Resides: Heilbronn - Berlin - Rakalj
"I have to confess that it has taken me some time to find how to open Čista Zona, but once you’ve opened it, you dive in a complete “Twilight zone”."
Sergej and I were supposed to meet at his Studio at 11am while he was packing for his trip to Japan for an exhibition the next morning. I am very thankful for the time he took to have this conversation with me.
At the beginning, I sat on the couch, looking around his studio. There were so many zines, books and vinyls on the shelves, prints on the floors, notes on the wall, everything felt like it was a boiling of creativity. First, Sergej was busy organizing prints, numbering, assembling zines. He didn't talk much, we only exchanged a couple of words so that gave me space to feel the atmosphere of his Berliner studio.
15 minutes later, I started the conversation.
Sergj is a straight forward person - he's very open and sharp about his points views on art, music and skateboarding and he doesn't miss an opportunity to challenge your way of thinking (in a good way). He is also a very genuine, open-minded person, with a special sense of humor. I wish I had more time with him.
What is the idea of travelling for you?
It's some layers of learning, opening doors, watching behind curtains. There is always image which someone try to give us, sell us…and by trevelling is chance to create own vision of space enviroment but to learn alot about yourself and to share exchange learn from each other… Now i am going back on this interview here in berlin with mistake of fly to san francisco and that deffently other part of trevelling which face me or put me in position of flexibility and be ready to see things from other side.
With all these places you visited, what is the city that inspires you the most? What was your longest journey? And how does it feel like to be home? Also, where is home now?
I saw always meaning of home as some feeling, it was never about country. And I feel on many places around world that feeling, those people - friends, the way they living and we share things. All those things create to me felling of home to belonging to each other, but if i look back i am always interesting into places far from i dont know how to label it maybe hip….places, where people creating things not based on marketing concept of corporations. those people are my inspiration, its not about name of town or neigberhood, its about those individuals…. i have room in berlin where my books, records, negatives are place where i can closed door for few days produce some new works and hit next road. but few days ago I bought piece of land in Istra so maybe soon i would change meaning of home or specific place or earth.
Could you describe your creative process? Do you have a routine? How many zines or books do you produce every year?
There is wish list to do stuff but it turns offter little bit out of way, cos basicly feelings and process are very important part of my creative process what I already say. what also means that i dont care how many books work i gonna produce if its feels as right moment, then i gonna try to give everything for it maybe sometimes too much cos i starting to loose some social moments with my friends, thats also other side of working world wide and by yourself
Where does your inspiration come from?
I am pretty sensitve person so many things effect me and there are so many things inside me from born in country which doesnt exist, having parents on two diffrents sides in war, changing countries, beeing foreigner every where, diversity of life on earth, boundries to see something diffrent to feel… i dont know, infinity of life and universe.
What are the things “to have” or “not to have”?
or to be.
How do you keep up with all your ideas? Do you have a notebook or any kind of other medium for spontaneous ideas?
Sometimes when i write idea and visualise them i feel almost they are done and ofter happend i dont finished them and then… also i prefer just to do one print in darkroom, i use also reproduction possiblities of risographer for sense of marketing or consume acceible of my work. but this is not so much importend as idea as process.
What is the place of Photography in your life and in your work?
Photography is one very interesting medium taking something freezing reality but on other way that moment questioning reality cos its so manipulative and its just frame of moment and souranding.
Its gives you as creator alot space to play and if you used darkroom as i use gives you one more layer reactions of past - now and interaction between chemicals, light, objects and feelings
And, what is the place of Skateboarding then? How do these two work together?
Soon it would be almost 30 years that i am connected with skateboarding. Starting in time when people build boards out of nothing, during war time skating, building own obstacles, need to go with list of boards to other country to get board and then share with other till complitly die, adolescent time, finding intentity as part of you and how's your body change with age but above it social change of skateboard as one of very interesting cosume objects of modern sociality.
Phenomena connected to progress of city building changing earth eviourments into cocrete landscape, then skatestops as impressive motivation of physiognomy and psychology. There are so many layers which create this object to look on it and beside of my passion to explore and metaphoricaly to speak with actualle langouge. as you can see already coporations change image of cowboys into skater, and its alot about fake indiviauality of cosuming and postcard images
I noticed a lot of punk influences in your work? How’s the punk culture influencing your work and your life?
Hardcore/punk not as fashion but as community and thinking way pretty much shape me in early years when my gramparent need to take care about me and show me maybe some ways in life…kind i was to strong for them, but i was lucky on some way that already in early ages i start to be influnace by things which was about creating things out of nothing, sharing, and if you want something you could build - make by yourself, watching above and question media and what system feed us. so pritty early i was making band with friends, label, puting records all those things you do to create or be part of scene. as i look back one of first records i put out happend when i was 15, i still cant believe it, but pritty much was great base in life
Could you name 5 songs that describe how you feel right now?
Blueprint - Fugazi
Valley of Things - Analena
Deserts Without Mirages - Catharsis
Try if you want - Don´t
Crash 17 - Girls Against Boys
Aside from Photography and zine-making, you are a musician under the name of “Heimut”. Would you mind telling us more about Heimut’s identity and the stories behind it?
Yes, for few years i used helmut as my musician indentity or story kind project based on questioning labels and indentity. it came originaly throught perfromance for exhibition at skateboard museum about skate rock or music…. I was in that time facing labels so i came with idea of truly grind core - using skatebaord and grinding guitar and making skatepunk if that excist. so yeah from it turn into something I keep going by artbook fairs i was playing with paper instad of skateboard and since year or so i stop to use skateboard i have issues with my achile and i cant skate so much and i didnt want to wear board just for show so it fade out… but yeah, music sound vibrations are very importend part of my communication and expression.
What are you musical influences?
All those people making whole process, its not only just sound whole indentity. all those people who set tours around world by themself - friends, houseshows, basement, shows and all those individualls who step to push boundries went above labels
You seems to use a lot of mediums that requires a lot of learning. What keeps you going?
Infinity of universum and their possibilities. It's not about learning, I preffer doing, process, as you ask keep going. But one of important part in 90´s in scene was get inspired but do your own.
Could you share one or two significant life stories with us please?
wau this is hard, maybe this moment few days ago, when i had fly to sf on 31 december with starting project in sf on 2nd january. going excited to airport, at check in giving my documents and hearing you are not on board. What? going in bag looking for paper and after so many months in one moment i see fly is booked not on 31dec its booked on 31 january…I just start to laugh, stand on side. A woman behind me has oversight and giving me a bottle of hard drink. Fly supposed to be at 6 a.m. and I didnt get sleep all night since 2 days wake. Things starting to be so strange. Emptiness in me but also around me taking airport over every one is on board i calling company to see is there any chance, first fly is tomorrow 2000 something. A person in call centar speak weird english and everything starting to be confused. I giving call to residency that i would not come and dont know when all flys are too expancive i would call you when i get little bit sleep and then cold…i sublet my room and it's 6 in morning where to go, its new year even….ou shite. After trying all option i am in hope maybe one or other roommate is at home….coming come after trying to stay wake in subway on eye of wasted people my two bags feels like label tourist money,….can fall in sleep, small bag is bag most important….slowly coming home and nobody opens every one sleep. after few minutes i am reaching Ryan, he is not at home by girlfriend. There is one option, lars offer me couch if i need in transite throught berlin. it sims as last option, 7am is maybe i can try. his mouth trying to be open his mind is more reaction but far from clear we making in short i can come. i am seeing shopping card infront of house, pretty much berlin style….I am puting my stuff inside and as someone without flat pushing with belongs little bit on side walk but berlin sidewalks are so loud stones. It's 7 in morning i am turning on street. kind i try not to buy much food in hope on something in airplane, so slowly everything from night is burn and hunger is growing, bakery on way to lars on karl marx strasse could be open. sims i have luck they puting sign on street and chairs. in front of door i am facing shopping care full of my stuff i can't leave them just like that on street but also its so heavy i am trying as less as possible to wear that bag full of books, padals, instrument, film, photo equitments and little bit of clothing. I am gonna need to leave it in front of bakery just for second i gonna need to run inside with small bag but guy from bakery start to jail move that shoping card away from here. I am looking to find words to give some reason but sims my beard, long hear, bag in shoping card … ah