Monday, March 15, 2010

Benjamin Franklin

Do you see Print Liberation as a performance art piece? At this point, it is a performance. I wouldn't say performance art, but it's definitely performance within the boundaries of capitalism. It extends past the notion of traditional performance, where there's a beginning and an end. It's kind of an entity that can exist outside of a lifespan...potentially. What are you trying to accomplish by doing this? Print Liberation is there to contribute to the culture we're a part of, and also make money. It's kind of a modern dilemma: How do you make money and contribute to the culture you're a part of at the same time? We're trying to do that through Print Liberation. But do you think that in order to contribute to the culture you need to be a viable entity? Not necessarily. We contribute in a semi-subversive way because we harness certain political agendas and exploit them. But we also exploit people's fascination with what is now. So if something really important in the news happens, we'll make a t-shirt about it. And there have been instances where people are finding out about this news from the t-shirts we're making. So that's taking products and communication to a different level because products are now communication. You guys got the Obama campaign? We got to do some stuff for How did that happen? We were making Obama shirts and they emailed us. How did they find out about you? I think people were just putting them on blogs. We don't spend any money on advertising or anything. But our shirts were getting on blogs because we made a shirt that said, Palien. It had a picture of Sarah Palin with alien eyes drawn on her and then it said, We come for your babies. So that got a lot of attention. Who's coming up with the ideas for the shirts? Just random people. We actually ask a lot of our Facebook friends and customers if they have any ideas. And then if they have a good one, we make them and send them free shirts. Do you credit them with their ideas? We don't really credit anybody. The point is to take the singular genius out of product making and put it into an indefinable entity. Some people think they have amazing, million dollar t-shirt ideas and they'll be reluctant to tell you about them because they think it's their golden ticket. But selling t-shirts is a really bizarre thing to do. You're satirizing capitalism. But you're a successful capitalist. It's more of an experiment than anything else. Do you feel like you have to be successful within capitalism in order to satirize it? You definitely have to get products out into the world. And that's probably one of the most amazing aspects of running a company like Print Liberation, is literally sending t-shirts all over the world. Last week we sent a shirt to French Polynesia. We sent one to Eastern Europe. We sent one to the Porche showroom in Abu Dhabi. So if you think about how making things and making art and making products is all contributing to the culture you're a part of, to keep things moving forward, selling cheap products is kind of the most direct line to doing that. It's close to conversation. Talk is cheap. Talk is truly cheap. What we're doing right now, we're using words and it's free. And the t-shirt is like that. It's cheap, efficient language. And it's not for the greater good all the way. It's for the greater good, and to make money. Its viability becomes a resource for more communication. Exactly. Or is this a justification for greed? It's not greed. I have no option but to live in a capitalist world, which is fine by me. So if I'm going to live in this world I have to do something to survive in it, and it might as well be making something to sell to other people if I'm a capitalist. That's what we all have to do. Either I'm working for somebody else who's making something for other people or I'm working for myself and making things for other people. So, essentially, no matter what I do, I'm damned to making things for other people or making things period or doing something in the production room. So you might as well do it on your own terms as much as possible? Yeah and if it works, holy shit, it works.

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