Roz.hovory R na Radikále


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Rozhovor druhý - s Peterem Stricklandem, filmařem a členem skupiny The Sonic Catering Band.

Originální verze. Anglicky nemluvícím se omlouváme.

Peter 6.1.2004.18:09 Thank you.

Peter 6.1.2004.18:09 Trnka? I'll do an internet search on this one. Svankmajer is very cool - Dimensions of Dialogue, The Death of Stalinism in Bohemia, Jabberwocky - all life changing films. The film that really changed my life was David Lynch's 'Eraserhead' - nothing felt the same afterwards. It was like losing my virginity.

Radikála 6.1.2004.18:07 Thank you very much for your answers Peter.

Peter 6.1.2004.18:07 I have to go. I'd rather talk here but have to go.

Radikála 6.1.2004.18:06 Thanks for masterpiece of movie tip. I was talking about presence when mentioned terrible crisis of animated movies. Trnka and Svankmajer have too little number of followers !

Peter 6.1.2004.18:06 There is also a musician called Matthew Herbert who very playfully makes his own political points against globalisation by sampling the sounds of 'brand' products in food and clothing.

Peter 6.1.2004.18:04 Jean-Luc Godard is an obvious example of someone who really lived and breathed his political and ethical ideals. He also showed a lot of personal frustration with his own Faustian pacts,(in terms of doing commercial work so as to have more money to do his personal work).

Peter 6.1.2004.18:02 Okay, I'll just answer this question quickly.

Peter 6.1.2004.18:02 Okay, I have to go. Thanks for the discussion and recommending some Czech treasures.

Radikála 6.1.2004.18:01 It´s nice and also understanable, Radikála has very similar anonymous character. Can you remember some famous alive artist who is distributing by virtue of his art some ecological or political ideas ? Do you think that it is possible to find a form possible to succeed ? (f.e. Bob Marley)

Peter 6.1.2004.18:01 Thanks for the orphism tip.

Peter 6.1.2004.17:58 I have to get ready to lift this bath in a few minutes, so one more question.

Peter 6.1.2004.17:57 It sounds like you are in a good place. We had to fight a lot of apathy when I was at University. Do see 'Street of Crocodiles'

Peter 6.1.2004.17:56 My personal history: I was born in England (1973). There is no explicit artistic tradition in my family. My father was a good poet but made his money from teaching French literature. My Mum is a good painter but teaches Greek. I'm a good film maker, but make my money from getting whatever job I can.

Radikála 6.1.2004.17:55 I have heard about The Brothers Quay I think from Jozef Cseres, but I haven´t seen anything. We are very specialised at FaVU and also on other Czech Universities - painters only paint etc. Unfortunately we do not cooperate more with Janácek Academy of Music and Performing Arts (JAMU). We have more interesting lecturers and subjects but many absolvents are too much "field focused". (opposite to type of education you told me is usual in UK)

Peter 6.1.2004.17:54 I have no film curriculum on the web. Maybe one day but I have no plans now. The band was always a separate thing to the films. Despite the fact that I'm responsible for everything to do with the band, from the very first conception to the final production, it is a group effort. Other people put in a lot of work and have great technical and aesthetic ability, so it seems unfair to call The Sonic Catering Band entirely my project and somewhat egotistical too. I couldn't achieve what I've done without their help. This is the same for a lot of these YBAs (Young British Artists). They have assistants who help them realise their huge projects, but of course they never get any recognition. These artists couldn't survive on their own. Another reason for the anomynous feel of The Sonic Catering Band is I made an aesthetic decision to mimic the food manufacturing industry. Almost the same as what Warhol was doing with his silk screen Campbell soup can paintings. I wanted everything to only have technical information and have a mass-produced look.

Radikála 6.1.2004.17:48 Frantisek Kupka (1871-1957) is very famous in France. He found orphism.

Peter 6.1.2004.17:47 Do you know of The Brothers Quay? They're British film makers, though heavily influenced by film makers such as Svankmajer and the Polish writer, Bruno Schulz. Their film 'Street of Crocodiles' is a total masterpiece.

Radikála 6.1.2004.17:45 I was trying to find out your Curriculum on the web, but unsuccesfuly. Why is f.e. so anonymous ? And also any mp3s ! Please give us some informations - especially I would like to know something about your personal history - artists in family...

Peter 6.1.2004.17:44 I'm sorry, I don't know of Kupka or Mucha. Tell me more about them. What is the terrible crisis of Czech crisis of animation? Too many countries seem to be having a crisis when it comes to film making.

Peter 6.1.2004.17:41 I have no allegiance to anything apart from the individual friends and family I love. I'm certainly interested in the subject of nationalism as it's sadly becoming more and more of an essential theme. But personally, I don't care so much about England or the Queen. The British have a history of colonialism and certainly, recent events in Iraq haven't done us any favours. The British foreign policy has always been suspect. But this is the Government. The same in America. I think America is a great country. I just don't like far right Republican administrations.

Radikála 6.1.2004.17:41 Have you been discussing terrible crisis of Czech tradition of animation films with some our moviemakers ?

Radikála 6.1.2004.17:38 And do people in GB know some Czech painter ? Kupka ? Mucha ?

Peter 6.1.2004.17:37 Art reflecting religion is always a more awe inspiring experience than art reflecting politics. It's certainly a more sensual and sensory experience than art reflecting politics. It's much more difficult than art reflecting politics. Jean Luc-Godard made some incredible films exploring society's conflict with Marxism or capitalism.

Radikála 6.1.2004.17:36 Once I was talking with my art teacher about patriotism of each nation and he had problems to understand my sympathy to english people, because they were invaders etc. My english friend told me one day that nationalism is in straight opposite to be english. How do you feel british national grain ?

Peter 6.1.2004.17:34 Jan Svankmajer is certainly a legend amongst certain people in the UK. I'm not aware of others who are alive apart from really famous people such as Milos Forman. I'm not aware of the younger generation of Czech artists, film makers or musicians.

Peter 6.1.2004.17:32 One difference I find here in Hungary is there are less people doing art, music, film or whatever and therefore, more of them have a chance to make a living from doing what they love. In London, every other person is an artist, but usually stuck in a job they hate. It's a tough situation and I'd always advise people to have another skill ready, such as a language or maybe you could be a great gymnast and earn good money from this. You can always imbue your art with experiences from your other skills. This is certainly what we did with cooking. We turned our fantastic cooking skills to our artistic advantage.

Radikála 6.1.2004.17:30 Tell me now - who of Czech artists are in Britain most popular ? I mean living people. Svankmajer ?

Radikála 6.1.2004.17:28 Excuse me, but I do not defy my school - I am so happy here, that I can disagree with your opinion "learning beyond University". Generaly - do you like art reflecting religion ? Less than art reflecting politics ?

Peter 6.1.2004.17:27 My surname means nothing, but I like your interpretation. Maybe I'll just pretend it means 'burned land'. Eastern European surnames are much cooler than English names. Peter Svankmajer sounds much classier than Peter Strickland.

Peter 6.1.2004.17:26 I'm not travelling so much. I'm either in Hungary or England. I was in Slovakia and the Czech Republic as I did the University talks to earn some money. Hungary is cheaper than England. It's a very mercenary viewpoint but in London I just couldn't survive. You work in a job to pay the rent and you have no money or time left for your work. Life is great here and London is great too, both in a cultural and social sense, but the hard reality is you need to be rich to live productively in London.

Peter 6.1.2004.17:23 A more mundane point here but I will have to excuse myself at 18.00 as I have to help a friend move a bath out of his apartment.

Radikála 6.1.2004.17:22 Are you usually travelling so much ? Then I´d like to know about meaning of your surname - (nomen omen), does it mean something like "burned land" ?

Peter 6.1.2004.17:21 Listening to Nick Cave or reading Dostoyevsky or even Kafka brought this great plight of man against God to my attention. Not against God in the atheist sense, but in a very human sense of trying to excel and defy your constraints. The same manner in which you try to defy the institutions you study in. This is why I love Werner Herzog's films when he pits these characters against the mighty power of nature. And the characters always fail, but the fact that they tried is what really mattered. This seems inherent to the evolution of the human spirit both in technology and art.

Peter 6.1.2004.17:18 Going back to religion, I can't deny that the recent work of mine is heavily drenched in a certain mythology as opposed to a belief. I refuse to get drawn into discussions regarding my personal beliefs, but this is very hard to put in writing. Biblical imagery is such a universal constant in the West. It's right up there with the great themes of love, loss, revenge, greed in all forms of art. I would call the scale of a Mark Rothko canvas redolent of the great religious artforms and it's much more powerful as it's not explicitly religious.

Peter 6.1.2004.17:13 I haven't heard of Milan Knížák but I fully agree with his sentiment. The border guards between the Czech Republic and Slovakia are much more welcoming if you wear a suit. Okay, next question or we can discuss in more depth, the earlier points.

Peter 6.1.2004.17:10 Third question: Zen viewpoint? We've done Zen cooking, but that's as far as it goes. I don't know enough about the Zen philosophy to comment further. Religious appropriation is always a precarious matter, but I understand your viewpoint. I'm more concerned with the extraordinary within reality. Religion infuses a lot of the work by other people I love and the Bible is a great source of inspiration regardless of whether you buy into it or not.

Peter 6.1.2004.17:06 Second question: I was never taught by Grayson Perry. One of the Turner Prize nominees, Anya Gallacio was a visiting lecturer at my University. Nobody at Fine Art taught me anything useful. We educated ourselves. The real education is beyond University. The tutors are there to be used. I'm perfectly comfortable with exploiting their so-called goodwill. The main point of going to university for me was to use their free equipment and get student discounts on materials for my work. The tutors are usually artists themselves and so there is an inherently competitive dynamic in this environment which is not healthy. I chose to seek a dialogue with people outside that institution. And do I like Grayson Perry's pots? Yes, they're very nice but I wouldn't pay 20,000 pounds.

Peter 6.1.2004.17:00 First question: what is it like to be an artist in the UK: difficult. We have to accept the situation is difficult and learn to find ways of making ourselves heard. Grouping together always works better to make a louder noise. Rent is cheaper too if you need to hire a work space. At the moment, I just try to do as much work as I can now and worry about how it'll be accepted later. The point is to attend as many parties and gallery openings as possible. If you fail to network, there is always free food and drink, so at the very least, you save some money.

Radikála 6.1.2004.16:58 Allright ! I'm just ready. :-)

Peter 6.1.2004.16:56 Good evening. I'm logging in 10 minutes early just to answer some questions left over from yesterday.

Radikála 5.1.2004.22:04 Excuse me, for this moment I have to go. I hope we can continue soon. Please answer all my unanswered questions. Thank you very much !

Radikála 5.1.2004.22:03 Milan Knížák (Duke of Czech scene, maybe you have heard about him already) is also proffessor at AVU in Prague. The first task he gave to my punk friend who was there on short term residency was : wear clothes close to dresses of establishment.... :-)

Radikála 5.1.2004.21:56 Yes, everything around us is full of treasures ! I remember when I saw a great book Secret history of the music on the desk of lady at student department today... When zoy speak about daily basis...what about Zen viewpoint, Peter ?

Peter 5.1.2004.21:55 We are both familiar with art school (for better or worse) and regardless of our artistic pedigree, we should have enough of an aesthetic sense to employ a classy drense sense. Anyway, seriously, if you're showing something on the big screen, go to town, go wild, put your best frock on. Too many people wear casual clothes in film. It's a wasted opportunity, when you could be wearing a killer uniform. In the band too, we strongly believe in uniform. We always dress in white chefs' wear when we play live. It creates a strong sense of identity and women love men in uniform.

Radikála 5.1.2004.21:51 In Czech Republic is another problem with money more - totalitarian communistic dictatorship in the past, 10 percent of unemployment, poverty etc. Another question : You told me that one of your techers was Grayson Perry. What is the most important thing he teached you ? (Are all british art schools expensive ?) Do you like his pots ?

Peter 5.1.2004.21:50 With music, I'm trying to convey the wonder that surrounds us on a daily basis. There are so many hidden sonic treasures in sounds we don't even think about such as cooking. So as a band, we're just trying to amplify and add some drama to that context by making a gas oven alive with the sound of celestial choirs or popcorn bursting with rhythm. There are many other ideas behind the texture of our pieces, the atmosphere and the structure. We are paralleling the working methods of both food and sound processing by taking raw food/sound and chopping, layering, mixing, processing, etc. The band always has a uniform notion, whereas each film I do has a roughly different motivation. First and foremost, there is just a very primal instinct (before any ideas or structure or plot present themselves) to convey how rich a medium the cinema is and how you have this huge canvas AND speakers to exploit both visuals and sound.

Radikála 5.1.2004.21:47 And back to the visual image of visual artists : I remember that you have been giving more attention to nice dressed onlookers on your projection (as typically egoistic bad dressed artist I can be only paranoic), can you comment it, please ? :-)

Peter 5.1.2004.21:44 Money is such a taboo subject in the art world, especially at art schools. Money is central to everything. But there are two issues here which often get confused: money for the realisation of work and money as a reward for work. I believe in both. I strongly believe in both. People always say you should do art for the love, not money which always gets my back up, as I need money to live. The dividing line in this argument is when the reward money ascends to ridiculous levels as with some of the top league artists. But even if you have no money, there is always a way of continuing.

Radikála 5.1.2004.21:42 I agree : you are good ! I love your movies ! And the music is so "imaginative", so visual, that it's very inspirative and strong experience. Can you verbalize or abstract more the issue of THAT what you want to share ?

Radikála 5.1.2004.21:37 The real art you know... Have you heard about "the projects of cows" ? (Who is its initiator ?)

Peter 5.1.2004.21:37 Sharing what goes on in my head is a very significant motivation. I can relive my own excitement each time someone discovers (and hopefully) finds some fulfillment in my work. It's quite strange as you are experiencing a vicarious thrill through someone else's appreciation of your work, but at the same time, you are so central to it. On a more pragmatic level, I do art because it's the only thing I'm good at.

Radikála 5.1.2004.21:34 Do you think that is correct to do art for money ? We often discuss this subject here on Radikala. The modernistic klisheys still be strong today... :-)

Peter 5.1.2004.21:32 I do art because I have a stronger urge than normal to share what I see or hear in my head. Hang on, will answer more in a minute!

Peter 5.1.2004.21:31 There is little relation between the films I make and the music. When money runs dry, I turn to music as the technology is so cheap. I learnt a lot from film about structuring and editing music and I learnt a lot from music about not having to follow an A to B path when it comes to editing film.

Radikála 5.1.2004.21:18 Tell me, what is the basic concept - why do you do art ?

Radikála 5.1.2004.21:16 The word "significant" has in czech a little bit different significance, well, thank you ! :-) Next, when we have met in Brno we have been discussing importance of good image, visual look, good wear etc. Once is it to be an artist in UK ? (btw. you are now in Hungary...are you sometime also at home Peter ?)

Peter 5.1.2004.21:08 First and foremost, I'm a cook, not a great cook but at least I'm in the process of mastering an artform essential to my survival. All the work I've produced either in film or as a member of The Sonic Catering Band is significant, regardless of whether I'm happy with the work or not. Sometimes the work I'm least happy with is the most significant as mistakes are always a more poignant form of learning.

Radikála 5.1.2004.19:56 Useful translation : Jméno = Name, Odešli = Submit, Vymaž = Reset, Heslo = Password.

Ian 5.1.2004.14:47 It's great to greet here on Radikala Mr. Peter Strickland. I'm happy to make an interview with this artist. I wish that all php scripts etc. will perfectly work. So the first question : Peter, if you would have to say one sentence to answer the question Who you are, what will you say ? Which part of your work is most significant for "Peter Strickland" ? :)


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