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Written by Tshepo Mokoena
Photos and illustrations by Skrekkøgle
18 Tuesday 18th October 2011

The Solitaire Win in all its glory

First off, how did you two meet and start working together?

We first met in school when we started studying industrial design back in 2005. A couple of years later we shared an apartment in a run-down building in the city centre of Oslo, which is basically when we became friends - figuring out how to cover leaking floors and repairing washing machines. We figured we liked each other’s way of thinking, and as we finished our MA in interaction design last year we had decided to start Skrekkøgle.

Your site says you consider yourselves more of designers/products designers than artists. How do you feel about being labelled artists anyway?

We don’t mind being considered artists, as it implies we’re doing stuff we feel like doing. Which we do. And art is traditionally regarded as something culturally more valuable than commercial objects, which I guess is cool. But it has never been our intent to create art: most of our “independent” projects are just silly stuff we’ve come up with over beers. But they’ve gotten us attention, enabling us to do experimental commercial stuff for cool clients.

What kind of training did you two undertake to get to the point you’re at now, creatively?

We both have a BA in industrial design and an MA in interaction design from the Oslo School of Architecture and Design. Theo spent one of those years studying in Paris, and Lars Marcus in Gothenburg and Kenya. So basically it’s stuff we’ve done and people we’ve been hanging out with in those contexts that have taken us to where we are now.

We totally love the Solitaire Win project. At what point did it go from being just an idea to being attempted? And how long did it take to execute?

Thank you! Well, we can’t really tell exactly when the decision to make actual sculpture was made, however, there was a lot of thinking going into the practicalities, and construction of the piece. Translating screen content into the real world is a much more challenging - though valuable - exercise than you would think, and presents many unforeseen issues.

Like, for example, the original estimate for the sculpture size was like half of what it turned out to be. We had to dismantle one of the doors in the office in order to make a big enough table. The same went for the actual work hours; initially we thought it would take a couple of weeks, but the project went on for months. But hey, turn on some German minimal electronica, and you have loads of zen-moments.

Behind the scenes, making the giant coin

What was your favourite part about working on the Big Money pieces?

Actually, the best part was getting the photos online and seeing people discuss it. Internet feedback is awesome, especially when people are being assholes. There’s something enjoyable about someone you don’t know talking shit about your work, like they’re talking behind your back only they're not. It’s fun thinking like, haters gonna hate, and whatever.

What do you think constitutes an interesting and inspiring piece of art or design?

That completely depends on the piece and the viewer, but generally speaking the most interesting works are those who capture a lot with very little means, which focus on a few things and don’t compromise.

The Cremation Portrait, where the guys turned a friend's dog's ashes into a tribute portrait for him. Fair play

And what’s next for you guys? How do you balance client work with your own independent goals?

We’re currently working on a few projects on exhibition design and web solutions for clients, which is great fun as the people involved are keen on doing new, nontraditional stuff. On our own we’re spending more time on physical things, doing silly things with electronics, 3D printing, crustaceans and magnets. It is of course always an issue balancing paid and independent work, but so far we’ve done OK spending nights doing what, again, people apparently regard as art.

Keep up with new developments and projects on the duo's site.

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