I think, the work that we do, what we make, is always trying to kind of engage a non-art viewer. Which is probably, like maybe one more distinguishing elements of our practice is, that we´re, well, not being straight forward or doing it in a literal way. We´re trying to engage people that are not necessarily, you know, like viewing normal contemporary art – viewer, you know. Trying to have like a kind of double meaning with everything in a sense, like, I think, like even back doing the magazine, you know, it was always about sort of like these high-end configurations of the present, in a sense. And, you know, thinking about like – you know, when we thought about fashion, we thought about like nonmarket driven trends in a way, but things that people could absolutely like relate to. First, like as a funny image, and maybe second as an artwork, in a sense. So, like for instance like wearing four shoes at once – Martha Rosler had like a hilarious quote on Facebook, she is like a prolific Facebooker, and she was like, „some people make revolutions, some people wear four shoes at once.“ You know, it’s definitely kind of like a cutting bit of a shave to us, but we appreciated it, because we thought, it was cool that Martha Rosler was like looking at DIS magazine in 2011 or 10 or something. Another part of what our work is – a big part of what our work is, is brainstorming. Just like sitting around the table and being motivated to keep talking to each other after like nearly ten years, like (laughs). So, there is that, that’s like probably like the best part in a way of the labor. And then playing matchmaker in terms of ideas and people. So, it’s like – because we’ve been doing it now for so long and we always had like a kind of like wide net of like collaborators or whatever. But it just grows in a way, and so, know it’s just like, it’s piecing – it’s like putting people together. When we did the Berlin Biennial, like inviting like photographers to do the campaigns or, to do – like for the album, you know, asking Isa Genzken and Total Freedom to make a song together. So, like convincing people, that they should work with us and do something that they are not comfortable with, that they have never done before, is like a big part of our work also. And we still do that, we still make people make videos, that have never made a video or become a host, when they’re not a host normally or anything like that.
I mean, you know from going to studio visits with artists now, there aren’t studios to visit, you know (laughs). Like, you meet in a café, maybe, maybe they show you something on the computer, but most of the time you just have a conversation. So, I think it is very reflective of like where we are, like as a – like in the artworld or whatever, that people are just – it’s more about that conversation than it is about showing. Like, oh I made this and I show this. Sometimes someone does in the gallery, sell these interesting parts about them. And that’s ok, you know. It’s just true. It’s just how it goes. Those are like really great people to work with, too (laughs). You know, because sometimes it’s just like – it’s the ideas, that they come up with. And then you kind of find a way of like, alright, well, we’re lucky, because people, I think, at this point people really trust us in a way. And they have always kind of given us like a kind of a long leash to drag them into our projects, in a sense. And give us that kind of like opportunity to have them, do something they are not comfortable with or that they’re used to doing. So, those are the people that you can be like, let’s – you know, let’s make a video, like, ok, like, who should narrate this? What’s the like visual concept? What are we doing, you know? When we did like the DISimages, or even – or DIS own – like both of those things – I mean DIS images – like most of those artists never took pictures before, you know. And we found a way to work with them anyway. And really, it’s fine. We’ll get an assistant, or have them photograph and it’s stock photography anyway, you know. Like if you got one big – like box, you’re fine. We’ll just – like what’s the idea, you know? What do you want to say with this stock photo? And then find a way of doing that with them.
I think we’ve always been doing edutainment in a way. I do think, that like, you know, the rise of documentaries and nonfiction films, many thanks to Netflix honestly, has, like there is this kind of like insatiable thirst for like knowledge in a way and, if you think about like the, you know, the resources, that we have in the world, there is like material and energy which are finite, and then there is knowledge and knowledge is, you know, a renewable resource. It’s something, that like the more knowledge you have, the more knowledge you have. It’s just like begets more. So, we’re really happy, to kind of like move into that place in a more, like direct way, but I don’t – but I also think, that – I don’t know, like humor and pop culture is a relatable framework for people. So, it’s nice, to kind of like have, you know, to use other formats, whether that’s like printed content, advertorial, or, you know, for instance like, I’ll talk about like the PSA series that we did. We called them like public service announcements which is kind of a lie, because like, I don’t know public service announcements are usually for like drunk driving or something, or like whatever (laughs). And what we did was kind of like think about a public service announcement, but in the – for like late capitalism or something like that. But it was – it was a series of videos, a trilogy of videos in which we talked about the kind of like lost opportunity for change, for economic change, after the financial collapse and the global financial collapse. And the kind of like, basically like the uncertain, like opportunities for millennials. So, we made videos targeting specifically this group of people. It was – we started making these films I guess in 2018 and it was like the ten-year anniversary, I think, September whatever. So, they came out like just before the ten-year anniversary of like Lehman Brothers. And we kind of – we use different characters to kind of explain, like what happened and how we got where we are today. And the first part, that we had to figure out, was like, okay, what are the like algorithms, what are the codes that have kind of like increased wealth inequality?
So, we worked with like an economist, Moritz Schularick, to kind of like – basically he had to really like teach us a lot and then we did our own digging and we figured out, that like, you know, that banks, basically like they were foreclosing all these houses and then they have been renting them back to people. You know, they stole their homes, they took a loan, you know, that like from the government that like bailed them out and then they created this new like rentership society in America. I don’t want to give statistics to get them wrong right now, but it’s a huge shift in inequality, that is happening right now. So, we made three videos, the first video is actually like, A Good Crisis it’s called, and sort of like – I think it’s like titled after the idea of like, what is a good crisis, who is it good for, you know, in a way. And he’s like the main character, the only character really is played by the Night King from Game of Thrones, which also came to be like around, like Occupy Wall Street in 2011, you know. So, culturally it’s like, for us it’s still like, it’s dated in this way, like Game of Thrones. And he goes on, to kind of give like a brief history of like, you know, like wealth inequality in America and also like kind of outs like Stephen Schwarzman of Blackstone, for what he’s done personally, to cause like so much inequality in America.
In terms of like the kind of artist, that we look, to work with, it’s usually people, who have like a really, like deep knowledge of the subject. You know, someone, who has been like, who has a kind of like a tendency, to get obsessed with something and find out everything about it. And those are the people, that we normally are attracted to, I think, in a way. Now, whenever people have to be storytellers. There was probably a time, where it was like a little bit looser in a sense, like who we could work with, because of the way the platform worked and DIS-Magazine for sure. Now, there is a lot of great artists that we love but they don’t – like they can’t fit into our particular mode right now, because we’re looking for people, who can kind of like resist the temptation to be abstract a little bit and actually communicate an idea, like in a little bit of more straight forward way. So, when we approach people, you know, we always have a conversation of we’re not commissioning video art. It’s not, you know, this is not video art. It might be video art, I’m not saying, but don’t – like approach it – like you approach video art for a gallery. You have to imagine that it’s going to be seen on a phone, on a projector, on a flat – like on a flat screen, on apple TV, on a laptop, you know. You can’t control, how it’s going to be seen, you know. What you have to think about is, what you trying to say and how you going to say it.
And also, now we’re working more with also directors, too. Not only artists. And writers as well. So, academics, like for instance like Andrea Shaw Nevins who probably never imagined that she would have like a video made up like after a chapter in her book, you know, about like the Venus of Willendorf. But, we wiped this chapter and we asked her, can we make a video for you? And she said, yes. She had this wonderful accent, I think she’s Jamaican, so, she also narrated it and she wrote the script for it and she did a fantastic job. A lot of people can’t translate their academic writing into something, like colloquial and spoken and natural, but she was incredible.
Storytelling (laughs). It is like the one – it is the connective tissue between people. You know, it is the distinguishing thing, like you know, marker between us and all other, like creatures. You know, I mean, animals have language, they can communicate. We know this, we know this much. You know, they probably have words, they probably have – they’ve consciousness of course, and minds and things like this, but they don’t have the ability to kind of tell elaborate stories and social constructs and create kingdoms and cooperations and all these things that we basically hold as true, you know, as like a reality. So, I think, storytelling is just a huge intrinsic part, of what it is, to be a human being and what makes humans different from everything else. Yes.