1. Your name is Anton. Are you an Anton; does your personality match your name?
2. You are from Denmark; what do you think it means to be Danish? Do you feel Danish?
Well, in my case it’s maybe a tricky question. I’m ¾ russian but I grew up in a danish family. So yes, I feel Danish. I can have a casual conversation with people from all walks of life; that’s incredibly Danish.
Do I feel Russian? Hmm, in some senses, yes.
Since visiting Russia for the first time at age 25, I can say that I feel very Russian, also! Russians have a certain intensity about them. A certain impatience, directness and pragmatism about them which can come off as rude, whereas in reality it’s a matter of extreme honesty. Russians don’t have time for petty matters, politically, spiritually, intellectually. So I feel like both.
It’s the old nature vs. nurture debate I guess.
3. What is it you like best about Denmark – and what’s the worst?
Denmark is probably the greatest country in the world. We have hyggelige things, a sense of security, acceptance of each other, respect for all people, low power-structure, an open press, an ability to securely start businesses and politicians and a society with very little corruption.
The worst parts: we have a tendency, as a collective, to care way too much about petty matters and to small-talk about them. That annoys me a bit. Let’s get to the root of things.
4. Three people who have affected you the most, intellectually?
Otto Rank, Nassim Taleb and Erik Bock.
5. The three qualities you think every human being should have:
The ability to cook. The ability to write a brief e-mail. The art of conversation (i.e. How not to small-talk.)
6. How do you explain art – and what role does it play to the world and the people in it?
Art is about communication. Art cannot exist in a vacuum. So there has to be a producer and a receiver. The producer has something in mind, something they have to get out. The medium does not matter. If another person sees that and is affected by it. That is art to me.
The other day I saw a woman who had formed cigarette butts into the sentence: “skodsted.”* That affected me deeply, which made it become art to me. So in that sense, art is 100% subjective. And it can literally be anything: an e-mail, a child’s drawing, a cup of coffee, a clip on youtube. Art doesn’t become art from other people claiming it so. Art is a moving, human thing. And the most important thing of all.
* ‘skod’, in danish, means both ‘cigarette butt’ and also ‘bad’ or something that ‘sucks’, so to speak. ‘sted’ means ‘place’.
‘skodsted’, therefore, holds a double-meaning.
7. What is your favorite quote?
Right now it’s: “only ideas won by walking have any value.” – Nietzsche.
I like it because I like to walk a lot, and it’s a good way to clear one’s mind. But I also believe the meaning of the quote is that you have to live and experience things in life, before you can understand and comprehend them. And keep on moving.
8. If you could change one thing about the world, what would it be?
My perception of it.
9. What is the meaning of life?
Your perception of it.