Founded 2001 Members Seven (most of whom are anonymous) Disciplines Filmmaking, music, illustration, print and motion graphics, video editing Mission To use the profits from commercial work to realize pipe dreams
Collective heroes Artists and directors from Hans Bellmer to Michelangelo Antonioni
Pleix, a Parisian group that creates live-action and animated shorts, recently made a mesmerizing film called Birds.
The frame is cut up with pink and purple lasers, the action plays to a techno beat that recalls Daft Punks heyday, and the stars are dogs seen in slow motion: A shih tzu's fur scatters in thousands of wisps as it sails past; a basset hound's skin undulates like a waterbed. It's all shot at 2,000 frames per second, so you can see every scattered droplet as a soggy canine shakes itself dry.
Like many Pleix videos, Birds was a viral hit among graphic designers. But such projects dont pay the bills. For that, Pleix relies on commercial work, such as a recent spot for Adidas in which a hail of nuts, bolts, coils, and widgets gloms together to form a car's suspension. Profits go into funding side projects, which are developed by creative pairs-or binomes, to quote Laetitia Rouxel, a Pleix member who, like her colleagues, is in her 30s. Everyone in the collective contributes different skills so that production can be kept in-house, but Rouxel is tight-lipped about who exactly does what. Members do not receive individual credit; in fact, Rouxel won't even reveal their identities.
"We don't think there is one look to Pleix. It's more like a gallery to show our work," Rouxel says. And yet many of the projects share an unearthly refinement, with simple images played out in exacting detail and frequent references to other artworks. In a music video for Basement Jaxx, tanks roll in formations that recall the football-field dance routines of Matthew Barney's Cremaster 1 (themselves inspired by Busby Berkeley musicals); E-Baby, a side project set to music written by a Pleix member, features a doll reminiscent of Hans Bellmer's spooky, hypersexual playthings. Says Rouxel: "We fish around for inspiration, but we don't believe in reinventing things." www.pleix.net – cliff kuang
Art: Birds, a short film of dogs in slow motion, was shot at 2,000 frames per second so that every wisp of fur would be visible.