Surroundings can have a profound effect on performance. For fitness fanatics looking to test themselves, experimenting with the way tweaks to the setting of their work-out can help them to go further, faster and for longer is appealing. A recent London project by Nike aimed to push fitness buffs to smash beyond their usual limits in a neon-lit, stylized environment. The part-nightclub, part retro videogame design by Artisan, from the creators of United Visual Artists, was awash with lights that responded to music by Alexis Taylor and Joe Goddard from the electronic band Hot Chip, at BPMs to match the heartbeat of a body at the peak of its workout. As participants pounded a treadmill, a downhill animation of lights corresponded with a sprint sequence, creating the effect of motion. “The nature, intensity and colour of the light can greatly affect the atmosphere and mood of a space. It’s impressive how our senses and our bodies react to light and how receptive humans are to changes in light, we’re very interested in exploring this in our projects,” said Artisan creative director Alexandros Tsolakis.
Magnum Photographer Mark Power, who described the event as a “post-sci-fi extravaganza for the super fit, or at least those aspiring to be so,” photographed the East London space. Known for his work exploring architecture and spaces, Power was ideally positioned to scope out the hyper-real exercise environment. “TONIGHT WE’RE GOING TO CREATE HISTORY!” boomed the instructor,” recalls Power. “The participants happily endorsed this heady ambition by whooping gleefully in anticipation of what they were about to do, although they had little idea what this would actually be. I was happy in the knowledge that my own participation consisted only of watching, the role of most photographers. The music throbbed, the lights pulsed and the energy became something one could almost touch. The various themed rooms, which had been oddly pregnant with anticipation before the punters arrived, bounced, heaved, sweated and came alive.” In the slideshow above, Power’s images depict the graphic neon of an early computer game manifest that would be the backdrop to the extreme exercise experiment.
Photos: Mark Power/Magnum Photos commissioned by Nike.