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batofar
above and below:
Spreads from the July Batofar calendar. far right: flyer for "A night in San Francisco May 15, 2003.
An E-Interview w/ Parisian graphic artist Sarah Cassenti on Design. - Her way of pushing design outside of flatland. A Night in San Fransisco, Batofar

While studying as a fine artist in the mid 90s, I saw graphic design as a controlled/contrived artistic discipline. An artistic discipline that had simply two customers: the client and the consumer, both of which have particular needs, (i.e. one needs to be convinced or sold, the other obviously needs to convince or sell.) A different way to look at it, which has recently dawned on me, is to think of the "Client" and the "Consumer" as two types of audiences and the printed matter as your stage, a place for an alphanumeric ballet of sorts. Or if you prefer a symphony -the orchestra comprised of color and shape forms and the graphic designer as the conductor of course. Graphic design can be a bad play, dull monologue, or a predictable rock concert, or graphic design can be the opposite: a performance that you will remember from time to time.

I am reminded of this metaphor taken to a very literal degree when I look at Sarah's graphic design. Although I meet her while attending the Reitveld Academy in 1995.I had no

idea what she was really up to or where she would take such graphics after she graduated. For the most part I though her loose ink spilled illustrations and her verging-on-disaster calligraphy to be useless in a very rigid design environment - another admittedly naive view of graphic design. From time to time, after returning to the states, I received a letter from Sarah with the usual life updates. In one particular letter she scribbled information about her final project at ESAG in Paris (Ecole Superiour Des Artes Graphiques). She mentioned in fragmented sentences that she was working on a visual translation of the famous opera Die Zauberfloot (the Magic Flute). I didn't think too much of it... come to think of it I wasn't even sure

Les Iditote, Magazine Vivant
above: Magazine Vivant website screenshots, below: a layout for Die Zauberfloot, from her thesis at ESAG.

Die Zauberfloot

that that was what she was trying to say. I lost touch with her during the tremulous last years at Art School. We were about to dropped into a different phase in life -the working life.

Since then, I assume Sarah's designs kept evolving: The idea of the stage as her page was exploding beyond the page and into a literal realization. I heard that she was working on a new magazine in Paris. But from what I read, it wasn't a typical style glossy, instead Les Idiots, un Magazin Vivant was in fact a living breathing magazine with some dancing in between. The venue, to make it even more surreal, was a converted boathouse docked on the Seine. I wonder if this is all part of a silent plan she had back in art school, or is it just one of those unintended magical coincidences that happen in life? -AS

batofar

Can you explain to us what Les Idiotes is about and how this project came about?
The Idiots are some what of an experimental artist group made up of Brian Nö-Ny (Hélène Defilippi), David Danger (me), and Mr. Friendly. We took the name from Iggy Pop's album called The Idiot (1997, Virgin Records). The Idiot is an album that Iggy Pop, a.k.a. the Rock Iguana, and David Bowie collaborated on.

Basically Les Idiotes host Magazine Vivant, a sort of live magazine, evenings where we invite artists to chat with and later to dance. Les Idiotes also stage concerts called Nö-Concert. Nö-concerts is basically the part of the Magazine Vivant in which we all start to dance. On stage Les Idiotes have one stage costume and one stage make-up. We also create images during the Magazine Vivant event. It's sort of hard to explain... this live magazine, Magazine Vivant, is Les Idiotes' main event.



The results of the Magazine Vivant was published in Vices de Forme last September. It contains the images of the past performances/actions, interventions, and interviews. We have interviewed the father of Eude (Emergent behavior in Sounds) , Philippe Mester or Korda.

Les Idiotes hope to go on a Nö-Tour in the Eastern Germany or the San Francisco with a star-spangled helmet of Easy Rider on their heads!- a Plastic Stardust explosion!

Can you explain JapanCorps.com (offline) and what made you do this project? What was the central idea? Are you working on a new update for this project and how will it be different?
Japancorps.com is a multimedia project, centered around the body and Japan. I created that project in 2001. It is currently offline since we are planning to put some new work up there.

Vices de Forme

above and below right: spreads from Vices of Form; the Idiots' take on Easy Rider & snaps from a Nö-Conert.

 

If I feel like elaborating on a certain subject, in a certain way, I find the means  to do so, and I do it with people I recognize and appreciate.

Both the Batofar and the JapanCorps project stimulate my imagination:
- The powerful boat and red fire - I like red.
-And the Japanese spirit - I like red.
The two subjects gave amplitude to my graphical thoughts.

Vices de Forme

I know you did some work for Batofar, can you explain what the Batorfar is?
Batofar is a boat on the Seine that has been converted to house electronic music concerts and other various night life events from all over Europe. We had the chance to develop their visual identity for 2003 which includes flyers and a monthly publication which you can see on their site: http://www.batofar.net.

I notice a lot of the sites you work on have a Lomitko credit on the page, who or what is Lomitko?
Lomitko is my friend Jerome, he adds impetus to my projects. He's completely

above, left to right: front and back of Batofar calendar May 2003, "Jolie Musique" flyer May 2003.

Below L to R: Flyers for "REV Londres", "Sunday Time", and a February performance announcement.
   

capable of understanding the subject matter of my projects -and from that he will support them and make them exist socially. We created Japancorps together Les Idiots, Rev'/ Batofar, and Jazz a Porquerolles. We are long-time friends and we respect each other's universe -this allows us to simply follow the flux of our intuition and know-how.

Tell us about your "professional" projects that you have done for fashion industry.
I worked on the some fashion catalogs and the visual identity of Barbara Bui. Then I went to Japan to present a new line of clothes, etc... It's tough, and not all that wonderful. I created two invitations for Jack Henry of which I'm quite happy about; I'd like to show them to you. That allowed me to get close to some very nice creations and also to understand that all is not creation, fatal falsification. Art Director Alain Tondowski is the person who moved me most on that project. I also enjoyed Karim Bonnet's energy, "Impasse de la Défense" [Dead End of the Defense] - a funny character and a very good cook on Saturday noon, after shopping.

Can you tell us about your parents? Are they an influence and how?
Very early on my parents directed full-length films simply because they felt like it. Quite a pure movement. I believe I have that same liberty, if I feel like elaborating on a certain subject on a certain way I do it, I find the means to do so, and I do it with people I recognize and appreciate.
- Only happiness, like Brian of Les Idiotes would say!

Who are some of your influences?
David Bowie, Serge Lutens, EUDES and of course Brian Nö-NY.

What are your artistic plans for the future?
Many Vices de Forme, maybe a record with Jeffrey, and hopefully stage a bunch of nö-concerts with Les Idiotes, That’s always loads of fun!

When was the last time you danced?
Last weekend, discovering Monika Passos at Porquerolles. X

 

 

 


"Not All Stars Shine" - Sarah Cassenti
If your in Paris this summer check out Batofar's website for event www.batofar.net

An archive of les Idiots is online at www.lesidiotes.org but it's not meant to take the place of a live Les Idiotes perfromance.