Cyclical generational attitudes continue to reverberate throughout the world and are still having adverse effects on unique communities which makes me wonder, what are people actually afraid of? This systematic social programming has the aim of wanting people to fear anything that is different.
Consequential regulations are the only way to keep control over the masses. In art there are no boundaries, no limits as to where you can take a concept. Is there something dangerous about realising creative potential? If armed by unadulterated creativity could we perhaps make a new world?
I speak with good friend Rab G.P Lewin [photographer] who was apart of the art community in Germany in the 90s. It's in this conversation I realised that art epicentres will always have to fight against whatever upper echelon is in charge with bigger motivations connected to the interest of their profits.
was the art scene big at that time?
massive. nearly 20,000 squatting in East Berlin.
The squats were too radical so they crushed every house that couldn't legalise in time. they evicted a street in Mainzerstr in 1991. it took 5000 cops, three days to get them out. the street was evaluated as a counter revolutionary threat to the state.
what was in the air in Berlin at that time?
what was it actually like atmospherically?
we fought against gentrification and now that threat is so real it's actual local government policy now.
funnily enough the arts are to blame for this
make somewhere cool
the rent goes up
more recently it's the detrimental air b&b effect that everywhere is complaining about now.
I can't do what I call 'centres of cool' anymore.
I prefer obscure environments and I adapt my creative process to my immediate surroundings.
are there elements to your creative process that have remained now as they were in the 90s or as with your surroundings does it always change?
going from Berlin to Wellington felt like a great leap backwards at the beginning. I could never rely on photography to survive on.
creativity is a poverty trap so I had to concentrate on other areas to survive like vintage and retro dealing but at the same time I utilised these influences back to my camera.
I'm probably a lot more serious about my work now in the last few years but that's also due to my work being published and recognised now.
'Creativity is a poverty trap' is an interesting line to me. It essentially is. The business is creating physical manifestations of concepts & ideas unique to you which are usually very personal. There's no market for art. There's also no promise of steady cash flow needed to sustain a life. Paintings which feature trees don't have their own specific retail price like most products. It's risky business declaring that you are going to try and make a living through your own means, your own creations.
Business in general is a creative art form. You see a niche market, you activate a plan to generate money. Through this creation, you are able to use products to then maintain a steady income which then opens opportunities for expansion to then the development of sectors to improve the operations and make the whole machine run better. Artists have to do this all by themselves.
I see the uprising of a free living situation as the only thing possible in order to do art and survive. It’s interesting that when there is a general revolutionary thought which challenges an implemented and authoritarian notion, the end result is events like France right now & the Occupy Movement. Shutting these thoughts down is actually cutting the world off to becoming a better place. Artists are our only hope in this very mundane, black or (not and) white world.
I see a very strong and powerful middle finger in 90s Berlin which saw their revolution have a strong influence to the laws still governing today. I think that documentation of scenes like this are important to the history of movements as we knew them. They need to enact as bookmarks for how the uprising looked like given the circumstances - did they increase in power or just straight up change things? There will always be the resulted anomalies. I asked Rab how important it is to him (that scenes be documented).
my contemporaries who also recorded the antics are a modest unassuming bunch. I think at the time we just nonchalantly took photos for amusement but also