How old are you? And where are you from? I was born on Halloween night 1976 and I am from the Black Forest – a rural area in Southwest Germany.
When did you start making art? Was there a particular moment in which you felt like you were taking a new path in your production? I started my first photographic attempts at the age of 14 when my parents gave me a cheap plastic camera. There was no special moment for a new path in my production – it was more or less an evolution. I mean you grow up and absorb many influences. And with every single new idea you get a step further in the development of your own style and message.
Looking back on your artistic career, what influenced your work most? To be honest: There weren’t many things to do in my local town and so I spent a lot of time in the video rental store. This heavy consumption of all kinds of horror-videos and psycho thrillers provided the basis for my inner visual library. Even today I love the early 80ies horror stuff like Texas Chain Saw Massacre, Halloween or Evil Dead. So much of my work is heavily influenced by the aesthetics and symbols of this film genre.
Did you have other artistic experience besides your visual work? When I was about 20 years old, I started an electronic music project inspired by the works of Autechre and Squarepusher. It was quite fun and we played on some illegal parties. But we never had greater ambitions and so we stopped it after a few years.
Which tools and materials do you use? Most of my camera lenses are self-built stuff, made from optical toys, plastic crap or duct tape. They create the diffuse look of my works. Beside that I use popular tools like digital Olympus camera bodies and an old-fashioned PC with Photoshop. Due to the fact that I avoid retouching my images, I fortunately don’t need any High-End computer equipment.
How much money do you spend on your artistic work? If you ask my bank counselor: Too much! I am a one-man-show and the props and masks which I need for the realization of my ideas are sometimes really expensive.
Art and doing art, what does it mean to you? I have this kind of images in my mind, every day, since I can remember. And I guess sharing them with others is like a psychotherapy for me.
If you want to communicate a message of any kind through your art, could you explain it to us? My whole body of work is some kind of modern interpretation of the medieval “Memento Mori”. Like the works of early Netherlandish painters they shall remind us in a certain way of our own mortality – and furtheron – motivate us to think about our afterlife and the spiritual powers which influence our life.
Do you see your work as applicable to different media? If so, which ones? My works are applicable to any kind of visual media: I had online shows, slide shows, framed photographs or even large blow-ups. But at the end of the day I love the classic photo print the most.
What do you think about modern communication and its usage in today's society? Somebody asked me a similar question a few weeks ago and I have a very ambivalent attitude towards modern communication. On one hand modern communication tools help us to stay in contact with people all over the world, 24 hours, 7 days a week – which is really great. But on the other side many people become real information junkies nowadays. They have an attention span of 3 seconds and they are not able to spend onyl a few hours without internet connection and the latest news.
Have you ever took part in exhibitions, in solo as well as in group shows? If so, which ones? At the beginning of my so called “artistic career” I spent my whole energy on publications but in the meanwhile I had the chance to take part in some really great group exhibtions. For example “Means to an end” in Heaven Gallery/Chicago (2008) together with Melanie Schiff, Jason Lazarus and many other amazing photographers. Or “I don’t believe in miracles” in SpaceWomb, New York (2009) which was curated by Alana Celii.
What kind of books do you read and what music do you listen to? Do they influence you in your artistic production and everyday life? As a teenager i devoured the books of Aleister Crowley and still today I have a strong passion for any kind of books which deal with occult or paranormal phenomena. In my record case you find an odd mix of different styles. Mainly black metal music by bands like Emperor, Nortt or old Venom stuff and electronic music by Kraftwerk or Aphex Twin. Your question regarding the influence of music and books on my artistic production is easy to answer: Just have a look at my works – some people already suggested selling my images as cover artworks to black metal bands.
Concerning the music in your present video productions, which computer programs and (analogue) equipment (synthesizer, keyboard etc.) do you use? In most of my works I try to combine the digital and the analogue world. Concerning the music in my video production “pluton/calabi-yau” I used an old voice recorder from the 80ies to capture samples and human voices. Ableton Live helped me to arrange the different sounds on my computer.
To work with analogue equipment (camera, instruments), what does it mean to you? Which relevance has it for your art? It’s quite difficult to explain because there is no logical explanation: Analogue equipment is more expensive, it can be easily damaged and it takes a long time to find someone who might be able to repair it.
But it gives me a better feeling of control. In other words: I have a vague chance to understand what happens inside the machine. And: I have buttons and knobs which I can press or turn – which is a really great experience in a world where machines only have “touch panels” or even “voice control”.
Furthermore, referring to the use of analogue equipment, what does the effect of the ‘blemished’ mean to your work? The ‘blemished’, the ‘defective’ - for you, does it possess an aesthetic quality? Of course! Our daily life is in the meanwhile a constant illusion. Everything we see is completely retouched, every sentence we read is checked for its political correctness and people start to believe that these images are reality.
I think that the “blemished” and the “defective” will have their comeback because they are the simple truth. Deformation, distortion and mutation are natural processes – they surround us everyday. We have to accept that they have their own aesthetic quality and for me they are far more interesting than the sleek surfaces of modern popular culture.
For your present work you said, that you rarely use High-End computer equipment. How about your past electronic music productions? Which programs and equipment did you use? In the past I based my whole music production on analogue drum computers and synthesizers. Mainly equipment from the early 80ies, like the Roland TB-303, TR-909, JX-3P, some old samplers and an analogue sequencer. The whole stuff was connected via MIDI and so it felt a little bit like in the early days of electronic music. Because everytime I connected my equipment again the sound changed slightly and it was really hard to reach the same acoustic result.
Today I focus my musical ambitions on the creation of soundtracks for my video projects. So I sold my whole equipment a few years ago (except my beloved Roland JX-3P) and switched to a software based music production with Ableton Live which is the most intuitive software from my point of view. I can use it on my laptop and it is much easier to arrange a soundtrack with this software.
Film Title: Pluton/Calabi Yau
Director: Alexander Binder
Length: 3:16 minutes
Synopsis: Pluton/Calabi Yau is an experimental work. A psychedelic trip inspired by the American underground culture of the late 60ies and the works of medieval poet Dante Alighieri. The film transfers Dante’s journey through the several circles of hell into a modern setting: Its protagonist enters a n-dimensional manifold and his journey quickly develops into a surreal experience – interspersed with strange and menacing pictures.
Music Style: Ambient
Music Credits: Alexander Binder
Shooting Format: Mini DV
Screener: DVD (PAL)
Screening Format: 4:3