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OFFF Review: Wooster Collective

PSFK talks to Marc & Sara Schiller at OFFF Paris, to find out what comes next for street art.

Catalina Kulczar-Marin
Catalina Kulczar-Marin on July 8, 2010.

The three-day OFFF festival showcases top digital artists, web, print and interactive designers, motion graphics studios, musicians, and more. PSFK was at OFFF Paris recently, and caught up with Wooster Collective founders Marc and Sara Schiller.

Which artists are you most excited to see at OFFF?

Mark – I think what’s great is the artists you don’t expect; sometimes there are big name artists that disappoint and sometimes you have people that you never have heard of and they blow you away.

Sara – It’s really not one specific person – it’s more to see the diversity of voices that are working in design and to learn.

As far as street art, what do you see in the future?

Sara – I really think what’s exciting right now is the non-permanent graffiti – graffiti that’s using technology – projections, lasers, LEDs – a lot of light-based and some sound based installations and interventions; it’s because its coming out of a group of young people who really understand programming and technology but also are products of the cities and are merging together both to create this art…I think it surprises viewers.

Mark – I also see that the great thing about street art is that it doesn’t evolve; it’s still writing on walls. As street art gets more technical, more evolved, you have more purity back on the streets. I’m excited not only for the advancement of what’s happening in the street but the fact that cleverness and ingenuity doesn’t need technology it just needs context. To make someone smile, laugh, doesn’t need technology, it just needs a vision of what the context of the work is.

Mark & Sara – I think street artists see the streets differently; a little bit off….it becomes a playground for them.

marc and sara schiller

Why OFFF, and what is the difference between meeting people face to face vs. your website?

Mark – [for OFFF] You have people coming from all over Europe – that’s always exciting for us. The computer is really a tool so it’s interesting that the website allows you to meet people and go to cities. For us it’s what happens offline that makes the website so worth it…you have a lot of students, people that are starting their careers and they are thinking the thoughts that a lot of the artists were like “do I need to sell out too quickly” “can I go without a gallery at the beginning”….a lot of these artists are dealing with that through their art, so having that dialogue in person with people, I think is really quite valuable.

Sara – We are usually some of the few speakers talking about a “passion project” not about a business – it confuses people because they expect it to be commercial. You hear a lot of people thinking about typography, graphic design, ads, we are just throwing in a little wrench saying “yes, you have to have a career but you can do something a little fun” – we do meet ups….we meet people – we just had someone hand us a piece of original art…

Mark - Sara and I are not the artists so it gives us the freedom to curate things that aren’t our CV or our corporate project, they are from tens of hundreds of thousands of images that we have showcased over the year – we can curate 60 of them that would inspire people and that’s how we can create a big story which is the power of street art.

How has Banksy’s film, Exit Through the Gift Shop – which you screened at the PSFK Conference earlier this year, been received to date?

Mark – Well, it was important to launch the film at PSFK – it was one of the first screenings before it came out and it was good energy in that room when people saw it. It was a bit of a surprise and the film is now playing in over 50 cities around the US and it’s doing really really well and now opening around the world. Europe is the next – obviously it played in England.

Sara – What I think surprises people is that it’s not a street art movie, it’s a journey of Thierry with street art as the main background setting.

Thanks Marc & Sara!

OFFF: International Festival for the Post-Digital Culture

Wooster Collective

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