January 16th, 2023 at Depot in Vienna / w Cornelia Mittendorfer / Initiated by Johannes Franz-Figeac
For a continuous and reasonable art production, structures are helpful. What is structured with you, what less? Regular job and salary (yes/no), studio space (yes/no; where/how?).
-Yes, teaching and child care help to partition my time, give me some responsibility and accountability. My studio’s in the basement of our apartment…I like to get up and immediately work, and generally work late…it’s also practical with a kid. I really have no idea how it would work if I had to be out of the house. Also, I’m lazy, and in the past when I had a studio away from home I’d never go. I think to some degree I don’t like to separate art/life…I somehow like to be surrounded by it…maybe it’s a question of object permanence, like if I couldn’t see my work all the time it wouldn’t exist and I’d vanish because my ego is so delicate.
Architecture as a man-made environment is examined in your multimedia artistic work for the essence of human existence. What is the non-visible material of architecture for you?
-I’m not sure I think architecture is actually the material…maybe architecture is everything in between the walls? The sounds, smells, safety, social dynamics it proposes…we make something architecture by giving it cultural and political meaning. By using it…however innocently, violently, or impractically.
Collective processes make up a significant part of your work. In these, there is rarely a single material, which is handcrafted. Nevertheless. Can you formulate in general terms what constitutes material processing in collectives?
-In the collectives I’ve worked in and continue to work in, the base material seems to be speech. Conversations start the process. Material, and form generally come out of that. With the Palais the form and direction is pretty well established at this point (we have this history of violent occupation and erasure), and we embrace the contradictions and complications of being both physical and digital (post-digital). It’s a kind of experiment into the materiality of remembrance…little by little we’ve become an ‘accidental memorial’, and the material of the project seems to be under constant stress, data and memory are both extremely fickle and equally as fragile.
In the maturing process of an artistic practice, failure can be a source of strength. What does it take for failure to succeed? And how have you succeeded in failure?
-Hands (fuck them), my art career (restless, sprawling, unstable, no proper medium or discipline), the Palais (we want to recover something lost but keep losing it in the process)…it all seems like a sequence of separate failures, hopefully when you put them together though they add up to something legible…or at least honest in its messiness. I feel good about my creative practice, good about teaching and how my son is developing but pretty terrible about my career. I think in my life and work I’ve learned to use failure as something productive, career wise not so much. I hate the way I look or actually how invisible I am on the internet, but I’m not really motivated to work on it, I’d rather just panic and complain about it.
Questions from Johannes (Franz-Figeac)