SL UNDERGROUND magazine focuses on cyberpunk
GloriaLanka : What are your main sources of inspiration for your creative process?
Djehan : Everything I see amazes me, anything around me, all the time.
It is all the moments of inspiration I had so far in my life that I feed my mind with constantly. It is very large, it is everything, all at once. It includes all the experiences and cultures I was exposed to during all that time. From the collection of thousands of books we had at home with every possible author available for me to read ;Philip K. Dick being my all time favorite; to my life traveling in a truck and living within international communities since I was 14 years old, without my parents, witnessing extreme social situations and sometimes being part of them.When it comes to creating I crystallize everything from the second I started to breath into what I do at any given moment, this only present moment that exists and matters: this is also Albert Camusâ€™s theory of the absurd, but I donâ€™t completely share his point of view because this present moment , no matter how chaotic, tends to something and this is futuristic by essence.
Creating futuristic and dystopian cities is the visual anticipation of a very special social environment of which roots I find laying a lot into social realism literature with writers such as Dostoievski or Gogol, and the start of the industrial era, it is easy to imagine a futuristic city when passing by a chemical plant.
I am of course very inspired by music as well, I listened mostly to avant garde musician Laurent Mialon who created Hangars Liquides back in 1998, his latest acousmatic tracks and work in progress for the realisation of this city. Music directly tweaks the way we perceive our physical and social environment. I believe there is no compromise in that example because honestly music , sound, is the only art that can make you cry that easy. I am also very inspired by Iannis Xenakis and I apply the stochastic theory into my work as well.
And finaly all the people I met, mostly artist, intellectuals, junkies, the ones that like to open doors in their minds..One especialy, when I used to live in Hackney/London, a living Bilal creature with a big heart.
I lived in various megapoles, the first and ultimately dystopian ever was Sao Paulo in Brasil and it deeply affected me. All the street culture all the kids in the streets. How inspirational they have been ever since, how they climb the concrete jungle, how they create their own signs only them can recognize and make graffitis with it, how they decorate their city, the city is their playground, it is theirs by principle of nature as societyâ€™s legacy to the next generation. They bring life to it they animate it , they give a meaning on everything around them, and they are the future. They climb very high to paint signs on the towers, not the roofs only lol, but on the whole vertical sides, people outside Brasil donâ€™t know all of this. I think about these kids when I make a tower, I create them so they could climb them easily. There are a lot of improvised shelters as well, literaly everywhere. When you are not from Brasil, and you happen to cross eyes with one of them, they can be very young like 4 years old, it changes your life because they are little gods. I have a lifelong inspiration coming from a girl like that, now she must be 20 years old or something, I could draw her face right now and I pray she is alive.
We try to reach as high as possible, we like to go high, we donâ€™t really care if an asteroid will come crash on us, it doesnâ€™t stop us, because until now, we are alive, and thatâ€™s all that counts and looking forward to the future as long as there is still time ahead.
G : Within Hangars Liquides, which is the place or environment you created that you like the most?
D : The most interesting place within the city is the place You will find yourself at some point, this place will eventualy open a door in your mind, and this place in your mind is the most interesting one. I couldnâ€™t point someone to go visit one special spot at hangars liquides, I can only recommend people to go and fly all over it, to go everywhere and try to see everything. That way only you can get what the city is about, and you can start to understand it.
Itâ€™s an immersive environment, a very complex one I agree, maybe the hardest to adapt to, but this is on purpose, dystopia isnâ€™t about being taken care of and feeling secure, some like it, some donâ€™t, I get extreme reactions from pure love to true hate. Of course it has many hangouts, like any city would, I simulated a lot of places that cities usualy have. The main simulator has a taxi that you can call to go in a lot of places and a teleport system. Both were made by my friend Rogier Qunhua of cell, it allows everyone to go visit a lot of places in town, art galleries, bars, all these places where made with a story behind. But the whole city is a huge playground.
Long ago, before fully getting into 3D I was into abstract art and video. When I create one special â€śconcreteâ€ť place within the city I always think about the bigger shape which is my main object. It is a strange feeling to create tiny details on a huge structure.
When I build it my favorite parts are complex knots to resolve. This way I find new possibilities that would otherwise remain always hidden within unresolved structs, very much like psychotherapy works. But the whole city is the only place, if you look at it from very far it starts to look like a giant crystal like those you would find hidden in a mountain, this is an aspect that I like, it tweaks the sense of scale.
G : Which graphics developers do you admire SL and RL?
D : On SL I admire great people. Like Blotto Epsilon obviously who did the huge Petrovski Flux with Cutea Benelli, it even inspired me at some point, the connectivity aspect I think. The Wastelands world that was created by Neobokrug Elytis with the wastelands dev team. Aston Leisen who did the Bamboo Ink for China and organized most the China Art Academy projects on SL and he was also one of the first builders I built HL with at the start, HL was very honored to provide an environment for his students to work on their new media projects as well. Detect Surface, Claudia222 Jewell, Xenius Revere, DH Architect, Gutterblood Spoonhammer, Mantis Ohâ€¦I am extremely selective when it comes to mentionning artists on SL.
RL I love the crazyness of Shinya Tsukamoto, the onirism in Akira Kurosawa and Andrei Tarkovski, the strange x-factor found in David Cronenbergâ€™s work, Jean Pierre Jeunet and Marc Caroâ€™s color palette, Gaspar NoĂ©â€™s fleshy realism, Enki Bilalâ€™s blues, Matthew Barneyâ€™s Cremaster, Joseph Beuysâ€™s rooms, Francis Baconâ€™s distorted realities, the never ending landscapes of Tsutomu Nihei, gore, weird things, the strange thingsâ€¦the listâ€¦is way too long when it comes to what I like, out of the billions of humans a lot of them are very talented an exhaustive list is impossible..I forgot to mention Syd Mead & Ridley Scott for Bladerunner, Ranxerox comic, Fluide Glacial magazines, the Akira manga, Pierre Soulages paintings, and so much more realisations as well..Alexandre Ajaâ€™s movies, Alain Resnais, Chris Marker of course.. the list goes on..Everytime I go into a museum be it for contemporary or more classical arts I always find something that I like. The entire world is bursting with new creations non stop itâ€™s all inspiring.
G : What is your opinion about the Second Life metaverse?
I like the wild west aspect of the platform. The software provided is a great tool for artists to exhibit their creations to immerse people in them.
Though, Linden Lab should reconsider the social aspects of their platform as in *Socius*. This january they will stop to consider Hangars Liquides a non profit organization of which corporate status is â€śto create, promote and diffuse any kind of artâ€ť. When you find yourself in a society that revokes such organizations it slowly becomes an antisocial environment. It forces artists to think and create on a smaller scale because they need to make more money and true art is priceless.
Linden Lab also has to consider avant garde more, and better. I feel alone into this with a few others, avant garde artists arenâ€™t emerging a lot from what I see.
But overall, the software is great since it allows me to create a wormhole into the future..through another dimension even, they should have called it Black Hole.
G : What is your opinion on copybot?
It should be a great tool used for backing up their work for artists like me. Unfortunately it is used in such a malicious way that I would have to use illegal software in order to save my work on my HDD.
Still, while ripping off politicians to give their money back to the people should be a noble cause, I donâ€™t think that ripping off artists is an act of bravery at all. I would like to tell all copyboters to join the online forces to fight against the system that ruins so many lives and not being part of this same system by ruining the life of the individual and often poor artist.
It is a very hard question. Culture is part of education, and it is an emergency to provide a good and free education to the next generations, hence a maximum access to culture. This is a key element to save the world from poverty as well. So I think that people that want to get digital things for free have to consider wether or not the product they are about to rip is to elevate their soul which is what culture does, or to elevate their social appearance which is what consumerism does, and consumerism provides with a quick fix to make people fall asleep and be dependant. So even if you get things for free and that it fullfills your consumerist need for a moment, it will make you fall asleep and dependant.
G : Besides the creations developed in Second Life, you have other jobs?
D : Right now Im working on a project that will be presented at the Venice Biennale.
G : How do you see the current graph scene for the developer ?
D : I spend too much time building to have a clear idea about the scene as it could be seen by the people outside from it. Anyways thereâ€™s not much of a scene at the cutting edge, we always need new hacks to happen in order to make what we want possible, then others can follow in and organize themselves better on a social scale with happenings and events et caetera. But for the ones that pave the ways, thereâ€™s not much of a scene. I see that we need hackers to help push boundaries and provide us with new tools that shouldnâ€™t be proprietary so anyone can use them without any fear of going further and breaking into new territories. My graphical work at the stage it is now is totaly dependant on new hacks that are being worked on right now. It is a very fragile equilibrium yet it works because of a common wish to get to a new world with enlarged possibilities at every level, but this starts by creating state of the art tools to be used by artists to widen global consciousness at first through art.â€ť