interview with yuko hasegawa space for your future

Space For Your Future

Yuko Hasegawa: Your work shows multi-disciplinary elements. You do not limit yourself to one art genre, such as multi-media installations using sculpture, painting, and video, but rather cut across fields such as interior design and architectural space. How are “design” and “art” different, and how are they the same?

avaf: We really don’t think in those terms. We don’t make any distinctions between those two realms. What we look for is effectiveness in the way we express our ideas. And by effectiveness we mean the best way to reach/involve/contaminate/talk to the viewer. The media we use – be that something more commonly seen as an art or a design object or any kind of object – is chosen for its communication/insemination/aesthetic power – be it a poster, a logo, a song, a collage, a scaffolding structure, a mask, a cape, a neon, a balloon.

Yuko Hasegawa: Besides art, what other expressive media and specialized fields attract you? Also, can you name creators and specialists who have particularly influenced you?

avaf: Really any other media, as described above. Influences come and go and they vary according to different projects we are involved with. A short list of people/events/subjects/things who have been/are/will be influences: vogue balls, Daniele Baldelli, construction sites, transexualism, contortionists, Bernhard Willhelm, General Idea, Felix Gonzales-Torres, Jayne County, Scott Ewalt, Sister Dimension, Jean-Paul Goude, Charles Atlas’ “Hail the New Puritans”, DOMUS magazine, the Kroft Brothers, Ettore Sottass, The Cockettes, The Dzi Croquettes, Wendy Carlos, The Central Park Dance Skaters Association, Grand Fury, Helio Oiticica, Lygia Clark, Rosa Von Praunheim’s “Tally Brown, New York”, video bootlegs, Nelson Sullivan, Anton Perich’s film of Issey Miyake’s first New York show in 1975, Caetano Veloso’s performances from early 70’s, Superstudio, Archigram, Palle Nielsen, Steven Arnold’s “Luminous Procuress”, Fortunato Depero, You Tube.

Yuko Hasegawa: What about the impact of information technology? Do you think that, under its influence, creative expression is reaching an impasse of sorts? If so, what is needed to overcome that impasse? If you do not think so, then in what direction might all this be going? As productions that you send out into the world, what role do your works play or how do they affect society? You have previously emphasized the importance of freedom.

avaf: There is no impasse from our point of view. Technology means the spread and sharing of knowledge, the democratization of the means of production– and that for us equals empowerment of the viewer. Knowledge is power, power to unfold and direct your own life. The world we live in nowadays is a world in which ideas and information disseminate rapidly and reveal themselves in this infinite accumulative unfolding looping process. You have the feeling that you are distancing yourself from your starting point but in fact you are just going deep in the core existence of it. In a way it’s like file sharing. File sharing is knowledge sharing. You have access to people’s hard drives and infinite sources of information. Free information. Obsession, curiosity, generosity and anxiety are center elements in our projects – particular mind sets necessary to cover every single aspect related to the ideas we are discussing at a given moment. Space and time are multi-layered and multi-faceted – and people’s perception/experience of the world is finally heading the same way. Our minds and dreams are ahead of laws, politics, social codes, ethics and even technology. We live in a world of unaccomplished dreams. Nevertheless, we are also having a more vivid taste of these dreams today, because the means are becoming more democratic and knowledge is consequently spreading. You share knowledge by finding other people with whom you can share your dreams. And you can easily associate with these people nowadays – even if just thru Myspace. The knowledge we have now can lead us to better living. Unfortunately there are a few generations that came before us that keep holding these views back. But they will eventually fade away. The pressure is strong and they won’t be able to hold it for too long. For instance: does anybody doubt that music will be free in the near future? We know it will and we know why it’s not still. People want that and that’s what we will get sometime soon. In our own way and in a very general sense, this is what we want to talk about in our projects. Freedom to share/spread/absorb/assume/contaminate/inseminate.

Yuko Hasegawa: In your production process, what kind of collaborations do you engage in? Also, what is important in a collaboration? For example, you collaborate with architects and performers, and you also use media such as YouTube to sample or edit other video and do all kinds of things.

avaf: We haven’t sampled or edited videos from YouTube so far. We’ve curated video programs in which we included videos from it.

avaf is composed of two core members who are involved in every single aspect of all avaf projects, from creative to administrative aspects. Other collaborators come and go according to the different projects we are working on.

The two avaf core members decide on the first guidelines and ideas we will be working with. As each project progresses we bring other people in, according to the production/conceptual path we are following. These people are always friends of ours and whose existence/ideas/work are significant to us on many levels. They are not necessarily artists.

avaf projects are conceived usually for a specific space. And because of that they evolve organically with the experience of the environment that surrounds us and that includes people we meet and befriend along the way. We never approach people to work with us before meeting them first.

Once we invite someone to work with us, the collaboration can present itself in different manners. Sometimes we know somebody’s work and think an existing piece relates perfectly to the ideas present in a project we are developing. In these cases we pretty much just curate this person’s piece(s) into our installation. Other times we contaminate the collaborator with our ideas for a certain project and ask him/her to produce a new piece for the show. There are also some other occasions when avaf in fact works as a producer of somebody else’s idea. Finally there are other moments when we work fully with other people, more like a full-on collaboration, working side by side all the time.

Yuko Hasegawa: Among the projects you now have underway, which is your most innovative or exploratory, or else, what themes particularly interest you right now? What is your vision of SPACE FOR YOUR FUTURE, particularly in terms of your artwork concept for this exhibition?

avaf: We think the project we just did for the Athens Biennial – which in many ways is related to our SPACE FOR YOUR FUTURE piece – is the most challenging and satisfying. Similar ideas pertain to both projects: favelas, endless seamless music loops, color explosion, recycled materials for construction, abandoned sites, graffiti, trannies, kids playgrounds, performance, community outreach, challenge/modify/criticize institutional spaces, tranquility, sexuality, leisure, unrest.