Interview for Ville Collective, Tokyo, Japan
The following interview was conducted by Midori Fujihira of Ville Collective, Tokyo, Japan in September 2014.
Please introduce yourself & "The New World" to Japanese and International readers.
My name is Robert, I’m artist behind "The New World", an ongoing fine art series that depicts buildings from the American post-war period. While the series is based on our architectural photography, they are technically not photographs, as none of the portrayed buildings actually exist. I am working with a partner, Jens Bambauer, whom I met in college in 2006. Together, we founded Geebird&Bamby in 2011.
How do you feel if people find your works on social media and your work is recognized on internet?
Of course it is a good thing to see your work shared on the internet, especially when it happens in unexpected places or context. It is the internet though, and while they might seem as the currency of these days, likes and shares at times feel rather random and shallow to me. Exhibiting the actual artworks, seeing people react to them, having conversations about whatever they see in them - that is the true virtue of creating art.
What is the most important process in the production of "The New World?"
Every piece has an underlying theme, sometimes of essential nature, other times personal - or both. The most difficult and therefore one of the more important stages of processes is to embody that theme in a fairly mundane building. Whether it is making a bold statement on its facade or confining something inside. Many creative decisions, the obvious and the not so obvious, are led by that intent. It is a fine line between giving the building a story to tell, but at the same time, making it keep a secret. And as with all things in life, you do not always succeed.
Based in Germany, what’s your view on American culture and history?
Growing up in West Germany, the lines were drawn pretty clear for a cold war kid and it is fair to say that "The New World" is in part reminiscent of that era. In today’s postmodern age however, those lines become increasingly blurred, and many givens are to be questioned. I believe my efforts in that should be visible in my work, but in how far that is a statement on American culture, that is up to you. But I may say that by titling "The New World", it should be somewhat obvious that I see America less as a political entity than as a human effort to create something new, detached from old rules and convictions. So whatever you take away, consider that it is more a comment on humanity itself than on America.
Could you tell us your future vision for the Geebird&Bamby Website?
Obviously the website comes second to the actual work we are showing on it. Our current site has been online for almost three years and a redesign has been planned for quite a while now. We will have a section that allows more insight into the process and preview new work, especially to our collectors, something we have not been very good at in the past. The vision has not changed however, the website has enabled us to ship our work into many parts of the world and that never gets boring.