Friday, 26 March 2010
All of thee works are interactive web-based works, so the screen captures above are not representative of the full depth of each piece. Go see them.
“Richard Brereton: As your online work is not for sale, how do you make a living from what you do?
Rafaël Rozendaal: My online work is for sale. The collector buys the work with the domain name. Domain names are a real commodity so selling a website as an art piece is not that crazy.
The owner also receives a certificate which is a contract stating the website must remain open to the public.
It is a cool kind of ownership, the owner sees the exact same piece as the rest of the world but their name is in the title bar of the website. “collection of …”
What compels you to produce your work?
There are many reasons, curiosity is a big part of it. I get an idea and it is a challenge to get it out of my brain. It’s a scary process, because I have no clue how to do it and if it will work. I don’t know if it will feel good. It’s not that I am trying to get a message across, but i want to achieve the best possible form. Making popcorn look and sound like popcorn even though it isn’t popcorn at all.
I make work because if I don’t I feel guilty. Because I want to be famous. Because every time I put out a new piece good things happen. I make work because it gives me a feeling of accomplishment. Because I am the boss of my website.
Do people see your work as humorous?
Humor is very broad. Humor is used a lot for self protection. You can use it to make a tragedy less tragic or to mask your opinion.
I am not sure if I really use humor in my work. I try to find a space where you are not sure. Somewhere between beauty and curiosity. I like the original meaning of the word aesthetic: to intensify perception.
Humor exists on all levels, from very primal to more subliminal. Humor and intelligence are not directly linked, they walk hand in hand and sometimes go about on their own.
Would you describe your work as absurd?
To me one of the most absurd things in life is that people need so many things just to function. I wish I could walk around with empty pockets but you always have to bring keys and money. It would be cool to have an assistant to carry those for me.
What makes for a perfect Rafael Rozendaal piece?
I don’t think perfect pieces exist, I’ve never seen one. I always enjoy retrospective exhibition of dead artists. I enjoy seeing all the works and the trial and error throughout the artist’s life. Van Gogh is a perfect example, he struggled so much and a lot of paintings are mediocre but every now and then he achieves critical mass.
I confess I wasted several minutes unraveling your Papertoilet.com, I was slightly hoping for a different ending, do people ever complain about your work?
Exactly that piece gets a lot of comments, people want a different ending. Movie makers must get that so much, “it was great but why did the girl jump off the bridge?”
It’s always flattering knowing that people care but I’m so happy I’m the boss of my website, I get to do what I want to do. I can’t imagine negotiating with actors and producers and studios when what you want is completely irrational and nonverbal. (If you run out of paper on papertoilet.com, double click for a new roll.)
OutInTheWind.com is very haunting, is it about death?
My work is not “about” something. If it was, it would have a short explanation next to it, telling you what to think or feel when you watch it. I hope that my pieces become independent entities that are part of peoples lives and can be used or seen in any way. Like having a tree in your garden.
BurningCigarette.com might make people want to smoke, do you smoke?
I hate cigarettes more than anything in the world. I always have. I hate their smell and I hate what it does to people. But this way we can enjoy the visual beauty without the side effects.
I once put OnAHorse.com on one of my computer screens, I was tired, I noted it acted as a stimulant, like a metronome, can you tell me what other say about your work?
I’m not sure, it would be nice to ask people without me around, to get some real opinions.
I regret we won’t be including Nosquito.biz (for obvious reasons) but it did make me smirk. However AnnoyingCursor.com gave me anxiety, and when I returned to look again my anxiety returned too, is this your intention?
I honestly don’t have any intentions. I believe that the work exists without any reason other than its own existence. This is very important to me. How it resonates and what it does to people should be completely open.
What ideas have you had, but so far been unable to implement?
I want to make a video game: you walk around through different cities and landscapes and anything you touch melts. You just see two hands in front of you and the world with melted cars and trees and clouds.
Where do your ideas originate from?
I was actually thinking about this. I was running low on new thoughts so I wrote down all the places and situations where I came up with pieces. I thought I would find a pattern and then I could set up my life in favor of more new ideas. But the events and places were very unrelated.
I think it is very important for me to be bored every now and then, that’s usually when I get space in my head for new ideas.
What would make a perfect Rafael piece?
I would like to get to a point where I’ve made so many pieces that you can walk around and see something and think: thats an RR moment, another Rafael piece.
What is the ideal way you would like your work to be seen?
There is no perfect or ideal. It is like listening to songs, they can be great when jogging or in a stadium with 40.000 people, the exact same song can be great in different ways in different situations.
Do you see any commercial applications for your work?
Yes, I would love for big companies to license my work, so I don’t have to make anything for them and still get a lot of money. Just like using a song for a movie or commercial. The pieces themselves will always stay the way they are, but they can be multiplied and modified and projected in different situations. It is fine for people to take my work and remix it or whatever but companies have to pay.” – Richard Breerton and Rafaël Rozendaal for Elephant Magazine.