If third time is a charm, then you better secure your tickets immediately after finishing this article, because Antwerp-based design festival ‘Us By Night’ is back and just released its full line-up. On November 22, 23 and 24 2018, more than seventy art, design and photography luminaries will talk to you in a way that’ll make you feel like you know the first thing about 4D, or a vector.
Look, I like to stay at home. Mostly because my work life is enough of an exciting rollercoaster as is, but even more so because I really like my family and my house. Once a month I might go watch a great artist play live (Jay Rock is touring my favourite album of 2018, I’m excited), or I will go to a movie premiere (the new Alexander McQueen doc is terrific), but for the most part you cannot get me to go anywhere. Last year, however, because I enjoyed my interview with UBN-originator Rizon Parein so much, I forced myself to check out Us By Night and it was excellent. In fact, we enjoyed it so much that this year UBN and KNOTORYUS decided to link up and for the next couple of months we will be publishing exclusive interviews with some of the nocturnal fest’s brightest stars. But first, we’re talking to Rizon again to see what is up and what is new.
RIZON PAREIN: I have to tell you, you won the award for best interview last year.
KNOTORYUS: Thanks, it was a good talk and I have to say I really enjoyed my time at UBN2017. The people were laid back, the food was awesome, the talks were great, some of the imagery and videos were out of this world, nobody pressured me into playing fluorescent table tennis. I mean, a great night overall. How did you feel afterwards?
RIZON PAREIN: One of the highlights for me last year was Isaiah Toothtaker’s keynote. I’m not a part of the tattoo-community so I didn’t really know what to expect, but his personality mixed with his story and universe blew my mind.
KNOTORYUS: Can we quickly discuss a couple of this year’s UBN-guests? Let’s say I’m into animation and I want to keep up with the latest developments, who’d you recommend I go listen to?
RIZON PAREIN: Territory have worked on tons of blockbusters including ‘Blade Runner 2049’ and ‘Ready Player One’. Then there’s acclaimed 3D & VFX agency The Mill, who will also be responsible for this year’s ‘Us By Night’ titles. Their NYC office did our award-winning titles two years ago and it seems like their London branch is trying to outdo them this year. I can’t disclose what is happening, but I can promise you some unique and ground-breaking stuff. I’m also really happy Emmy Award-winning art director Curt Enderle is joining us, he recently worked on Wes Anderson’s ‘Isle of Dogs’.
KNOTORYUS: I’m ecstatic you invited our and Walter Van Beirendonck’s favourite graphic designer and KNOTORYUS logo-conceptualiser Paul Boudens. I cannot wait for his talk. Last year he sent me a video of a keynote he did at an Alliance Graphique Internationale event and it was one of the funniest things I had ever seen. Paul doesn’t have the biggest of filters but he does the best work. It’s a great combination.
RIZON PAREIN: I’ve looked up to Paul Boudens since I was a little scumbag printing flyers and I was a bit scared of him, really. He and the late Marc Meulemans were the two great icons of Belgian graphic design. The work Paul did for the fashion world was so inspiring to me as a youngster. Over the years, I got to know him because we frequent the same pub and turns out he is a very warm and passionate human being. One night we were talking about Us By Night and I said: “Talking on a stage probably isn’t for you, is it Paul?” And he went off on me for a little while.
RIZON PAREIN: I honestly thought he wouldn’t be interested, that’s why I hadn’t asked him before!
KNOTORYUS: I love that he’s always slightly annoyed, he probably is reading this right now. But most importantly, he has one of the greatest portfolios in graphic design for high fashion and applied arts, so like I said, a must-see.
RIZON PAREIN: Agreed. I also think it’s really important to book artists who are able to laugh at themselves. Last year after spending three days together, the people on the UBN-bill became a family. I’m weary of booking big egos. I also like to weave humour into the programme. Do you know Mr. Bingo?
KNOTORYUS: Can’t say I do, to be honest.
RIZON PAREIN: He’s an illustrator who worked in advertising for years. He does these hilarious talks and he raps. You have to look him up. Anyway, since he’s well-known within the design summit-circle, if there is such a thing, I was afraid most people would’ve seen one of his keynotes, but he offered to host the entire event, which should be different and good.
KNOTORYUS: You’ve invited Dot Lung and her caption on the website reads ‘Mother of Social Media Dragons’.
RIZON PAREIN: I’ve gotten to know Dot at OFFF in Barcelona and even though I’m sure her talk is going to be interesting for a lot of people, I have to admit I also invited her for personal reasons. I really want to hear what she’s got to say, so I can decide if I should or should not update my professional Instagram-page every single day. (laughs)
KNOTORYUS: I just binge-watched an entire season of Netflix’ ‘The Fashion Fund’ featuring our countryman Tim Coppens. (Special mention for the moment A$AP Rocky makes Tim half an hour late for a presentation for Anna Wintour and happily quips: “What’s going on, Tim? You look nervous.”) We’ve always been proud of him and I’m so happy he’ll be here in November. What should we expect?
RIZON PAREIN: Tim has been a good friend of mine for years and I’ve been following his entire career path. I saw him graduate from The Royal Academy Of Fine Arts Antwerp Fashion Department and I loved his work from the get. When he moved to New York with his girlfriend who did her MBA there he got a great position at Ralph Lauren. Afterwards he started his namesake label and his debut collection immediately got bought by Barneys. He was artistic director at Karl Lagerfeld. Nike has been vying for him hard. He did Under Armour for a little bit.
KNOTORYUS: I’m kind of hoping his NDA’s won’t prevent him speaking about the most tumultuous parts of his career, good and bad. It’s always good to hear from someone who has straddled multiple sides of the business.
RIZON PAREIN: Exactly, Tim is also a wanted design and branding consultant, so it should be interesting to hear him talk about all that from a fashion designer’s point of view.
KNOTORYUS: I’ll be publishing my interviews with UBN-guests Yuko Shimizu and Hassan Rahim soon, so maybe we can end with mentioning one of the off-stage interventions you’ve got planned?
RIZON PAREIN: Well, we got this incredible installation called ‘Famous Deaths’ by interdisciplinary Dutch experience design collective Polymorf. It’s a bit controversial, but in short: should they choose so, during their experience visitors are immersed in one of Polymorf’s 4-minute ‘Famous Deaths’ documentary soundscapes and its complementary sequence of fragrances.
KNOTORYUS: Intriguing, but please tell them to leave the Whitney-experience in Eindhoven. Pusha T and Kanye already did her and us dirty. But thank you for the talk, Rizon and see you soon!
RIZON PAREIN: Thank you!