Q&A: Albert Elm — A report on multiple meanings


Are impulses more important than consequences?
 I think so. It seems a be a tendency that people think themselves into a corner as they get older. 
Choose a song to play over a montage of everything you did today.
 Israel “IZ” Kamakawiwoʻole’s Somewhere over the rainbow. 
When late for an elevator do you throw a hand between the doors or casually watch them close?
 Depends. If I have a low blood sugar I probably feel awkward and wait for the next one. 
Make an election promise. The era of the 1%ers is over. I promise to do what I can to empower the people. Democracy is going to be real within a not too distant future. Are pets actually prisoners?
 Some animals are definitely more suitable for pets than others. I generally don’t like the idea of animals in cages. But if you have space and time for a pet I think it’s fine. Can’t wait to get a dog my self. – when I have more space and time. 
Name a design flaw in the human body.
 That it’s aging so fast.
 Pick a celebrity to lead your nation. 
Greta Thunberg. 

Describe a personal hell. 
I had a mental breakdown once when I was in Dubai to take pictures. When I arrived, the hotel I booked didn’t exist. I finally found a cheap room in a sloppy Hotel at the other end of the city. Two Saudi police officers staying in the room next door invited me inside and offered me some food. Later they offered me Whiskey. When I finally pulled myself together to leave the room and go to bed I couldn’t find peace. Whiskey, lack of sleep, exhaustion, jet lack, detox after a tough period. Among other things, Made my head spin out of control. I heard voices, everything around me seemed to be twisting and turning as if I was on a ship. It got worse and worse. I tried to exercise to run myself tired. Drank water. Went out to find a pharmacy but everything was closed in the middle of the night. It almost felt like an acid trip gone wrong. But I knew I wasn’t on drugs. I was losing my mind for reasons I didn’t understand, which scared me a lot. I finally got the idea of putting Godfather II on the laptop. I had downloaded a few nights before. (No wifi) I took my contact lenses out and went through the scenes by listening. I woke up to the Hotel manager banging on the door wanting me to pay for another night since it was five o’clock the next evening. In my attempt to find the keys I pushed my camera on the floor and broke the lens. It was the first night of three long weeks alone in Dubai.

Does the modern world impress you?
 Yes! And no. I think it seems a bit ironic that the more technologically advanced our surroundings get, the dumber we get. Sometimes it seems like a human without a phone or a credit card is like a turtle turned over on its shield. 

Which living person do you most admire?
 It varies, right now it’s David Attenborough
. Who is your favorite hero of fiction?
 Robinson Crusoe. 
Who are your heroes in real life? People who put ego and comfort aside for others. Who are your favorite writers? I don’t read a lot of books. But I really enjoyed Karl Ove Knausgård’s My Struggle. Your favorite painter? Probably Matisse. Or Gerhard Richter when I think of his ability to push boundaries artistically. You will never love again, what now? Clean up like Dirty Harry. Describe your generation. The last generation not to grow up with the Internet, mass media & mass communication. If you had to align yourself with a leader in history, who would it be? Pick a field of science to be an expert within. Astrology Is it healthy to meet your heroes? Not sure. I think its good to have some “above the clouds” fantasy ideals to aspire to. As a good source of motivation. On the other hand. I think it’s healthy to have your role models demystified. It’s important to learn, that any role model found his/her own way forward in life. That too can be a motivation to do things one’s own way. Following other peoples footsteps doesn’t challenge anyone or add anything. When are you most aware you are aging? On the weekends when I feel like leaving the city by myself and heading for the countryside. Phone switched off. Simple and quiet. What is the best way to educate yourself? Find something you are sincerely interested in. And be open. What is the next book you want to read? Just found John Szarkowski’s The photographers eye. I might read that soon. Name one smell that triggers an abstract memory. The smell of a pine forest. It reminds of camping with my grandparents somehow. What makes bad art bad? Shallowness. When it doesn’t manage recognizable emotions. Doesn’t give you something to identify with. When it doesn’t make you feel curious or give you apatite. When it’s only about attention and profit made by boring people· What will baffle future generations about our day and age? 

That we used to memorize more than three phone numbers and find our way around without GPS.

Albert Elm – From the forthcoming title A Report on Multiple Meanings. To see more of Albert Elm’s work visit — Website / Instagram.