Here’s what you will not encounter at fashion designers Maxwell + Dao’s installation at the Confidante pool area this Basel: Any exhibits to do with fashion design. Here’s what you will get: An ear into the candid conversations of the Public School duo and their friends, as they tackle every topic from racial identity to Kim K.’s sex tape to skateboarding culture to Trump’s transition team (and how weird it is that we all finally know what a transition team is).
Then you’ll get some great music. You can, in fact, get that right now—today, without being anywhere near the Confidante. Such is the beauty of the “radio as performance art” installation We Need Leaders that Maxwell + Dao came up with for Basel.
This is not performance art in the shocking, bizarre, or jarring sense. It’s basically like the coolest podcast or satellite radio show ever, with guest broadcasters including Yes Julz, Derek Watkins, Selema Masekela and Uncle Luke. The entry point for all broadcast conversations is “Invisible Borders” and how they divide us. However, the path of conversation can go just about anywhere from there.
The physical elements of We Need Leaders are two radio booths, one that looks exactly as you’ve seen the local radio station booths that set up at concerts or street parties. The other booth is a “time capsule” sound booth where people can record messages to be played in 25 years.
Maxwell + Dao’s well publicized split from DKNY served as a catalyst for them to explore other artistic arenas besides fashion, while also evolving their creative outlook into the realm of social commentary. Even their label name, Public School, is intended to signify social awareness. And this project— the first in the Confidante’s new “Designers in Residence” series—is good enough to merit an ongoing series outside of Basel, if the voices behind it decide to continue their private-public conversation.
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The conversation continues today from noon to 8 p.m. Open to all with doorman approval. Visit publicschoolnyc.com/pages/wnl-radio