Category Archives: Tunica

Entrevista a Oriol Maspons

Publicado originalmente en Tunica en inglés y traducida al español en Infolibre

Oriol Maspons . Self Portrait
Oriol Maspons . Self Portrait

Esta entrevista se realizó sólo unas semanas antes de que Oriol Maspons falleciera. DEP

En un antiguo autorretrato suyo, usted aparece junto con su espléndida colección de equipo fotográfico dentro de un dolmen o sepultura prehistórica. Visto ahora me parece un ejercicio muy irónico sobre la desaparición de las antiguas técnicas e instrumentos ante el surgimiento de la era digital de la imagen. Me gustaría saber cuál es su lectura hoy y si recuerda el motivo de esta fotografía. 
Esa foto era un Christmas que le envié a un amigo y fue tomada en Gerona, en un viejo dolmen funerario. La hice con mi amigo Julio Ubiña.

Parece inevitable preguntarle por la tecnología digital. He leído en una entrevista que odia las cámaras digitales, ¿sigue pensando de la misma manera? ¿Cuál es para usted la diferencia esencial entre el uso de ambas tecnologías?

No uso cámaras digitales, nunca lo he hecho. Las cámaras analógicas siempre han funcionado bien para mi. Básicamente estoy desconectado con esta nueva tecnología porque surgió tarde en mi carrera. La única cámara digital que he tenido me la quitó mi hijo para usarla él (risas).

Tengo entendido que usted ha trabajado principalmente por encargo, ¿es correcto? ¿Tomaba o toma ahora también fotografías “fuera del trabajo”? ¿Qué era lo que más le llamaba la atención como fotógrafo entonces y ahora?
Solo me pagaban las fotos publicadas, lo cual era muy común y probablemente también ahora lo sea. Por eso, consciente e inconscientemente mis colegas y yo creamos imágenes con el propósito de verlas impresas en los medios. En este aspecto no hay mucha división para un fotoperiodista, estamos alerta en todo momento por si surge una imagen que pueda formar parte de nuestro trabajo.

¿Cree usted que una buena fotografía debe de impactar o sugerir, o las dos cosas?
Para mi una buena foto tiene que informar al espectador. Darle un tipo de información que sea nueva en un cierto modo. También, dependiendo del encargo, buscas un efecto u otro.

Normalmente cuando se piensa en fotografía documental, con la voluntad de reflejar la realidad, se piensa en imágenes en blanco y negro. ¿Por qué cree usted que el blanco y negro nos parece más real? 
Sinceramente creo que es porque estamos acostumbrados a ello. Es parte de la memoria colectiva ya que tantos grandes fotoperiodistas han trabajado en blanco y negro.

¿Para hacer fotografía documental hay que pasar desapercibido o hacerse notar?
Creo que la mayor parte de las veces es mejor pasar desapercibido (risas).

Hoy en día ciertas obras fotográficas alcanzan precios muy altos y se comercializan bajo tiradas muy limitadas. ¿Qué piensa sobre esta fetichización de las copias?
Esto es un resultado de la tendencia del mercado del arte para equilibrar la multiplicación de las imágenes (y por tanto su devaluación) con la unicidad de la pintura. Es un modo de equilibrar el valor y seguir vendiendo arte.

Nueva York, donde resido, es una ciudad que parece estar hecha para ser fotografiada. ¿Piensa usted que hay ciudades más interesantes para hacer fotos o quizá se trate más de las personas que viven en los lugares y que son reflejo de sus formas de vida? 
Nueva York es una ciudad fascinante que me encanta, es una de mis ciudades favoritas. La energía de la gente que vive allí crea una atmósfera única. Es también muy importante la herencia creativa de los lugares. No es sólo la ciudad la que crea la energía sino también el influjo cultural y la historia de los lugares y como se ha apoyado la cultura.

¿Puede hablar un poco sobre la vida cultural que usted vivió en las metrópolis de los años sesenta y setenta: Barcelona, París, Roma, Nueva York…?
En esos días la vida creativa de esas metrópolis estaba interconectada. Todos nos conocíamos y trabajábamos en proyectos juntos, a veces por ser amigos. Por ejemplo podías ver a Antonioni venir a mi casa y pedirme que le hiciera unas fotos para algo, y yo lo hacía.

En mi época muchos fotógrafos simplemente no podían permitirse ser directores de cine, así que teníamos que especializarnos en fotografía y hacer toda una película en un solo disparo (risas).

¿En qué está trabajando ahora?
Uno de mis últimos proyectos es una exposición antológica, comisariaza por David Balsells, que está a cargo de mi archivo fotográfico (en el MNAC, el Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya) con la colaboración de Elsa Peretti.

Oriol Maspons (English)

Publicado originalmente en Tunica

Oriol Maspons . Self Portrait

Oriol Maspons . Self Portrait

This interview was made just weeks away before Oriol Maspon’s passed away on August 12th, 2013. RIP 

– In an old self-portrait you pose together with an amazing collection of photographic cameras inside of a dolmen, a prehistoric tomb. Looking at it right now it seems to me like a very ironic instant about the disappearance of old analogical techniques. I’d love to hear what the original purpose for that picture was.

 That picture was a Christmas card I sent to a friend and it was taken in Gerona, Spain in an old burial dolmen. I did it with my partner Julio Ubiña

-It seems unavoidable to ask you about digital photography. I read in an interview that you “hate” digital cameras. Do you still think the same way?

I don’t use digital cameras and I never have. Like they say, if it’s not broken, don’t fix it. Analogical cameras always have worked well for me. Basically I am disconnected with this new technology because it came late in my life. The only digital camera I owned my son took it from me (laughs)

– I have heard that you have mostly worked per assignment, is that right? Do you also take pictures other than the commissioned ones?

I was paid for only for published Pictures, which was very common and probably still is. So, consciously and unconsciously me and my colleagues created images with the purpose of seeing them printed in the media. In that regard there is not such a division for a photojournalist, we are at all times alert to images that can be used and constitute our work.

– Do you think that a good picture should shock the viewer or suggest?

For me a good picture has to inform the viewer. Give them a sort of information that is new in a certain way. Also, depending on the assignment you look for one effect or another.

– Usually when you think about photojournalism, you think in Black and White photography. Why do you think Black and White pictures look in a way more “real” to us.

Honestly, I think it’s just because we are used to that. It’s part of the collective memory since so many great photojournalist have worked in black and white. Perhaps because it is easier to develop…

– To be a photojournalist is it better to be unnoticed or to make yourself visible?

Well, I think most times it’s better to be unnoticed (laughs)

– Nowadays some photographic prints reach very high prices in the market. What do you think of this commoditization of the copies?

This is a result of a tendency in the art market to balance the natural possible multiplication (and hence the devaluation) of the image as opposed to the uniqueness of painting. It is a way to balance the value and keep selling art.

New York, where I live, is a city which seems to be made for being photographed. Do you think some cities are more interesting  for taking Pictures, or it’s more the people who live in the places who make them more interesting to take pictures?

New York is a fascinating city that I love, one of my favorite cities. The energy of the people who live there create an unique atmosphere. It is also very important the creative heritage of the places. It is not the city itself what creates the energy but the cultural influx and history which can support creativity in the right environment.

– Can you speak a little bit about the cultural life you lived in the metropolises of the 60’s and 70’s: Barcelona, Paris, Rome, New York…?

In those days the creative life in these metropolises was interconnected. We all knew each other and collaborated in projects together, sometimes out of friendship. For example you would see Antonioni walking into my house and asking me to take some pictures.. and I would do it.

In my time many photographers simply couldn’t afford to be cinematographers, so we had to specialize in photography and make a whole movie in a single shot… (laughs)

-What are you working on right now?

One of my latest projects is an anthological exhibition at the MENAC, curated by David Balsells, who is in charge of my photography archive with the collaboration of Elsa Peretti.

 

Interview with Nancy Whang from LCD SOUNDSYSTEM

Originalmente en la revista en papel Tunica

Nancy Whang by Leila Jacue

Nancy Whang by Leila Jacue

Nancy Whang is one of the founding members of LCD Soundsystem. She was an essential piece for a sound that made a mark in a whole generation. A sound that was born in the offices of DFA Records, a community of artists that grew as a solid production team and record label.  She invited us home, showed us around her neighborhood and we had the chance to talk a little bit about her experience with LCD and working with James Murphy, her projects and ideas about music.

 

How long have you lived in NYC?

I’ve been here for about 18 years now.

Had you played music before coming to live to NY?

I knew a little bit about music but I had never played before, except from early piano lessons.

Are you interested in classical music?

Yes, I really like it but I don’t see myself as an artist driven by a classical background or influence. I don’t think too analytically about music, I am more interested in the pop factor in culture.

How did you start with LCD?

I met James Murphy at a party in the late 90s and we just got to be friends. In New York there was stuff starting to happen again, and everywhere we went we would run into each other, so we hung out a lot. And I worked a couple of blocks away from the DFA office; there wasn’t a label then, really. They had a studio and people hanging out and doing stuff.

A creative environment…

Right.

And how did it all start for the band, which was the starting point?

Well, he made a couple of songs. He put out a 12-inch (Losing My Edge b/w Beat Connection) and made some other songs to make an album. And the 12-inch did really well, so he was invited to play at a party and he asked me and other people to join him.

It was James’ idea basically. And the idea was to play just five shows, from time to time, just for fun…but the thing really grew and become our lives.

Had you played music live before that?

No. Just piano.

How was the experience?

It was terrifying; I had terrible stage fright but I got used to it.

We started practicing at the office, we did that for a long time and after that we would only practice before touring.

You have toured all over the world. What are some of your favorite places so far?

I think Glasgow is the best place to play, best venue, best crowd. I like playing in Paris…and Japan. I love going to Japan but the crowd is kind of weird. It’s really polite. (laughs)

Have you worked in other projects?

Yes, I made a record with Juan McLean…we toured and we are working on some stuff right now. And I have done a lot of guest collaborations with other bands. Mostly DFA bands…I have been Djing a lot lately as well.

Have you always been interested in electronic, synth-oriented sounds?

Kind of. I listened to a lot of new wave. Depeche Mode was like the second 45 I ever bought!

I saw an interview online where James Murphy said that if LCD was a movie he would be the “Scorsese” and the musicians would be the “De Niros”. I know this was a kind of joke but would you agree with that?

Yes, that makes sense. although he is a director who acts in his own movies. (laughs)

Do you think that pop music (or at least the one worth listening to) has to have an amount of antagonism?

I think all pop music has a lot of antagonism, but I don’t think that it necessarily needs it.

Do you conceive techno music connected purely to the club scene?

It seems to be expanding. It’s like hip hop music nowadays tends to sound like trance.

How do you feel about the end of LCD Soundsystem?

I miss playing. I don’t miss touring, but I miss touring with people, making music together…I kind of accepted that it’s over and I think it was what it was, and that it was a good idea to put it to an end. It was part of the evolution in a way.

 

Interview with KORAKRIT ARUNANONDCHAI

KORAKRIT ARUNANONDCHAI by LEILA JACUE

KORAKRIT ARUNANONDCHAI by LEILA JACUE

Publicado originalmente en la revista impresa Túnica

 

David– Can you tell me a little about your influences and background education?

Krit– I remember working when I was younger in Paint, the program, and then doing some stuff in Photoshop before I came to America to study at the Rhode Island School of Design. In the beginning I wanted to do graphic design and then I started painting but I did it in a way that would have similar protocols as the computer programs I had worked with, working with layers and so on. And then later, many of these pictures became what you could do in Photoshop as an analogy.

For example in my “History Paintings”, it’s like in Photoshop where you can see the history, the previous actions. It’s like an object, and then the performance, and then the picture you take of it which kind of looks like a picture of an action.

Q– Is that something you are looking for, the fact that the pictures are perceived or experienced in different media, online, in a video, in an installation…?

I think so. I have been doing two types of shows: the gallery installations and the pieces for institutions. All the content of the show has another life online. I am trying to make work for both audiences, the one in Thailand who won’t get to see the show and the one in New York that will get to see the show. But I want the work to be experienced differently.

If you go to the website it’s confusing to understand what the show really is. Online there is a flattening of information where everything is equal but, for example, when you go to the show, the whole show is filled with smoke and you can’t feel that. I consider the whole gallery as an installation.

Q– What drives you do this work, more engaged with your audience in Thailand?

I think my work changed a lot when I went to Columbia. I had a shift when I finished my MFA. There is a subject called Comparative Modernism where we studied how Modernism grows in a country and how it develops in every country in parallel and not necessarily compared to the Western notion of Modernism. There is a point when Buddhism in my country was connected to Modernism and from then the idea of modern was defined by this actualized reading of Buddhism.

In the past I used to want a work that would work here and there but differently, but now I think I even want to do separate specific work for Thailand and America.

Q- How would it be different?

This is a discussion I was having with my friend last night. I had this show “Painting with history in a room filled with men with funny names” where I talk about joining a legion of male painters as an analogy of my personal history when I joined a Christian boarding school where everyone was Buddhist. I built this work in combination of personal bend, personal subjectivity and postcolonial politics –  you know, the white man painter…- and then a good amount of pleasurable, formal, tasteful arrangements. My friend was telling me that the show was set up to succeed, so the audience comes and get it and they are on my side with the good politics and all, and say: Good Job!

And it’s interesting for me because I think the shows that really change people are the ones where people don’t necessarily get it and then 3 shows later they do. And there are artists that at first you hate and, after a few shows, your perception of their work changes because they have adapted to the artist point of view. And that requires a partially antagonistic point to the viewer.

Specifically for Thai audiences I really wanted to make a show where people would be on the same page. There I want the work to be almost didactic and sort of. Succeed, where here I don’t necessarily want to succeed, you know what I mean?

Q- You think you can control that reaction in the public?

I don’t think like decide completely but I am trying to go with this set up. I think about a goal and then I go from point A to B and then I see a clear path where everything comes together.

I am going to do a couple of more shows in the Fall: one in Kansas City and one in Milan and I really like the idea of series. I am revisiting my old work and reprocessing it. I am trying to figure out how to continue this series trying to make it harder in a way.

Q- It would be almost like a TV show series?

Yeah, but it is more like a trilogy where you can feel it is made by the same person and it’s the same work, but at the same time I probably want the second piece to somewhat betray the audience that follows the first ones and loves them a little bit. I want the second one to be harder but it will be framed as the first one so the people are going to connect with it.

Q– How is that connected to your life?

Each video reflects my life and people I meet and the process of making the video connects it all. Last summer I was in a residency in Maine. It’s really hard to get selected for their program. When you are there you are in nature, free of responsibilities, and the reason for this residency is for you to be there and rediscover yourself and reinvent yourself reflecting upon the work from other artists and nature.

Q- I can see some of that in your video pieces. How did this experience influence your work?

There is this text about this man who introduced modern art in Thailand, actually it was an Italian in the 1930’s. A sculptor from Florence who later on was given a Thai name that basically means “art”. He is like the father of modern art in Thailand. He wrote a very romantic text about art and nature I introduced in my installations. And the idea basically was kind of making art as a big thank you to nature. And then there was this woman in a TV program that made a painting live with her boobs and then became a taboo thing because she actually had been paid by the program. And the ultimate guy from this romantic school, highly modernist and Buddhist, talks about it and how the Western countries would do it be better. And the people start asking then “what is art?”, and he answers it on the TV, telling everybody how this is bad because she doesn’t know about composition and stuff… The video is about how I saw it and how I end up making the same painting.

Q- Because you are a “valid” artist, and a man…

Exactly, the point is that I think my version would be OK for them, because I don’t show sexual parts and I am a man, even though it’s basically the same result. Every time I am reenacting this performance and I would like to eventually meet her and collaborate with her. I don’t know if she would agree but…

Through my position and the cultural value I have, making art in the west, somehow I can generate a cultural value that links to a monetary value to this paintings that will return to Thailand, circulating from the West.

Q- With the aura of the West

Yeah. There is this weird thing that me being Thai and living in America adds a culture value to my work almost immediately, and at the same time me, being in Thailand as an artist but being “approved” by the West, that gives validity to this action and this symbol. Even though I am trying to develop very democratic skills related to everyone, like the use of denim, bleach, fire…

Q- What are you working on right now?

There is this temple in Thailand with millions of followers (Krit is talking about Dhammakāya movement) and they had this video lecture about what happened with Steve jobs after he died. Where did he go after he died and why he got cancer. The temple, visually, is really extreme.

Since it came out I wanted to write a screenplay and then make a feature film based on this. To think about Steve Jobs and Apple and how that connects and in a way opposes to Buddhism is very interesting to me.  So the idea is making a kind of a road movie where these three girls are coming to America and then meet a guy who resembles Steve Jobs and try to find him and in the way, they meet a lot of surrogates of him that kind of lead them to him and finally. the lead character meets him at the Spiral Jetty.

The whole video is linear but with a lot of flashbacks, like in the TV series “Lost”. And I am kind of working on installation pieces which will become or feed the material for the flashbacks. But at the same time they are projects on themselves.

Q- Do you have the whole script connected, at least in your mind?

I am working on it for the next two years. Before I do this I need to do a lot of research about the temple and have interviews with members of this movement. I am planning little by little by little and it’s probably better to let it grow organically as I grow myself.