June 13, 2024


Specialists in fashion

Richie Shazam’s Multimedia Diary Depicts Their Hyperactive Brain in Self-Isolation

Over the phone from their apartment in New York City at the end of last week, Richie Shazam likens their brain to a spinning hamster wheel. “My entire life, I’ve always needed to move and shake and be outside and interact with the world and people,” Shazam says, all of which influences the multimedia art that they create. That sort of artist-as-activator persona was on full display at the hyperactive one-night installation they put together in a loft in the West Village last year. Videos of Shazam writhing around on a bed were projected on a large screen in one room as club DJs played, while performance artist Bubbleman showed off his craft in the adjacent room.

Obviously, the necessity to self-quarantine is shifting Shazam’s usual, hyper-connected creative process. “The complete 180 of having to be a homebody has been really rigorous on the spirit,” Shazam admits, feelings that are further compounded by the disproportionate rates of COVID-19 infections among black and brown people in the United States. Over the past few weeks, their anxiety has gotten the best of them at times, but they’ve been meditating, journaling, and calling their friends nonstop. “I talk to my friends all day, whether we’re on the phone or FaceTiming or in Zoom meetings. We probably see even more of each other than we did before,” Shazam says.

They’ve incorporated recordings of these virtual conversations in the self-isolation diary that they’ve shared with Vogue.com—British actress Maisie Williams, model Paloma Elsesser, and chef Danny Bowien video chat with Shazam and Ben Draghi, their partner, whom they’ve been self-isolating with and collaborating with (Draghi composed the music in the videos in the diary). Together, they talk through how each of them have been spending their days under lockdown. “The videos were a relief, a sort of cathartic experience,” Shazam says. “I’m sort of processing everything that’s happening and I’m connecting with myself and others.”

Like Shazam’s IRL exhibit last year, their diary gives expression to all of the different parts of Shazam’s identity, which is now unfolding itself indoors as Shazam relays. There’s a video of Shazam shot from afar, dressed in a vibrant, full-coverage lime-green dress sitting in their windowsill with a mask on, and a photograph of Shazam in a swirling pink spaghetti strap dress with a bisected orange in their hands, which all comes together to represent the state of their world right now. “The photos create this sort of dreamlike space of fantasy–looking at what’s happening in our world and needing the light and positivity, desiring for things to get better, and figuring out how my story fits into the bigger picture,” says Shazam.

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