Deconstructing Interfaces

Unpainted Undrawn is a series of works by Alessio Chierico, which consist of cracked screens mounted in classical and modern picture frames. These screens are collected from dismissed devices such as tablets, ebook readers, smartphones, monitors, and several other kinds of digital device.

Chierico combines art and design for his research which is based on the deconstruction of interfaces, and looks for new naturalness formed by the essential properties of material and immaterial objects. This attempt can be seen from Unpainted Undrawn. His works look like glitch art but those works are not produced as the same way as conventional glitch work.

Unpainted Undrawn will be shown at Artificial Retirement from August 19th till September 11th 2016. Chierico answered some questions about his background and creative approaches.

Unpainted Undrawn series, Untitled #13 by Alessio Chierico

What made you to move from design to the art field?

Design has been a large part of my education, but I don’t fully consider myself a designer. However, I believe it is only a matter of definitions. Design and art have very different approaches, but not always. There are several examples of design which go over the purpose of functionality and pure aesthetics. Some design theories related to media studies are able to reply to many issues of our contemporaneity. That is not so far from the interests of many artistic practices. So, this is my general background, art, media and design, everything rooted in a quite theoretical substrate.

It seems like the most significant word for your work is ‘deconstruction’ compared to the Artificial Retirement theme. Can you tell me more about your research based on the deconstruction of interfaces?

Yes, deconstruction is a quite speculative term for me. The word can describe my practice in a metaphorical sense. ‘Deconstruction’ is a word that can hide a large variety of meanings. In my specific case, referring ‘deconstruction of interfaces’, I intend the constitution of a practice that aims to contrast the fictionality of representation. In other words, the interfaces, in very general sense, are mediations between the objects we use and the way we are supposed to use it. They are representations of the possibilities that an object can offer. The problem is that the reduction of the complexity of an object, acted by interfaces, is always a mystification. Nowadays we are surrounded by extremely complex objects. However, we are increasingly alienated from understanding the objects. Everything becomes much more dramatic if we consider that their usage, driven by interfaces, is consciously designed by the producers, which often configure subtle forms of persuasion and coercion. Thus, even if this sounds a bit modernistic, I believe that the deconstruction of interfaces is a necessary step to reveal the nature of objects. This is also what I find extremely important in the concept behind Artificial Retirement. The malfunction, the glitch, the unusability of objects remind us their real essence.

Same Function, Same Utility (2012) by Alessio Chierico

Are there any other works from you which use the idea of deconstruction?

As I said previously, the idea of deconstruction can metaphorically be applied to the general intentions of my artistic practice. But I have to say that my production is very diversified. Expanding the concept of deconstruction, it can be considered as something implicit in the traditional necessities of art. Through art history, often art wanted to deconstruct the common sense and produce new imaginaries. I can give you a couple of examples: Same Function, Same Utility, the most simple and conceptual work I made. This project consists in a ebook reader placed under the leg of a chair. This installation recall the classical trick of using a book to level a shorter chair leg. A very inelegant but clever way to solve a problem, misusing an object. The second project I would like to present is Arnulf Rainer for digital performers. This work has a quite complex concept, but simplifying, it is a sort of visual concert which is composed by several monitors that perform a specific sequence of black and white frames. Inspired by experimental cinema, this project aims to expose the aesthetic differences of the same image process with different devices. The intent is, again, showing the seams of imaging technology in order to deconstruct the fiction of the images they represent.

Artificial Retirement opens August 19th at Flux Factory with an opening reception at 6pm. Performances by Byron Rich and Heather Brand, Niki Passath, and Fan Letters start at 7pm. AR is a Flux Factory major exhibition.