MATERIALISED MESSENGERS

“I find wastefulness nauseating.” Sophia Rotas, the mastermind behind Daemon Concept, a brand that seeks to “redefine severe luxury through fine jewellery”, afforded SWARM Mag a piece of her mind on her journey from maximalism to ascetic simplicity, Hungarian ballroom culture, not fearing perceived perfection or how AI-generated art can never reflect the “Zeitgeist”. Enjoy the captivating interview below.

Let’s start big. What do you seek to add to the world as an artist?

Artists are paid to think about differences in an organic, beautiful way – the work I do is often based on an otherworldly aesthetic of possibilities – and the theme is often perception itself. Hyperreality when done right, the act of seeing things, causes profound physical change on its object. This only happens if we listen to the unspoken desire of every finite object that wants it to happen.

What personally fascinates you about wearing jewellery? 

I spent years and years working towards maximalist concepts but, somehow, the deepest inclination is to go towards a sort of ascetic simplicity: I find wastefulness nauseating. Silver has the quality of endless renewal and endlessly recyclability, and I find that in my personal style, I can be satisfied with dressing in monochrome, adorned by a few meaningful jewels. Also, in the the past few years, we have been adding sustainable diamonds and sapphires to the designs and exploring the new world of lab-grown gems in exceptional quality, including the world of innovation facets. These are so precious and come without the conflict of Earth-mined stones. There is a vast opportunity here to make truly beautiful and luxurious objects really accessible, making high jewellery that I always wanted more to exist.

What sparked the idea to start your brand, and what motivates you to develop constantly?

Daemon Concept as a brand really has its own life because it’s always meant to be based on the idea of collective consciousness. So, whilst I personally can be in a state of doubt, someone somewhere will take it further. You know… the impossible relieves the probable.

I’m the collector of things that can never be taken away – the consistent presence of ideas is one of them. And by the way, this principle is taking physical shape as the objects we are developing become increasingly eternal.

Your brand Daemon Concept focuses on craftsmanship and emotional and biological development alongside technology, and also stands for redefining severe luxury through fine jewellery. Can you further explain why you think jewellery redefinition is important from the point of the designer? 

Almost every condition in this universe can be useful or destructive depending on perspective. Being not too well adjusted to society allows me to not fear perfection that might disrupts pre-existing order.

The kind of technology I am interested in doesn’t exist to replace nature but helps us to find a rhythm that brings us closer to our nature. Good design means improved living quality. It dissolves the contradiction when people are overconsuming badly made products and then cannot wait to be distracted in all the empty time they have left.

How would you describe the process of creating new jewellery? What personal rituals or sources of inspiration do you use while creating?

For the longest time, I didn’t think any of this will work out so I have a very minimalist process. I like working on hotel stationery or notebooks that I get as a promotional present or destroying the page breaks of books with sketches – to create it in a liminal and almost non existent way. I also find entertaining the theatrical creative processes of TikTok but for some of us, everything is a mess until it’s not – and maybe some people need to be warne that a performative artistic process is a separate discipline on its own. Actually, I just had a conversation about this with my artist friend Courtney MC and for us personally, only the endgame matters.

Your design is bold and sharp, on the edge between futuristic armour and adornment. Mainly, I would like to know more about the Dystopian Renaissance collection. Can you tell us more about the concept?

I think when I came up with the concept of “Dystopian Renaissance“, it was to sum up an ars poetica – that I won’t question the necessity for art – and I especially won’t question it in dark times. Back then, I was working with my little left-field print publishing project named Nero, and then I met Matt Lambert whose graffiti pseudonym was also Nero so we worked on the covers together. So the concept basically stayed the same but with a more defiant take: the image of an emperor singing on the ruins of burning Rome. 

It is simple for me, I think art and beauty is a necessity. It’s everything that is worth fighting for and I wish to spend time on it even if the planet is burning to ashes.

I want to highlight the names of your jewellery pieces, for example, NEVER HUNGRY AGAIN, LOST BOY TAURUS, IGNORE TIME and DAEMON SOCIALITE. Can you share the ideas behind names? Are there any hidden meanings?

I am glad you asked. They range from being a message for just one person, an inside joke or a code name to very dense physics or ontological principles. Here is a little trivia: “Never Let My Sisters Be Hungry Again,” which is the funniest and one of the most popular pieces (it’s a mouth jewel worn by Georgia Palmer and many others), is actually a line from the movie Hustlers and J.Lo says it. I guess it’s about having your chosen family of sisters and building each other up – a kind of connection that made a lot of my work possible.

You are originally from Hungary. Can you recommend any Hungarian artist or designer who inspired you? 

I would say I am not having a good connection with that country at the moment due to its shameful political position. I do not have respect for artists who get government sponsorships from a dictatorship, this isn’t a compromise I would ever make.

However, I am proud of the heritage of Hungarian poetry and literature. The intricacies of language, just as atom physics, and the manners of education I have received.

The rights of people, especially LGBTQ, are being diminished by soft dictatures day by day.  

So, I immensely appreciate everyone doing transgressive things under such circumstances. Contemporary dance and, surprisingly, ballroom culture of Hungary is thriving at the moment. It has developed its own flair that is a long way away from Paris is Burning. It’s beautiful to see how queer culture and vogueing finds its way under such times.

Now, on SWARM Mag, we focus on utopian and dystopian futures. The last question: How do you envision body decoration in the distant future?

I think the question we should try to answer is how do we create value systems and power dynamics with technology that allows us to become the masters of our faith. Because who else will do that? Academics can obviously tell what’s wrong with society but artists’ and creatives’ job is to make said principles attractive. Good design helps us to adapt and make concepts enjoyable because it isn’t a rational but an emotional decision.

What will happen if companies roll out the singularity red carpet for AI – like Levis using AI models to create “diversity”? I imagine that corporations actually will just mirror your own demographics onto their campaigns and lookbooks that now can also be created with AI. So, you can actually be trapped in a bubble where you are disposed of as a being with a closed horizon and zero aspirations. 

But in a less dystopian scenario, AI can help to create on demand/zero waste and fully size-inclusive fashion, which is what it should be used for. At Daemon Concept at the moment, I am researching the applications of smart contracts where the design and inscribed shapes of an object forever can be redeemed. So there is a dream for a new generation heirloom that can be carried, forever and weightlessly.

But understand this: an AI generated image can never be anything more than a cocktail of pre-existing art and it can never be anything that reflects the Zeitgeist.

If we attribute value to non-derivative and beautifully crafted design products, from knives to umbrellas to food, everything will be fine. All this is so significant to me, especially in moments when it seems to be at risk…

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Bio

Deamon Concept is an artisanal jewellery brand created by Sophia Rotas, in its core value the silent enigma of trans-humanism that tackles emotional and biological development alongside technology. They design adornments for the celebration of freedom and unpredictability, the material aspirations of a fragile universe that are natural beyond nature, made to transcend the possibilities of our body.

Credits

Designer/ Deamon Concept @daemon_concept

https://www.daemonconcept.com

Interview / Kateřina Hynková

Boy with mountains background/girl with silver bra:

Photography / Balint Barna @balint.barna

CGI/ Adem Elahel @adem.elahel

Model / Ollie Dixon @flicksonmcgee

Model / Georgia Palmer @georgiapalme

Girl with scorpion headpiece :

Talent / Asleigh Bough @aslayy

Photo / Perazna @perazna

MUA /Etienne Ortega @etienneortega

Hair / Ahuva Bitan @ahuva.bitan

Product photo / @twoshell

Two Shell pendant (product developed for Shell.tech)

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