A Deeper Look into Sunni Colon's Sensual Installation, Manifest 1.0

by Flaunt Intern

“Go outside and have conversations,” says artist Sunni Colón when I ask him how to avoid the mindless mimicking and repetition of content that so often occurs.

Colón has found a way to bring back originality. His new collaborative project Manifesto 1.0, happening in Brooklyn through October 27th, is sure to stimulate all of your senses. The installation is a collaboration between Jordan Caldwell, The Family, Sunni Colón and his design agency Tetsu. Through this collaboration Colon was able to create a world of his own. He says he wanted to be “sure the space felt as much like me as possible.”

@tetsucreative ~ @manifest.live Tickets at http://manifest.live

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The installation plays with angles, light, sound, and scent. The latter caught me as most striking. Not often do I consciously register the smell of my experiences, and even less often do I get to take said scent home with me in a bottle. Colón worked closely with Melisa Dougherty, a designer from The Family, to make this idea a reality. Colón relates the scent to an air cabinet with a hint of sweetness. The fragrance is packaged and labeled “Manifest 1.0 Testu.” This way, when you leave the space you can take the scent with you; a way to remind yourself of the experience after it has passed.

I couldn’t help but think that if the scent was something that seemed like him it might be strange to smell it on someone else. Colón laughed at this and said he experienced said phenomenon over the weekend, but it was more cool than strange. Colón was at a party when a friend walked passed and he recognized the scent. “I’ve been smelling the scent everyday since I’m working with it so I was like wait hold up.” Colón says he can now easily recognize the fragrance but that “it’s cool because I want people to leave and still have a nostalgic moment and remember the space and experience after their gone.”

The installation is ultimately Sunni Colón’s vision brought to life. Colón has studied esoteric culture for over 10 years and has always been inspired by futuristic design. His new design agency, Tetsu, aims to highlight these things as well as “bridge the gap between technology and humans.” He talks a lot about knowledge, pain, self awareness, and science; things I don’t quite understand, but want to. Tetsu wishes to bring these things to the public's attention through installations and art. Colón see’s Manifesto 1.0 as the “incarnation” for his vision and design.

@tetsucreative for @surfacemag . i am beyond grateful for @joliviacald, @thefamilybts and my parents for birthing me 🙏🏾

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“There’s no rules to design," he says. "You and I for instance, we don’t know if we have a child how it would turn out--we just create. That’s what design is: creating things that make you feel good.”

The musical element for Manifesto 1.0 comes from Sunni Colón’s forthcoming album, which we should see before the end of 2017. Colón has been living in Paris while working on this independent and self-funded album. I follow him on Twitter and have seen him comment about how music on the radio often sounds the same.

I ask him what he does to avoid this and he tells me about a bakery he goes to buy a baguette when he needs a break from music. He talks about his “palette of music” which includes “obscure music from the '70s and '80s.” And lastly he talks about growing up and not ever being “interested in what the cool kids were doing.” Whether it be just one of these things or a collection of them all, Sunni Colón surely has a uniqueness of both sound and personality.

At this point my 15-minute phone call with Colón has almost reached an hour and I know I best let him go.  At least I know Manifesto 1.0 is just the beginning for Tetsu, and new Sunni Colón sounds are close around the corner.

Written by Devin Hendricks
Photos by Hannah Sider
Styled by Savannah White