Bella: First of all I’d like to welcome you to Transylvania.
1BIT: Thank you Bella. It was a long trip to get here and not easy to find. I almost got lost, it was very misty yesterday evening. And to make it even worse my GPS stopped working. So I left the car at a dead-end road and continued my journey on foot. I started looking around for signs displaying ‘castle’. But there were none, no signs at all. So I just continued walking up the mountain. I was walking for over an hour till suddenly this majestic castle appeared in front of my eyes.
Bella: Actually, you are one of the few visitors I had in recent years. Did you know that most people think this place doesn’t exist? That it is just something from the movies, something made-up. Or they think it’s a 80’s board game.
Anyways, would you like a drink?
I can offer you a home-made Bloody Mary?
1BIT: Sure, I would like that.
Bella: Last year I visited your first solo exhibition ‘1BITSHOW’ [aka Atari Revisited]. Could you tell me something more about how you could organize this show?
“It all started in a supermarket.”
1BIT: There was this guy working there, a cashier. Bob is his name. He speaks three languages and scans products. Really a friendly person, always laughing and making jokes with the customers. It is a small supermarket, they sell a reasonable amount of products for low prices. When I go there he always asks me about my work.
One day I told him about these two new images I created. “Don’t shoot the Instant messenger” and “Tennis”. He started laughing.
The next week, when I was buying some products, he asked if I wanted a card. I said no thanks... But he insisted. It was a special card he added, something personal.
He was super friendly, I couldn’t refuse his offer.
Bella: What kind of card was it?
1BIT: He called it a Bonus card. It had an image of a joker on it. But this was only the top-layer. With a coin I scraped the surface of the card away. There was a second hidden layer under the joker, displaying a phone number in small letters.
So the same evening I called the number.
Bella: Who was on the other side of the line?
1BIT: Nobody, it was a computer saying that I won a prize. I had to answer a couple of questions first. Where I was living, my birthday, if I was married or not, what was my favorite food, my favorite color, my favorite number. On and on…
I hung up after 30 min.
Bella: So, no price?
1BIT: That’s what I also thought, but four days later I received a call. It was the same computer voice. But now she knew my name.
She said that I was invited for free-drinks. Friday @ 21:00 at Larry’s Place, @ 400 m distance from Bahnhof Enge, a train station in Zurich.
Do you know Larry’s Place, Bella?
Bella: No, but I have never been in Zurich.
1BIT: Larry’s Place is a chain, they are located all around the world.
You can have drinks while playing board games.
Bella: That sounds like a fun place to go. Were you alone there or was there somebody else attaining the dinner?
1BIT: It was not clear to me. But there were three men and a woman waiting at the bar. We shake hands and they introduced themselves.
The man in the middle was named CEO of M, on the right CTO and on the left, what was his name…
I forgot it, sorry. It was such a strange name… The woman was called something with Human…
Anyways, they didn’t talk much, except for the CEO. He couldn’t stop talking.
While I was sitting down he asked me if I liked to play Monopoly.
I answered sure, but I prefer Frogger… I couldn’t finish my sentence. He interrupted me and said out loud, almost screaming: I love Monopoly! Let’s play Monopoly!
So we played some Monopoly.
Bella: And, did you win?
1BIT: Haha, no. This guy is a professional player, he won all rounds. No wonder he is CEO of M.
But I could tell him about my idea for ‘1BITSHOW’.
Bella: Aah Yes, I almost forgot about that.
1BIT: After the dinner he invited me to visit his supermarket, this place is called M.They are located all around Switzerland, these M’s in orange. Not to confuse with the other M in yellow, or the M in a black box.
In the supermarket he showed me his collection. It was a huge collection; oranges from Spain, noodles from Thailand, fish from Norway, African hats. He had it all.
We walked around the fruits and he pointed towards “La Banana”.
Bella: La Banana! Yes I know them, they are delicious. The Banana’s with the golden wrapping. I love the smiley’s they put on the wrapping. I heard that they also sell them now in pink and yellow wrapping, I would love to try them!
1BIT: Yes, yes..But do you know the story about “La Banana”?
Bella: No, I just buy them very often, cause they are so delicious. But please do tell me?
1BIT: CEO of M made a plan together with an African company that grows Bananas. Together with an engineer they build a machine that would pick random Banana’s out of a bunch of Bananas and then the machine would wrap it in a golden-paper-wrapping.
Bella: So they are the same Bananas?
I don’t believe your story. They mention that it is scientifically proven, ‘La Banana’ is more delicious than a Banana.
1BIT: That’s true. They conducted an experiment with a large test-group. The first time a person would be given a normal Banana and they would have to give a score between 1 and 10 for the taste.
The same person would be invited a second time to eat ‘La Banana’. A Banana that comes from the same bunch of Bananas, but now covered in a golden-paper-wrapping and with the iconic smiley. A huge majority of the people preferred the taste of ‘La Banana’.
Still don’t believe you.
1BIT: Your home-made Bloody Mary looks super, and it tastes really good as well.
Bella: Thanks 1BIT. I made it with tomatoes that I grow in the little garden at the sunny side of the castle. …So 1BIT, tell me more about this CEO of M?
1BIT: Well, the CEO of M told me about his expansion plans. He doesn’t sell alcoholic drinks in his supermarket, so he created another small supermarket, the one where Bob works. This supermarket sells all kinds of alcohol; beer, wine, vodka, absinthe. You name it they sell it.
25% of the sales of the products in this supermarket are alcoholic drinks. These supermarkets are always located a short distance from M, sometimes even in the same building.
He told me that, if he would place these alcoholic drinks inside the bigger supermarkets, customers would buy less alcohol. The drinks would visually disappear between all the other products.
With this solution CEO of M could market the big M as a healthy company, and the smaller company called D as the company with cheap products, including alcoholic beverages and cigarettes.
Anyways, he continued talking and talking. About the travel agency he started, the schools he opened. He even opened some banks and organized festivals. And if that’s not enough, he sells more and more products under the name M.
Bella: What do you mean by that, selling under the name M?
1BIT: These are the same products he sold before, but they had the name of the producer on it. He asks producers of products to change their packaging and label it with the iconic M. If they refuse he would stop selling their products, so most producers go along.
Bella: So what about your first solo exhibition?
1BIT: Ooh yes, he would tell me about this museum he added to his collection. He wanted to organize a new exhibition. I came up with a name, written in big “1BITSHOW” , and he asked me if I could add in small “produced by m”.
I had three months to create the content for it.
Bella: Wow, you made a lot of work in such a short time-span. Which work are you most proud of?
1BIT: There were 21 Images in total. I think the most tricky was a work called “Gonna catch this fish”. It was inspired by my encounter with the CEO of M.
Bella: So can you tell me something more about Super Abstraction, the art-movement you invented? Why is it called that?
1BIT: I had to come up with something that is not already taken, so many things are already taken these days. Super Abstraction was still free, so I took that domain.
Bella: I heard you saying in a podcast the other day that flags are a Super Abstracted phenomena?
1BIT: Look at a flag of a country, it’s an instant abstracted piece. Two, three stripes of color, some stars.
Did you know that the flag of Libya during the Gaddafi regime was all green, green like a dollar bill. The only flag in the world in one color.
“One color that contains a representation, a plain picture.”
I realized that above abstraction lies another domain. Physical objects, but also ideas (non-physical) that at first sight are considered as a form of abstraction, but the abstraction itself is a representation of a higher form of abstraction which I call “Super Abstraction”.
You can play with this idea of Super Abstraction, cause it also works the other way around.
Bella: Like “La Banana” you mean.
1BIT: Exactly, the golden-paper-wrap.
Bella: I heard you are part of a new group, a collective of artists, better known as the Triple-A Society.
1BIT: Yes, the Triple-A Society. It is a loose group of friends, we talk about art and philosophy and initiate projects from time to time. We have Das Hund (sculptor in Poland), DMon (poet in the Netherlands), №1 (performance artist) and Rocketman Smitty (gallerist in Switzerland).
Bella: Are there any projects you are working on at the moment?
1BIT: Das Hund is fascinated by trash. Last year we visited the gardens of Versailles, and in front of the gates we saw some cardboard boxes. Das Hund got completely mesmerized by these cardboard boxes, eventually we took a couple of them home. At home he cut the boxes in pieces and glued a garden-sculpture out of it.
1BIT: Yes it’s the reverse of a sculpture-garden. Inside of the sculpture sits the garden. He is now planning to buy a small plot in a tiny village in Poland and build a house, completely out of trash.
Bella: That sounds exciting. I always throw my trash away.
1BIT: Do you see this black rose? I found it in the forest.
Bella: Yes, I see it! It is all covered with ashes…
[1BIT holding the black rose behind his back]
1BIT: Do you see the rose Bella?
1BIT: It’s still there though, Super Abstracted.
Some other projects?
1BIT: Dmon, she is a poet. Poets do what poets do, they write poetry. There are a few poets in this world. Poetry is slow you know, people prefer speed these days. But you have to go really slow to discover real beauty.
And N0.1, she is the first artist in the world that doesn’t create art. So revolutionary. When you meet her. you think; is this art?
Is she really an artist?
And she is.
Bella: How can you know for sure?
1BIT: Sometimes she does the dishes or she makes a banana-shake. It’s actually very interesting. I mean can you be more contemporary? More fresh. Really fascinating.
Bella: That sounds amazing. Well, I think we came to the end of this interview. Thank you for your time, how can our readers follow you or see more of your work?
1BIT: You can check out superabstraction.com.
We are also always open for new members to join our Triple-A Society. Or you can come to visit my next show: Columbia Works [Working title], it will be organized in the summer of 2020 at Smitty’s Gallery.
I’ll keep you updated.
Bella: Thanks for all the info, enjoy your weekend in Transylvania.
1BIT: Thanks, I will.
This interview was translated into English by Prof. Dr. Mr. X [Scientist]