Speed Date/ BRAŇO MATIS, graphic designer


Where are you from?
From Martin, if we can believe the sources and feelings, from a traditional “metropolis” of petty bourgeoisie, once almost the capital city of Slovakia. I was born there under a dark star (then painted in red).

Where did you study?
I haven’t finished yet. I got my degrees at AFAD, but I’m still studying, at or outside work if I get there by chance. 🙂

Who was your best teacher?
Irreversible fate together with scarcity :))) It’s hard to absolutise it. In the classic school hierarchy, it was Paľo Choma who had the most patience (with me) and Ľubo Longauer who wanted to “bring me up” together with Emil Drličiak – we were sort of co-travellers when Ľubo taught us. As for my professional life, I’ll mention Paľo Bálik, Žltý (Milk)… I’m trying to learn from anybody, mainly in collaborations. The most stimulating thing is when I get caught “red-handed”, being unconscientious, which makes me revise the well-trodden deformations and unconscientious moments.

Who were/ are your parents?
My father is an artist, he specialises in painting and textile, and my mother is an ex-Slovak/Latin teacher and still an active editor (Christian publishing house Advent-Orion). They have mediated me much of what I need and use, but also tendencies I ardently try to get rid of.

What don’t you enjoy in design?
As for me – the third and every other version of the same solution. Requirements to repeat the proven things (although they come from pragmatic ideas). I enjoy it only when I have strength and time to fend off these expectations in the process.
As for the contemporary design scene – likeable design for the first-signal system there where it could be different. Polished forms communicating nothing but themselves and their self-absorbed author. It works great on the market and sometimes they call it author’s style 🙂

And on the contrary, what do you?
The presence of a certain agenda and authenticity (contrary to the “style” above), although it often is nothing but hormonal abundance. Don Quixote’s heritage – fighting the windmills, the options of media and users. Wildness, grime, (purposefully used) stupidity and provocation, chaos, impalpability, absurdity. Sometimes it’s the lack of comfort of solution and stimulation that emerges from it (and often again not when I don’t see anything behind it). I also like the absence of formal design, provided it seems it’s not a mere pose.

What do you listen to?
Natural sounds in a bearable environment or when highly stressed out. Otherwise I listen to “high-profile” music whatever it is. I began with industrial&techno and it’s not easy to get rid of such deviations. Step by step I started to appreciate the form of rap; it seems to me that it’s a musical analogy of visual graphic design. As a bonus, here you go: 16 random songs from my back-scrolled wall. There are newer and old things almost without any order: 111  11   10   9 (I also add a found meme GIF to the song, my most successful FB post ever – play it together!:) 8   7   6   5   4   3   2   1   0   -1   -2  -3

Your favourite film or cartoon?
Sporadically The Deadly Invention (my most favourite children’s film), The Meaning of Life (the funniest one), Stalker (beyond the mirror), Brazil (romantic, funnier and sadder than the Mood Indigo), Existenz (the manifest of simulationism long before the bloom of microdosing in the Silicon Valley), Angel Heart (it’s always you alone, dear viewer), Songs from the Second Floor (the second funniest), We are the Strange (a film for parents), Inception (again simulationism, but this time more emotional), Paprika (come dream with us), Drowning by Numbers (relationships and statistics) and much more. Btw, I suggest that you ask about series, too. Dark (der neue Liebling), Channel Zero (when you want to gape at zero and have fun at the same time), Preacher (for the more religious ones), The Strain (I have a thing for Guillermo del Toro) and the rest you know. 🙂

Who do you respect as an authority in and out of your field?
Everybody is an authority for me, in the positive or any other sense. There are also negative authorities, those who produce something toxic, and that’s a signal for the sound ones to leave of the affected zone. But I value any honest opinion about my work (which I will assess subsequently). 🙂

What thing did you last buy?
Button cell batteries (for a bike light). A plant terrarium as a present. Right now I am looking for, which is not very typical for me, some components of Motioner, a motion sensing suit, and I also want to get a BCI in the future perspective.

Do you buy professional literature? What was the latest book?
I’m waiting for the delivery of Donna Freitas: The Happiness Effect: How Social Media is Driving a Generation to Appear Perfect at Any Cost.

Do you vote?
Of course.

Who throws the best parties?
If I ever manage to go somewhere, it’s usually local events – Counterpoint, BWO Mass, Batcave. I haven’t been for a long time to Plnka etc. I hope that Derniéra at Cvernovka will take place more often, as I can go there directly from work.

Your hero from the past?
Don Quixote and his next incarnation, Friedrich Nietzsche. Life as a fight for a lost cause, but we keep on fighting anyway, with absurdity and honour. Human, too human. 🙂

Best/nicest house?
House (as an archetypal psychic symbol) in the House.

Do you have any stereotypes when you work? How do they show?
If I have time, I begin with a tedious, disciplined build-up – with making the “quasi-outcomes”. It’s as if an assembly line in a meat-processing plant was running idle for a while at the beginning, to grind the rats. So I usually throw them away, combine them, trying to squeeze something out. This is how I get to a drop – production that surprises me somehow. Stereotypically enough, I also do research and overviews, if only the project timing allows for it.

What’s on your desktop?
Chaos, mostly many screenshots – changes in the digital world must be recorded. The desktop itself is normally monochromatic, dark grey.

Best exhibition, work of art?
I don’t like superlatives – last year in Rome, at Macro, Anish Kapoor with his fleshy sculptures. The Data Flow exhibition in the Prague’s DOX for its comprehensible communication of oversized digital world. And the older exhibition “Artists and Prophets” at the Prague’s Trade Fair Palace as a source of endless meta-humour (I was laughing out loud there). I can’t comment on the local scene, due to the supposed bias. 🙂

What do you respect both from the local and foreign design scene? And why?
Let all the beings be happy.

Ethics or money?
I don’t view them as polarities. An ideal is a functional symbiosis.
Out of principle, I refuse to serve any propaganda and its disguised sister, so-called direct democracy (I dare to say it’s one of the most misused political term of today’s world).

Extraordinary book?
When I was coming of age it was Naked Lunch/Nova Express; it totally blew me off. Precisely a year ago it was Phillip Dick’s A Scanner Darkly. And now it’s Irvin D. Yalom’s When Nietzsche Wept.

Optimist, pessimist, nihilist?
I’ve become sceptical, but I still believe in the magical power of moments and most of all in the Positive resulting from the application of double negation.

Do you have any hobby?
Extending the consciousness and shrinking the belly – yoga, bicycle (also as a means of transport), mental and physical tourism, dance, lego building (are kids only a pretext?).

Solo or in a collective?
It depends on what, but it’s usually more fun in a collective (if you are a free-thinker).

Slovakia as the Promised Land?
It depends on what for. But surely for plunging (see waterboarding) in one’s own slovakness, whatever it is.







15 / 2 / 2018
by MAG D A
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