Solimán López

What made you choose Art as a mean of communication?

From the very beginning I get attracted for the visual aspect of the ideas. The materialisation of it and the point in common with the others. From this way of visualisation the world, I feel really close to the art environment, where there is a kind of free expression of yourself with no limits. That was my idealised view of the situation. Now I stay struggling with that topic and trying to think that art is the best way of communication. But as many others, this one, has limitations too. For me is a real good tool, for go beyond the limits of the visual thinking, and dive into the problematics of our current society and playing to project some new horizons for the future.

By transposing real data of natural events into altered artistic experiences you bring the audience to a new level of storytelling perception. What kind of feelings do you want to capture from your public?

I’m art historian, that was my main studies at the University and gives me a deep understanding of the art history, its movements, main characters and a clear idea of the visual and aesthetics evolutions. Obviously, there is a lot of things that I’m just learning, day by day. Understanding art is understanding a view, and we have many views as persons. When I get the data from natural events, my work is close to the romantic topics. The idea of encapsulate the nature in an artwork is an obsession of many other artist. From a philosophical point of view, maybe I’m trying to use the new technology as my perfect partner to achieve objectives that no other artists could get in the past. They just can use their own human senses, but with technology we can include a new one eye, that one which can see everything without resting.

I’m looking for two main ideas with this kind of artworks. From one side, the idea of that, “nature is impossible to measure completely”. The sublime is just that, sublime. On the other side, I’m trying to share the idea of a world that can co-exist from the analogical and the digital materia, and maybe the art is what is in between. I would like to make feel the public the same sensation when they are in front of a romantic canvas, an unpredictable storm made with a vast brushstroke, that now is an algorithm made of calm and organic visualisations. Of course, we are talking about conceptual art.

Nowadays technology became a medium and an instrument, which allows artists to explore new artificial horizons. What do digital files make you achieve and express that conventional art fails?

All kind of digital art depends finally on a digital files regardless the extension or format. They are the box where the data is stored and they, in turn needs an upper container to be stored. This chain is the basis of our data collection today. This logic is not too far away from the logic of the “traditional” or classic art, where the artist is getting information from his environment and applies that experience into a canvas or other format. But, as you suggest in the question, there is new realities of our time that have its own place and surface to be represented. That is what happens with technology and challenge of our time. This ideas has to be represented in new formats for a better understanding and accuracy, to the original idea and concept. That is the reason of using new technology in many occasions. Going deeply, this already mentioned files, are the source or fountain of data, that provide us the landscape of our time, the visualisation of what is happening not outside, but inside of our digital trace.

You are leading the I+D+I department in ESAT (Escuela Superior de Arte y Tecnología) where you take part in many technological advanced projects. How do you manage to marry the professional education with the artistic life so well?

The ESAT Lab is a laboratory of innovation created by me for covering different society's needs of communication. In the Escuela Superior de Arte y Tecnología, we develop artistic projects, where I am involve in. We find solutions for other social structures, such as museums, foundations, companies or others; who need some creative and technical response to their day by day challenges. By my side, now I’m focusing my professional activity in this thinking of what means digital, producing the artworks that we have committed with many festival, biennials and many other compromises. The education part is one of my work that I really enjoy. I think that digital is for sharing, and in education, I find this social part of my work in a more directly way. I compress my educational journeys in intense workshops, lectures or talks in general. All that investigations in the education area, will be resumed in a new book that will be published the next year under the title “El ojo sincrónico”.

You stated that nowadays artists could be defined as multidisciplinary researchers. As an artist do you feel any responsibility towards the society you are living in?

Yes, of course. That we named “transfer of knowledge”. I think that in many ways we are a section of the population that has some kind of privilege. We have an altar to spreed what we think about many topics, and that is not common in other professions. So, I think that we have to take care of what we tell or propose from that altar. Hope politics bear this in mind all the time that they have the opportunity to say something. In our society we spend a lot of time talking about the others, the opposition. In my case, I have a very clear discourse that is growing day by day thanks to my permanent investigation and that is what I'm sharing in “open source” for the community. I’m really open to collaborate, to share my ideas and investigations trying to do of my field work at its best.

Artists tend to be rather perfectionist while creating. Are there any aspects of the creative process that frustrate you?

With the new technologies, things are not working properly on the first time. You need to improve the system several times, testing it with the method of trial and error. This is very frustrating almost always, but is something I have learnt to live with. Mostly, you can't control the whole process of the work, you have to trust in the hands of the other, or in companies that not always work as you expected. But this is the logical of my field, where things will not live forever, because digital is a kind of ephemeral art and we have to assume it. So the best thing that you can do, is take it as a game, where you have to go further in the platforms, achieving different objectives as come, resolving all the issues that the system can offer you. But, yes, sometimes is frustrating to deal with the new technologies that are not tested enough or when you are developing it from the scratch.

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Who or what stimulates your imagination?

The daily common action is one of my main inspiration. How do people react to their continuous changes and how they deal with this revolution that is unintelligible in many ways. All the time, I have in mind the classic example of our art history. How people built their own imaginary universe and their own visual language. They found poetry in their day by day and in their tools, the same what I’m trying to do, but with new technologies. If you find the poetry in your media of expression, you have a lot of the path already walked and this connects you with the rest of the world and of course with your own true. So, for me, what stimulates me most, is the new technology itself, because it evokes me new artistic ideas and concepts to talk about.

To what point do your works mirror your personality? Are you a rational or emotional person?

I’m a very emotional person, but with the new technologies everything becomes rethought, because nothing is directly, everything is a process that is connected with another one and so on. But when you are connected with your truth, then the format, the way or the support of your artwork doesn’t mind, because the result is an extension of yourself. So my work maybe is like me, sometimes calm, sometimes impatient, sometimes funny, sometimes sad or deep but mostly, nervous.

What technological changes are you eager to see in the next ten years?

I’m eager to see what will happen with artificial intelligence. I'm wondering if we are doing our best in this sphere. I’m not talking about the suitability of this technology. We have not resolve many of the most important challenge of our humanity and we are programming artificial intelligence based in precepts that are not clear yet by our side. I’m afraid of the reaction of many future robots observing how we treat ourselves or each other. The reaction could be unpredictable. The rules of the robotics are not applied on ourselves, so we can't act as an example and this is very dangerous when we are dealing with a robot that is based in “machine learning”. I would like to know the future of the hyper-connection and vigilance. Technologies like the wearable or the internet of things in general, will feed the system of information in a very vast way. With all that information, in the limelight, everything is possible, with the good intentions and with the bad ones.

Do you believe in a peaceful coexistence between man and machine?

I would like to think yes. But first of all we need to create a peaceful coexisting between humans. This is one of our main challenge to resolve from the antiquity to the twenty one century. The technology will become more intelligent than us, and it will notice that we are not doing the correct with our natural environment and with our species in general. We could reach a moment where the machine will think that we are bad for this world and try to execute us. Some kind of controversial encounter where the son reveals against his creator. But this is normal in nature. So, as many other things that the human has created, I assume a future full of conflicts, misfits and social problems will derivate from this cohabitation.

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All images: Courtesy of UAS, Updated Art Studio by Solimán López