Interview: Fabian Gilles


Fabian Giles
artist from Mexico

artist biography

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Interview: 10 questions

1.
Question

Since a reasonable time, digital media entered the field of art and extended the traditional definition of art through some new , but essential components.
Do you think it is like that and if yes, tell me more about these components and how they changed the perception of art?

Answer to Question 1

Yes, but just in a little part, because in my particular case and specifically in Mexico, my country, internet based art is still considered just a good looking multimedia presentation, that could be showed in a big hall with a projector and a screen and maybe later just checked out on a computer screen, so many traditional artists just think about digital art like an online portfolio and nothing else. Maybe in other countries like in Europe this perception about digital media entering the field of art is more advanced that our.

2.
Question

A really relevant section of digital art represents Internet based art. The Internet was hardly existing, but artists conquered already this new field for their artistic activities.
Can the work of these early artists be compared with those who work with advanced technologies nowadays? What changed until these days ? What might be the perspectives for future developments?

Answer to Question 2

When I begun to make works on Internet, software was very simple but very direct with specific orders and without a lot of complicated and advances functions. You could do your work with just simple HTML, and adding some animated Gifs, java an javascript tricks and sounds to make it more a dynamic audiovisual. Later with appearance of flash and shockwave technologies and other languages like DHTML you could be able to do with more spectacular effects, but I think that only is just an aesthetic component, because in earlier works you could be more interested in its content but not in its form. Using elemental techniques you could be free to explain your ideas using the browser as a canvas and not as another creative tool. I think there’s no comparison with actual works, but the tendency is to use more newer and innovating technologies.

3.
Question
The education in the field of New Media art , including Internet based art, started late compared with the general speed of technological development and acceptance.
So, generations of artists who used the Internet as their artistic working field were not educated in this new discipline(s) and technologies, but had rather an interdisciplinary approach.
What Do you think, would be the best way to teach young people how to deal with the Internet as an environment of art?

Answer to Question 3

The new generations are growing up faster with technologies, and internet based art is still viewed just like a multimedia project, with pictures and texts to show but nothing else.
I think we should teach them with the basics from this area like earlier programming languages since the beginnings of computers in middle of last century until nowadays and evolution of digital art with the internet as a fundamental environment but as a creative tool too, because its principal function is just for searching information or communication and it could be too as part of art education helping to understand more about the new media and its development.

4.
Question
Tell me something about your personal and professional relation to New Media and Internet based art.
What kind of meaning have the new technologies and the Internet to you,
are they just tools for expressing artistic intentions, or have they rather an ideological character, as it can be found with many “netartists”, or what else do they mean to you?
Many “Internet based artists” work on “engaged” themes and subjects, for instance, in social, political, cultural etc concern.
Which contents are you particularly interested in, personally and from an art critical point of view.

Answer to Question 4

My work on Internet was based, at the begin, just like a simple informal expression of a my profession as web designer, experimenting with new forms of programming and creating images, discovering that web could be more than a serious work. Later I was involved in political and social projects using the parody and humor like a creative tool to question and criticize our reality. I’m interested in this kind of projects because I think is a real way to express thoughts, feelings and ideas about many things I disagree personally with an artistic point of view.

5.
Question
The term “netart” is widely used for anything posted on the net, there are dozens of definitions which mostly are even contradictory.
How do you define “netart” or if you like the description “Internet based art” better,
do you think “netart” is art, at all, if yes, what are the criteria?
Are there any aesthetic criteria for an Internet based artwork?

“Art on the net” has the advantage and the disadvantage to be located on the virtual space in Internet which defines also its right to exist.
Do you think, that “art based on the Internet”, can be called still like that, even if it is just used offline?

Answer to Question 5

The term “net.art” was a novelty for me about 7 years ago, when I was searching for art information about galleries and art exhibition, and many people still believe is just like an online portfolio or a virtual gallery, but I don’t think this is correct.
Then is another term like “webart” that is confused with ‘net.art’ because is catalogued as ‘internet based art’. I think the difference is between this kind of work that are using the properties of a web browser to display some kind of effects like scrolling or opening windows in random form, and the other kind of art work that just use the browser like a display or a canvas to show it. I don’t think ‘net.art’ is art as we known because is considered as ephemeral and intangible and is not as a piece of photography, painting or sculpture that we could see or touch in a common space like museums or galleries. But I believe is a new kind of art, because you’re your own agent, curator and artist, without traditional ways of trade and promotion. An aesthetically ‘net.art’ is a rich variety of styles and genders mixing diverse techniques and forms in many ways we couldn’t did it before or in a traditional way.

6.
Question

Dealing with this new, and interactive type of art demands an active viewer or user.
and needs the audience much more and in different ways than any other art discipline before. How do you think would be good ways to stimulate the user to dive into this new world of art?
What do you think represents an appropriate environment to present net based art to an audience, is it the context of the lonesome user sitting in front of his personal computer, is it any public context, or is it rather the context of art in general or media art in particular, or anything else.?
If you would be in the position to create an environment for presenting this type of art in physical space, how would you do it?

Answer to Question 6

I don’t think so, because if you put internet based art offline it becomes a multimedia or digital art, so the meaning of this term is related to its own nature. Many artists think if you put offline an online project it will be vulnerable, because as I mentioned is an internet based art out of its environment. This could be an advantage because you could reach it virtually in every place with an internet connection, but you can’t think that if you put it offline is still an online project.

7.
Question
As Internet based art, as well as other art forms using new technologies are (globally seen) still not widely accepted, yet, as serious art forms, what do you think could be an appropriate solution to change this situation?

Answer to Question 7

First, the new technologies are developing itself faster than we believe, so the new generations are involved very soon, inclusive since little kids to teenagers, with the merge of cellular phone, MP3 players and web browsers in one device, so we could focus to these people with an educational way to introduce them in this kind of art, teach them the difference between traditional and new media art. All this could be possible using new technologies and designing attractive interfaces to capture their attention in an artistic form, no just for fun or gaming.
Second, the way to show this kind of art to an audience is still using a similar environment to a cinema theater, with a screen and projector attached to a computer; so if we could think in another way to show it in a big scale, maybe is still the only way, but with varieties like using many screens at same time, or a round screen with sound and light effects, or using 3D technologies for example.

8.
Question
The Internet is sometimes called a kind of “democratic” environment, but the conventional art practice is anything else than that, but selective by using filters of different kind.
The audience is mostly only able to make up its mind on second hand. Art on the net might potentially be different. Do you think the current practice of dealing with Internet based art
is such different or rather the described conventional way through (also curatorial) filtering?
Do you think, that speaking in the terms of Joseph Beuys, anybody who publishes anything on the net would be also an artist?

Answer to Question 8

It’s still hard to think that internet based art could be appreciated as traditional art, because you have to use a digital medium as a computer and you have to learn to operate it , this is not a problem for new generations, but older ones still have this barrier to new media , because they still recognize traditional as the only kind of art. In my personal opinion you only could think about internet based art when you see it in a computer screen, or with a projector attached, but I don’t know if changing canvas and frames in a gallery for TV plasmas on walls connected to a central computer behind could be a difference for this kind of art to be accepted.

9.
Question
Do you think, the curators dealing with net based art should have any technological knowledge in order to understand such an art work from its roots?

Answer to Question 9

Maybe this is the most transcendental an significant think about internet based art: the possibility of create, promote and distribute your own art work, in a free medium with no other thing than your computer and an internet connection. But talking about curatorial filters, I think is the same about galleries and museums have a selective way to decide who could be part of its online collections. The freedom of create artistic material online gives you the possibility of make yourself an artistic producer, but depends on your creativity and good ideas if your material could be considered art or not. In my particular case I just have been in 2 or 3 physical exhibitions in a museum or gallery, but in fact I’ve been in a lot of online exhibitions around the world and that’s is why I consider my self as an net.artist.

10.
Question
Do you think, the curators dealing with net based art should have any technological knowledge in order to understand such an art work from its roots? And what about the users of Internet based art?

Answer to Question 10

I think if you want to be a curator of some kind of art you have to be interested in knowing about all that concerns of this, about its roots and development to have an idea of what you will bring to exhibition. In case of internet based art is the same thing but you have to be involved with new media and technologies to have a certain idea of what do you want to present with technical background and support. In case of users is not necessary to have knowledge about internet based art if you are beginning to explore it, but if you start to investigate an document about their roots and development is probably that you become to an internet based artist.