above and below: Spreads from the July Batofar calendar. far
right: flyer for "A night in San Francisco May 15, 2003.
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
above: Magazine Vivant website screenshots,
below: a layout for Die Zauberfloot, from her thesis at
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
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.
above and below
right: spreads from Vices of Form; the Idiots' take on Easy
Rider & snaps from a Nö-Conert.
Both the Batofar and the JapanCorps project stimulate
- 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.
I know you did some work for Batofar, can you explain what the
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
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
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
- Only happiness, like Brian of Les Idiotes
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
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.