INTERVIEW: LUCA LEE | ITSLIQUID

INTERVIEW: LUCA LEE

Interviews | October 20, 2023 |

LUCALEE
Image courtesy of Luca Lee

Interview: Luca Lee
Luca Curci
talks with Luca Lee during HYBRID IDENTITIES, the first appointment of BORDERS ART FAIR, at Palazzo Albrizzi-Capello, Venice.

Luca Lee is a transmedia artist from Chile based in New York, whose practice springs from the multitude of approaches of Extended Reality, 3D, and 2D art. His work both confronts and interconnects different narratives around resistance, otherness, and control, and at its core, explores the relationship between speculation, identity, and three-dimensional worldbuilding. As a researcher, he is interested in exploring accessible approaches to both XR and human-AI collaboration to expand possibilities for fiction and non-fiction storytelling.

After many years working in the field of cultural journalism and documentary research, Luca emigrated from Chile to the United States, a place in which he started developing his artistic practice further, focusing on new media. As of 2023, his work has been exhibited at FILE Electronic Language International Festival (Brazil), Venice Experimental (Italy), Vasulka Kitchen Brno (Czech Republic), ChaShama (USA), Experimental Intermedia (USA), Empirical Nonsense Gallery (USA), Radio 8000 (Germany), Salvador Allende Museum (Chile), and The Holy Art Gallery (UK), among other grounded and virtual spaces.

LUCALEE
Image courtesy of Luca Lee

LUCA CURCI – Which artists have somehow had an influence on your work?
LUCA LEE – More than specific artists, some artistic movements and genres inspire me the most, such as Surrealism, Futurism, some works made by artists related to Minimalism, and the Bauhaus, as well. Post-impressionists such as George Seurat and Paul Signac have also been of inspiration particularly the nature-inspired works of Henri Rousseau and his fascinating use of color. In terms of genres, I have a deep connection with speculative fiction, a genre that crosses mediums from literature to film and virtual reality.

LUCALEE
Image courtesy of Luca Lee

LC – How much has the city/country in which you grew up/born affected your work as an artist?
LL
– I was born in Valparaíso, Chile, and before establishing myself in New York, I travelled a lot in South and Central America to places such as Argentina, Cuba, Colombia, and Brazil. Each of these places inspires aspects of my practice somehow. My hometown Valparaíso for example, is a colorful city facing the Pacific Ocean, and the fact that I grew up so close to the water might be an unconscious inspiration for the bodies of water I almost always include in both my extended reality and 3D artworks. I play a lot with color palettes as well, and I tend to create digital nature that is strongly associated with the memories I have in natural environments in South America.

LC – How is your creative process?
LL
– I have a background in journalism that gave me strong research skills. Even though I switched careers from journalism to the arts, research is still a relevant part of my creative process, and it helps me to make decisions about environment design or the user experience, for example. There’s always a theoretical component linked to my pieces, so research also informs and situates my artworks in artistic and cultural contexts in dialogue with the themes my practice touches upon. Since my work is mainly digital, I use different 3D software to give birth to what I have in mind, so there’s also a lot of screen-based time invested in digital experimentation beyond researching and reading. Art history also inspires me a lot, making the Surrealist movement a constant reference for my work.

Image courtesy of Luca Lee

Image courtesy of Luca Lee

Image courtesy of Luca Lee

LC – How is being an artist nowadays?
LL
– In my case, there’s a thin line between becoming and being an artist. I see my practice as an always-evolving process where I’m constantly learning and challenging myself. The work I was doing four years ago, for example, (sound-based pieces and 2D art), is quite different from the mediums I’m using now, which are 3D art and extended reality. So, I’d say being an artist is a practice that brings a lot of experimentation and freedom to my mind and day-to-day life.

LC – How do you choose your subjects? Is it a reasoned or instinctive process?
LL
– It depends on the project and what I need to communicate with an idea. I tend to position environments at the center of a story, where the landscapes and the dynamics between the subjects and their surroundings are more relevant to the narration than the characters themselves. In my last immersive project Metamorphis, released by the end of 2022, I challenged that mindset by creating a three-world story based on a fictional representation of two characters inspired by my persona. For that specific project, the process was very instinctive, driven by a desire to portray the state-of-the-art regarding artificial intelligence developments within the artistic field -mostly 2D imagery- and the possible outcomes of this technology in the future.

LUCALEE
Image courtesy of Luca Lee

LC – What is the message linked to the artwork you have shown in this event? How is it connected to the theme of the entire exhibition?
LL
– I participated in both Venice Experimental and the Borders Art Fair – Hybrid Identities exhibits with a piece called Growth. A 3D animation that reflects on the passing of time from the perspective of a supertree that holds samples of extinct species preserved in a virtual organic matter aimed to perpetuate life. I saw a connection between the experimental and futuristic nature of this animation, and the main themes that these exhibits proposed, concerning the complexities of identity, bodies in space, and transformation.

LC – What do you think about the concept of this exhibition? How did it inspire you?
LL
– Particularly with the Venice Experimental exhibit, I became inspired by the curatorial approach to the role of artificial intelligence in our contemporary society. As active artists, we need to discuss this topic seriously and start defining ethical frameworks that will contribute to the development and accessibility of this technology in the future. Although Growth -the 3D animation I exhibited- wasn’t created via AI or talks about AI explicitly, it relates to the theme of the human body and, perhaps, less explicitly, to the hybridization of identity. These are common topics I explore with my 3D works and, more recently, also with AI, so it felt meaningful to be part of this event.

LUCALEE
Image courtesy of Luca Lee

LC – Did you enjoy cooperating with us?
LL
– I did! I’m satisfied with the experience, and all communications were clear and timely.

LC – What do you think about the organization of our event?
LL
– Very organized, but not only this event. The year-long programming as well, considering the frequency of the exhibits, the great locations and galleries, plus the sustentation of an always-growing audience.

LUCALEE
Image courtesy of Luca Lee

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