stealing eyeballs 08

Interview with Reala

The written version follows the original e-mail interview.

Simon Hadler: your art looks retro - in two different ways. first way is computational retro: atari, c64-graphic style of computer beginners during the 80ies or so. retro-ascii-artist vuk cosic once told me, that with his retro-art he wants to criticise new media artists who think they have to work with huge and expensive equipment to impress people. is that what your work is about, too?

Reala: the retro aspect of our work, wich we do not completely agree with, is not meant to critizise new technology. on the contrary, we like hi-tech. and kind of dislike retro. if we had more sophisticated equipment and skills we would probably show off with that in the same way as we show off with what we have and can achieve at this point.
the old atari and vic 20 games often carries some kind of poetic simplicity, wich can be appreciated, but in the design we try to go further. the square style comes from when some of us refused to learn illustrator and used quark xpress instead as drawing instrument. due to the limited possibilities of old quark 3.1 the illustrations became quite "stiff". we also did illustrations in director and sound edit. nowadays we use illustrator and freehand like normal people.

SH: the second retro-way: it also reminds me of childrens art, or art brut. you also carry a - hmm - "back to your personal roots"-message?

R: we like to create worlds and systems wich becomes the grid of our work, as kids do and as adults do when they suffer from wicked hallucinations. some might call it "back to roots", others consider it a different aspect of reality. both is fine with us.

SH: These different worlds and systems seem to have their history within your work, kind of a continuity. A community of rough pixels. Are they a different aspect of reality - or are they a different reality? What are these systems for you?

R: i think this different aspect of reality is our way to describe how we look at the world. sometimes tragi-comic. sometimes tragic and sometimes comic. the systems we incorporate is a link between our introvert point of view and communicating with other people.

SH: your work doesn't seem too commercial. if i compare it to the work of some of the designers at stealingeyeballs, like or - both of them cutting edge new media designers -, who elaborate cool, smooth graphics to sell films, products or whatever - your stuff looks so different. - where do you stand in the whole discussion of "is art allowed to be commercial - or is there anything like commercial art"? i've learned that you have customers like Saab, Telia, Dagens Nyheter, Ica, Migros, Lineto and others. what kind of work do you make for them?

R: we appreciate that you find our work not too commercial. if art or design is produced just for commercial purposes it's not honest, but that is very hard to tell. if people like it and can draw some conclusions from it that is fair enough. it doesn't matter wich client you work for, or even if you do it just for the sake of art.
for us it is important to be stimulated by work. to have fun and to solve problems. what comes out is a product of that. what it is called, a semantic question. most of our clients knows that we will do it our way and that is also, hopefully, why they employ us.
then if some companies creates smoother things than us it doesn't necessarily make them less artistic. we are convinced of that they, aswell as us, tries to bring the media and the knowledge further. it´s the thoughts and motives, not the surface, that matters.

SH: you are also active in the field of electronic music. do you see your music as part of a reala gesamtkunstwerk or is it clearly parted from the rest of your work?

R: the music is a very relevant part of reala. we are thinking and observing individuals. some of us can express themselves best verbally, some visually and some through music.

SH: you still have some of your algerian fans from the old rampg-days? ;-)

R: the algerian fanclub is within good vigour and says hello.