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Radical Friend

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The Creators Project: First things first: How did you two individuals find each other? Julia Grigorian: We first met in art school… and started collaborating, and really got into some similar stuff and couldn’t stop working.

What were you studying and how long did it take for you to make something together?

JG: Video and digital art—art installation, video installation, and interactive video.

Kirby McClure: The first collaboration that we did was a video installation we made. And after that we realized that we had a lot of ideas in common, and a lot of similar instincts about visuals. Then we realized it would be cool to just keep working together, to combine our work and put it out there more as a collective or a team.

Are there any overarching themes you both wanted to communicate with your work?

JG: We talk a lot about technology and interactive things and virtual reality and stuff like that. In general, our sensibilities are very similar concerning things like life and the world and nature and death.

KM: I think we both have an interest in the history too, like referencing certain things in the past. Not even just creatively or like in an art movement, but things like warfare, behind technological steps.

So after you finished college, you moved to New York?

JG: Yeah, I moved to New York for just a little bit. Before moving there we did a music video for Of Montreal and started doing more after that. So we moved to New York and thought crazy shit was going to happen… it didn’t happen like we thought it was going to.

KM: New York was just super hectic for us. We couldn’t really concentrate. It felt like so much energy and all of these weird brainwaves.

And now you’re in Los Angeles. Is it more conducive to your artistic processes?

JG: Yeah, we moved here and we’ve been working on projects like our website, interactive pieces that we always wanted to do.

Yeah, the stone-throwing thing on your website is interesting because it’s so simple and succinct, but it’s also confounding. It’s the opposite of what most things on the web offer, which is information. Instead, it’s puzzling and arouses a lot of questions.

KM: It’s an idea blowing out from the internet. Like the internet was this thing that we were looking at and wanted to like bust through like ‘”Fuck you”—we wanted to break through that plane.

JG: We’re not using it as some “Oh, here is my website, here is my work,” but it is my face, and that’s what I want to tell you.

So allowing the user or viewer to control aspects of how they view your work is something you strive for? It’s almost the antithesis of how art has been presented until recently.

KM: I think we like the idea of technology and interactive art being something with an atmosphere that you can control instead of showy like other technology. Or using it further, like a heightened sense.

JG: It’s less about narrative and less like gaming. It’s more like an experience you have. It’s about telling stories—communicating something and trying to find a different way to do that. How do you put somebody in a space a little deeper, where they can feel something? Technology is rudimentary right now, but there will be a lot more things that will be possible later.

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At a glance

Inventive video maestros.

Names: Julia Grigorian, Kirby McClure
Location: Los Angeles, California, United States
Profession: Filmmakers
Notables: Music videos for Yeasayer ("Ambling Alp" and "One") and Black Moth Super Rainbow ("Dark Bubbles")
Radical Friend uses: Action Script, Papervision3D, Nuke, Adobe Creative Suite 4, Final Cut Pro, The Red Camera, Canon 7D