|Exposition. Mayfly Art of Speed|
Imagine you only had one day to live. What would be the most valuable asset for you to get as much as possible out of these 24 hours? Certainly speed. You would strip everything that slowed you down, you would only carry the most vital items with you to get around - see as much as you can of the world, meet as many people as you can, have the most fun. Equipment is the key factor for your quest to cover the world in that one day and the Nike Mayfly - aptly named - would be the shoe of your choice: the most lightweight construction with the cushioning and protection to carry you 100km. And 100km only.
Fortunately though, we have a bit more time at hands to pursue what we need to do and like to do. So what then is the concept behind the Mayfly? Athletics! It is a 100% running performance shoe which has been given a special treatment in the context of Nike's Art of Speed project.
In long distance running for each extra 100g that an athlete has to carry on his feet, he needs approximately 1% more energy to perform at the same level. This in mind, the engineers and designers at Nike took up the task to develop a shoe that - while offering optimum support and cushioning - would be stripped down to the bare athletic essentials. The result is the Mayfly - a running shoe that has a fly-like weight of 135g but also a fly-like life-span of 100km only. It need not go any further, though, as its job is done after that, after the race.
Speed is the central winning factor in athletics, thus it has been Nike's first and foremost goal/obsession to create products that will let humans go faster in every possible discipline. Speed is the key factor and in order to enhance athletes' performances everything possible has been done and will be done to come up with the optimum of footwear and related equipment.
Genealogy of Speed
Since the 1960s Nike has been pursuing to make athletes go faster. In order to do so Nike studied their bodies, analyzed how their feet worked, looked for any hint of how to 'speed them up' by fractions of a second. As a retrospective of these efforts, Nike has dug into its archives, interviewed designers and uncovered its family history - the "Genealogy of Speed". It showcases the concepts behind Nike's performance products and their influences on other gear.
Art of Speed
"15 visions of Speed through a Nike lens" is the subtitle for Nike's Art of Speed project. For it 15 of the world's leading digital artists were asked to create their interpretations of the term "speed". Art of Speed is a display of 15 short films that are as diverse on the subject as the artists' backgrounds: filmmaking, graphic design, architecture, etc. With Art of Speed Nike has left its familiar path to venture out into another sphere where speed might have a totally different meaning...
Mayfly - Art of Speed
The Mayfly is one of Nike's most advanced running shoes to-date. It is one of the central products in Genealogy of Speed and is seen as the best (physical) representation of the term "speed" in Nike's product line. It is designed, engineered, and produced just for that one purpose - to let a human being run as fast as possible. This special Art of Speed edition of the Mayfly not only defines Nike's idea of speed but also incorporates other concepts - those of the digital artists from the Art of Speed animation movies.
The actual shoe and packaging is decorated with a collage of video stills taken from the Art of Speed clips. One of the more apparent bits on the shoes can be identified as Saiman Chow and Han Lee's Oggo creatures. Here is what the clip is about: "An over-the-top allegory of speed as demonstrated by a no-holds-barred competition between adrenaline cells (or "oggo") in a runner's body. As a runner cruises throught the frame, we are taken inside his body, where oggo race each other. [...] Speed is ruthless and relentless, even when it begins as a simple jog from home."
The Mayfly Art of Speed will be distributed from late July through a number of Nike outlets. Watch out for more information and a list of retailers in various media from today. And remember: it's an athletic shoe, but it might just also speed up your daily routine...
The Mayfly was created by Sean MacDowell, Jerry Crowley, Kevin Paulk and Tony Bignell.
- late July 2004
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