“The Digital Sign” by Riccardo Muroni

"LIMIT 2011"

“LIMIT 2011”

Today we talk with Riccardo Muroni, Italian digital artist and art scholar. His main passion is sculpture, he creates digital sculptures referring most of all to primary shapes such as square and triangle and drawing inspiration by the crystals formation.

Riccardo, tell us a little about you and your work:

"FRAME 100" - 3D model-based prototyping, 19x17x15cm, plaster and cyanoacrylate

“FRAME 100” – 3D model-based prototyping, 19x17x15cm, plaster and cyanoacrylate

I was born in Sassari in 1980. I studied Sculpture at the Academy of Fine Arts of Sassari. Since my former works I’ve been noticing the fact that sculpture in its more scholastic form can’t work as the best means to express given “shapes”. Many times static and physical properties of the materials I worked with contrasted with the main ideas of my working projects and thus I had to undergo forces surely out of my range: gravity and weight force. I started to work with 3D design in order to overcome these obstacles, discovering in a second moment new solutions about sculpture design. My approach to these “new tools” caused me a lot of practical and aesthetical problems. I’ve been wondering for a long time about how to approach with such tools and how to use them to my purposes. I consider myself a multimedia sculptor. Technologies are tools one can use in different ways depending on one’s purposes. I usually work with different medias such as video, art installations and physical creation of sculptures. Space, dimensions, time are the real guidelines of my polysemous work.

We know that you are working on a monograph, “The digital Sign”, which encloses the results of your surveys and reflections about digital art. Could you provide us with a short overview of the monograph content?

"VIRA 2012" - installation project: wood, lycra, video-projection, sound diffusion

“VIRA 2012” – installation project: wood, lycra, video-projection, sound diffusion

In short: to analyse what “sign” means inside an expressive system that uses digital medias, muses interactivity and rises and ends because of an algorithm, implies a deep analysis of the elements that are part of communication. We have to forget about our historical context and the whole history of arts up to now and try to compare Michelangelo’s David and his 3D print. This comparing isn’t that absurd if we think about the following two points: 1. sign as a concrete entity (line, track, pixel, texture) or the signifier; 2. sign as an aesthetic entity (semantic meaning) or signified.

"BEAM SCRATCHES 2010" - digital rendering, variable dimensions

“BEAM SCRATCHES 2010” – digital rendering, variable dimensions

In the early XX Century Swiss scholar Ferdinand de Saussure elaborated this theory in the analysis of communication speeches. Applying this theory to arts, in the ’80 Luciano Nanni investigates what an artwork is and its communicative ambiguities. We thus can separate concrete structure (the signifier) from hidden meaning (the signified). Through this distinction, I want to analyse what “sign” is both in its analogic and digital supports in order to define the use of media as a tool: ….clear track originating from the contact of a real body with another one… …graphic expression representing an abstrac identity… …any figure or graphic expression conventionally used to represent something… these are just a few of the definitions that usually stand for “sign”, in a broader sense. Human culture has always been tied to signs and allegory: the development of writing is a clear example of this link, born from an arbitrary association between the referent of a given word (signified) and his graphic representation (signifier) in the form of paintings, logograms, and phonograms. Point and line are the basic elements of the representation and build through geometry the link we just spoke about. The main difference between point and pixel is that point isn’t commensurable, while pixel is. Line is geometrically an infinite chain of single points, but it’s digitally made by a definite number of pixels: passing from real to digital world we inevitably lose information. The concept of “resolution” is really important in sampling an analogic signal into a digital one. For example, if we have an audio signal resolution will involve its sampling frequency, while if we have a video signal it will involve the number of pixel stored for the description of an image (raster). Resolution is thus the limit in the representation of any digital content. It follows that one can’t give through screen or print the original signifier, our signature. We use codes and algorithms as tools for the creation of software-art, code-art and digital-art in general. Algorithms will be the instructions followed by the program, obeying creator’s will. But at this point, what is the real difference between a painting, a sculpture, an incision and contemporary art using digital medias to the creation of a “digital sign”? It’s interspace, a segment, a microscopic vacuum between its resolution and the instructions they follow.

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