Xtreme Scenario: Outdoor Gear ASMR? Article

© Tomorrow Bureau
This is a design project showing climbing gear in unconventional and unsafe set-ups. Please do not attempt to copy them!

Gear geeks be warned: these videos might get you hot under the harness. Digital design studio Tomorrow Bureau recently released a two-part film called Xtreme Scenario, in which climbing gear and outdoor equipment appear in computer generated graphics, with spine-tingling sound effects. James Earls and Jack Featherstone combined their passion for outdoor activities with their digital design skills to create 'a tribute to the great outdoors and a study on the aesthetics of the technical equipment needed to navigate it.'

Xtreme Scenario: A study on the aesthetics of the technical equipment used in climbing.  © Tomorrow Bureau
Xtreme Scenario: A study on the aesthetics of the technical equipment used in climbing.
© Tomorrow Bureau

The idea for the project was conceived two years ago. Regarding the choice of climbing equipment, Jack told UKC:

'As designers we are constantly looking at the world through the lens of form versus function. Why does an object or product look the way that it does? What stories do they tell and how do they fit into the wider world of visual culture in general? We often find beauty in utility and lots of outdoor wear and equipment seem to encapsulate this idea.'

The pair have previously provided the in-store viuals for top designer fashion brands such as Kenzo, for whom they created a global campaign including climbing ropes and carabiners. 'The themes of that specific collection took a lot of inspiration from outdoor wear in general,' Jack explained.

Kenzo FW19 - 02

A post shared by TomorrowBureau (@tomorrowbureau) on

In Xtreme Scenario, James and Jack have created a rather creepy narrative of sorts weaving pieces of equipment together through an audiovisual study of the aesthetics and mechanisms of ropes, carabiners, belay plates, ice axes, stoves, tents and even GPS devices. As the ASMR (autonomous sensory meridian response) craze continues to rack up views on YouTube and social media, our first impression was that the videos were designed to appeal to the senses and to this new trend, or to those with a fetish for outdoor kit? Ropes and metalware do have a touch of another four-letter abbreviation about them, after all...

Carabiners and ropes: tactile, noisy and colourful.  © Tomorrow Bureau
Carabiners and ropes: tactile, noisy and colourful.
© Tomorrow Bureau

'The intention was certainly to evoke an emotional response from the viewer through paying close attention to the tactility, materiality and sounds of the objects. It is always a win when we manage to trick the viewer into thinking that the imagery they are seeing is actually real,' Jack told UKC. 'ASMR is quite a trendy term being thrown around at the moment that relates to quite specific emotional responses triggered by certain sensory input, I'm not sure if our film fits into that category!'

Things get a bit eery in the Xtreme Scenario...  © Tomorrow Bureau
Things get a bit eery in the Xtreme Scenario...
© Tomorrow Bureau

Climbers with a keen sense of safety will notice that some of the scenes do not display safe or best practice, so please do not attempt to use these set-ups in anger!

This is yet another example of designers and brands looking sideways at and drawing inspiration from the outdoor industry.

Watch the videos below:

TB LAB 001 - Xtreme Scenario Part 1 from Tomorrow Bureau on Vimeo.

TB LAB 001 - Xtreme Scenario Part 2 from Tomorrow Bureau on Vimeo.

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8 Jan, 2020

This is not a negative comment, but I was amused that my first reaction to the first photo was to mentally tick off all the hazards going on (krab on krab, rope running around screw gate, three-way load... and the presence of the planet Mars in the background, which clearly shows that they're all being used in space)

8 Jan, 2020

I mean in fairness metal on metal is absolutely fine, otherwise we'd never clip a bolt or wire. The rope wrapped round the gate however is the stuff of nightmares!

8 Jan, 2020

I think the whole video is a stuff of nightmares :)

If I wanted a kind of outdoorsy "tingling", I'd rather watch Jennifer Peedom's movie Mountain (2017) again than some CGI crap.

8 Jan, 2020

I think most peoples teeth started itching at the errors! Pretty and good looking but just wrong at times.

8 Jan, 2020

Quite disappointed this kind of material is getting space on the front page. Sorry but thats just how I feel about it.

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