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Transparent Acrylic Glass Object, 2002
Courtesy Mehdi Chouakri, Berlin

How big a part does chance play in your working method?

No, no – this kind of connection between sample and individual structure, this doesn’t come about by chance. In order for there to be something like a minimal blend-over, I have to plan things precisely and write the programming down on the computer. I’ve worked on a single rhythm change for several nights in a row, and this is something I see every bit as conceptually as my artistic work.

So there are parallels between the music and the art? The two make me think of a contentious minimalism…

Yeah, there’s this stress on minimalism, and then something else enters in that doesn’t fit, that sticks out – in the music as well as in the paintings and installations. It’s the same way of thinking, it’s all produced by the same person, sound and image, it’s always me.

Pulverbeschichtetes Stahlgerüst, MDF, 2003
Courtesy Mehdi Chouakri, Berlin

The title “Private Pleasures” fits that – not exactly the idea of the deejay as a service provider for the raving masses, is it?

When you’ve established your sound, then you’re being booked for these very personal qualities. Even as a deejay, you can’t escape the issue of authorship. On the other hand, as an artist, you’re every bit as subject to limitations and can’t change your style just like that. But why should I suddenly start painting like the New Leipzig School?

Is there any more freedom in music, compared to your artistic production?

There’s a different public. In a realistic sense, I should be taking much more care of the distribution of the CDs and the promotion, I should be organizing tours. But then it’s just too much work for me. I’m behind the music one hundred percent, but the exhibitions have been a higher priority throughout the past months.

Other artists, like Carsten Nicolai , can combine art and music to produce a total work of art in a museum.

In Carsten Nicolai’s case, the combination makes total sense, and it’s amazing how he gets more and more perfect as he goes along. My path is in the separation, that’s where I’m slowly getting more perfect – by not appearing as a deejay on the art scene and by working towards a consistency in my CD productions that’s fully geared to my musical preferences. One shouldn’t forget, though, that music is much more short-lived than art is. When I bring out a CD, there’s a short and very intense period of attention, and then the whole thing is over with again…

2 Acrylic Platters (black/green), Metal Bolts, Washer, 2004
Courtesy Mehdi Chouakri, Berlin

... while the artist Gerwald Rockenschaub is still asked months later about works shown in a recent exhibition. But isn’t there another possibility to connect the two public spheres?

Well, at the record release party there was an edition of ten in which the graphics from the CD booklet were included as digital prints and offered for sale in a De-Luxe-Box. But that’s not the same public that’s being addressed here. In the art branch, that’s a limited edition object, and in music it’s a CD production that sells well – or it doesn’t. On the other hand, the club audience isn’t interested in me as an artist when I’m playing records – it only wants to be able to dance to the tracks. And when I put on an exhibition, then no one wants to know what kind of music I make and what my program as a deejay is like. You could go as far as to say: If I’ve made a certain design for a CD, then there’s still no overlapping between the music on that CD and its design. And that’s a huge difference to Carsten Nicolai’s approach, who intervenes in a concrete way using sound in artistically altered spaces. With me, the CD functions completely without the idea of an artist’s edition – but when somebody wants to buy a CD of mine in the museum shop of an exhibition, then why not?

That means that you deliberately make a separation between visual design, sound, and art?

For the exhibition at MUMOK in Vienna, I installed six video projections in a space where I consciously chose to do without sound, although the installation looked very much like a club and visuals. One could have easily staged the Black Box as a club, but this association was too superficial for me. Later, at the opening, I was approached by a number of people who said that the music would have fit really well with the videos. But it was just this omission that was my artistic decision, my idea. You can imagine your own soundtrack if you want to.

Just like I imagine certain images in my mind while listening to music?

Exactly – and that’s why I’m concerned with a basic idea that’s common to art and music. Sometimes it means breaking with certain expectations, like when I enjoy creating a certain disruption in art and music where the facets drift apart and don’t combine to produce a harmonious concept.

Would you like to make videos to your owntracks?

Sure, why not? But that would be an MTV Clip and not an exhibition.

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