We’re back with Felt Zine Issue 69 featuring Berlin-based augmented-reality (AR) artist, ExitSimulation (Aaron Jablonski)! Experience the full issue here and read the full interview below:
Exitsimulation: ṿ͓̊i̧͓̓rͬ᷾ͅt̘͜ͅuå̗͖l̢͒ͮ v̥̅͂òͭ᷇i̸͎͓d᷇̓͆ is a study on how Augmented Reality (AR) can act as an interface between reality and virtuality.
It views AR as a continuation of our online presence, capturing the world in a never ending stream of collective data.
ṿ͓̊i̧͓̓rͬ᷾ͅt̘͜ͅuå̗͖l̢͒ͮ v̥̅͂òͭ᷇i̸͎͓d᷇̓͆ explores the possibility of a permanent AR layer, leaving your impressions in the world for others to explore and to feed an insatiable algorithm. It’s an infinite feedback loop of your perception, experiencing your environment through a screen and through digital interfaces.
This piece is also a commentary on the addictive behavior smartphones and social media evoke: the constant need to share, scroll, like – essentially reprogramming our brains to long for constant dopamine driven feedback loops.
Where are you located and how has it affected your work?
I am located in Berlin, Germany, and this has affected my work in a way that I have felt more drawn to nature lately. Being in the city during Corona lockdown was tiring and felt very pointless and I found great relief from this by taking day trips into the nearby forests.
All of the pieces, and much of your recent work, takes place in nature, away from urban environments. How does nature inspire you? And do you think there is an irony in presenting nature via virtual art?
Nature plays a big part in my work recently because I see it as an important counterpart to our hyper accelerated information age. Oftentimes I find myself overwhelmed by all the mindless scrolling on social media and countless impressions we absorb daily. Technological devices have a strong hold on us and social networks are designed in a way to facilitate addictive patterns and behaviors. I find being in nature an important way of recentering myself and being away from the constant stream of information. However, ṿ͓̊i̧͓̓rͬ᷾ͅt̘͜ͅuå̗͖l̢͒ͮ v̥̅͂òͭ᷇i̸͎͓d᷇̓͆ is about the fact that we cannot really escape anymore. We are constantly connected, being tracked, sharing pictures with our GPS location embedded, uploading stories, replying to messages and notifications that pop up and demand our attention. Smartphones and social media have changed the way we interact with each other and the world around us.
Where do you look for inspiration?
I look for inspiration in culture and technology. Movies, series, books, memes, paintings, technological developments—I’ve always been fascinated and inspired by technology and it plays a huge part in my creative process. In nature, I am inspired by fractal patterns and how aspects of things repeat itself from very small scale to big scale. I am fascinated by fungi and how they basically span an organic information network underground.
Making digital art proposes its own series of technical, conceptual, and even ideological difficulties. What difficulties have you learned to overcome through your work?
I think I learned to approach my work with a good balance between concept and experimentation. I love programming and sometimes it gets me into a very enjoyable state where ideas can just flow, other times it’s the exact opposite and I get stuck while starting from a concept! But I enjoy experimentation a lot, trying many different ideas and seeing where it leads me, then further building the most promising ones.
How does making instagram filters work into your creative process? And is it any different than making video art pieces?
AR effects and face filters in particular are a special medium to me because they involve the user in such a particular way. The direct interaction and instant share-ability are a huge factor to their success and developing for this medium is pretty interesting. It allows for some exciting new approaches in animation and storytelling and I am still planning to explore this more!
Watch Felt Zine Issue 69 featuring exitsimulation online now.