Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Äkkiresidenssi interview

Listen to the full interview at the end of this post.

Äkki: We will start from the beginning; I was once told by a Zulu man, that your home is where you leave your umbilical cord, how would you comment on that statement?

AS: Well what is your umbilical cord, I think you can say your umbilical cord is a physical thing but you could also say that your umbilical cord is part of your life, and you loose bits of it wherever you go, and there is a long stretch of it all over the world, so I would say that yes, you loose a little bit of it in every place you live.

IC: I so agree with that! Physically yes, but mentally it is really different, or, in places where you have had more intense experiences about life; more developing as a person, then you might loose more of the cord in that place than somewhere else, like Amsterdam will always be part of my home although I am not from Amsterdam but I had a very intense period there and so much development, and because something happed to me there, and I strongly associate with that place. Although I don't have such a rooted place that I am attached to.

Äkki: Can you name a decisive moment in your career, when you decided to become an artist, or, consciously decided to make art?

AS: I ended up teaching art; I had a degree in writing and I went to the middle east to pay off my student loans. I was doing very well as a writer; I had my first book published and my novel was in discussion with my publisher, and I had done lots of poetry. But I had a really big student loan, and my Mum was living in Kuwait and she said come for a year, work and pay off a large chunk of your student loan. And I said, OK. When I got there, and because my degree is a BFA, they said, Oh, you have a Bachelor of Fine arts, can you teach art? And I went, Yeah! Yeah, I could teach art, how hard can it be! I ended up teaching art to kids who were doing A-levels, finishing high school, without any clue as to what art was, what it was for or without having spent any time with it, and then I remember going: actually, this makes more sense to me. But I think there was always a conscious choice, in the back of my head, not wanting to work for someone else, not wanting to wear a suit and tie, very conscious of that whatever I do with my life, I don't want to do something for someone else, I don’t want to have to wear I tie; I can wear I tie if I want to, but I don’t want to have to.
But consciously choosing to be an artist, I think the moment when I was at Emily Carr doing a diploma, and I did a project with knives and it worked really well: basically it was just handing out kitchen knives on the street, and people were walking down the street holding this knife. I then I realized that this is what I want to do for the rest of my life, I want to make people feel really weird for the rest of my life.

IC: I think I always wanted to be an artist when I was a child, but everybody wanted to be an artist in those days; drawing and doing artistic activities. I would be locking myself in the bathroom at night; drawing and cutting and collaging, but my parents sent me to a normal school because they were afraid of this artistic tendency of mine and they thought “oh my god the girl might go into arts!” and become an alcoholic, anti-social and broke person for the rest of her life, so they sent me to the normal school to avoid that kind of path. So I did go to normal school but I always kept arts on the side; doing things and occupying myself with finding things in the forest and polishing them, and making different kinds of sculptures out of it, and all of that. But I did various things, so I tried working and being part of society but then, as Anthony said as well, one thing I realised early on, is that I don’t want to work for anybody else, and I was very comfortable with that idea. I liked the work that I was doing, as a journalist, but then again not the newspaper or being part of the machinery, although I had a lot of freedom as well and I didn’t have to wear I tie if I didn’t want to but I wanted to be doing my own thing, and in my own interests. And then I started with photography and I think that that was when I understood that whatever is going to happen, I am going to be doing this.  So first I was working four days a week, and then making art and organizing and participating in exhibitions three days a week, and at one point I really had to choose because I had a kind of burn out, and my body said, stop, you really have to choose what want to be doing, this or that, because you cannot continue doing the two at the same time. So then I made a very conscious choice, this is it, I really want to be doing this and although It might be very uncomfortable because I have to give up a lot of things like work, money, comfortable things. And then I made the choice to go to Rietveld and I was accepted and so that was also ok. And from then on, this is it, I am doing it so we’ll see how it will go.

Äkki: There are only three more days until the opening; are you going to make it?

AS: Yeah! Course we are!
IC:  Yeah! Sure! We’re doing it!

Äkki: And now some one word answers:
Äkki: Material
AS: Hassle.
IC: Glass.

Äkki: Colour
AS: Sure. (interesting visual trick)
IC: No colour.

Äkki: Process
IC: Fascinating.
AS: Lengthy.

Äkki: Explanation
IC: Unnecessary.
AS: Necessary.

Äkki: Object
AS: Problem.
IC: Hassle.

Äkki: Country
AS: Which one?
IC: Borders?

Äkki: Home
IC: Here.
AS: Where you lay your hat.

Äkki: Art
AS: Schmart, Fart.
IC: Good.

No comments:

Post a Comment