Technicolour lights whir around at 100MPH as they morph into dizzying humanoid shapes, skin is drenched in pearls of sweat and the heart pounds as though seeking escape from the confines of its sinewy prison. And so, designer Mowalola Ogunlesi takes us on a feverish acid trip for her new short film SILENT MADNESS.
Directed by Jordan Hemingway and starring Yves Tumor, the film follows Ogunlesi's debut solo exhibition of the same name held last November at South London's NOWGallery. The immersive experience was a result of the Lagos-born designer's modern punk aesthetic and musical inclinations. The film likewise reflects these vital elements to the Mowalola brand. Opening in an underground London club, ravers model the designer's S/S 20 collection as they dance euphorically. Meanwhile an archetypal dealer with slicked back hair, puffs away at a roll-up as he makes his way over to the bar. Subsequently, shit hits the fan as something resembling a Berocca is dropped into somebody's G&T. Side note- it was most definitely not a Berocca.
The drink’s unfortunate recipient, sporting may I add, a charming Rod Stewart wig, spirals into a bad trip. We are immersed into the hyperactive mind of the victim as they stumble blindly, encountering their psychological id, a tormented figure splattered with neon paint. The intense reaction of the Berocca drug is emphasised by flashing, explicit clips of the body in action – from pulsing organs being consumed by maggots to cells under a microscope. The film eventually reaches its shocking conclusion as they collapse outside the club, the last shot depicting a pool of blood crowning the head, as eyes stare vacantly into the distance.
A move away from Mowalola Ogunlesi’s previous fashion films such as Dàfe Oboro's Kilón Shélé Gán Gán which debuted Ogunlesi's graduate collection against the sunny backdrop of Lagos, SILENT MADNESS is powerful stuff more in line with the sweat-inducing trailer which accompanied the original exhibition. To mark the release of the new film, the Kaleidoscope Gallery in Paris will be hosting a special installation of SILENT MADNESS in May. Watch the full film below.