Exploring the generative coding practice of Dimitri Thouzery

French artist Dimitri Thouzery discusses his love for organic randomness within coded, digital art.

by Manu SharmaPublished on : Oct 10, 2022

Dimitri Thouzery is a French artist who has found a deep and salient creative voice through his blend of generative, interactive installaion, and immersive digital art. His work is highly mathematical, and often totally monochromatic. Pieces generally play with shapes and pixels; bringing them together and driving them apart. On his website, he introduces himself as a new media artist first and foremost, before adding that he is also an experienced designer. He has been working in the field of art and design for over a decade, but has been pursuing new media practices since 2017. Thouzery enjoys exploring new ways for a sense of interactivity and bilateral engagement to be created, most prominently through the usage of sensor arrays and databases that allow one to pursue an unprecedented level of sophistication within a digital practice. As his website informs, “I like to think of those new systems as a way for the user to connect to something universal and to question reality. I have done a wide variety of projects, music clips, VJing, interactive and immersive installations, building mapping, branding, live data visualisations and Touchdesigner workshops.”

Exhibition Alphawave experience, organised by Boa Lisbon and Alphawave collectif, 2022, interactive installation, variable dimensions, Dimitri Thouzery | Exhibition Alphawave experience | Dimitri Thouzery | STIRworld
Exhibition Alphawave experience, organised by Boa Lisbon and Alphawave collectif, 2022, interactive installation, variable dimensions, Dimitri Thouzery Image: Melissa Fernandes; Courtesy of Dimitri Thouzery

It is interesting to consider that despite the finesse over his tools that he displays, he does not possess any specific training in the new media field. This speaks volumes of both, the unprecedented accessibility that digital tools may now boast, as well as the curiosity with which practitioners such as Thouzery approach them. He tells STIR, “My journey to come to this practice has involved a mix of science and computer science studies, urban and contemporary art as well, and some web and print design training too. Until 2017, I had a ‘contemporary’ art practice through which I tried to bring the sense of subversion inherent in the street-art movement into the gallery space, and in order to do so, I slowly started to use sensor technology. From here, I began to develop an interest in digital and generative art. Then, I discovered Touchdesigner, and all the creative possibilities it offers, and I think that is what really brought me to the world of digital art.”

Dream Tunnel, 2022, Generative looped video Video: Dimitri Thouzery

Thouzery mentions being blown away by the diversity of creative projects one may embark upon, armed with Touchdesigner alone. One work in particular that left a deep impression on him was Box, produced by BOT and DOLLY, which is an impressive piece of projection mapping to be sure, and yet nowhere nearly as intricate as Thouzery’s own work. It is not, however, unimpressive by any means; the work is certainly quite stunning for 2013. However, that was 2013, and Thouzery’s time is now: take Dream Tunnel for example: here, the artist’s work transports viewers to what feels almost like another dimension.

View of the immersive short movie ‘Somnium’ produced by the Society of Art and Technologie (SAT), 2021, short film, Dimitri Thouzery | Somnium | Dimitri Thouzery | STIRworld
View of the immersive short movie Somnium produced by the Society of Art and Technologie (SAT), 2021, short film Image: Sebastien Roy; Courtesy of Dimiti Thouzery, Ludovick Finck, SAT

“My creative inquiry is heavily focused on generative processes, which means that a lot of my work is generated by code without needing any drawings, photos or videos to make it. This is a wonderful state of affairs for me, not merely because I do not have any great drawing talent, but also because I thoroughly enjoy the generative process of creation, and everything it involves. It's all about experimenting for me; I start from a basic idea, and then while I am developing the piece, it can go one of several ways. At this point, what I sometimes enjoy the most is forgetting about the original idea entirely, and just letting my creation find its own route. Sometimes, it will take me 20 minutes to obtain something I like, and sometimes several hours; it's hard to predict,” the artist tells STIR.

Work in Progress in the Château Éphémère residency near Paris for the project Nott in collaboration with collectif Le Boucan, 2021, image, Dimitri Thouzery | Dimitri Thouzery | STIRworld
Work in progress in the Château Éphémère residency near Paris for the project Nott in collaboration with collectif Le Boucan, 2021, image Image: Courtesy of Château Éphémère, and Dimitri Thouzery

Thouzery admits that he too is not without his dead-ends. He has a library of failed attempts and creative projects that ended in creative deadlock, but he feels as though such setbacks are only to be expected when following an artistic line. He explains, saying “there is a great measure of randomness, both in the way that I produce my visuals, and also in my creative workflow. I wonder why I enjoy this so much: perhaps I like it because it counterbalances the predictability of working with computers. Of course, it's not just about having fun tweaking parameters and testing out my creative possibilities without any direction: I often have to build precise tools of my own in order to be able to experiment more freely. Most of the time, my creations are either used for live shows or to create music videos. When my work is live, I like to include my audience in the artwork by using various sensors.”

Portrait of the artist, 2022, Image, Dimitri Thouzery, | Artist’s archive | Dimitri Thouzery | STIRworld
Portrait of the artist, 2022, Image Image: Courtesy of the artist

Most of the artist’s work is black and white. He finds that this creates a sense of universality within his practice, rendering it detached from any affective feeling, and more connected to a transcendental state of mind. His most recent exhibition was in collaboration with the Alphawave Collective and Boa Lisboa, wherein they created a kinetic installation that allowed audience members to modify the projection through movement, and more surprisingly, through their very brainwaves, using the fairly advanced technology of EEG sensors. The results were extraordinary: the generative, interactive art that was played back to the audience shifted and roiled as they engaged in a sort of bilateral dance with it. He spent April in Paris for Au dela des pixels, which was curated and produced by 36 degrés. Here too, did Thouzery’s art shine: it carried a retro sensibility within it; a far cry from what one imagines when thinking of art at the bleeding edge of science. Thouzery presented two NFTs at the venue, implying that he has been exploring this new and emerging space. In the past, he has also created live visuals for artists such as Drake. Discussing the possibilities of the future, he tells STIR, “I would really like to work on more immersive installations driven by accurate research, but it takes a lot of time to develop such projects. As of now, I am really happy with how my journey has been and how it has evolved through the years.” Thouzery currently lives in Toulouse, France.

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