Today, the expression “urban jungle” is something of a cliché. However, there is no better phrase to describe the habitat in which we are bound to live everyday. For those who are not masters of their own destiny, there has only ever been one rule for survival in the jungle: run.

Over the last few years, people have realised that a fearsome adversary lurks in this jungle: technological progress. Who hasn’t come across a video of Jim Carrey behaving like Jack Nicholson in “The Shining” while scrolling mindlessly on Facebook? Almost everyone – at least in Italy – has seen a fake speech by Renzi broadcast on Striscia La Notizia. These stories may initially seem unrelated but they do have something in common: they are fiction generated by technology. Deep fake will probably be the main issue to shape politics and communication in the near future. New technologies allow us to create parallel worlds: just like in the Matrix, the fantasy of an individual human is perceived as reality by those who naively believe in everything they see. In this universe of false information, speed is the antidote. It is all about how fast you can develop the means to choose what to believe in. How fast you can grasp a situation and ride the wave, and not the watery kind but the ones we surf online.

On the other hand, progress in recent years has not always been used as it should and has got us running too fast. The work of man, once seen as the future, now belongs to the past: the future means a return to our origins; the future means nature and going green, under the watchful and approving eye of those who fight for the environment.

To present Gyakusou, TARFU – a new Milanese art direction and visual content production studio – and Nike have decided to let speed collide, pulling together the real world and the “distorted” version, which is sometimes just a reflection of reality. In an urban context that is almost “devoured” by progress in each and every modern city, TARFU and Nike decided to involve the Veloce in The Streets collective to create a series of shots heavily featuring digital postproduction:

men running towards each other, overlapping and multiplied women are portrayed to create dynamism and speed.

In the background, the pride and joy of cutting-edge Milanese real estate and the real forest, intended to highlight the contrast between the past and the future. Because the present vanishes in the very moment that we are living it.

Speed is achieved through the distortion of a phrase written on an athlete’s back, while cranes among the skyscrapers and multinationals are relegated to the background in favour of bushes and plants which jump out at the eye when browsing the photos.

It is no coincidence that Gyakusou is the brainchild of Japanese designer and founder of UNDERCOVER, Jun Takahashi.

Japan is a country where nature and progress sprint along hand in hand, so much so that mankind has been forced to accept the fact that, in the urban jungle, it is nothing but the prey of nature’s predator, and must bend to its will.

“We’re entering an era in which our enemies can make it look like anyone is saying anything at any point in time — even if they would never say those things. So, for instance, they could have me say things like […] President Trump is a total and complete dipshit. Now, I would never say these things. At least not in a public address but someone else would. Someone like Jordan Peele.” This was Jordan Peele’s statement in the deep fake where he played Barack Obama, which was already doing the rounds in the US in 2018. Reality bends to progress, progress bends to nature and all man can do is keep up the pace.

Nature is therefore the best way to survive, to keep riding the wave, to keep being “Veloce in The Streets”, just like the collective involved in the Italian launch of the project.

Nature is the only thing that will rebel if distorted, and make you pay the price.