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Making Sense of The Digital: Philippe Safire Examines Culture Through The Lens of Technology

Multimedia artist Philippe Safire’s irregular structures explore the relationship between the digital and natural world.

Sun Child

New York-based artist Philippe Safire creates multimedia installations, synthesizing a variety of media from animations to still images. His work explores the constraints of the digital age and relies on the endless possibilities offered by the digital medium. As digital culture continues to redefine human identity and our relationship to the natural world, Safire deems it imperative to use the digital as a lens for considering the natural world.

Inspired by both nature and the absurdity of Times Square, his art contrasts the serenity of the natural world with the frenetic pace of mass consumerism. As he so eloquently puts it: 

Artists often fixate on their medium: Pollock on painting, Hitchcock on cinema, Proust on literature. I am interested in exploring the topics of marketing and communication because of their strong association with our new digital realm.


Last Summer

In his latest work, Last Summer, a multimedia sculpture is suspended in the middle of the exhibition space. Due to its irregular shape, the work appears to almost disappear at side view. Pixelated, moving footage of the sea is projected onto both sides of the clear plexiglass and paper sculpture. The work, which meets the viewer at eye-level, is an exploration of memory and dreams—like its subject, it exists in the space between the real and the virtual. 

Similarly, in Sun Child (above), Safire pursues his aesthetic interest in the digital pixel. This time, he inlays a swarm of videos within a virtual structure that resembles a brightly colored halo. “The piece has variable dimensions and moves slowly up and down to mimic the rising and setting sun,” adds the artist. 


Religion 


War for Water

Safire takes on many different subjects, often concerning complex or controversial topics, including environmental changes, overpopulation, religion, and sadness. The artist uses technology as a way to achieve what he calls ‘deceptive simplicity.’ 

In another project, called DataSafire focuses on the movement and constant exchange of information brought about by the digital revolution. Using iconography related to the digital age, a continuous stream of characters is projected onto the middle of a dangling plexiglass that is assembled in the shape of a cloud. 


Data

It’s this juxtaposition between the real and virtual that Safire relentlessly pursues that makes his work so relevant and striking. As he continues to make sense of our ever-evolving world, we look forward to seeing what future projects this artist has up his sleeve. 

@dslreyes