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– What role does digital art play in representing complexity and chaos?
Addressing the digital in art rather than Digital art as a category, I would say that a role that the digital plays in art is that of the “(re)presenter” of complexity and chaos. In other words, when used in an artistic context, digital technologies have the capacity to act as an “amplifier”of sorts that allows artists to dynamically create, appropriate, translate, and (re)present multiple interpretations and manifestations of complexity and chaos in our everyday life.

– Market Forces. How do you interact with market forces in your everyday life? Would you say that the hardware and software architectures of our digital reality are market forces that stifle artists or do they open up new expressive potential?
Market forces certainly drive the development of hardware and software systems, but artist do have alternatives to bypass many of the limitations, either technical or financial, imposed by these architectures. The open-source community in general is an obvious alternative. In my artistic work, I rely on both open source and commercial software/hardware options. And although I think that it is very beneficial to explore new possibilities offered by open systems, I do not think that any of the previously mentioned limitations should be enough reason to restrain the actual expressive potential of artists. I believe there are many examples of excellent artworks intentionally created within closed and outdated software/hardware systems, one such example could be Cory Arcangel’s “Super Mario Clouds,” among others.

– What idea first inspired you and what did you learn from that project?
The initial idea that eventually led me to create “Convergenze parallele” was the exploration of artificial light as an artistic medium. Throughout the creative process, while working on several prototypes that were quite different from the final piece, I would often find myself staring in amazement at the movement of dust particles passing through the beams of light. This was a simple, everyday phenomenon that I had been fascinated with since I was a kid. At some point in the process it became apparent that I had to focus on that simple phenomenon. In its final iteration, “Convergenze parallele” is an audiovisual installation in which dust particles passing through a beam of light are tracked, visualized, and sonified in real time by a custom software system. The installation uses a digital video camera to capture the activity of dust particles passing through the beam of light. The custom software analyzes the video signal to track the location of individual dust particles, and reveals each particle’s trajectory in an image-processed projection. As a result, the physical particles draw traces of their otherwise invisible motion on the digital “canvas.” The software also sonifies and spatializes each particle that is tracked and visualized, creating a synchronized audiovisual experience. I learned many things while working on this project, and I could list here a long (and potentially boring) list of technical details. But the most important realization was not to let the technological implications of this “new field” interfere with my artistic sensibilities and creative process. It was an affirmation that artists can (and should strive to) have an intuitive and spontaneous relationship with this “new” medium.

– In its quest for the poetic potential of the invisible and the microscopic, Convergenze Parallele reminds me of the travels of Qfwfq, a character in Italo Calvino’s Cosmicomics, where microscopic and physical became poetry….
Yes, I love Calvino’s “Le Cosmicomiche”! It’s true, in the character Qfwfq and his travels you could find analogies to the context of my piece, both in its overall concept, its intentions, and the experiences that it potentially offers to viewers. The general emphasis of my work is on the act of perception–something that we all do at any given moment with the world that surrounds us. Even if we all perceive differently, we share the same experiential capacities to engage with the world. I am interested in this engagement, as well as in the observation of nature and the artificial. I find digital technology to be an excellent medium to attune our perception with the world that surrounds us, and in particular to attune our perception to that which is imperceptible. As previously mentioned, “Convergenze parallele” creates a synchronized audiovisual experience, animating the surrounding space and immersing the observer in gestural currents of movement. The piece reacts to air movements in the exhibition space, whether they are natural air currents or movements of air created by viewers. Therefore, the piece is physically interactive with the environment and with the observers that are part of that environment.
“Convergenze parallele” acts as an interface through which viewers negotiate the perceptual discrepancy between what they are actually seeing in real space (the movement of dust particles passing through the beam of light) and what they see and hear in the installation (the audiovisual amplification of the particle’s trajectories). The two spatial contexts of the piece — the “real” and the “digital” — co-exist parallel to each other, yet they converge in the viewer’s own perceptual process. At the end of the experience, it might not be the complexity of particle trajectories and sound that stays with viewers, but a resonance of the perceptual discrepancy of these parallel convergences.

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