Posted on | November 24, 2008 | 3 Comments


22 year old artists, Daniel Keller and Nik Kosmas were born to rival advertising executives in the Midwest. Amazingly, on dates coinciding exactly with the winter and summer equinoxes. Despite this unsual coincidence, it was not until 2004 at an art therapy class for troubled youth that they finally met. Their therapist noted a compatibility in their star charts and recommended they collaborate and in the fall of 2006, they moved to Berlin and launched AIDS-3D.COM.  Interview by Hugh Alexander Scott-Douglas.

Why the name aids-3d?

Dan’s mom, is a well-known brand consultant, and she helped develop the AIDS-3D trademark for us. She uses a fairly complicated computer program to develop ‘brand-idents’ for her clients. This program (I can’t remember the name of it), simulates suggestibility/response levels in various microdemographics using a huge amalgamation of data like google searches, brainwave scanning, credit reports, numerology, psychoanalytic statistics, etc. The program suggested AIDS-3D as a perfect fusion of our mutual interests in contemporary art, social activism and state-of-the-art technology.

How are you two enjoying life in Berlin after being in the states for the first parts of your lives? Disappointed that you wont be living in Obama’s America?

Nothing moves us like historical milestones. I’m pretty sure that Obama’s acceptance speech was the first youtube video that’s ever made one of us cry. Living in Berlin is nice and laid back and does not engage in the same kind of insane marketing/consumption machine that dominates ones experience in a city like London or New York. But living abroad has only crystalized our interest in the excesses of American culture and language. (Slam Dunk, In Your Face, Talk to the Hand, Extreme Mint Freshness, Hot Topic, Shock and Awe, etc)

I would have to say I agree with all your list of demands but I am a little interested to know whom you are making them to and what the consequences might be if they are not met?

These are totally reasonable requests that probably won’t ever be met, We’re totally dependent on giant tech-companies to provide their services. There is really no alternative… there is never gonna be an anarcho-syndicalist fiber-optic network. So, the demands are mostly just futile commiseration. “Like, I know! Right?…totally” would be an appropriate viewer response.
Can you talk a little about the Free Internet events that you host?

We wanted to establish a second brand identity that could be used in addition to AIDS-3D. So far, We’ve used Free Internet as the title of an as-of-yet-not-released pdf magazine/sculpture and a series of parties designed to promote the Free Internet brand, with various guest djs/artists who also contribute to the magazine.

If you were praying to a god, what god might that be?

We’re secular humanists. We believe in science and reason and the technological promise. Also, we’re big fans of The Secret. We spend at least an 3 hours a week visualizing our hopes and dreams. It works!

A lot of the themes that you guys seem to be exploring or representing in your work exist in a pretty abstract place to most people (belief systems, technology, activism). Is your aim to critique them or is this more about understanding them yourselves?

Maybe there is just a gap between our product and our philosophy. Mostly our work is intended to be a sort of conversation-sparker rather than direct critique. But certainly we intend to communicate ideas, even if they’re sometimes non-specific evocations rather than clearly established stances. We’re seduced by utopian promises of a clean digital future, but also interested in presenting its dark side— without much ethical judgement.

You also make mention of a process called laser scanning a few times on your site. Do you guys see photography moving in this direction eventually?

Yeah, we got some experience working with the machines in this subcontracting job we had in 2006 laser scanning every room in this 30-40 story federal courthouse in Chicago.  This is the most important development in the way we depict space since mathematical perspective was introduced in the renaissance. We really got this from manipulating the ‘point cloud’ data of a room we were standing in (for instance, viewing it from a gods eye video game view.) It really blows your mind. This technology will become as ubiquitous as photography and video someday. In the future, we plan to use it as a documentation tool and as a part of a sculptural process as soon as we can get a hold of a machine and some 3d modeling skills.

What is the one question that I didn’t ask you that you would have liked to be asked? Why don’t you answer it too?
How is the weather in Berlin, nice?

NO! Its bad! Really dark and bad! please someone, if you know of any beach-residency programs or cruise ships that are hiring, let us know!!!!!!