Briefly describe the work you do.
My recent work focuses on the visual dialogues created during the intersections between human and computer through visualization, performance and interactive installation. Typically produced in a generative approach working with computer programs, the visuals in my work range from inventive non-representational drawings to controlled constructions with highly studied shape, color and texture in 3D space. In the process of making, I explore the impact of artistic intention and influence on the final outcome, while trying to find the balance between artistic intervention and the computer program’s autonomy as well as the randomness and predictability contributing to each particular project.
Tell us about your background and how that has had an influence on your work and on you as an artist.
I grew up in Confucius’ hometown, was educated in both Eastern and Western schools, had worked in the professional field (as an animator and designer) and the academia (as an educator and practicing artist). I often observe a hybrid quality in my work that reflects those experiences.
The concept of the artist studio has a broad range of meanings in contemporary practice. Artists may spend much of their time in the actual studio, or they may spend very little time in it. Tell us about your individual studio practice and how it differs from or is the same as traditional notions of “being in the studio.”
For someone works with computer graphics, my studio is anywhere I take my laptop. That being said, I do regularly spend time in my studio/office at school and have a dedicated studio space at home, where I can concentrate on my research with fewer interruptions.
What roles do you find yourself playing that you may not have envisioned yourself in when you first started making art?
A coordinator. At the beginning, art making was mostly an individual activity for me. Now as digital art becomes more and more interdisciplinary, many of my projects involve people with different areas of expertise. Planning, organizing and facilitating the process become critical elements for a successful project.
When do you find is the best time to make art? Do you set aside a specific time everyday or do you have to work whenever time allows?
I’m most productive at night when everything is quiet. Sometimes I stay up till 2 or 3 am when I don’t need to teach next day, although I usually make up the sleep with an afternoon nap. I try to set aside some time for my projects on a weekly basis but not daily.
How has your work changed in the past five years? How is it the same?
In the field of digital art, five years is a long time because of the ever accelerating progress of technology. Every new technology brings me the new possibilities of making art. Over the years, my work has taken a variety of forms of expression including experimental animation, visual music, artistic data visualization, digital images, interactive installations, and virtual reality. Currently, my work has become more focused on visual music and data visualization. They are in general produced by preset instructions or procedural rules that dictate the forms and structures they might take. And they may be viewed as visual manifestation of the information processing procedures embedded in today’s way of life.
How have people such as family, friends, writers, philosophers, other artists or even pop icons had an impact on the work you do?
Visually my creative practice is influenced by minimalism and traditional oriental artwork. To both, balance and contrast of color, space, texture, as well as light are essential means to improve visual aesthetics.
Have you ever been pulled in the direction of a pursuit other than being an artist? What are your other interests?
I have worked professionally in the fields of computer animation, film special effects, web design and user interface design in China and the United States. I consider those valuable experiences for me as an artist and a teacher.
Rebecca Ruige Xu’s artwork and research interests include experimental animation, visual music, artistic data visualization, interactive installations, digital performance and virtual reality. Her recent work has been appeared at: Ars Electronica Animation Festival; SIGGRAPH Art Gallery; Aesthetica Short Film Festival, UK; Museum of Contemporary Art, Italy; Los Angeles Center for Digital Art; Magmart International Videoart Festival, Italy; FILE – Electronic Language International Festival, Brazil; Techfest -Technical Arts Exhibition, India; Colloquium culture and digitization, Switzerland; CYNETart, Germany; International Digital Art Exhibition, China; Huddersfield Festival, UK; Boston Cyberarts Festival. Rebecca Ruige Xu currently teaches computer art and animation as an Associate Professor at Syracuse University.
All images copyright of the artist and used with their permission.