Inspired by the use of the French eighteenth century textile Toile de Jouy in the Spring/Summer 2001 fashion collections, creative director Peter Saville commissioned the young illustrator Julie Verhoeven to create ‘wallpaper for the computer’.
Acknowledging the contemporary anxiety about the mainstream role of pornography in fashion photography, in addition to concerns about the availability of sexual imagery on the Internet, Saville supplied the artist with reference imagery of Japanese rope suspension bondage to introduce an element of erotic danger; a counterbalance to the delicate detail of the historical textile source. From this, Verhoeven produced a sequence of virtuoso, linear vignettes that grew increasingly dark in subject and expressive in execution as the series progressed.
Experimenting with Flash software to create the final interactive, SHOWstudio's designers developed a labyrinthine route through the drawings using various ‘hotspots’ in each of Verhoeven’s densely packed graphic layers. In contrast with pornography that is consumed passively, as a film or stills might be, Forget-Me-Not demands an active participant. It is impossible to explore this provocative project without acknowledging one’s complicity in stimulating further depravity. The user has to navigate the drawings by stroking their cursor over the various sexual acts and organs depicted, until they find the gateway to the next, more explicit level.