Articles, Articles

Sexy, blurry future

by Kaja Kusztra
Waiting for somebody to like it
Do you?

Lucas Gutierrez, an Argentinian digital artist and Industrial Designer based in Berlin, is engaged in various disciplines, from lectures, workshops and audiovisual performances to video art projects focused on the new paradigms of Digital Culture. He is deeply involved in the remix culture and real time AV session projects in which he blends chaotic influences of different contexts – from post-work anthropology to the abstract quotes from 3D modeling for Industrial Design. His narrative is often quoting current social fears and dystopias, but mostly using the language of colorful, chaotic metaphysics. Lucas is a member of Fungo project (Lisbon) as the Video Content Director and part of Selam X (Berlin).
He talks to his friend, Kaja Kusztra, with whom he has collaborated on two projects last year: Brno Biennale and a video campaign for Sirloin, a fashion design collective based in Shanghai.

You often work with real-time manipulation of images, frequently set in musical contexts that you compose. Do you think of yourself as artistically belonging more to the world of performance or video-art?

I think I belong more to the world of performance, specifically to audiovisuals. When I play live, I manipulate everything: 60% video and 40% audio. In my A/V performances, there are hundreds of elements and signals moving together, trying to have a specific dialog during the show. I’am in the middle, giving some directions and controlling the elements that have not connected yet.

Your practice is partly based on wave dematerialization and the dynamics of bodies eradicated from their physical context into the Internet. As a performer, do you ever use your physical body and presence?

Not really. I have some 3D scans of myself plus other digital representations, but I don’t know how to use it (myself) yet.

You have a background in Industrial Design. How did you start working with 3D in an abstract manner?

My relationship with 3D has been super technical since the very beginning. As an Industrial Designer, I’ve learned how to make concrete and real products, being precise not only with software, but also with the results. When I jumped into digital art during my second year at the university (Cardoba, Argentina), I decided to use those 3D/CAD tools in a different way. I started creating some sort of abstract products and manipulating them in real-time as precisely as I could. It’s like designing how to perfectly break an object. Endlessly playing with it and still being conscious of the whole process of de-composition and its relationship with the music. Perhaps the most difficult thing in digital-art is explaining things that don’t exist. Industrial Design gave me some tools to make them real, make them happen.

You are currently based in Berlin. Can you tell me a bit about your decision to move there?

It was for love but it turned into a long professional transition with big changes. It took me like 3 or 4 years. Before, I had been living between Argentina, Portugal and Frankfurt am Main in Germany. I think Berlin has shown me and seduced me with a sexy blurry future, and that’s probably what I like most about this city. I had never thought that I’d live here, nevertheless, I feel I have many things to do, or I’m here to do something.

Your practice seems very new school and experimental. Is there anyone you have learned from?

To be honest, I don’t have a clear picture of this. I could tell you a bit of how I process information and how I build and deal with my daily visual references. I dedicate around 30 minutes to technology per day to understand and discover new processes. I guess it is like personal research, mainly digital (online). This mechanism involves many things: software, video tutorials, talks, radio stations. It is a transformative work where I always find my raw moments of inspiration. I’m interested in new school models and more horizontal learning where aesthetics overlap with modern technologies and the remix culture teach you how to survive in different media cultures while diving into tchem.

What are your plans for this year?

I’ve recently had my first solo exhibition in Germany “Delivery By…” at Galerie Irrgang Berlin during December 2018 where I showed some porcelain sculptures and a series of woven towels I had made over the last 3 years (one per year). I want to move a bit more in this direction. Making objects out of videos. Taking the video out of the video. Continuing with my digital sculptures and also explore a bit more my music taste. Finishing my third album this year would be great. I hope to release it soon!

Can you tell us a little about your music?

My music is made out of images. First I composed the graphic elements and later the music for them.

What’s next?

Digital drugs? Likes will disappear. Robots losing their jobs. Psychologist for robots that lose their job. Sometimes I think technologies disappear or became obsolete when they can’t manage our emotions anymore. We’ll are slightly moving into new models. Maybe the next one is getting super short-term dopamine feedback loops of privacy. Looks like the post-privacy days are coming hot. Perhaps it is not a drug, it’s about walking forever as avatars.

Article was published in Sezon 02 Spring issue.