INTERVIEW Sarah Mayer x KOO (Gizem Karaosmanoğlu)
Hi both, how do you actually describe your work to friends & family?
Sarah: That really is a very good question – something I have a lot of trouble with! Generally, I am a XR artist that mainly creates Augmented Reality experiences for our customers at Popul-AR (my day job) where I am also the Artistic Director, focused on creating appealing imaginary worlds and modern, visually pleasing assets for a variety of projects and clients. I am also a traditionally trained Fashion Designer and I express my meta-fashion style in AR creations and renders.
Gizem: I try to keep it simple, unless someone asks me specific questions about my work or art. I create and perform as a sound artist and an electronic musician. I also do some sound work in cinema – both on set and in post-production.
How would you describe your style yourself? How is it different from your peers? And from KOO/Sarah?
Sarah: I would say that in all my personal work, I am trying to create a new little universe, a different world full of fantastic creatures, organic robots and floating rocks. I usually just go for it and don’t try to think too much about what it is. Mostly, a story for a certain visual only turns up when I finish it. So maybe that is different from other people, first I create, then I think of a story and that story might continue in the next visual.
As for KOO, I think we both have a nice hint towards the abstract and surreal which is lovely. She does with music what I do with visuals.
Gizem: I would say, I am very much triggered by momentary feelings and sensations while creating. I don’t plan or lay out anything, unless I work on a specific project in which other elements are involved. Though, the momentary sensations might have been caused by lasting situations and conditions. But what matters to me is how I am sparked to start creating at that moment. And I usually recollect that spark as the main emotion of that particular track or work.
I believe I tend to linger in dark, sombre and anxious areas of the emotional spectrum. The way I play with sounds and textures always ends up giving me a sort of agitated, gloomy or an inconvenient feeling, or other way around, I find myself searching for that feeling. And I constantly feel confronted by my emotions and feelings when I hear what I compose or construct at the end. And this confrontation is sort of indistinct and challenging to me which I find fascinating and which gives me the drive to create more, to keep this chase of catching that spark again.
I wouldn’t know exactly how it would be different from my peers. Maybe the fact that I create out of momentary sparks with no background stories or a lot of thoughts behind it. Though, I can easily make up stories if needed. Lol
But in this collaboration with Sarah, I could feel the mutual artistic approach and creation for our work to take shape. And I also believe that any difference in our style or creation way has added up to our work positively.
How was working together on a project like this?
Sarah: Great! I want to work with musicians more often! It is such a great combination for me! It just brings everything to another level, the worlds I create become truly alive with music. What would a movie like DUNE be without music? This is how I see this project too.
Gizem: It was very exciting and pleasing. It is amazing to see how you can find out more and more what your collaborator is capable of doing, and how your own art blends in with someone else’s. You constantly get excited about the result and day by day you get satisfied with the conversations you have and the outcome.
What kind of universe did you want to create?
Sarah: Firstly, something that would fit KOOs music and KOOs visual style combined with my visual style. That was the starting point. The world we want to create for the audience should keep your eye centered on this visual and musical story that winds through a tunnel of different worlds.
Gizem: We wanted to create a post-human and dreamy-like world with some organic touches, which Sarah’s field of creation is very suitable and appealing for. And hopefully my music will be the complementary and hopefully enhancive element for the story in this form of world we created.
How did you agree on the designs?
Sarah: It was quite easy. We actually came up with the same scenography idea pretty much at the same time! From then on we just kept on exchanging pictures of inspiration and of the progress, untill we were both satisfied.
Gizem: We first checked each other’s works out and tried to get an idea of how the possible collaboration between us could occur, which elements of our style we could put together and what we would like to convey with our art in this mutual work. We quickly got an idea and started exchanging opinions around it. Luckily, we were on the same track from almost the beginning. And things went quite smoothly.
Anything else you’d like to state?
Sarah: Yes, I would like to say that projects like this are important for the XR scene. There is still not enough exposure, I feel. I would like to see music and virtual worlds collide much more – also inside museums and exhibitions – so that eventually XR artists really get put on the same level as artists who use non-digital media.
Gizem: I would like to state the importance of this formation as an artist. Projector is a very nice project and an amazing opportunity for artists from different disciplines to discover and meet each other. These creative platforms given to artists to create together help them to grow and explore themselves and their limits in the best possible way.