Rarely in the world of media does one come across fresh, edgy material– we have post-modernism to thank for that– but sometimes, the media powers that be take a turn for the better and sparks come flying off the page– sometimes even into a video screen. Such is the case for FLY16x9, the brainchild of Stephen Blaise and Catherine Camille Cushman– Editor-in-Chief and Creative Director, respectively– which is a hardly definable, yearly collection of film pieces and features aimed at the construction of elaborated conscious fantasies.

“The project started in 2003,” comments creator Stephen Blaise. “I was invited to be an exhibiting artist at the TED conference in Monterey, California– I was at a crossroads in my life. My mind was freshly filled and inspired by the conference talks, when driving up the coast of Big Sur I stopped in a record store and had an epiphany.”

Today, that epiphany– FLY16x9– delivers an unorthodox, insightful view of combined creative genres including art, fashion, music and film. The sometimes playful, sometimes self-aware,always poignant film and photography projects are created in collaboration with daring artists and their multi-denominational muses. “I always compare the people who sign on to work with FLY16x9 to the characters from Clouzot‘s film Wages of Fear: hardboiled, with deep resolve and nothing to lose.” Amongst those who have been involved with the projects are ASW members Julia Restoin-Roitfeld, Andreas von Scheele, Jamie Isaia, Jonathan Turner, Patrik Andersson and Valerio Rocco Orlando.

FLY16x9 is an invitation to dream. Each piece in the project is made up of a multitude of sensorial threads strung together by the careful hand of a weaving master. Further, if dreams are the product of our conscious existence as expressed by the subconscious, then these projects represent somewhat of a reverse process. FLY16x9 explores the subconscious and utilizes practical, cognizant tools like film and photography to render the caverns of the subconscious mind. In other words: FLY16x9 brings dreams into the realm of reality; it creates ‘Conscious Dreams.‘

The product, as elaborate and finished as it may seem, comes from a raw, instinctual place, inspired by the most basic human sensibilities. “I’m inspired by my desire, everything comes from that,” shared Blaise. There is a school of Buddhism that teaches that all desire leads to enlightenment. It‘s impossible to remove desire from your life. Even the desire to live is a desire. Your desires, pain and personal struggle, everything comes from that. That‘s our truth and what defines us. Hopefully, it‘s where the work is based, where the most interesting questions are raised. Everything is a self-portrait,” he concluded.

When asked to define FLY16x9– “Is it a magazine?” we asked– Blaise responded: “To put it simply, FLY16x9 is more than a magazine. You only have to watch it in its entirety to fully understand what this means.” Indeed, words are hardly sufficient– and rarely used– to define the work of Blaise, Cushman and their crafty collaborators. Thus, as instructed, we shall let the work speak for itself. Sweet dreams.

-Alonso Dominguez