the future’s so yesterday
So would you say that painting is just a second love of yours then?
Yes, I actually prefer film, if I had to choose. I really like video games but not for emotional or aesthetic reasons. I think the emotional accuracy is, at least in our time, much higher with film than with games. Games give you the freedom to explore other worlds, but to quite a limited extent. They don't allow you to explore human interrelationships for instance, at least not beyond the crudest level of detail. I'm not even sure that the two could be compared. Film is a composition - game is a form of improvisation.
How come you have such a soft spot for sci-fi scenarios... and judging from your images, there must be a place for retro-futuristic ones in particular, right?
Well, I grew up watching sci-fi films like Alien and Terminator. At the same time I was living in the countryside and had a very close relationship with nature - I loved fishing and bird watching and spend a lot of time outdoors. I also preferred to be by myself - I used to go for long walks and amuse myself with imagining all sorts of fantastical things out there in the landscapes. So the sci-fi elements in my pictures very much reflects that part of me.
Do you think in a kind of bigger narrative when you start to work on a new piece?
Sometimes I do. I've written this backstory about why the world in my pictures is the way it is, and sometimes that helps me in coming up with new material. Other times I just get an idea and change the backstory to accommodate for that idea. It's also a work in progress - I actually have some ideas on how to do a beginning a middle and an end for this whole project, but I'm not yet sure of how explicit I can be in telling that story. Maybe people who look at my pictures should make up that story for themselves.
I was wondering why the invasion in your pictures is happening pre-dominantly in suburbia?
Personally, I don't see it as an invasion, all the sci-fi elements - the robots, machines, and architecture - are side effects of a society just slightly more technologically advanced than ours. But it's also an extrapolation of the type of technology that littered the landscape that I grew up in. I actually consider everything to take place in an alternate 1980s - 1990s and almost exclusively borrows my references from that time period.
And that’s why you place rather oldschool cars like a Golf II or a VW T3 in your images...
Yeah, the cars are a great way of suggesting a time and place. That's the kind of cars that you saw on the roads where I grew up during the 80s and early 90s. And as I said before, everything in this project takes place in an alternate version of that time and place.
Unlike the few adults in your pictures, the kids seem to fearlessly interact with the machines... a kind of allegory that points towards our days and age?
My pictures are nostalgic fantasies about the time and place I grew up in, and the kids in my pictures are in a sense quite autobiographical. We used to play like that, exploring the landscape and going out on, to our minds - fantastic adventures in the local neighborhood.
District 9 or Elysium?
I haven't seen Elysium yet actually but I loved District 9! I thought it was one of the best sci-fi films of the last decade, easily.
Star Wars nerd or Trekkie?
I really love the JJ Abrams Star Trek and was more of a Star Wars guy before that. Now I'm not so sure. There's so much material in the Star Trek catalog that I just haven't seen yet.
War of the Worlds: Orson Welles or Spielberg?
I have to be honest and say I have only seen the Spielberg version. Which I thought was decent. There's one little thing in that film that gives me goosebumps and that is this phrase in the prologue: yet across the gulf of space, intellects vast, cool and unsympathetic, regarded this earth with envious eyes. Which I take it is pretty much the original words from the book so maybe that's an indication that I would prefer the original.