Interview: Nikos Probst
Luca Curci talks with Nikos Probst during THE BODY LANGUAGE 2021 and VENICE INTERNATIONAL ART FAIR 2021 at THE ROOM Contemporary Art Space.
Nikos Probst born in Germany, lives and works in Halle (Saale). His current artistic work is focused on the use of new technologies to expand the creative and artistic process. Using methods of aesthetic research, he studies new technologies and software of artificial intelligence and deals with the technologization of our daily life, as well as questions arising from it. The digital is not only relevant as a muse for a new visual and formal language: with it and through it, inspiration can be gained, invented and produced. In the process, so-called intelligent and adaptive systems are becoming co-actors in art production, helping to create new, unexplored worlds of images. In addition to his classical artistic practice, he explores new digital places under the pseudonym der_probst.
Luca Curci – How did you get to your current artistic practice?
Nikos Probst – My increased use of new media, various technologies and software is based on my interest in expanding my artistic process through digital and automated programs. For this purpose, I started to take courses in multimedia design during my art studies. My idea is based on the expansion of the artistic process through technological tools that are currently becoming increasingly important and constantly present in our lives. The technology, however, does not remain only a tool but becomes another actor within the creation process of the artistic work. This is especially fascinating due to the development of ever newer and better autonomous and intelligently operating programs.
LC – What are your thoughts while you paint?
NP – Since I currently work mainly with the computer, I no longer paint myself. I collaborate with other painters or use mechanical processes to create analog images or objects. My thoughts and questions are mostly about how I act as an interface between these different actors that I use and what happens to my artistic process as a result.
LC – What is the most challenging part about creating your artworks?
NP – The most difficult part of my artistic work is learning and properly using the different software and tools. Another challenge is that I don’t work physically anymore and mostly sit in front of the computer. I really like the new possibilities but it’s hard for me not to be physically active in the creative process anymore.
LC – What is your creative process like?
NP – Lots of trials and errors. I use different strategies that I have learned from my classical artistic process and artistic research, which I transfer into the work with different software. I’m always trying out new techniques that I apply to the image, animation or to make objects. Sometimes I feel like a remix artist who is mixing different technical possibilities together. The most exciting moment is then just before the result is ready and you still don’t know if all the work was worth it or for nothing.
LC – Did your style change over the years? In which way?
NP – Since I use many different programs, there is always a change in how the image or object merges in the end. All programs create a certain aesthetic depending on how I use them. I see this as similar to painting, for example, as soon as you use a different brush, a different canvas, or different pigments.
LC – What do you think about the concept of this festival? How did it inspire you?
NP – Considering the current development, where everything is becoming increasingly digital, I think the theme of body language is especially important. What happens to the body and our language when expression and images are transferred more and more into the digital space? The digital space and the various technologies open completely new possibilities of expression for us, but at the same time, we should also critically question this development.
LC – Can you explain something about the artworks you have in our exhibition?
NP – To create the two images I exhibited I used software for creating computer games and a so-called machine learning software. I created hundreds of images digitally, working with errors that occurred during the simulation of grass. I uploaded the images to software that learned to imitate these images. I ran the software for several hours until it came up with results that I considered aesthetically pleasing and finished. After that, I did some minor digital editing on the images.
LC – What do you think about the organization of our event? Did you enjoy cooperating with us?
NP – For me especially the good and easy communication and organization despite the Corona crisis was really great. This made it quite easy for me to participate in the exhibition even though I could not travel to Venice because of the current situation.
LC – What are your suggestions about our services? Is there something more we can provide to artists?
NP – In general the service was exceptionally good, but artists may have benefitted from further links via Instagram. I think though the connection of media, interviews and texts was very well done.