InterviewÂ with Raemann
by Giovanni Cervi
Raemann is a curious creature with two heads and only one eye, the photographic eye. The duo is based in New York City, one of the world’s urban art capitals. They do street and urban art but I think they have a unique ability and flair for this kind of art in comparison with the growing number of artists on the scene: as a matter of fact, while more and more street artists are focusing on the appearance, on creating “large wall murals” vaguely spreading the message of political rebellion, these two artists provide a very clear analysis of the environmental degradation truthfully describing the condition of our planet, invaded by plastic and threatened by water privatization, and without using colors. They use walls too, but with an additional ingredient: reality. Looking at their photos hanging here and there is like having a look into the near future beyond time and space. They do not create art to be printed on T-shirts, as the others do.
Let’s start from our plastic-filled poor planet and oceans…Â Is this where you started out your project?
I think so, we are surfers and we do that even in the most remote and isolated areas, and even in villages without electricity and where the locals are literallyÂ living in huts, and there you can find lots of plastic all along the coast. These brightly colored remnants of bottles and tubes have become part of theÂ landscape Â andÂ I started understanding the extent ofÂ the problem the moment when seeing them no longer shocked me but became something almost expected.
Plastic bottles and breathing: we need more of the second and less of the first. The global economy is leading us towardsÂ something antithetical to theÂ naturalÂ world. Is it whyÂ you decided to hit the streets?
Everything centers on the commoditization of natural resources and on the marketing and selling of our environmental heritage that is fundamental and that – by its very nature -Â belongs to all of us.Â Â In doing so we generate more waste and more needs.Â Â It also has to do with economic hierarchy, with the idea that to have cleanÂ water you must be able to pay for it.Â Â Our images picture a foreseeable future and the natural evolution of the privatization andÂ water packaging. I want to say that plastic is an amazing material and a remarkable discovery, but it has to be used responsibly. Â It is the shortÂ term versus the long term. Â Plastic bottles became popular in the 1960’s and now traces of plasticÂ debris can be found in all oceans and seas in varying degrees.
How did the project “Eviair” come about?
We wanted to combat the commercialization of water by using provocative images with the hope that these could make the viewer pause and reflect.
What are your backgrounds?
We’ve been friends and collaborators for a long time. We started out as fine-artists but we have only recently ended up working in advertising: telling aÂ story with a single image is something we are familiar with.
Can urban art help raising awareness? What is your opinion?
Urban art is a community and the ultimate visual translation of free speech.
Do you prepare your photo shoots or do you simply stroll around with your camera always ready to take photographs?
Both ways.Â Sometimes we end up in a place that can’t be ignored and other times there are some friends or neighbors of ours who are willing to pose for us.Â Â Our photos are a mix ofÂ “lifestyle” and portraiture.Â Â Some are a bit satirical while others are shockingly close to the truth.
I have noticed there are only two photos in full color, Santa and Queen Elizabeth. How come? But, above all, why Santa??
The Queen and above all Santa are, to some extent,Â fictional characters, larger than life so it felt right to us to show them in color.
How does your ideal lifestyle look like?Â
This is such a big question and one that we are constantly re-evaluating.Â Â We want to be informed, to participate and share, always trying to put your ideals into practice.Â This is, in principle,Â easy and requires daily commitment and awareness. We are still working onÂ it.
anche: instagram @raemann1
(o in alternativa questo link: http://instagram.com/raemann1)