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Rencontre avec Jaime de los Rios


Scintillant, Jaime de Los Rios

Jaime de los Rios in an electronic artist specialized in algorithms of nature. The Spanish artist has always had a passion for emerging behaviors that occur in the organization of life and the movement of systems.

In his work, he contemplates and analyses natural phenomena and applies the mathematics of nature to colour and movement. As an artist and engineer by training, new technologies are his brushstrokes. Jaime’s language is none other than programming, microprocessors, computers and light. His works are displayed on giant screens all over the world as well as in international group exhibitions.

Jaime de Los Rios

How would you describe digital art?

“Digital art is an integral part of kinetic art, which is itself part of the cybernetic era, a paradigm that began with the appearance of the computer and machines.

It is important to understand that digital art is formally and conceptually the expression of the digital age, an age based on the binary technology of ones and zeros, at the gates of the quantum age in which art is in search of new computing capabilities.

Although the concepts and technologies appeared previously, New Media refers especially to the art that emerged in the 90s when the personal computer began to be democratized. It is the Net Art (antecedent: Fluxus and Dada) that somehow gives the concept to all this.

Such important concepts like generative Art and dynamics, including Bioart appeared in the 90s. In my opinion, the artists Laurent Migneau and Chirsta Sommerer are preponderant in the art world and make it possible to understand the phenomenon of net art.”

Interactive Plant Growing, 1992, Laurent Mignonneau & Christa Sommerer

Many different type of art should be qualified as digital art: – Software Art – Hack Art – BioArt – Generative Art – Some Sound Art – Net Art – Light Art – AI Art – Robotic Art – Hybrid Art or SciArt – Algorithmic Art

What made you decide to do digital art? What motivates you to explore new media?

“I studied industrial electronic engineering. From the beginning of my studies I had the feeling that engineering promoted very concrete and very market-oriented results, especially to solve problems that did not fit with my spirituality. With the same tools as those studied in engineering I decided to explore all its aesthetic capacity. In this sense, my work is a constant exploration, I have built my own tools and my own techniques by constantly exploring them.

The message of my work echos our contemporary world. I do not try to solve problems using technology. I consider that all of us live in a similar modernity and art helps to explain it through non-semantic knowledge.

In 2007 I founded the ARTEKLAB laboratory – Art & Science, dedicated to working at the intersection of these disciplines and promoting collaboration between artists and scientists.

I am also Technology manager of BEEP collection of electronic Art, which is one of the most important collections of digital art in the world. Thanks to this I also make a lot of work on maintaining and restoring or production of digital works of art.”

What are your tools as a digital artist? What is your technique?

“I use several types of tools, all of which are intrinsically linked. I always start by working with algorithms, sometimes I bring them into motion through digital works specially created for very large screens. I sometimes use 3D printers or plotters to make digital objects.”

My most popular works are also large algorithmic installations that don’t need electricity.I am referring here to my work Scintillant for example, where I use more than 400 mirrors that move to the rhythm of the wind and where the sunlight is reflected to form a light sculpture. I obtained this thanks to the movement of the sun and the moon on the sea. This is the proof that my creations can involve a lot of know-how, which are not always exclusively digital!”

What is your background? Did you follow a specific training?

“I studied industrial electronic engineering. What has enriched me the most is my passion for New Medias and being around other artists, being interested in the work of my colleagues and in life itself. I am also a curator and I have worked on several international exhibitions for festivals such as Ars electronica, which can only be a source of inspiration. I also frequent places where there is a lot of interest in technology and DIY. Finally, I am a professor at two universities, one in architecture and the other in design.”

What are your sources of inspiration?

“For me, the relationship between biology and computer science is fundamental.My great inspiration is systemic and cybernetics, so it is very important for me to understand ecosystems and the way different subjects are related to them in order to consider their urgency, what I call second-order biomimetics.

Similarly, I love painting and in my works I seek to transpose pictorial beauty. That is why I like to call my work algorithmic paintings, whose matter is light and whose movement is infinite.”

Index of Memories, Jaime de Los Rios

Some projects you would like to highlight?

“My Scintillant installation is a system activated by 400 mirrors and the rhythm of the wind. Its construction inspired by a natural order – in this case the movement and organisation of a school of fish – gives the system unexpected behaviour resulting from the interaction of its components. A second-order biomimetic construction imitates as many forms and dynamics as can be seen in nature. My artistic approach is always situated in this contemplative path, to then collect what is observed in the form of mathematics and apply this knowledge to the Art of Movement, Music and the Architecture of Nature.

My installation is a changing work of art that offers the viewer the glittering effect of a school of silverfish reflecting the lights and shapes around it. Through to the emission of light reflections on mirrors, the installation is a kind of mirage that captures the sun, the sky and the elements of the city of Saint Jean de Luz.”

Scintillant, Jaime de Los Rios

“Another work that I would like to highlight and which defines my interest in painting very well is Moving Pictures. This work presents an ironic evolution of large canvases in the era of algorithmic reproducibility, a nod to all the masterpieces of painting. Moving Pictures is worked from an algorithmic base and its evolution is therefore perpetual and infinite.This work is a kind of constant exploration that I share with its viewers . Sometimes in the intimacy of observation, I see a link with Monet’s brushstroke, other days with Turner’s grandeur, or with Zobel’s light.”

Moving Pictures, Jaime de Los Rios