Manuel Fernandez is a 36 year old artist born in Malaga, he currently lives in Madrid. In 2009 he received the “Projecte Capella” International Intervention Prize (Palma de Mallorca) and the Beep New Media Art Award (Madrid) in 2014
You said you have no real studio space, how and where do you work?
Actually my practice is digital/analog so I work half of the time on the Internet and the other half in a room in my house that I use as a studio.
Your work explores new media, the digital world, and the Internet. For example you curate an online gallery called Domain Gallery. Can you tell us about it?
When I started Domain Gallery (late 2011), I was part of an exciting online art community, full of energy and new proposals from artists I considered interesting. I wanted to give visibility to such practices in their own environment, so I started the gallery.
On the other hand why does your work also have to exist physically in real life and space - I am thinking specifically of exhibition space or printed matter?
To me the real and the virtual world are the same thing now in the age of AFK (away from keyboard). In my work I generally try to visualize the connection points between them.
Popular culture is an important aspect in your work, can you tell us about it?
I’m very interested in how popular culture has changed within the Internet age, moving from a culture based on historical and geographical aspects to new ones formed in online communities, that create their own culture.
In your everyday life, what is your relation to technology?
In my everyday life technology has an important role, I use it for research, social interaction, as a marketing tool, a studio, an artwork production tool, and for entertainment too.
What does the word “global” evoke for you?
To me “global” represents one of the most important things that has happened with early Internet, when you realize that everyone on the planet with an Internet connection is a potential viewer of your content.
Can you tell us about the Broken Gradients, the idea, and the technique behind it?
Broken Gradients is a series of works exploring the concept of image as content itself.
The works are created with preset tools available in professional postproduction software, inspired by glitch processes created by the dissemination of images in the information society era.
We invited you to design the pattern for our Etudes N°4 collection entitled World Talk. How would you define the new language era we are living in?
The Internet and digital publishing industry have changed the way that we look at reality. We live in a time that accepts this new aspect and incorporates it into the traditional one. The result is a hybrid output that mixes together in a natural way.
For us it was a compelling experience connecting your work on different levels of time and technique. We used your artwork on digital print but also on woven fabric, we wanted to mix traditional techniques with new ones. When I see your work with the classical Greek column covered with your Broken Gradients or New ruins, Google Earth Tour I see interaction with time. Are you interested in mixing tradition with modernity, history, and technology?
Yes, I like to experiment with these kinds of variables in my work, I like to use associations between confronted positions, to see what happens.
I am curious to know more about your project New Ruins. Google Earth Tour. Do you do a lot of travelling yourself?
I made a project titled Windows in Palma in 2010, which consisted in an intervention on the architecture through painting, with topographic qualities in different places in the center of the town. The computer and the Internet gave me the possibility to expand this topographical architecture painting concept in the field of new media, with an ironic view on contemporary traveling. I travel all I can but not so much compared with the normal actual frequency.
Any thoughts on Google glasses and Segways?
I have not fully looked into the matter for now, but I’m curious about them.
Any future projects that you’re looking forward to?
Conversation with Manuel Fernandez, Madrid, March 2014. Photography by Matias Uris