A hunger for new technologies and understand unseen realities have driven young talent Omri Bigetz to explore, and introduce, a new form of art. Omri blends his knowledge of photography and fine arts into digital 3D, and presents varied work that blurs the fine line that divides the physical world from the digital realm. One of his latest projects, however, leaves the screen and the printed paper behind to step right in front of us: a machine that draws and paints on the spot. This performance will be exhibited today at student art festival Scopophilia, where a big wall is destined to the robotic drawings.
Can you tell us about your creative process, how did you happen to melt your work into 3D?
I did research on fake nature for over a year during which I explored to what extent things are perceived as natural in our western society. It had a great focus on Dutch, man-made nature. The whole process led me to investigate the world of 3D, and mostly the computer-made 3D representation, or perception, of reality by computers and algorithms.
What are your sources of inspiration?
I think the habit and way of looking at the world after being trained as a news photographer for over three years stayed with me, so the inspiration is mostly driven by oddities that I find in my—or our—daily life, which are the same illusive things that make you know when is the right moment to make a photo. As a somewhat die-hard fan of new technology that is used for alternative purposes, I also draw a lot of inspiration from the meeting point between technology and visual language.
What, or who, have influenced you and your work?
Without doubt, the computer game Half Life from 1998. It was the first time that as a teenager, I completely lost sense of reality to a computer monitor, and started a long-life passion of bringing my physical and digital reality closer to each other.
Does your work carry any message in particular? How is it mediated through it?
I think the message is to change over time, just like we change as people. I find often that my projects deal with parts of society that, I believe, need to be pointed at to mark their existence. I think that, as with most artworks, the interpretation made by the audience is the key and the place where magic happens. I don’t mind if my message goes through as long as people enjoy my work, and in a better case, get inspired.
Do you work mainly on your own, or do you tend to have collaborators? How do you usually work best?
Collaboration is an important part of my own artistic development, and I strongly believe that when combining brains/skills/perceptions, you can achieve better results. I collaborate with other artists every few months, but even on my autonomous projects, I often collaborate with computer scientists, engineers, and technicians that help me achieve what I envision.
I think it’s important to remember that most of us use this kind of help, and you should acknowledge it, because even when you open Photoshop, there is an army of people behind it making it possible for you to use this tool. So I very much like taking it one step forward by finding makers of various software and algorithms, and work with them on tailoring codes to work with in my own artistic process.
Do you have any funky hobbies to tell us about?
In the 90s my father was a UFO-Alien researcher in Israel. When I was a kid, I used to go seeing crop circles and investigate about the strange artefacts found on the ground. Ever since, I have the habit to keep an eye on the sky when I’m outside—here, Dutch clouds—and try to spot lights that are not stars/planets/satellites, and imagine what they might be. I think the belief and hope I’ve held from early age that there is a great unknown out there that has to be found and understood by us, has been an important factor in my growing interest for “invisible” things and people.
You’ll be exposing your work this Saturday at student art festival Scopophilia, what can we expect during this event?
I’m very excited to bring my robot out of the studio and into the public eye after a year of teaching it how to draw and paint—while actually teaching myself at the same time. For Scopophilia, I’ve decided to make a live wall-drawing. The drawing will be part of the modern defaults project in which I explore computer-generated humans: who they are, how they look, and how we feel about them.