ART // DESIGN
FRANCOIS LINDE // GONDWANA LAND
JUSTIN VAN DEN HOUTEN // CAPE TOWN NIGHTLIFE
AN INTERVIEW WITH MATHROOM // FREDERICK CLARKE
Frederick Clarke, born 1986, is a multi-media artist and music producer, living in Johannesburg, South Africa. His solo exhibition, The Times, is currently being exhibited at the Everard Read Gallery (JHB).
It seems as if you think about a lot of shit that deals with the system of the universe and are representing those thoughts in such a beautiful visual language. What made you choose to represent these ideas in the ways you have?
I do think about the workings of a life a lot, perhaps too much, and recently less so, or rather in different ways. Life is a flux, and I enjoy the way a creative process can change at any time, if we choose it, or if it chooses us. All my work is from the gut and heart, then the head. I’m unsure how much choice is involved in a way. It’s an intuitive process of trust and excitement of what happens next.
What are your thoughts about humans and where we are heading as a society?
That’s a big question, and the short answer is I have no fuckin’ idea. And I don’t think anyone else has either. Even the experts in whatever area are completely lacking in others, and we live in a time of gross misinformation- as well as incredible accessibility to knowledge and tools that we didn’t have before. It feels like in all directions the stakes are high, and we have a lot of bullshit to navigate between islands of beauty and truthful human activity. It’s madly complex, desperate, exciting and ultimately pretty funny. We’re a weird bunch. A key feature I feel is that we’re polluted with belief and stories. Wether they’re true or not is besides the point- there’s a saturation point where it all becomes too much, and simplicity is needed. To feel our feet on the ground.
It feels like your work covers a timeline of everything humans have imagined since the beginning of existence , what sort of material are you reading?
Honestly, I’m a bad reader. Or rather I extend the act of “reading” off the page and into the world – which I find a far more exciting text. As much as I know reading is vital and a wonderful activity, it irritates me a bit that not-reading is demonized as an act of resignation, sloth and stupidity. The world is full of information, stories and knowledge that doesn’t have to come from a book or written words to be legit or real. Reading is a passive activity – physically speaking, whereas active real time “reading” has all systems working, which I enjoy it more, feels closer to truth, and I can read all day and all night.
Do you follow some sort of belief system, what is your opinion of God, what does that mean to you?
I don’t believe. I’ve never understood how. It’s a non-space for me. I get the idea in theory, but every cell in my being says: “c’mon, this is bullshit.” I think our human desire to create stories, to buffer and contain the beauty and horror and mystery of life is a core survival instinct and an ability that has mutated into bizarre proportions over the millennia. Stories rule our brains. To make sense of nonsense. We can believe in anything – from Jesus Christ to Mickey Mouse. Neither are here now, physically or provably, and whatever godhead or philosophy people choose is ultimately silly putty under the gaze of eternity so, I’d rather keep my head empty and enjoy and observe and create and try not to be a cunt. And if I meet God, I’ll say I tried to be as true as I could be, given the minefield of planet Earth.
That said, I feel and see (not believe in) an essence of divinity that permeates everything – vast and unknowable and beautiful. This universe is intelligent, alive and mysterious, and that’s more than enough more me.
What is your relationship with maths?
It’s a wonderfully clean language. Somehow free from all the baggage of words, with the ability to express some really strange concepts and spaces – based on an incredible history of knowledge and exploration. I’m not a mathematician, but the little I know and am cultivating holds a lot of value in my life and creative process. I find simple maths the most profound. Like the difference between one and zero, or two minus’s make a plus, or the first dimension…
Your music and art share a lot of ideas and go very well together. I would imagine you have a very good understanding of things some things in life. What new discovery’s are you working on and how do you think you’ll go about creating them?
It’s seldom premeditated. Through openness and explorative intention the world and my brain seem to meet and seed new ideas all the time. I think simplicity is a big one. Allowing a lot of space for empty veld in my head, and the rest can be a torrent. We’re in a critical time it feels, and to be clear is important- clear about the fact that it’s all kinda crazy. In a good way. And express that in whatever way is most exciting and true. Art and music are spaces where I can make a big mess, destroy and distill, dissemble and forge something in response to all the flying puzzle pieces. I do it because it’s a thrilling activity.
Do you think one can reach a point of understanding that they will eventually just float away?
I like the Buddhist philosophy that before and after achieving enlightenment we chop wood and carry water. This feels truthful. Understanding and life is a continuum, I don’t think we ever “arrive” , and suspect that a pursuit in that direction can actually distract from a lot of beautiful terrestrial delights right under our noses – not in heaven or the 6th dimension or on other planets. We’re on earth, so let’s enjoy it and be here and observe. Observation is so important. To simply look at, and consider things- anything- is a marvelous activity, and it can be done quietly, any time, on any scale. Several elders in my life who I’ve known and know- have shared that the older you get and the more you supposedly know – the less you actually do, and that life has a strange and beautiful way of looping. What you didn’t like or understand before will change, and that journey alone is a summit.
Would you rather want to know everything or nothing?
This question is trick question right? If I had to choose- Nothing. I’d go full retard. Knowledge is responsibility and power – and as the saying goes it tends to corrupt absolutely. Only God would have that capacity – and maybe that’s why we invented God, as an archetype of something we can imagine but can never be. And what is everything ? An infinite curve? What knowledge? I like the idea more of being an empty cup. Perhaps then, like 12 on the clock face, we are closest to a singularity of sorts.
SEAFUNK AKA CHELSEA PETER // SERIES TWO
AFRICAN GINGER // SELECTED WORKS
STUART DODDS // GODT ART MOVEMENT
SEAFUNK AKA CHELSEA PETER // SERIES ONE
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