How might your respective backgrounds in punk/DIY inform the work you make today?
Nick: A "DIY" or "punk" attitude seeps into so many aspects of Sonnenzimmer. Not punk in the sense of "fuck you and my clothes are ripped", but in the sense of actively participating in a community focused on cultural production, trying to build a culture you can stand behind, that means something to you personally, something more than entertainment, something you have personal stakes in. Of course things get complicated when you are also trying to pay your rent, health insurance, and SEP IRA retirement plan on the back of those ethos. As much as we're upheld financially through our connection with the print community, music community, etc., we also work for larger companies that probably counter some of the "ethos". We try to just focus on the individual relationships built into projects.
More over, a certain "DIYness" propels our decisions and our scope. We feel much happier and in control when managing all aspects of a production… that's why we prefer to print our own work, or design the all tags for our gallery exhibitions. If you want something done "right" you gotta do it yourself.
All in all, a DIY mentality reduces our frustrations, because we try to be self reliant.
Nadine: Being raised by a single parent was my DIY schooling. My mom instilled in me independence. I saw how she somehow managed to make everything happen. Punk as music was my second teacher. That music could only exist out of sheer will. It was too noisy, ugly in a way, aggressive, outside of the norm, self-taught, backwards, you had to play it yourself. The third pillar was understanding when you find yourself in a minority position - and everyone does at some point of the day, or life - you are outside of a certain cultural setting. That’s when you realize that the only way through that, is to hold onto a belief that it’s o.k. to be standing in total dichotomy to that space in which you have to breathe in and move through. This all gave me the perfect hat trick to gravitate towards any DIY activity. Today, it’s been our biggest economic schooling at Sonnenzimmer. If you want to be running without someone shutting off your light, if you want to print 13 spot colors, you gotta make it happen. Pressure won’t break you. You’ll bend it first, or alas, print it first.
In your view how have graphics evolved since you first started making stencils? Where are they headed?
Nick: Outside of verbatim copying, the stencil was once the most basic way to repeat an image. Physical stencils are now a stand in for graphic interfaces, which are like the ultimate stencil. They're interfaces that allow multiple images to seep through, pixels as a malleable and movable go between, light as image. Images are just light, right?
Graphics are more graphic than ever. They're also more fluid than ever. They're becoming liquid. The graphic interface will eventually trump the "tangible" reality, offering a customizable liquid "virtual" reality… and future humans will laugh at the blandness and flatness of our current lived reality. But like all things, the hyper processed version, will lack a certain something. Virtual reality as Velveta. Tasty, but gives you a headache if you eat too much. It does melt very nicely, though.
Nadine: We’ve been talking about this a lot in context with our Graphic Arts Future ideas. Nick said something that really stuck with me the other day, that a graphic already belongs to the virtual world now. Because a graphic that works, or someone perceives or moves - will be documented for example by a photo or video, or riff on it, or expand on it, through whatever media. So, moments where something just exists in one dimension, a physical one, through multiples, is now gone. Now it’s like gravitational multiples!
Tell me what you have in the fridge. What's for lunch?