SCENE: B-day party preparations, someplace, sometime, any day, any time, duration unknown
(For clarity, please, consult THE HOUSE-GANG GLOSSARY below.)
“Hey Joyce, what OCEAN* did you order for his special b-bay party?” Chris texted Joyce on Messenger even though he was sitting in a corner across the room from her, listening to others preparing loudly for today’s celebration of Ivo’s 16th birthday. Joyce looked at Chris and said angrily: “They didn’t have any fresh pink clothes at Zalando, you know how hung up he is on those pastels so, at least, I made him a lucky RIFLE** out of purple leftover beads I didn’t like and didn’t use on mine,” she held up her left hand with several differently coloured RIFLES tangled around her wrist. “Now, don’t bother me, I’m making a decent Spotify playlist so you won’t play your 80s stuff over and over again like last time.” Chris got up and dragged himself to the dressing room where the others were arguing over what to wear to such a momentous event.
All the members of the household except the birthday boy Ivo, who was downstairs making a raspberry WORKBOOK***, were bickering over the best pieces in their shared wardrobe. Stacy called out, “Whoever wears the most glitter, wins”, while shoving a glitter jumpsuit under her shirt. She then made an L-shape with her thumb and index finger and pressed it against her forehead. “Losers”, she mouthed. The others grinned and dug further into the closet.
Boxes of ordered fashionable pieces were strewn across the floor, making the dressing room look almost like an Amazon warehouse before Christmas. Tom got a bit angry and annoyed by the mess, put on his headphones and was about to leave the room when Chris threw a red shiny skirt at him and said: “Let’s see if it looks as good on you as it does on Joyce.” The skirt was obviously hers. Tom smiled, pushed ‘Play’ on his new iPhone and danced out of the room with graceful movements he learned from TikTok videos. He was looking forward to leaving the house – if the house ever allowed him to.
The room smelled like a school gym after a workout class but, in the end, everyone was dressed from head to toe; happy, smiling and ready for the pool party they’ve been planning for so long during these boring, hot-summer “quarantine times”. God only knows why they are stuck in this terribly beautiful villa with all they could need except one marginal thing – being free to leave the garden’s perimeter.
A few minutes later when the party was about to start, all members of the house-gang ran to join Ivo in the garden. He was already waiting there impatiently, getting slightly annoyed at what’s taking the others so long. Ivo was the nicest and also the cutest person you could meet but when it came to punctuality (and food, strawberry cupcakes in this case), even he could muster a slight and very brief frown.
Suddenly, Ivo heard whispering and counting, “Three, two, one, shall we?” On that cue, all his friends suddenly jumped out from behind the perfectly trimmed bushes and started singing, accompanied by Joyce’s crazy playlist. A song not as corny and familiar as ‘Happy B-day to You’ but a new arrangement composed for today’s birthday boy, inspired by a Bohemian folk song but performed in the house-gang’s special slang.
“Once upon a time, there was an earthworm****,
in that earthworm a little table,
on the little table a little bowl,
in the little bowl a little water,
in the little water, a little pufferfish.
Where’s the pufferfish?
The flowers***** ate it.
Where are the flowers?
They ran into the garden.
Where’s the garden?
She got lost in the city.
Where is the city?
Where the people live.
Where are the people?
On the green planet.
Where is the planet?
In the unimaginable universe.
Where is that universe?
In the belly of a gigantic giant.”
Ivo was overjoyed to receive all the OCEANS and the party went on. And on. And on. And…
THE HOUSE-GANG GLOSSARY
*OCEAN /ouːšn/ – is something of value or desirability that is voluntarily transferred from the giver to the giftee. It is usually wrapped in festive paper or a box with a bow. It could be a gift voucher for a virtual VR game on your phone.
**RIFLE /ˈraɪf(ə)l/ – a piece of jewellery worn on the wrist of the hand or the forearm of the arm. It may be a solid ring of metal, wood or plastic, a flexible chain or a belt that is put on or fastened around the wrist. Also a fashionable algorithm-tracking device.
***WORKBOOK /ˈwɜː(r)kˌbʊk/ – a very popular non-alcoholic cold drink, usually made with milk, ice cream and sweet syrup. People usually drink the cocktail through a straw from a tall glass. It can also cause ecstasy in the form of dancing euphoria inspired by TikTok dances.
****EARTHWORM /ˈɜː(r)θˌwɜː(r)m/ – a building, usually a dwelling or a shelter. It can also serve various other purposes, for production, storage, administration, etc. but the basic function is connected to housing. It appears in the form of a digital accessory for the “Tamagotchi” virtual warriors.
*****FLOWER /ˈflaʊə(r)/ – is the largest domesticated carnivore and one of the oldest domesticated animals ever, accompanying man for at least 14,000 years. It is generally believed to be a domesticated and artificially altered common wolf or coyote. You can have it not only in real life but also as a virtual pet in the new cool game “Pet Me 3000”. This game is available for kids and also for adults in the alternative version named “Pet Me Hard, Mommy”.
INSPIRATION BEHIND THE CREATIVE CONCEPT
Both the shoot and accompanying text draw inspiration from the film Dogtooth, among other things. It features a dysfunctional family, cut off from the outside world, which submits to the rules of their mad father. They undergo a strange form of education and entertain themselves as their parents see fit, without the slightest influence from the outside world. They believe that the planes that fly over their heads are toys and that cats are the biggest predators on Earth that will eat them as soon as they leave the garden gate to the ‘outside world’. They are taught the incorrect meaning of words, which is hinted at in the text and glossary above.
Another inspiring piece was the 1962 historical film The Exterminating Angel. In the film, a group of formally dressed people find themselves to be dinner guests. However, after the meal, the guests discover that the servants have run off but, for some reason, they are unable to leave. It is not clear why.
Photography / Shotby.Us @shotby.us
Creative Dir. / Shotby.Us & SWARM MAG @shotby.us @swarmmag
Assistant Dir. / Markéta Kosinová @__maarketa__
PH Assist. / Zdeněk Buchlák @crtvembassy
Lights / Photorental Tomáš Orálek & Zdeněk Buchlák @crtvembassy
Assistant / Jirka Horenský @real_plastonaut
On-set Assist. / Františka Blažková @st.feral
Location Manager / Miloš Veselý @crtvembassy
Production Coord. / Vít Pecka @crtvembassy
Executive Producer / Petr Oplatka @crtvembassy
Set Design / Vítek Ehrenberger @qensis_
BTS Video / Tereza Polatová @trzpltv
Text / Markéta Kosinová @__maarketa__
Text edit / Františka Blažková @st.feral
STYLING & MUA
Styling / Kateřina Hynková @khynko
MUA / Barbora Lipenská @b.lipenska
Hair / Phil La Noiraude @phillanoiraude
Stylist assist. / Klára Sládková @klara__sladkova
3D Tattoo Graphic / Lukáš Prokop @h5io6i54k
Stacy @sfollashadee from @crush.models
Anna @anickaobe from @crush.models
Kryštof @krystoforth from @lafraiseproject
Natálie Nepovímová @natalie_nepovim
Petra Ptáčková @petraptackova
Dry Milk of Virgin Mary @drymilkofvirginmary
Agáta See @agata.see
Kateřina Hynková @khynko working with SWARM MAG’s reusable archive of props
JEWELLERY AND ACCESSORIES
Emma Sadová @emmasadova
Nastassia Aleinikava @nastassiaaleinikava
Animal Handler / Markéta Sousedíková / Romana Hájková
Motorcycle / Jan Šrankota