SHIFT: 111213 – Johi von Bruises & Byron Reza Afshar

All of us know this moments, when you just know: this is it, right now. Nowhere else is where I should be. Berlin born Johi on Bruises and „Wahlberliner“ Byron Reza Afshar make this epiphany of the contemporary modus operandi of their work. The exhibition 111213 at SHIFT will consist of two projectors showing a slideshows of each artists last two years of analogue photography. Each projection delivers insight into two very personal yet common endeavours: to build an archive of Berlin’s underground party avant garde in a time, that will be remembered as a period of freedom and ludic struggles for artistic and political expression beyond common grounds.
The exhibition covers the last two years of your work. During this time Berlin changed a lot. How would you describe the evolution of the city in relation to your personal life?
Johi: The city changes every day. I really like some of the new aspects joining Berlin i.e. the international creativity but a lot of bullshit comes to daylight aswell. Most of the time I am loving it but recently i started to get angry more and more when I see things like Investors taking the East side gallery down. However I am a Berliner and no matter what will happen here, I will be always fighting for my hometown.
Byron: I consider myself as being part of this typical „multi-kulti“ that makes up the german capital. It is a poor but vivid place compared to my hometown Geneva, yet I found myself evolving and getting somehow mature after the time spent in my adoptive city. Berlin has totally enhanced, if not, changed the person I was when I first moved here. I owe a lot to the openness and the alternative way of living that this city has to offer. As my photographs are directly linked to my daily life, I guess, one can feel my own evolution through my work.
I need to fall in love everyday again and again with the city I live in. That’s what the german capital brings to me.
The native Berliner on the one hand, the expat on the other hand: how do your photographic perspectives clash and how do they differ?
In general we have grown in a similar scene, however within this subculture we have taken different paths. Artistically both our works bare common subjects and technics as well as we share the passion for analog photography. This applies to the aesthetics and style of our photos.
Byron Reza Afshar emphasizes importance to structure and line whereas Johi von Bruises reconsiders the construction and essence of an image using an intended chaos.
Both of you as artists and SHIFT itself are deeply rooted in a scene, that first emerged around club life but seems to grow up when it comes to political and artistic expression. How big was and is the influence of this night life driven synergy for your work?
The club culture is the major influence in our photos. Our work is a representation of what we see around us. It is an archive of what is happening in Berlin today.

Byron will perform two short experimental music live sets based on works from 2007 and 2013. So keep eyes and ears open and see you tomorrow at SHIFT.

Images (c) Johi von Bruises & Byron Reza Afshar

Thank you for the interview Johi & Byron!

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