interview

On Goats

Introduction. We all know: Goats have been around for centuries, millennia even. However, it’s not obvious to most that goats are also an important factor in terms of economy — today more than ever. They are actively co-shaping our world, making it a better, more nutritious, and at times more complex place. Without goats there would be no bees or trees, not to mention goat cheese. This interview is all about these divine creatures.

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Talking to:  Claudiu-Vlad Ursache 

Who: Goat Expert and Software Writer
What: Goats

I’d like to thank the expert interviewee Claudiu for dedicating a bit of his precious time to discuss this deeply existential topic with us. Get in touch with him here (‣ Claudiu’s website), in case some of your personal questions remained unanswered in this interview.

Memorable moment for the goat (left): Claudiu-Vlad Ursache

Knows and understands most goats: Claudiu-Vlad Ursache | (c) Arcin / Claudiu

If you look at the DNA of a goat, you will discern many similarities to human DNA. In fact, goat’s DNA is ten times closer to human’s than Michael Jackson’s DNA. That is not to say that goats function in the same way we do. There are crucial differences regarding methods, goals and values. Before we get nosebleeds trying to figure out goats’ internal life and their role in co-shaping this world, it’s best to ask an expert. Here we go.


Let’s talk goats. How important are they for global economy?

Like the rubber O-rings of NASA’s Space Shuttle Challenger, goats may be often forgotten but they play a crucial role in today’s no government involvement, unless we’re in big trouble, in which case taxpayers please, please, please pay for our gamble free-market system. To give just a few examples of unexpected places in which these agile ruminants exert their influence: increased demand for capretto (found in Gucci shoes and narrations of 85$-dishes delivered by Michelin-starred generals) directly leads farmers in Texas to owning fewer cattle; a glance inside Palestinian smuggler tunnels uncovers animal fodder priced ten times above global market value as a direct consequence of goats kicking ass at being livestock in war-ridden terrain (and the Israeli trade embargo, of course); finally, the feral goat herds of Senkaku Islands are a diplomatic aura that keeps the $350 billion trade between Japan and China on track. ‣ Further reading

Can people and goats be friends despite different value systems?

Yes! The viral Hand-shaking Hoof-Facebook-profile-picture-filter movement in low-GDP countries has brought to light millions of homo-caprine relationships. A better proof for this natural inter-species bond we share is hardly necessary, especially considering the embodiment of aristotelian virtues that every goat has shown itself to be.


A glance inside Palestinian smuggler tunnels uncovers animal fodder priced ten times above global market value as a direct consequence of goats kicking ass at being livestock in war-ridden terrain.


What kind of goat would have the most difficulties changing a light bulb?

Survivors of the Capra eléctrica project — the undertaking planned by Thomas Edison in which goats were bred, trained and clockwork-oranged over the course of two decades for the sole purpose of discrediting AC-powered light bulbs in a carefully planed public demonstration at a New York amusement park in 1903.

Imagine you’re walking down the street at night. A goat crosses your way. What goat is it?

The Trump-supporting billy goat.

Pick any goat you can think of and say how it fits in today’s world and society.

I’ll go with Armin Ibrisagic’s goat. Even though it’s made out of bytes, vertex shaders, git commits, not atoms, molecules, eukaryotic cells, this digital Magna Capra has brought evening peace to as many people as Paris holds by unleashing the wrath of straight-horns upon unsuspecting cities.


Takeaway. This interview leaves us with quite a few insights into how goats act within our system. I’m glad our interviewee mentioned Armin Ibrisagic’s goat, as I was secretly hoping. You gotta see this special goat, if you get the chance, during the Goats United Festival, next edition kicking off coming June. There will be surprise guests and a firework, as I’ve been told by insiders. Keep an eye open for that one. As for economical advice we can derive from the above: Ditch gold and art hedgefonds. Invest in goat stock.

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Subject #1

Introduction. Hello and welcome to the first interview. The interviewee is me. The questions come from my friend Katy, who happens to be as enthusiastic about the idea as I am. As I’m still experimenting with layout and methods of display, this may not be the final form of how all upcoming interviews will look like.

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One of my pictures

In this introduction section I’ll usually talk about the interviewee and the topic of the interview. In this case, Katy decided to talk about creative practice and general things like places, seasons and cultural differences. Next interviews will revolve around goats and Marinara sauce, among other things, and might turn out completely different from this one.

Talking to: Yournamehere

Who: Description of whatever role is relevant to the interview. Can be occupation, something hobby-related or anything else. I’m open to suggestions here.

What: Topic (here: predominantly creative practice). Can be virtually anything.


Having talked to some of my future interviewees, I’m coming to the conclusion that an interactive interview might be more interesting or profound. The reasons are pretty obvious: Sending a list of questions means not taking the opportunity to immediately build on what the interviewee is saying. At the moment I’m still settling for just sending them five questions, because it’s the easier thing to do. About this specific paragraph: Switching to italics might put more structure into the layout. This is the extended part of the introduction.


You have a number of online names or personas. How far do these divides permeate? For example, is your creative process different for each name?

This is a complex question. I do at times have different names for different projects, yet I feel like I, as the person behind them, am the common denominator. I’m not trying to be anonymous at all costs when using a certain pseudonym, but I do enjoy taking a little step away from myself as a person by using a different name. The creative process feels like the same thing for everything I do, as it originates in my head (and ends up outside of it), so I always feel some kind of integrity towards what I want to represent.

You articulate in a number of mediums – painting, photography, writing, animation, to name a few. I wanted to know if you start your work with a disembodied idea and then you seek to find the right medium in which to express this idea (like perhaps a multi-lingual person searching for the right language through which to articulate in the least compromising way*) or if you begin with the medium and the idea comes from that point? Or if neither apply, please elaborate.

Ludwig Wittgenstein playing the banjo

Unrelated: Ludwig Wittgenstein playing the banjo

It starts with an idea. Disembodied idea is a good term for that. I tend to create very spontaneously (in all of the cases), and then work excessively for a couple of minutes or hours. In my case I think the ideas are born very quickly, it seems like they would appear out of nothing. So I pick the medium after the idea came up. The only (partial) exception is perhaps photography, because it relies on what’s happening in the outside world (you have to have the camera ready to take a picture when someone catches a beer glass with their forehead, for example). 

As for languages: Similar usage dependence issue as with photography, for me at least. Even more: I almost always use English for everything I do. I’m never really aware of the ‘least compromising’ way, as I’m rather focused on possibilities instead of limitations. Language limitations can also be seen as an advantage, or as something that can potentially enrich the idea, by challenging the ‘creator’ to think more.

Knowing that translation and language use always has to do with limitations though, I can also relate to people seeking to reduce compromise when it comes to expressing their ideas. Language kind of falls out of the above mentioned group of mediums by the way, because it’s so omnipresent and much more basic.

*I only speak one language, so I am not sure if this is something people commonly feel, but I’ve experienced multi-lingual friends reference feeling something like this.

I’m sometimes impatient when it comes to executing an idea.

You’ve become increasingly interested in coding and web design. Do you consider this work as a creative practice and in what way? And if not, how would you position this work in relationship to your more traditionally ‘creative’ work.

I think coding is the cleanest version of creation. You create something that makes sense or has meaning in whatever way, and it’s relatively free of certain references — the ones that are typical of traditional art. Artists often work with references, or they’re unintended but identified by the audience. References are not always manageable, so the outcome or impact of ‘traditional creative practice’ is not manageable either. With coding you can have a more streamlined and pure realization of your idea. Yet coding requires a lot of knowledge of crucial details, so the learning process, or the process of developing skills in this area, is slow (at least for me). 

I’m sometimes impatient when it comes to executing an idea. That’s why I’ve always appreciated ‘traditionally creative’ work for being more effortless. I won’t give up on the coding though. For now I’m working on a new, more lightweight, way of deploying dropdown menus so the user can determine what phrase fits best into sentence, as in here. I believe this can turn into a new way of deploying technology for ‘creative practice’.

A more personal question: You’ve mentioned wanting to find a work that demands you leave the house during winter. How do you see that the city of Berlin changes from season to season?

img_3418Seasons are very crucial around here. The climate will decide whether you stay indoors or go outside. The reason for this is very simple: It’s just the temperature. In the summer you always have more options, like a BBQ or a nice hike. In the winter the hikes always seem more difficult and laborious, and not only them, but every step you’re taking outside of the house. You then stay indoors more, but as you’re surrounded by the same setting, you need to constantly get something new into the setting. For example, many people would watch TV shows. I don’t really watch a lot of things and would like to leave house more in the winter to have more of a change or dynamic in my day.

I am interested in the period you spent in America and would like to know if, and to what extent, on returning from america you saw Germany and Russia in a new light? If so please expand.

I guess you can feel the ‘old world order’ in everything on our continent, as opposed to the U.S. It’s applicable to Germany as well as Russia. I’m thinking architecture here, but also interior design, the look and feel of everything. Other than that, I’ve come to understand political or ideologic differences a little better. Also I might tend to (want to) see more similarities between people of different origins, their beliefs and values. For example I think every culture would appreciate similar values, such as honesty or empathy. The appreciation of values and following these values might just be expressed in a different way or with different intensity with people from different cultures.


Takeaway. This section will aim to summarize the topic of the interview. What do we learn from this demo interview? Because I’m the interviewed person, my insights here are mainly related to layout. If we wanted to nevertheless talk about the point of this interview: Katy seems to be interested in how people come up with ideas and how these ideas work with certain mediums. I’ve been talking about this just yesterday, and I’m noticing that the way we see the medium is different for everybody. When you use a medium to express an idea, the medium can control you (by limiting) or you can control the medium (by not feeling limited). Thank you for these thoughtful questions, Katy!

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Cases

Do you sometimes wonder what other people think? I certainly do. This world is full of people and many of them have something to say. That’s why I’m going to focus more on interviews from now on, or at least give this format a shot and see how that goes. One of the main advantages I see here is the possibility to continue dealing with a wide scope of topics while sticking to a consistent mode of representation. ► Manifesto

So many things to talk about

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Draft of an interview situation

Recently I’ve been asked by an artist agency if I would like to be featured on their platform with an interview. I said yes. Funny thing is, they barely know who I am. I guess my fake artist Instagram suggests more than it actually is. In the end it might not matter whether I’m a “real artist”, as long as I (pretend that I) have something to say. This made me think about interview as a format. Like, why don't I just interview anybody I can think of?

I’m surrounded by all kinds of people, such as photographers, programmers, sociologists, architects, writers, psychology graduates, hackers, painters, actors, project managers, teachers, politicians and musicians. Imagine what’s possible when you interview any of them about something else than their field of expertise. Asking them about basic concepts related to their field of expertise could be equally exciting.


"If you're not trying to be real, you don't have to get it right. That's art." Andy Warhol


 

Andy Warhol wasn’t the first person to emphasize importance and possibilities of conversation, and he won’t be the last. Nowadays numerous magazines work with this form of expression and consist almost exclusively of interviews (and, well, ads, who are we kidding).

As coincidence would have it, this publication is called commonpeople, a name that is more than suitable to represent the idea. What started out as an outlet for uncategorized thoughts might now turn into something more streamlined.

Modalities of what’s to come:
 
  • Five written questions, possibly asked in a consecutive (Q1, Q2, ..., R1, R2, ...) or interchanging (Q1, R1, Q2, R2 ...) manner
  • One theme or topic per interview
  • Interviewees can suggest the title for the article
  • Interviewees can provide references, links and media
  • Length of a reply per question can vary between a short paragraph and two paragraphs
  • Interviewees can be anonymous if they want

As for my other plans: I’m now going further into experimenting with social media and my next thing is Twitter. What I’m generally learning recently is that there is a lot of extended potential to social media. Most people seem to ignore this potential and mostly use Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and the like for plain distribution of usual content, such as media, hyperlinks or text. But, like, what becomes of all your #food pictures and how relevant will they be five years from now? I will try to cover this topic in detail soon. 

If you wish to be interviewed for commonpeople.de, please use the email address provided via the above home menu. Indicate what topic you’d like to talk about and tell something about yourself.

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