Exploring a vibrant medium of expression

Nicolas Clauss uses computer programming to create the desired visual effect in his works.  

For an artist who made a strong shift in his medium of expression from painting to moving images and new media, Nicolas Clauss is also capable of brushing off the reason for that change as simply to ‘keep his fingers clean.’ But prod him further and one will realise that the reasons are more than skin-deep.

“When I took that decision, in 2000, I had already done around 15 years of painting. I started out early, in my teenage. I reached a point where I thought everything has been painted already by someone else. I could only repeat what has already been done. There was a need to evolve something new out of what I already knew,” says the French artist, who was in the city to deliver a lecture on ‘Random moving images’ at the Alliance Francaise.

The search for a new medium took him back to the little computer programming he had during his school days. He began coding to bring out the exact kind of effects that he wanted in his short video. In his world, the actual shooting of the video is only the beginning of the work. Later, his codes decide whether to zoom in on a particular portion, jump cut or go back and forth.

The initial series of works, he likes to call ‘interactive tableaus,’ in which the way the images on screen behave is dependent on the viewer and his gestures. Though it is all coded, Clauss says, the behaviour of the images is all random.

“Since I am coding it, I know what I want and generally what will come next, but even I get surprises sometimes,” he says.

In his more recent works, which he calls ‘random videographies,’ random people and public spaces are projected, with coding and music creating a choreographic effect.

“I was shooting at the Fort Kochi beach recently. Here, people at the beach behave in a different way compared to elsewhere. So, when I project this alongside a visual from the Coney Island beach in New York, with the same music in the background, it makes for interesting choreography,” he says.

Though he works essentially in a digital medium, he is no fan of digital art. These are ‘synthetic pictures,’ he says. For him, machines and tools are not the focal point but are means to serving the artist.

French artist Nicolas Clauss uses computer programming to create the desired visual effect in his works.

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Printable version | Jul 28, 2021 6:24:48 AM |

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