For those who couldn't make it to the Independent Label Market, here's another excerpt from our Modulations newspaper. The free press hits UK indie record stores soon.
Asger Carlsen is a Danish-born, New York-based artist whose work generally starts in a photography studio but with subtle yet acute manipulation ends up far from such sterile beginnings. Through a process of post-production Carlsen crafts tableaus of mutant bodies, hybrid forms, and odd appendages that can be unnerving, grotesque, enchanting and very weirdly beautiful. His work is moving in a way you wouldn't necessarily expect you'd like to be moved, and the ambience resonates long after viewing.
He created some images to accompany Cut Copy's new album, and we asked him a few questions about his dark art.
What was your first camera, and what do you use these days?
My first real camera was a Canon F-1N I got it in the summer of 1990. It had a very heavy motor drive - now I use a Canon 5D Mark II- the most average SLR camara around.
That first let's say "warped" image you made with many eyes that was your first image in this style, was it a mistake or were you consciously looking to develop a style of your own?
It was a mistake, but also realizing that creativity comes from a very clear subconscious state. That is based on culture and upbringing.
Do you have any formal technical training?
No formal anything. Just watched other people and then repeated that.
How much of your work involves "happy accidents"? Do you even leave room for such things in your process?
A lot of accidents but with a strong notion of direction.
What's your favourite part about your job?
That I get to be me and that I can just do whatever I want for the most part.
Do you consider photography to be your medium or do you see yourself branching out into others in the future?
I consider photography to be something that I know how to do technically, but I am becoming less interested in the tradition of photography as a category. As long as I get to be me I could see myself work in any material.
You've been in New York for around 5 years now (from what I can tell), what do you miss about Denmark? Do you think you'll stay in New York for good now?
I've been here 6 years 7 coming up. 7up. I miss my mother, father and brother, that I miss about Denmark. I'd like to stay here in NYC as long as I can, but I like it out west as well. LA has good weather and everything seems so happy there.
To me there's a bit of a dark, grisly edge to your work. Where do you think this comes from? Is it a Danish thing?
I think Nordic culture could be considered more dark then most other cultures, but it's not something I think about too much it just comes to me effortlessly.
Do you listen to music whilst working? If so, what kind?
Yes a lot. I like ambient sounds when I am working. I don't want it to be to concrete with to many direct lyrics when I am working.
Were you aware of Cut Copy before working with them?
Yes I did know them from the internet and my Australian friends in town. Really nice music and well done. I am personally was very happy about the images we did.
What does your mother make of your work?
My mom loves me and she loves anything I do.
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