The Aestheticized Interview with Jaime de los Rios (Spain)

By Kisito Assangni - Thursday, January 16, 2020
The Aestheticized Interview with Jaime de los Rios (Spain)

"The drift of the life of an artist is very curious. It is common to think of his career as a series of evolutions that also affect his technical skill and conceptual realization. The reading of a life in creation is according to the classical linear vision. In these pre-quantum times, I have discovered that in a way people look for ourselves, we seek our fate within a complex universe where reality is not always an absolute truth".

Image:  AP, Digital Canvas, 2018, Videomapping at Moneo’s Church, San Sebastian


Jaime de los Rios is born in San Sebastian (1982). Founder of the open laboratory of Art and Science ARTEK [Lab]; (2007) located in the center of creation Arteleku and currently an independent space, his career focuses on the intersection of these disciplines and systemics science, especially regarding the mechanisms, rhythms and natural patterns and collective intelligence. Expert in Free Software and Hardware, we find in his work, much of which is collaborative, immersive environments and dynamic works that relate to the computational natural behavior.

In 2014 he exhibited at various art centers and festivals such as Bilbao Art District, Casablanca Slaughterhouse, Medialab Prado or Lieu Multiple Espace Mendes Francaise (Poitiers). In the space of Poitiers he participated as a resident boosting the Intact Telepresence platform, constructing teleshared actions between different groups in Ecuador, Portugal, Canada, Spain and France. Also during this period we could see a big installation at MUSAC, in the Showcase Project, as part of the job “The map to the Territory” . This 2015 his career has been more international participating in several residences and exhibitions in places like Poland (WRO program) or New York (CultureHub), his collaborative work also led him to create “Rachael Runner” The first BotArtist (virtual user Twitter) who has exhibited in a gallery in Paris. He combines his work as an artist with teaching and numerous workshops as master teacher of ephemeral Architecture at Madrid ETSAM and his own Laboratory, with which it has developed innovative projects like or Process Innovation for Ferran Adria. In 2010 he received the New Artists Award and in 2012 the scholarship of the Provincial Council of Gipuzkoa for its installations developed with new technologies. In recent years, Jaime has also been technical coordinator of ArtFutura, which also outlined, has supported international artists. Since 2009 collaborates with LaAgencia (Arts and Science) pioneer platform in Europe in Scientific and Digital Art, which has participated in the assembly and engineering design of such major exhibitions as “Silicon dreams” and “ARTFuturaXXI”.l.html

ArtDependence (AD): Do you have any thoughts on whether that's a responsibility of artists, reflecting our time is important within the political context?

Jaime de los Rios (JR): A question like this, which is a pleasure to answer, requires a very broad perspective. As living subjects in an era whose paradigm is so fluid, we are not only the products but the producers, too. However, due to the responsibility that Art has to place itself inside or outside the contemporary dynamics of capital, globalisation and politics, we must be critical and independent, with a lot of freedom and open-mindedness, alert not to work tied to political movements and trying to anticipate being as visionary as possible.

AD: What is your main interest as artist? What form of self-consciousnessis applicable to the art-making?

JR: I have been working on an idea for many years that is becoming clearer and emerges from my own work. I call it the ‘systemic observation degree.’

I think we are in an era of awakening, of complexities and hybridizations. Nature, studied by science, is no longer considered a sum of objects-beings-elements, but we have been able to rise and visualize it on another meta-level. We observe eco systems, schools of fish and collective intelligence behaviours. Its forms for the human being have a symbolic meaning and at the same time we have the capacity to glimpse the logic behind these natural forms. A single ant is unaware of the work done by the anthill, its actions stem from chemical exchange with its peers; how the anthill eats, builds, and discovers is owed to these small interactions. The human being, by positioning himself in another degree of systemic observation, in another meta-level, is able to observe the drifts of this collective being.


MP at ETOPIA Center for Art & Technology, Zaragoza, 2019


In recent years we have been able to study ourselves in this way thanks to Big Data, discovering equations and patterns of behaviour, looking beyond the future of the individual. It is the first time in the history of mankind in which the human being is able to study himself from above, as a person observes the movement of a flock of birds.

In this sense my work is always a means to reach systemic knowledge through contemplation. They are dynamic and computational works but are developed from this type of mathematics, extracted from nature.

AD: Do you feel that it's important to convey your own beliefs and opinions within your art? Is there a philosophical element in your work?

JR: In one of my latest projects, "Moving Pictures," an answer to this important question can be found. Obviously an artist must be open to error, but above all he has to know how to listen to his own work and be transparent, sincere. The generative and infinite work that I generate serves as a path to a more meditative state of being. When developing the algorithms, with their colours, movements and rhythms, I immerse myself in places that are located, as I mentioned before, in spaces of systemic observation, in fifth dimension meta-levels, where the meaning is given by the drifts, moments that dissipate in favour of a permanent promise: The Infinite, that which harbours all possibilities. A library of Babel that is contemporary to present philosophies such as cybernetics and feminism. I can exemplify this in a very simple way. Working with moving paintings, almost like a painter but at the same time the complete opposite of a painter, since the painter, like the photographer, captures a moment in time, whereas I let the moment ebb and flow. In my paintings you can see all the moments, but you never stay with any. These works become independent of their authorship very soon and include the audience in an autopoietic system. Science was reductionist and today we live in systemic times, a world that is a sum of individual realities, a semantic agreement.


Moving Pictures, 2018, Videomapping at Tournefeuille, France


The work to which I turn again, although it occurs in most of my creations, has a fascinating degree of freedom. Moving Pictures is an algorithmic painting that mimics large canvases.

Being infinite, the work varies greatly and can be completely different depending on the day and time you visit it. It also has the ability to engage a viewer and above all activate their memory. As the seconds pass and the audience observes the slow movement of digital painting before him, futures that only exist in his head and memory are formed. It is an anamnesis that is the sum of his memories, of all the canvases that he has observed, and these moments unfold in front of his eyes, one after another.

AD: What are you currently working on? Is there any thing in particular that you'd like to get across through your work?

JR: Soon I will present two large-scale works, both in scale and for me personally. In them, you can find a return to nature, with systems that interact with their environment, which we call ‘Autopoetics’ for their ability to generate themselves and be potentially limitless elf-creators. Based on the theories of Maturana and Varelaand brought to the intervention, as interactive installations to the wind and light as in this case. I will place more than 400 mirrors in the form of school, whose movement will depend on the environment itself, thus generating a system of fractal drifts in cubist form. We will place it, in collaboration with the Kunsthal high school of design and invited by the town hall of San Juan de Luz, on the hillside of the lighthouse, in the bay of this beautiful French town, during the month of September.

The second work that opens imminently is an algorithmic one. It is an adaptation of a work that is in the Framed platform gallery, which has begun a fantastic collaboration with the Dong Gallery of Taipei. Here, we have the spectacular support of a 95 m screen that will accommodate a series of visual artists, for which I will adapt the work LVESM, a piece that was made from several equations that were rescued from a notebook of the writer Saint Exupéry, who had such a passion for birds and flying artefacts. I then incorporated these equations into inventions for that exercise. In this algorithmic painting, geometries dance from mathematical choreographies, practically diluting the presence of an artist in favour of cybernetic biomimetics.


LVESM (B/D), 2019 / Image courtesy by the Dong Gallery, Taipei and Framed*platforms


AD: What place does creativity have in education? Do you view yourself as a creator?

JR: Here I will quote another artist, Jorge Oteiza, who like so many others had in mind the educational exercise, highlighting the importance of education from Art, with children first and perseverance later, as opposed to a quick and forgetful awakening. This happens all too often in the culture of cinema, political art and other avant-gardes forms that, far from accommodating knowledge, transmissible from generation to generation and enriching the spirit, intend to generate clichés and sell certain shallow answers which never transform the apparent order of outside world. They just end up holding an unfair system and little spiritual values.

Of course I consider any being a creative entity, whether from their individual position or in their ecosystem that is always a generator. What each one generates is already from the personal sphere and their own decision.

AD: Do you think that by challenging conventional views, art can truly make a change in the public's perception?

JR: Absolutely. In this question I think you have defined perfectly what the path of Art is. A path that on the other hand is not made from a single work, but linking and understanding the message that emerges from history and connections in the field of creation. In my case, I do not intend to form a concrete image with a single solution for the audience, but to provide a reflection tool that is in turn the way to understand ourselves in the world. Something that helps us build reality, get out of scientific rationalism and embrace in a certain way the constructivism where the individual becomes again the protagonist and active participant of reality.

AD: How has your work developed since you began and how do you see it evolving the future?

JR: The drift of the life of an artist is very curious. It is common to think of his career as a series of evolutions that also affect his technical skill and conceptual realization. The reading of a life in creation is according to the classical linear vision. In these pre-quantum times, I have discovered that in a way people look for ourselves, we seek our fate within a complex universe where reality is not always an absolute truth. Although it is probably my worst, my first work seen almost 15 years later contains all my search, synthesized in a strong intention, a great aspiration, and I may understand it better today than ever. A boy and his sleigh, Rosebud, and a whole life looking for him again.

I can say, however, that if the experience is of any use, it is to clarify what you are looking for, reinforce the path and continue sharing it in a more decisive way.

In the moment I find myself in now in my career, which I have to say is so pleasant, my algorithmic paintings based on equations of nature and my Cyber-Land Art installations maintain the DNA of my beginnings: systemic and nature, cyber perception and contemplation.


 AP, Digital Canvas, 2018, Videomapping at Moneo’s Church, San Sebastian


AD: Is sophistication, aesthetic accomplishment in the eye of the beholder?

JRL In this sense, aesthetics is a language, properly non-semantic, that evolves at the same speed as human knowledge. We do not know what will happen in the future but aesthetics is, without a doubt, a sign of our time. We must respect education and the capacity of the public.

AD: What do you think is the social role of art? How would you like to be remembered?

JR: I think that this interview has entered into this topic quite incisively. Providing tools to make the human being more creative could be an agile response. I do not mean to create plastically, musically or on an artistic level, but rather by generating a society with deep, ecosystem values, aware of its true past and proud of the future that we can create together.

I hope that more than remembering me, to have been a little useful for someone and having brought happiness and harmony with some of my work, which is, fundamentally, myself.

AD: How does art school form ideas about art? Does it shape people into being certain types of artists?

JR: Both schools and universities are methodologies within architecture. It would be difficult to get rid of such institutions. I suppose they must exist in a world in which the human being is understood, necessarily, as a receiver of knowledge through mediators at some point in his life. Providing the necessary ways to do this would be an evolution, returning to the child's intelligence and his passion for life could also return one of the treasures of childhood: fascination and acceptance of irrationality.


Portraits, 2017, Software Art Bot


AD: What do you think about the art world and art market? Do you accept that artis inherently an elitist activity?

JR: It would be difficult for me to separate the artistic act from the system in which we live. Unfortunately, all activity, creative or not, is mediated and valued for money. This is what we consider market. Smiles, attentions and reflections are somewhat separate from this way of existing. However, the market is not quite mouldable, and you can find different ways of relating to the exchange of goods. Beyond our borders you can find people and works of art that, thanks to an art market, approach us but often do not need to buy. Indeed, there are works that are not accessible to the general public but can be enjoyed thanks to more and more open and philanthropic collections.

Sales systems, such as galleries or fairs are now in a decisive moment of transformation. The importance of the gallery is dissipating in favour of platforms, which obviously have many people behind it, where art lovers can acquire work that is not even in museums. I refer for example to Galleries like Framed 2.0, with real-time, interactive works. It is a real revolution that is here to stay.

AD: What's the last great book you read? Any other thoughts / projects to share?

JR: For me there is no last book, I have many at the head and many others at the table in my room. They travel with me and I build on their stories. I do not understand places without books. For example, I am re-studying Heinz Von Foerster (Understanding understanding). Sharing Dreams with Borges I must have read fifty times. Tlon, Uqbar ... has inspired the monumental work that I present in September. The speculative fable of "Continue with the problem, generate relatives at the Chuthulucene" by Donna Harraway. 

Although in theform of an essay and edited by Consonni, where the thinker Helen Torres worked tirelessly, it is the necessary contemporization of cyberfeminism thinking and, together with the indispensable Cixin Liu with the problem of the three bodies (The end of science, ..., what a great phrase!), they have all shaped my thinking in recent times. I don't know where they will take me… and that is precisely what interests me about this life.





Kisito Assangni is a Togolese-French curator, art consultant, and farmer who studied museology at Ecole du Louvre in Paris. Currently living between UK, France and Togo, his research focuses primarily on psychogeography and the cultural impact of globalisation. He investigates the modes of cultural production that combine theory and practice. He inherently aims at going beyond the usual relations between artist, curator, institution, audience, and artwork in order to engage audiences in encounters with art that are unexpected, transformative, and fun. His discursive public programs and exhibitions have been shown internationally, including the Venice Biennale; ZKM Museum, Karlsruhe; Whitechapel Gallery, London; Centre of Contemporary Art, Glasgow; Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney; Malmo Konsthall, Sweden; Torrance Art Museum, Los Angeles; Es Baluard Museum of Art, Palma, Spain; National Centre for Contemporary Arts, Moscow; Marrakech Biennale among others. Assangni has participated in talks, seminars, and symposia at numerous institutions such as the British Museum, London; Palais de Tokyo, Paris; Smithsonian Institution, Washington DC; Ben Uri Museum, London; Pori Art Museum, Finland; Kunsthall 3.14, Bergen (Norway); Bamako Encounters Photography Biennial, Mali; Sala Rekalde Foundation, Bilbao; COP17 Summit, South Africa; Depart Foundation, Malibu (USA); Sint-Lukas University, Brussels; Motorenhalle Centre of Contemporary Art, Dresden (Germany); Kunsthalle Sao Paulo, Brazil; Museo d’Arte Contemporanea Ticino, Switzerland. Assangni is the founder of TIME is Love Screening (International video art program) and art advisor for Latrobe Regional Gallery in Victoria, Australia.

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Anna Melnykova, "Palace of Labor (palats praci), architector I. Pretro, 1916", shot with analog Canon camera, 35 mm Fuji film in March 2022.

Anna Melnykova, "Palace of Labor (palats praci), architector I. Pretro, 1916", shot with analog Canon camera, 35 mm Fuji film in March 2022.


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