Artist Ali Altin (38) was born in Goch, on the border to the Netherlands. He is a graduate from ArtEZ – Institute of the Arts in Arnhem and the Düsseldorf Art Academy. Currently, his new community project is on show at the «Contemporary Fine Arts» gallery (CFA) in Berlin. He and his friend Jochen Görlach have set up a booth inspired by the famous «Fotofix» photo booths. They’ve called their installation «Aktfotofix» (engl. photo booth for nudes – ed.), because anyone who wants to have their photo taken has to be naked.
Ali, how’s the project doing? Have you really got people queuing up to take their clothes off in a gallery?
Today was rainy. It was very quiet and people kept their voices down. I’m afraid there weren’t many visitors, but last Saturday went really well. We had 60 people in the gallery, 25 of them from 2.00 pm – 4.00 pm. It’s working!
Where did you take the other pictures?
In a bar on the Sonnenallee. We set up another «Aktfotofix» booth and took photos all night.
So how does it work? Do I just walk in, press a button and a photo is taken?
The «Aktfotofix» is a big black box made of fabric that looks a bit like the monolith from Kubrick’s «Space Odyssey». Inside, there’s a neon tube light, so that the models don’t get lost while they are in there. Usually, the model comes in, gets undressed, has two or three snapshots taken with my Polaroid SX-70 instant camera, gets dressed again and then it’s the next person’s turn.
Do you approach people, or do they come up to you?
I ask people if they’d like to have their photo taken. Some say yes. Once we get started and the first results appear on the wall or table, it’s contagious – other people want to have a go and things really take off. It’s great fun!
Can the models keep the photos, or are they part of the exhibition?
The photos go on show straight away. We scan them later and compile a catalogue with all the material. We add a bit of text and then each participant, from anywhere in the world, receives a copy.
What will you do when the exhibition is over?
Brush my teeth, open an office in Berlin in the spring and go on an «Aktobus» tour.
What’s an «Aktobus»? (sounds a bit like octopus – ed.)
A bus with 8 wheels (laughs). Joke! It’s a bus with a built-in photo booth – for taking a whole load of amazing pictures.
The exhibition is open from 10:00 till 6:00 o’clock, until January 31, 2015.
You can find out more about the exhibition at: www.cfa-berlin.com
Interview: Ufuk Cam
Photos: Ali Altin, Jochen Goerlach