Born in Worcester, UK, the same place where the sauce of the same name comes from, Rob Carter has been living in Brooklyn since 2000. Rob completed his MFA at Hunter College in 2003 and since then he has been exhibiting widely, with solo and group exhibitions in cities around the world including New York City, Madrid, Rome, Toronto and Miami. His videos and photographs examine paper both as a physical object and as a malleable document of the real. Using stop-motion animation, time-lapse video and photographic reconstruction, Rob explains that his work spotlights the iconic and political structures in our urban environment, especially sports stadia, skyscrapers, churches and other historical landmarks. Mesmerizing and entertaining, his videos inquire into the nature, influence and relevance of some of the most dominant and imposing cultural structures and aspects of the world’s great cities. You can learn more about Rob Carter and view many of his most fun, startling and interesting videos at his website http://www.robcarter.net/. This artist interrogation was completed via email throughout June 2009.
1. If you could be any kind of global superstar other than a visual artist, what kind would you want to be? (ie. baseball player, rock star, serial killer, politician…)
A film director or an English Cricket ace!
2. Which historical epoch would you most like to have participated in? (ie. ancient Rome, revolutionary France, 1960s counterculture…)
Though often troubling in certain ways, the advancements made in the mid 19th century have always fascinated me. Let me hang out with Darwin and visit the 1951 Great Exhibition of the Victorian Era.
3. If given a choice for your next life, do you want to be a man or a woman? (as with all these questions, answering “why?” is optional)
4. Which 3 visual artists had the greatest influence on your career and work?
To be honest I can’t answer that question. I cannot give that much importance to any three visual artists, and it seems to keep changing.
5. Which 3 musicians’ music most closely resembles a soundtrack to your life?
Neil Hannon (Divine Comedy), David Bowie, and Django Reinhardt.
6. If you could change one significant aspect of your talent, what would that be?
My talent as an artist? Maybe my speed of working and thinking. As a human? My memory could be a lot better, and I’d like to be able to exist on much less sleep.
7. Assuming cost is no obstacle, which 3 cities would you most prefer to live in?
Madrid, London and Brooklyn (I’ve not been to Berlin, but I think that could be in there, too. And Rome for a year.)
8. Imagine you are driving on an open, gently curving highway with a guarantee of no police, no other drivers, and perfect weather conditions. What kind of car would you want to drive and how fast would you go?
That is a total Randy Gladman question! I’ve always had a thing for Morgans because they are built in the town where I grew up and all assembled by hand. So it would have to be a Morgan 4/4 Sport.
9. If you were given $250,000 to spend on a new wardrobe by a single designer/brand, which would you choose?
Wow, I wouldn’t have the faintest idea… I would never just wear one brand/designer. I’d probably look into some green couture… A bespoke tailored suit would be nice… Some classy Italian shoes… Then I’d go to H&M and pocket the rest!
10. Do you believe the United States of America is getting better or worse?
We have a very inspirational young black president in place of a war mongering classist fool (and that’s being generous).
11. Which museum would you most want to host your first post-mortem career survey?
The Whitechapel, London.
12. What is your favorite film of all-time?
That’s impossible. If I really have to say just one let’s go with “Performance”. It is neither the best film of all time, nor the one that is the most straight up entertaining, but I have always been fascinated by its style, weirdness, violence, sex and psychedelia, and by its brilliant portrayal of the swinging sixties turning sour in London.
13. What is your favorite restaurant in the world? (name the City too)
I have always wanted to go to The French Laundry near Napa, California. In New York I’ve always wanted to go to Babbo. However, given that it makes me uncomfortable to eat at places that are not in my income bracket and to be overly waited on… I’m a big fan of Al di La in Brooklyn (once in a while), but Chez Rob Carter can be pretty tasty too sometimes!
14. If you could live as one historical figure for one week, who would it be? (feel free to describe which week if relevant)
William Fox Talbot in the mid 1830s, the week he successfully processed the first ever photographic negative.
15. What superpower would you find most useful? (flying, invisibility, indestructible… Feel free to answer why)
Time travel. It would be very handy to go back and correct mistakes, re-articulate things, or maybe make sure I didn’t have that 4th pint, etc.
16. Which adjective do you think best describes Hugh Hefner?
17. Do you inhale?
18. Do you have any phobias? (feel free to explain which)
Not good with certain insects and spiders.
19. If you were forced to spend one full year in solitary confinement in a small cell, what color would you want the walls to be?
20. What is the most important organ in your body?
My Brain, though technically it’s my heart.
21. Do you believe in reincarnation?
No, however I do believe that my body will be naturally consumed or broken down and I will become a part of other living things in some way.
22. Should people who eat fish but don’t eat meat considered vegetarians?
23. Do you know anyone living today with whom you’d happily trade lives? Who?
Maybe Roger Federer.
24. Apple or PC?
Apple, Apple, Apple, Apple.
25. Who is more important: Bono or Oprah?
26. Do you tell lies?
27. Do you think it is better to be exceptionally intelligent with average charm or exceptionally charming with average intelligence?
Maybe the latter. Making more out of less is probably better.