TAKING CITY SELFIES
Manholes, drains, pavement and tracks. The oft-overlooked pieces of a city inspire Emma-France Ra . She’s the founder of Berlin-based experimental printmaking company Raubdruckerin, which makes urban structures wearable by transferring images onto clothing like T-shirts, sweaters and totes. Ra and her fellow Raubdruckerin printmakers travel across Europe, inding small details to turn into designs.
“It’s nice to ind something that has a relation to the city,” Ra said.
That could be a surface that says Barcelona, a piece of sidewalk with an imprint of a bike in Amsterdam, or tram tracks in Lisbon.
But sometimes, Ra is inspired by any interesting pattern or surface.
“[It could be] old wood that you ind on the street, and you say ‘nice pattern,’” she said.
The idea started out as a collaboration between Ra and her father, who is a painter, when they lived in Portugal. After a few test prints, they brought their work to festivals, and the concept expanded from there.
The name Raubdruckerin means pirate printer. “It’s a feministic statement, because most of the [names] in Germany are masculine,” she said, adding that some people think the pirate part of the name is provocative, since it means to copy something.
“Actually, it’s more about appreciating and giving attention to overlooked objects, and giving them a new life.”