teisipäev, aprill 12, 2011

Interviews about creativity by Veronika Valk, vol 2

Reggie Watts and greenness

And one more time - Artishok is very glad to present contribution by architect and designer Veronika Valk, who shared her archive and gave out to publish 130 pages about her stay in China in 2008 and 40 pages about her stay in New York in 2010. China-collection you will find here:


Interviews in New York are made during Veronika Valk`s residency in PointB, Williamsburg, during the autumn 2010. People interviewed contain range of creatives who all reveal to Valk their personal approach to the thing called „creativity“.

- Axel Straschnoy - an artist who makes robot art for robots
- Brian McGrath - Associate Professor and Chair, Urban Design, School of Constructed Environments, Parsons The New School for Design
- Bruce Sterling - author, journalist, editor, and critic
- Caroline Brown - designer
- Ed Kimball – architect
- Eva Franch Gilabert – director of Storefront for Art and Architecture (nonprofit gallery committed to the advancement of innovative positions in architecture, art and design)
- Ji Lee - street artist, creative director at Google Creative Lab; initiator of a range of personal projects, among which the ‘Abstractor’, which turns public video walls into abstract kinetic artworks, and the widely publicized Bubble Project (thebubbleproject.com).
- José Luis de Vicente - data visualizer, researcher and writer working around the edges of New Media Arts, Digital creativity, and innovation in Design and Culture.
- Mark Parrish - architect & PointB worklodge initiator
- Phil Morgan - owner of bustling Boerum Hill café Building on Bond
- Reggie Watts – comedian/musician, filmmaker
- Tanya Selvaratnam - producer and performer

Unfold and you can read extracted interview with Reggie Watts and download your whole interview-package here:


Interview with Reggie Watts
In his office at 555 West 18th Street, New York
@12 noon on October 8th, 2010

VV: Great hair!
RW: Same thing with you!
VV: I’ve got a feeling that you have a great eye for cinematic, a heightened sense of the cinematic, and as my questions that I’d love you to answer, revolve around creativity enhancing public space, then first of all -- what is your definition of creativity?
RW: The openness of the mind and the desire to define without having absolute control. And to
express that. Because creativity is about sharing, even just inside oneself there’s an aspect of
sharing. A factor receiving information and allowing having space for that, but not wanting to
control it. Dancing with it, giving it shape in the form of expression. Thus, it becomes a shared
expression, rather than “this is me, generating an idea, and now I’m giving it to you”. It’s a
collaboration with chaos.
VV: You said that with your eyes closed. 80% of the data that we receive from surrounding environment is via visual perception, with the help of eyesight. The rest of the information comes from other senses -- tasting, smelling etc. It’s remarkable that you gave the definition of creativity with your eyes closed...
RW: It helps!
VV: But then, when designing public space, urban scenery -- what should be considered to design it in a way that it enhances creativity?
RW: It has to have an emotional quality to it, which is obviously subjective. Independent of the
upbringing experiences, a place can give you information, just like a painting or a poem. It’s a
key to a reality. Shapes, geometry and places are keys into states of mind.
VV: New York is obviously your preferable environment. Do you have other cities or places where you’ve felt that your creative drive flourishes?
RW: To think of how the environment gives me a sense of creativity, of being inspired, then
Melbourne, Australia. I’m a big fan of architecture. I’ve never studied it in technical terms and
Melbourne has a lot of amazing, brand new, very state of the art architecture. So much! And
it’s all jammed into the city squares. All these various design! It’s almost as if billionaires got
together and decided to have an art collection of buildings (with Aussie accent): “I have this
building!”, “But I’ve commissioned this architect to do this!”, “Oh yeah! Well, how about this
one -- there’s an entire 4 story smart facade here encompassing the entire plaza! What do you
think about that?”, “How about a Dutch tram system?”, “Sure, let’s put it in!”... It’s very much
like a SimCity in a way -- like building a simulated city. Because it’s so new, so much, so
quickly, then it’s a very disorienting space. You walk down the street and you get elements of
European, very straight French or British, colonial kind of architecture next to brand new
modern German or Dutch or Japanese or American designed buildings all clustered together.
It’s similar to how New York is, but New York is so much older. So, Melbourne is like a new
version of New York. Also, there’s a mall complex in Melbourne (Melbourne Central) that has
an old tower which has a clock on it, and the developers left the tower and built the building
around it. There’s this old building in the middle of this mall -- the way this is planned and
designed is unconventional and inspiring. Unconventional architecture inspires unconventional
VV: What’s the starting point for you when you work on a film idea and look for a location?
RW: It’s something like this, that when you walk down an alley, you stop at a certain place as
you feel there’s something about it. You look around and you just love the way the graffiti
looks, dumpsters are turned over and these wires are hanging out. Or, a country house with a
huge porch on it on a hill, with a giant tree next to it -- it’s very iconic, but it has an emotional
connection that then calls out for something wanted to be made, a film to be filmed. I think in
filmic ways often, when I have my headphones, listening to a soundtrack, going: “Oh! It’s this
kind of a film.” Or, “Oh! That lady over there ends up running into this really strange man
whose says this weird phrase which reminds her of something that she’d forgotten about and
she goes to pursue it.” Environment has a lot to do with how I envision film.
VV: How about sound? If you’d go blindfold in the city, would you actually be able to navigate?
RW: I don’t know about that!?!! Well, I might be able... though sound to me is the secret
ingredient that people tend to underestimate. If you’re walking through the environment and
there’re speakers that are hidden, that give these weird subtle dripping effects, like water
going down the wall, then that changes so much about the feeling that you get when walking
in that space. It opens the idea of what the space is. Awakens the mind. Since the mind knows
there’re many more possibilities to reality at any given moment. But we choose to kind of
focus -- we have to focus to accomplish things. Many of us just keep on day-to-day focusing,
only once in a while allowing a random thought. These are people who work really hard to
make money. They get off and, how do they alleviate their mind -- well, they go and watch TV
or they go to the local bar and have a drink with their friend, talk about work. I’m not making
a judgement call over that, but for me -- I have the luxury of having free time, or freeish time.
Because of that, I try to take advantage of every situation I’m in -- to really notice where I am
and take that into account, imagine it in different ways. Sound has a lot to do with it -- I love
messing with sound in an environment. It’s something new, I envision it in my mind a lot and
do it in my performances, but there’s more to be done with that. Even watching The Social
Network movie now, Trent Reznor’s soundtrack is just so good! So clean, but emotional.
Without that soundtrack, that movie just wouldn’t be as exciting. The minute the music kicks
in, and this really old beautiful 80’s Speak & Spell calculator sounds mixed with modern
production start to work together, and you see how the editing is working well, the lighting is
muted and golden -- all of those elements together create such an incredible environment. You
feel that you’re IN THE WORLD. And that’s a hard thing to achieve on a 2 dimensional screen,
with a few speakers around your head. The actual environments that you move through, the
architecture, landscapes, cityscapes have the opportunity to do that, but sound isn’t as
incorporated in those fields as it should be. Lots of times it’s of course expensive -- if you
create a wall of cement structure with strange ivy on it then it communicates in a way that we
understand what it is, but the augmentation of sound is like: “Well, is it waterproof?”, “How do
we get to it if it goes out?”, “Who’s taking care of the electronics?” It’s probably one of the
reasons why sound is not incorporated, together with the increase of the cost of installation,
yet sound should be more incorporated in environmental design.
VV: What if it’s not always about electronics, but also about the acoustic surfaces? Designing the scale of the streetscape, with knowledge about how much traffic will be going through it, or the amount of plants to absorb the sound, then in fact one can design the soundscape of a street in an analogue way, rather than digital?
RW: That’s true. I’m always thinking about electronics, but think of the band Soundgarden,
Chris Cornell, also Audioslave -- it’s one of my favorite rock bands, I lived in Seattle and that’s
where they’re from. Their name comes from a place that’s next to the NOAA Centre, which is
close to Sand Point and is basically a piece of public land that has been made into a sound
sculpture. It’s a bunch of towers with tubes that have slits like holes cut into the tubes, plus
they have kind of a windmill guidance thus that it turns in the direction of the wind. It’s a
series of perhaps 8 towers and they’re all tuned into various frequencies. So when the wind
blows, it goes “woooooowweeeeeeewaaaa”, and it’s amazing! When you listen to
Soundgarden’s music, then all the ambient effects and guitar feedback are mimicking the
sounds of that Sound Garden. As an analogue acoustic sound sculpture, it’s mind blowing!
There’s a bizarre sound sculpture here in New York, uptown -- there’s a stop with an
instrument, where you wave your hand in front of, it’s equipped with such an interface that it
starts to make strange sound and weird light-up thing. No one really notices it, because it’s up
high, thus you’d need to be tall to do it. It’s quite rudimentary, in fact, but it’s quite cool, you’ll
probably find tons of information on it online. (34th Street-Herald Square, Christopher Janney,
Reach New York, An Urban Musical Instrument, 1996, http://www.mta.info/mta/aft/
permanentart/permart.html agency=nyct&line=W&artist=2&station=7).
VV: New York is like internet -- once you go searching for something you discover so many other things along the way thus that you can just keep on searching and searching: “Oh! What’s around this corner?”, “What’s happening over there?”
RW: Mhmh, really lose yourself. Vimeo was started up by Jakob Lodwick, who was my
roommate for 2.5yrs -- we used to do videos together called Lost in the Options. If you’re
trying to find something, often you run into all these other things, and you end up not
necessarily wasting time, but spend hours with, for example editing programs, and still not get
the answer. With sound, anything is possible -- infinite options. That’s why there’s a problem
with actually creating something, since it stifles the creativity in a way, because there’re too
many options. Thus you get lost, immobilized. Not all the time, but it is something that does
VV: Yet, if you’ve got a really clear idea in your mind of what you want to produce, and then go searching for the right components, then in my mind it’s quite OK to spend a few hours investigating the best way possible to do it?
RW: Yeah, to get it more detailed. That’s always a great feeling. But when you can’t find
something right away then it gets frustrating. Especially when you go down all these paths and
you still don’t find it, then it’s very weird: “The internet has everything! Why can’t I find what I
VV: Where’s your life search taking you in near future?
RW: I travel quite a lot for work, from Italy to UK to West Coast to Hungary in coming months
-- when you have your favorites among airports, that’s when you know you travel too much.
The US is so isolated, yet I when I grew up in Montana, my best friend was from Estonian
origin. I’d love to know more about your part of the world, and I love snow.


"Amazing and unlike anything you have ever seen. Unless you have seen a comedic stream of conscious operatic beat-boxing marvel. Then it's like that." - Eugene Mirman

Hilarious, brilliant, unpredictable – comedian/musician Reggie Watts is a staple of the
international performance scene. Reggie’s improvised musical sets are created on-the-spot
using only his formidable voice and a looping machine. No two songs are ever the same. An
avowed "disinformationist," Reggie loves to disorientate his audiences in the most entertaining
way. You may not know what Reggie is going to do, but that’s okay – he doesn’t either.
As a solo performer, Reggie has played sold-out runs at Fusebox, SXSW, Bonnaroo, Soho
Theatre (London), Brian Eno’s Luminous Festival at the Sydney Opera House, Montreal Comedy Festival, PopTech!, Vancouver Comedy Festival, Bumbershoot, Sydney Festival, Outside Lands Festival and cities throughout the world including Amsterdam, Paris, Cologne, Madrid, Stockholm, Copenhagen, Melbourne, Cape Town and Rekjavik, among others. In New York, Reggie regularly performs at The Box, UCB, Comix, the Bellhouse, Slipper Room, Caroline’s, Union Hall and Moonwork. Reggie also received the ECNY Award (2009) and Andy Kaufmann Award (2006) for his brand of innovative stand-up performance.

On screen, Reggie has appeared on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon, HBO’s The Yes Men Save
The World, Comedy Central’s Michael and Michael Have Issues, Iceland TV, UK’s "Funny Or
Die," PBS’ revamped Electric Company and the music video "What About Blowjobs?" for
College Humor. Currently, Reggie is filming short comedic interstitials for Comedy Central’s late
night block.

As a musician, Reggie recently recorded the EP Pot Cookies through Normative Records, sang
on Regina Spektor’s "Dance Anthem of the 80s" and contributed two tracks to DFA Records’
Spaghetti Circus. Also the frontman for Seattle rock outfit Maktub, Reggie and his band
recently released their fifth album, Five.

Reggie also creates absurd comedic theatricals for modern performance spaces in collaboration
with playwright Tommy Smith. Their stage shows Transition, Disinformation, Radio Play, Dutch
A/V and Occurrence have played around the country at The Public Theater, On The Boards
(Seattle), The Portland Institute for Contemporary Art’s Time Based Art Festival, Seattle Rep,
MCA (Chicago), The Warhol Museum (Pittsburgh), Ars Nova and others; they’ve also won
numerous awards including the 2008 & 2009 MAP Fund and 2008 Creative Capital award.

"Sharp, wry and elusive ... Reggie moves seamlessly from skits to songs to off-kilter stand-up,
while talking in a subway train full of accents." – New York Times
"There's no one out there like Reggie Watts. Reggie covers everything from ancient history and
racism to pop-culture, in a heady mix of improvised music, comedy and social insight. This guy
has to be seen to be believed. Truly awesome!" –Time Out London
"Watts, with his cloud of black hair and surprisingly beautiful voice, is loads of fun to watch." –
"Reggie Watts is a most unusual talent: a huge vocal range, a natural musicality, and a
sidesplitting wit. Is he a comedian? A singer? A performance artist? I've seen him a few times
since then and I still can't decide. Whatever, he ain't like nobody else." – Brian Eno

3 kommentaari:

Anonüümne ütles ...

ooo..thank you the very muchest, V.V. I´am in love with yous.
Intervjuu Reggie Wattsiga oli hea...et toimus. Millegipärast on loomeinimestega nii, et kui neid intervjueerida, siis jääb mingi põhifluidum neist kaduma. Ennast kuidagi sõnadesse panna enamikel neist ikka ei õnnestu... Palju seda varemgi täheldanud.


Anonüümne ütles ...

vaatasin, et mis loll kommentaar siia kirjutatud on, siis vaatasin ,et ise olen selle siia kirjutanud.
Ma olen ikka loll. Kustutan ennast ära.

Unknown ütles ...