Watch Tom Sachs Explain the NikeCraft Mars Yard 2.0 at His Space Camp Installation

“The artists who really inspire me are James Brown, Lil Wayne, Louis Armstrong. Frank Ocean represents that whole arc.”

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Tom Sachs‘s NikeCraft project set up camp on Governor’s Island last week with the opening of Space Camp, an interactive combination of obstacle course, indoctrination station and art installation. According to Sachs: “This project—the shoes, the movie, the obstacle, the zine—all of that is in the service of the idea that the reward for good work is more work.” HYPEBEAST sat down with Sachs to delve into some of the ideas underlying the NikeCraft project.

Going above and beyond the traditional pop-up model, Space Camp includes a myriad of challenges. Each has an easy and a difficult path; Sachs’ studio PT routine consists of the same five principal strength-building exercises outlined in Pat Manocchia’s book, Anatomy of Strength TrainingSpace cadets are also challenged to complete a wall drawing “a la Sol LeWitt,” another influence of the artist’s. Each cadet is expected to complete the obstacle course and to fail at least one challenge before they are permitted to buy a pair of Sachs’s cult sneaker, the NikeCraft Mars Yard Shoe 2.0.

Sachs also breaks down his and Van Neistat’s newest film, The Hero’s Journey, which tells the story of a woman, affectionately known as Street Scum (played by model Gray Sorrenti), who stumbles upon Sachs’s work and hesitates before jumping into “the belly of the beast” and working within the studio. Along the way, she suffers cuts and burns and other tiny failures on the path to heroic enlightenment. Perhaps the most attention-grabbing cameo occurs during the end credits: a stoic Frank Ocean places the needle on a vinyl record before folding his arms. Sachs describes Ocean as the Studio Master of Inspiration, an “adjunct professor,” and part of a lineage of great American art: “People always ask me who my favorite artists are and I think they expect me to say Picasso, Brancusi, and Chris Burton. But the art that really inspires me is James Brown, Lil Wayne, Louis Armstrong, and the art of the African diaspora. Through that, we have the greatest art of the past century. So when I pick Frank as inspiration, he doesn’t exist without Louis Armstrong, Charlie Parker, Public Enemy, Minor Threat… the whole spectrum of music that comes out of that.”

Check the interview out above and be sure to try and register for Space Camp here.

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