Feeding the future: Hector Ayuso

Cult MTL talks to Spanish digital artist, curator and OFFF festival director Hector Ayuso about post-digital creation and the future of art.

WEMADETHIS.ES Image by Eduardo del Fraile.

The phrase “post-digital culture” might not immediately conjure much to you, but Hector Ayuso is trying to change that. For the last 13 years, he’s directed the Barcelona-based OFFF post-digital creation festival, which “encompasses everything that’s happening in terms of creativity and innovation in different media like graphic and editorial design, motion design, interactivity, narrative, storytelling.” The festival provides a space for workshops, exhibits and collaborative live experiments in digital creation. In short, it is the bleeding edge of interdisciplinary art.

Ayuso’s excitement about the festival is palpable. “It’s a place to take risks, to bet on new artists, new ideas, to test what’s going on and what will happen in the near future,” he explains via Skype. “I really like to get my hands dirty, and fail. We need epic failures in order to have success and reach new experiences.”

Constantly thinking about and questioning the boundaries of art is central to Ayuso’s creative philosophy. He lives by the motto “the only thing you really have is what you give away.”

“This quote contains all of my beliefs concerning art, teaching and life itself,” he says. “For me, sharing is learning, and vice versa. When your idea goes public and reaches people, it grows, and the feedback you receive gives you brand new life in return. In the end, you’re growing too.”

Pressed for an example of amazing post-digital art, he cites a recent Nosaj Thing video, created by Daito Manabe through the Creators Project. “After many years experimenting and researching on human interaction with technology and doing live performances where he controls his own muscles movements with a computer,” he says, Manabe made “one of the most beautiful things I have seen in a long time, where he applied all those years of research.”

This week, Ayuso is in town presenting WEMADETHIS.ES, a book he curated about post-digital art in Spain. Wednesday, he and fellow Spanish graphic designer Eduardo del Fraile are participating in a roundtable discussion about post-digital culture at the PHI Centre called Creativité + Identité, along with local artists Julien Vallée and Vincent Morisset. While many of us might not make it to Spain to witness the buffet of hot new tech-based music videos, experimental film projects and eye-bending installations on offer at OFFF, the event promises to bring a little of the festival’s creative magic to Montreal. ■

Creativité + Identité, Feb. 13, PHI Centre (407 St-Pierre), 7 p.m., free

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