Anti-Utopias / Sabin Bors - EXTRA!, October 2012

EXTRA!, October 2012: Anti-Utopias / Sabin Borş

Anti-Utopias contemporary art platform

Interview by Vasi Hîrdo for Ceramics Now Magazine - Issue Two

You hold functions such as curator, associate editor and columnist for different magazines, and you recently initiated a contemporary art platform titled Anti-Utopias. Since you don’t have any formal art education, how did you become interested in contemporary art?

Art has always been one of my main interests, ever since I was a kid, and though I did not follow any formal art education, I did follow an MA in philosophy and culture where some of the major topics we discussed have been Art, Institutions and Cultural Policies, The Artist’s Statute in Post-Modern Culture, or Contemporary Perspectives Upon Culture. I also follow a PhD with a thesis on the future of museums, in terms of art, policies, architecture. Throughout the years I’ve kept a close contact with art in my readings and references, and I think coming from the “outside” is actually an advantage because it allows me to view art in a broader context and integrate its discourse differently. At the same time, I am also aware of the two perils with philosophers discussing art: on the one hand, they run the risk of subsuming art to a philosophical speech; on the other hand, they can feed art with concepts that only deepen the dilemmas of contemporary art and thus contribute to its fractures. When I started Anti-Utopias, my main concern was to create a thematic platform bearing in mind these two perils precisely, but also the theoretical abundance where art in general claims itself from. 

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Photographer Jonathan Vanderweit - EXTRA!, May 2011

EXTRA!, May 2011: Jonathan Vanderweit

Interview by Vasi Hîrdo for Ceramics Now Magazine - Issue Two

Ceramics Now Magazine: Tell us who you are and what you do.

My name is Jonathan and I make photographs in Denver, CO, USA. I have been shooting for about ten years, but have really begun to focus on the craft of photography since early 2010. I also work as a videographer and creative director for a small nonprofit organization here in Denver.

Jonathan Vanderweit monocle photo

What is your present photography project, what’s its history and how do relate to it?

Jonathan Vanderweit: My work focuses on the exploration of the world around us with specific regard to the interaction between humans and the natural environment. This means finding areas where nature has begun to reclaim the world of people, which here  in the US often happens in formerly industrial/manufacturing areas as well as at the fringes of cities and towns. I love finding where our maintenance crews haven’t caught up or which taken on a kind of serendipitous equilibrium between the forces of creation and ruin.

My next two photo projects are extensions on this theme. One is a series of portraits of people who wear glasses or contact lenses. The photos will be displayed in pairs, the left a normal portrait of the subject in their glasses and the right will be a shot without them.  The image on the right will have the focus corrected to account for the person’s natural visual acuity, with a different effect for each person depending if he/she is nearsighted, farsighted, or has astigmatism.

The second project will use some of the locations I have discovered over the last year–walls, doorways, stairs, the urban features of Denver–as settings for exquisitely-dressed floating protagonists. These photos will explore the habitation of spaces that have previously been considered industrial or austere by inhabiting them with individuals bursting with style and weightlessness. Gven the labored past of many of these dwellings, one would expect that they be drab and deserted. In fact the opposite is proving true, homes in lofts and warehouses have strong draw for creative people and have become a highly desired place of residence.

Jonathan Vanderweit monocle photo


How it all started? What was your first camera and what devices do you have now?

My first camera was an Olympus OM-1 with a 50mm lens, which was a gift from my father when I was around 15 years old. Today, I primarily shoot with a  Nikon D700 and I also have a Nikon FE2 that I use when I don’t feel like carrying much, as well as a Mamiya RZ67 medium format system which is huge and exquisite serves as a constant reminder of what a camera actually does.

The instant feedback of shooting digital has accelerated my learning curve and gives me loads of flexibility when processing my images, but I will continue to shoot film for the sheer fact that it feels like creating a real thing (which makes me shoot more slowly and thoughtfully), and that the look of many film types is hard to duplicate digitally.

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