Currently experimenting with the interaction between creativity, expression and technology, Aaron Inker is testing the limits of new tools like AI generators.
Since 2006 Aaron Inker has been exploring audio and video interaction. He’s fascinated by the work of Viking Eggeling and Hans Richter and more recently, the likes of Chris Cunningham and Michel Gondry, who he believes continue to spark interest for electronic music, opening a path to club culture, live visuals, and the VJing world.
Inker’s recent release ‘Dark Matter’ is an audio-visual experiment based on the manipulation of several images generated by different AIs, articulated, and filtered in response to the audio track. An exploration of synesthesia and image-sound interactions.
How do you see new technologies and AI influencing your art?
“It is very interesting, AI tools not only allow you to experiment with new technical, stylistic, and expressive possibilities, but they somehow start to force artists to think of their tools not just as objects, but almost as collaborators. In so many ways, they are changing how we think about our work, and how to disseminate our work to people. The important thing is to understand how and why to use these technological tools, and not to use them just because we can. We need to understand how they can increase our possibilities of narration and help us communicate our thoughts with the world in a more beautiful way. Not just for artists, but for everyone!”
As well as an artist, video director and technician, you are also an educator, can you tell me more about this side of things and what inspired you to go in this direction?
“At a certain point, I realised that my work as an artist, and more technical as a VJ or a video-maker, were related with the same attitude. Working in culture means sharing thoughts, stories, concepts with the people around you. I believe that sharing things with others is the basis for finding common ground and improving the places we live in. For this reason, working in education, both with children and adults, has always been important to me, it is work about connection with the community and the territory you live in, and somehow it remains, not as an artwork, but still work made with the same intention, attitude. In the end, working with kids, or with people who want to learn new things, is always enriching for the educator too, especially if he listens to people and does not play the role of the one who tells others what to do.”
I’ve also read you’re a co-founder of an independent cultural space called Hydro that’s hosted in the Fondazione Pistoletto complex concentrating on the designs and new forms of audience and cultural experiences. Can you tell me more about this?
“For a while myself along with others thought of building that “home” ourselves, and thanks to Fondazione Pistoletto, who gave us a building, we were able to do it. What followed was years of parties, projects, and friendship. Then in October 2020, the adjacent river flooded, destroying everything. It was very sad and emotional, but many people around us gave us the motivation to start again. So now, today, we’re able to open the new, rebuilt Hydro space. After the flood and destruction, we started a research project dedicated precisely to the river, to understand it, as a subject to be cared for, as an ally and not as a threat. We are now in the third season of a public programme of events called Fluviale, where through music, workshops, books, excursions and performing arts, we investigate the relationships between people and the environment, nature and culture, humans, and non-humans.”