Fashion designer and iconoclast Jun Takahashi launched MAD, a division of his label UNDERCOVER, offering an enchanting, rebellious and delightfully bizarre mix of curiosities. The pop-up will offer exclusive items from the line’s Dystopia range, including Demon Skull Tees and the limited edition Undercover burger lamp, made in conjunction with Medicom Toy, as well as ready-to-wear and accessories from the latest Sue Undercover collection.

As part of the pop-up, Kiat from Syndicate has specially designed 'MADSKULL', an Instagram AR filter for the MADSTORE UNDERCOVER pop-up. Below, the artist shares with us the ideas behind it. Try it yourself on the Club 21 Instagram page



Can you tell us about the filter and what it’s about?

It evolved out of a few conversations with various people including Olivia from Club 21. I was thinking about various ideas around obscurity, and reflections on human-induced climate changes and how we as just one of the species out of the many can threaten the survival of many others. We are a rather deadly and villianous species in that sense.


Apart from motifs like the Demon Skull, were there other aspects of Jun Takahashi’s work you considered to inform your design of the filter? If so, what were they?

I don’t think there is any literal style but probably more our shared approach to creating. there is a common value of trying to complicate matters with a healthy dose of ambiguity. I like to create a certain stillness or peace within the chaos of my work… with a slight dose of humour or a smile hidden within. Beauty and decay in the same space seems to always fascinate me since I’ve been a child. Especially the idea of a decay that never ends which in turns create beauty that never ends. I think what interests me is the ‘static’ we find in life, like the ones you hear on an old record or the fading of an photograph. It reminds me of the little time we have to this planet in our human experience. So with this approach I try to create a distortion of life around us to face the other side of ourselves.


Is this your first experience designing an AR filter?

I’ve had many ideas I’ve been working on for personal exploration, but this is my first experience actually getting one live.


How does it compare to other forms of interactive work you’ve done?

I try not to think of this as a form of interactive work, but more as an extension of my thoughts using current technology. The process of the work is mostly where I gain the most joy. So I try not to focus as much on the forms or technology but more the journey of discovery which I try to keep with me.


What does our obsession with AR filters say about our relationship with technology?

I’m not 100% certain we have an obsession with it but I do think that as humans, we struggle greatly to see ourselves as we truly are. We try to make our lives seem perfect but the beauty of nature is in the imperfections that we carry. So maybe technology now is like our mask which we wear to create an augmented sense of reality to the outside world. Personally, I think it’s interesting where we are right now with easy access to technology in the palm of our hands, as somehow, as much as we are connected, we are lonely.