, with a lot of soul,” explains Horizn Studios founder, Stefan Holwe. “I love her work for our Soho space, especially how unexpected it is – such a strong contrast to the almost black and white main floor, and just brilliant in its concept.”

We chatted to artist Arvida Byström ahead of the event…

Arvida Byström x Horizn installation

Paul Aiden Perry

What inspires your work?
Friends, the internet, books. I think it’s about processing the world around me.

What made you want to start incorporating technology into your art?
Digital is a medium that is constantly around us, and also the most common form of consuming art today.

Are the vivid colours important to you when it comes to bringing your art alive?
Pop colors and pastels are very dear to me. I blame it on being a Libra – I basically love aesthetically-pleasing things! Also I think it comes from me having a complex about not being academic enough when I was younger – I didn’t feel like I could make “complicated” art that was hard to enjoy. So it’s just something that has become a part of my practice.

What attracted you to collaborating with Horizn Studios?
I love their clean design, which incorporates just a little hint of colour. People always assume I like bold designs – which sometimes I do – but actually I’m really into simplicity.

How did you go about coming up with an idea for the Horizn Studios installation?
I really wanted to focus on technology because I feel like it was a great intersection between Horizn Studios and my own interests.

Arvida Byström x Horizn pop-up
Arvida Byström x Horizn soho pop-up

Paul Aiden Perry

How do you want people to feel when they enter the room?
Intrigued. I want it to feel like you are walking into another universe. Coming from an online art context, I always find it very exciting when I can work with an ‘offline’ room. I like working with the full potential of that.

Love the HORIZN bag installations – do you think there is a strong connection between fashion, art and technology?
Yes! I love that Horizn have incorporated a power pack into a travel bag and that they’re striving towards not using leather in their products – that’s definitely a form of innovation and forward-thinking.

And the phone farm is brilliant – what are you trying to say with this?
The phone farm was originally an installation I did on my solo show earlier this year with my peer Paulo Barcelos, and so I did a version of it for this project. Basically it’s a bunch of phones watching content that somebody paid to get views on. For the phones to not get read as bots, they need to mimic a natural human online pattern, so the phone farm watches all these ads. When it comes to views and likes, it’s very interesting since it’s a form of currency today. Just as banks are in a way “making money” and inflating it by giving out loans, people are buying clicks, likes and views.

What’s next for you this year?
I never want to reveal too much before it’s out! But I’m working on a solo exhibition in Croatia for their photography festival. And I’m directing something at the moment, and hopefully curating some stuff with my writer friend, Lo Hallén, here in Sweden.

Arvida Byström x Horizn Studios is on Thursday 9 August, 7pm – 12am. 15 Bateman Street, Soho. To attend the event, RSVP to [email protected]

Arvida Byström photo

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