CAMILLE BLATRIX You don’t listen to music, at least not unless you have to dance; you buy a coat only if you’re cold, and then only in the nearest shop; you’ve long resisted looking for color in your work. So at what point do you make decisions in your sculptures? When do you actually take pleasure?
NEIL BELOUFA As far as music is concerned, when I was in junior high, I realized that music was a way to affirm my identity. But as my listening habits proved restless, constantly changing, I became aware of the fact that I didn’t have specific tastes. So I just let it go. Later, taking the underground, I would see people listening to some epic, very emphatic music; it allowed them to space out and forget their banal circumstances. It seemed to me a way of controlling people. I think it explains why the English were so effective in pop music, Beatles-style: it deadened people into a lord system; it justified Margaret Thatcher. It’s like Woodstock during the Vietnam War, driving people to go to gigs and “protest” through music rather than protesting for real. At that moment, I truly agreed with my adolescent choice.
Now that I don’t care so much about “radical” positions anymore, it’s too late to get back to it; a whole musical education would have to be set up, and to be honest, I’m too lazy. I do love music when it’s there—I just don’t want to be responsible for what’s being played.
Regarding clothing, for long time I tried to be cool, but it didn’t work. So I quit caring about it and focused only on the function of what I wore. At present, I like having a dress code that’s perhaps not approved socially but always easy to recognize. I like to think Obama’s trick is to choose neither his clothes nor his meals, in order to eliminate those decisions from a day already filled with decisions.
I can actually ask you the same thing: what does it mean for you to steal the accessories of ultra-chic barbers while you’re completely beardless? Is it more enjoyable to have a barber kit when you have no beard, or to have a beard and no kit, simply because you don’t care? To me, it’d be a trick, reproducing some romantic cinematographic figure through your actions and accessories. For instance, you might see a Starbucks cup in a film. For you, that becomes a romantic image, a virginal and new relationship without questions of consumption and corporate product. As I include myself in my practice, you include yourself in yours, and just as I never differentiate between what’s true or false, fictive or real, pop or noble, the same is true for you. The only difference is that I invest everything with political value, whereas you charge everything with an emotional one.