DigitalFruit is an interview series from Adafruit showcasing some of our favorite digital fine artists from around the world. As we begin this new decade with its rapidly changing landscape, we must envision our path through a different lens. Over the next few weeks we’ll feature many innovative perspectives and techniques that will inspire our maker community to construct a bold creative frontier. The only way is forward.
1.Where are you based?
I live in Rome, Italy.
2. Tell us about your background?
I started studying music as a child and became passionate about electronics with my grandfather who was an engineer of the old school. As a teenager I hung out in the graffiti and Hip hop scene in Rome and more underground music events like dnb, jungle, techno and psytrance. It was the direct contact with the social dimension of clubbing and raves that made me interested in electronic music. After high school I started to get more and more interested in electronics by soldering a modular system and experimenting with Arduino and various sensors, then through Arduino I started to understand the potential of programming. From that moment I started to be interested in all of the creative things that could be done with a computer and this continues until today.
3. What inspires your work?
I always try to observe reality from different points of view and let my mind travel under the influences it receives from the outside. I think that almost anything can be a source of inspiration since it is the state of mind with which we do not approach reality that really makes the difference. Having grown up in a city like Rome, artistic and architectural inputs has never been lacking, I let the environment around me give rise to reflections. Often it’s the spontaneous natural processes that inspire me, like the movement of the branches of a tree shaken by the wind, I try to internalize these organic processes and reintroduce them in the algorithms with which I create my works.
4. What are you currently working on?
I am currently working on several projects with Umanesimo Artificiale in the field of creative coding. Our approach is to combine the artistic dimension with a social and didactic one, so often my performances are followed by a workshop and talks in which I explain what I do and my vision. Since we started this journey we have been able to give a great boost to the Italian livecoding community and to do many international projects creating a solid network.
In the last months, I’ve been working a lot on developing new algorithms for my audiovisual performances based on livecoding. In this period where few events have been organized, I have been able to play both in Italy and abroad in very interesting situations, this makes me hope that when the normality comes back there will be many opportunities to organize algoraves and concerts around the world.
I also have a series of collaborations in progress for projects in augmented and virtual reality of which I can’t divulge the details.
5. Describe your process and what tools you like to use.
My creative process is based on interaction with the computer, I develop custom work environments based on my needs and then I start experimenting with all the things that come to my mind until I find something that makes me emotional. I don’t simply use computers but I collaborate with them, I leave it to them to do the operations that would cost me so much time while I search for emotions and feelings within the processes. I think that in the relationship between human and artificial intelligence, this symbiotic aspect is essential.
6. What does your workplace or studio look like? Do you work in silence or listen to music while you work?
My workspace is always changing. I like to be constantly evolving and often change equipment, software, the place where I work and people I work with. I generally work on many different projects simultaneously but when I am creating something, I always try to maintain a mental state that is similar to the type of work I am doing. In general I can’t stay in a static condition for too long and I always look for new impulses and new challenges to avoid getting bored.
7. How has technology shaped your creative vision?
My creative process is based on the dialogue with technology. Sometimes the relationship with technology also becomes the subject of the work itself, as in the case of some fully algorithmic works where the code itself is shown to the viewer and becomes the real protagonist. In other works the investigation is much more focused on a humanistic aspect in which I try to relate to forms and artistic works of the past looking for new ways to interpret them through technology.
8. Any tips for someone interested in getting started in the digital art form?
I think it’s a very long path and very exiting so it’s definitely worth doing it. A piece of advice I would like to give is not to be obsessed with technology, not to always want the latest model or the latest version or to think that the lack of ideas can be solved through new software or hardware… in truth the mechanisms that are triggered when we experience a work of art are so ancient and rooted within us that all this is useless. What to focus on are the concepts and the ability to abstract one’s own thought into elegant systems of representation.
9. Where do you see generative and digital art heading in the future?
I believe that immersive systems represent the new frontier of digital arts, the artworks of the future (or rather of the present) are composed of new layers superimposed on the reality in which we live. In the past our goals have been to make computers small enough to hold them in the palm of your hand and to increase the power of calculation. Currently the new frontiers are more effective systems for human computer interaction that use our senses in a more efficient way than a mouse and a keyboard, and the development of systems that offer a cognitive support to the user, creating tools that do not simply do what you order, but that take part in the decision-making process by suggesting possible strategies.
DigitalFruit is curated by Adafruit lead photographer- Andrew Tingle