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interview – Marinos Koutsomichalis (EN)


1 – Can you introduce yourself as an artist, your artistic career and
approach in general?

Over the years my approach and the overall direction of my career have change significantly. These days my research/artistic interests comprise hypermediacy, technological mediation, material exploration, post-humanism, distributed cognition, and computational aesthetics. My projects revolve around a wide range of materials/methodologies such as various programming languages, light, modular synthesizers, micro-controllers, algorithms, DIWO (Do-It-With-Other) Strategies, environmental sound, etc. Besides my explicit exploratory, research-driven, materialist and hypermedia approach to art-making, the most persistent theme in my work is my quest for self-erasure?for the eliminating myself in and through the materials/methodologies/media particular projects revolve around. I have attempting such a self-erasure in all sorts of ways, employing sophisticated computational systems and algorithms (such as ?Music for generalised Weierstrass function, finite state automata, context-free Lindenmayer system & phase modulated blue light? which I will present live in Elextropixel and which revolves around a very complex algorithm that permutes on its own without being able to essentially control it), zeroing in on found sounds/objects/imagery, exploring the possibility of machine aesthetics, interrogating all sorts of analogue and hybrid sound-generating systems in unconventional ways and by means of DIWO production workshops (such as ?Neural r(E)volution? which will also take place in this year?s electropixel). All in all my work is meant as a way to explore media, material and methodologies and, more importantly, the way they (re-)establish condition and selfhood. In that sense, I intend my artistic approach as a post-scientific and post-philosophical way to study and to pragmatically practice new kinds of techno-scientifically constituted cognition. in line with my materialist and hypermedia approach, I strive for contextual and geographical diversity in my career: I regularly collaborate with and present my work in all sorts of institutions (from academies, to research centres, to galleries, to museums, to underground venues, to scientific conferences, to churches, to industrial spaces) throughout the world so that I renew the materials/methodologies I work with and so that I open-up myself and my practice to all sorts of invaluable external feedback.

2 – Can you tell us about the project you are presenting at Electropixel? How did your creation come about? The process, the different steps, influences, failures, surprises and experiments.

In Electropixel I will present two projects. ‘Music for generalised Weierstrass function, finite state automata, context-free Lindenmayer system & phase modulated blue light? is an purely algorithmic piece composed between Rome, Heraklion and Amsterdam and never-presented live hitherto. The project revolves around a very sophisticated algorithmic system that generates audio and light based on complex deterministic and non-determistic instructions as well as very complex multi-mappings. Following my long-lasting interest in both computational aesthetics and self-erasure, in this project I have minimal control on the audio outcome. The resulting audio is essentially contingent states of this particular algorithm as it self-modulates towards no particular end. Accordingly, the work is not about ?expressing? anything but largely upon exhibiting a particular audio-generating system and its various sonic outcomes. In ElectroPixel I will also lead the ?Neural r(E)volution? workshop which is brand new workshop of mine never presented anywhere hitherto. ‘Neural r(E)volution? is based on DIWO (Do It With Others) practices, digital technology, computing and collective material exploration. Following the latest trends in cognitive sciences, archaeology, philosophy, neurosciences and robotics, we may understand cognition as distributed across broader material/media ecosystems (rather than being intracranial or embodied) and selfhood as being extrinsically co-produced by means of material engagement. Neural (r)Evolution will be the collective outcome of an intensive production workshop, where the participants will explore a diverse range of technologies media, materials and methodologies, to eventually produce a new-media driven, possibly interactive, artwork. Again, this project exemplifies my particular interests in self-erasure (this time in terms of DIWO), media/material exploration and art as research.

3 – What does Powerhack mean to you?How does this concept relate to your artistic approach?

(Power)hacking for me raises question about materials in an ontological level: if I can use a domestic washing machine as an audio generator of some sort, then why call this ?object? a washing machine in the first place? is it really a washing machine? and if I can fool a piece of code so that I can interact with a system in ways I am not supposed to, then is that system really the system I initially thought it was? In other words: are objects around us what we think they are? We tend to define objects in terms of what we normally do with them or in terms of their designer/maker?s intentions; (power)hacking is a way to question those functional traits and explore what else objects could be. As such, (power)hacking is often encountered in my work, both as a tool to theoretically speculate about and as a strategy to pragmatically interrogate materials and objects of all sorts.

4 – What does electropixel festival mean for you? Do you think that this type of festival is important in the current artistic landscape? How do see the future for this kind of diffusion space?

Festivals such as ElectroPixel are essential in the contemporary artistic landscape. There are several reasons for this. Firstly, festivals such as ElectroPixel guarantee regular access to contemporary media-driven art of all sorts to a particular local audience. In that sense, ElectroPixel educates local audiences so that they become both more interested in art more active in art-making (given the abundances of workshops and DIWO acts). Secondly, Electropixel provides both new and experienced artists with a platform to perform their work and to experiment with ways in which they can present to an already ?educated? audience?to an audience which is already fairly aware of (if not involved with) the concerns of contemporary media art. Thirdly, ElectroPixel constitutes a meeting point for all sorts of creative individuals and artists who, in this way, cross-interact and (hopefully) enrich or advance their individual practices. Given the explicit orientation of ElectroPixel towards DIWO practices and FLOSS technologies, that kind of festivals account for a more democratic, socially-empowered artistic terrain which I think it both topical and very important in this particular era.

5 – Apart from the idea that art transcends genres and categories, how
do you see the new areas of digital art? How do you understand the
genre “digital art”? What is the difference between digital art,
electronic art, net art, multimedia creation, sound art … etc? What
impact does this sort of categorization add to your approach to art
and creativity?

I am not really interested in that sorts of labels?I believe they are misleading in the first place. What matters is not the particular tools/media in use but the broader epistemological and ontological schemata they serve, and this is primarily a question of context and artistic intention. Using digital media in hollywood-style cinema, for instance, does not account for a different kind of cinema, much in the same way that employing digital instruments in music does not necessarily account for ?digital? music. New kinds of media alone are not enough to guarantee new trains of thought or new kinds of art?they may suggest entirely new contexts and entirely new kinds of structural organisation in all social, epistemological and cultural respects, yet what more importantly characterises art in my opinion is the way pre-existent cultural content is remediated using new media.

3 2015 (c) Dimitris Stamatiou (