ALESSIO CHIERICO’S WORKS REFLECT HIS INTERDISCIPLINARY BACKGROUND IN CONTEMPORARY ART, DESIGN THEORY AND MEDIA STUDIES
MILIA WALLENIUS | ARTICULATE #20 | JULY 2019
Italian artist and researcher Alessio Chierico’s (b. 1984) artistic work is highly conceptual, process based and interactive. Often presented through mixed media installations, Chierico’s works reflect his interdisciplinary background in contemporary art, design theory and media studies.
Chierico sees art as a practice driven by a need of expression and self-understanding. He bases his own practice on research and deep theoretical conceptualization. The subject and final idea for an artwork is the result of this process.
Working within the field of digital art, digital technologies are both a tool and an important element in Chierico’s artistic practice. Unwilling to dedicate himself to a single form of expression, Chierico uses various mediums and techniques, some more traditional than others
“Having a preferred medium means having more confidence in a certain way of producing art. This is totally fine, but it can also be a big limitation”, he explains.
For Chierico coherence is more important. This is the coherence between artist and practice, work and context, concept and work. Once the idea is there, the medium will emerge on its own. One should always choose the medium according to the functional needs of the artistic intentions.
With this approach in mind Chierico has worked with both software and hardware, computer interfaces and code, as well as photography and video, to name some. Computer code is a visible element in works like Hidden Nude. This piece is a print of the hexadecimal code that constitutes the information of a digital photo portraying a nude. In his work Self-Portrait, Chierico uses the same technique.
The real mathematical essence of digital images is often totally alienated by the object of representation. In Chierico’s pieces, the nudity and the portrait are hidden by the digital code, that is the same code that allows the existence of the images themselves. What is represented in the image can only be seen when the code is rewritten in a computer, and saved as an image file, highlighting the aspect of representation and the language of computer coding, brought to us by the digital age.
Theoretical, multidimensional and complex, Chierico’s works offer several possibilities for interpretation. His personal interests in post-media materiality and practice, media aesthetics, digital ontology and digital humanities, are often present in his subject matters.
In works like Unpainted Undrawn, a series of broken and framed screens of various digital devices, Chierico brings to attention the materiality of digital technologies, challenging the common understanding of the digital as immaterial. The frame, traditionally used for paintings, adds an element of prestige. It gives the broken screens the status of art in a more traditional sense, allowing us to explore their aesthetic value of broken hardware – something that often goes unnoticed in everyday life.
References to art historical tradition are present in Chierico’s way of reworking and quoting artworks made famous by other artists. This includes works by artists such as Joseph Kosuth and Pablo Picasso. Interested in digital systems, process and digital aesthetics, Chierico experiments with new approaches to iconic pieces and investigates what the digital form can be.
In his piece HGP card (Human Genome Programming), Chierico questions the possibility to reprogram the human genome by editing digital code. The complete mapping of the human genome is the translation of biological information into the cultural domain. The informational structure of human genetic material sees a close parallelism to the essence of digital systems. The genome and the digital nature have the same peculiarities in their skill to “in-form”, give a form. Our chromosomes are archives like storage devices, and as in the digital domain, it is possible to modify the information. HGP card ironically presents an unlikely hybridization between the biological and digital codes. With the digital code it could be possible to reprogram one’s own genome, ingesting digital memory (SD card) that contains the transcription of a human genome.
Fun, clever and at times ironical, Chierico’s work offer an opportunity to reflect on our relationship to digital technologies and further explore our understanding of the digital and what it can do.
This article about ALESSIO CHIERICO takes part of ARTICULATE #20. Read, download or order your print version of the full publication below