by Manu SharmaMay 11, 2021
The world of new media arts practices is rapidly growing through several salient aspects: there is certainly the sense of accessibility owing to the rich body of knowledge available online. There is also the presence of community that emerging practitioners will find tutelage and encouragement through. However, it may be argued that the most crucial reason for new media’s rise and success has been the ability of its relevant digital techniques to interlock, and through that, to allow for the manifestation of increasingly captivating and complex artistry. A perfect example of this paradigm is F3 Studio, a multimedia art studio integrated for Gabriela Reyes and Jorge Flores. Speaking to STIR, they explain their mission statement as such: “F3 is focused on exploring multimedia practices to develop artwork. We are enthusiasts of abstraction, minimalism and monochrome, as well as the phenomenology of light, sound and space. Our work is built through the constant interpretation of these elements and attributes”. F3’s artistry expertly articulates its members’ preoccupations; manifesting a striking visual aesthetic that may very well become instantly identifiable as they continue to progress as a creative group. The duo’s proactivity does not end at production techniques but extends to their output as well. They say, “We call our work multimedia because we explore different techniques to develop these interpretations. It all depends on what we think is the most exciting way to go at the time, or what we are interested in currently. But primarily, our work can be broken up into AV installations and performances, generative artwork, projection mapping, fine art prints and drawing machine-related work”.
Both members of F3 Studio are design graduates from the National Fine Arts Institute in Mexico. During their education there, they were introduced to the world of new media arts practices, and decided to immerse themselves within it through the use of digital art tools. They say, “We learned coding and programming with Processing, Arduino and vvvv; we learned some basic electronics as well, we fell in love with white light, we got to experience new kinds of sound and music we have never heard before, and through it all, learned to appreciate art in a different way”. And they add, “We developed an affection for monochrome, abstraction and the complex of simplicity”. The two would begin working with two other friends in 2014, and would continue to do so until late 2018, at which point they began to feel the need for professional restructuring, and broke away from their old creative team to form F3.
In their current avatar, the two have been making waves through the various projects they have taken up. As they explain, they are guided by the magic of simple elements used with finesse. They incorporate silence, light and shadow play and ambient sound with their sleek monochrome style. Light and shadow in particular form a core preoccupation for F3, and they go so far as to dub light itself the “protagonist” of their work. Speaking of their influences, they say, “We are captivated by the work of people using code or visual programming. From new media artists like Daito Manabe, Herman Kolgen, Ryoichi Kurokawa, Pablo Valbuena, Rafael Lozano-Hemmer to creative minds like Zach Lieberman and even Daniel Shiffman; also, more traditional artists like Jesús Soto, Julio Le Parc, John Cage, Carlos Cruz-Diez, and James Turrell”. One artist in particular that is very close to F3’s heart is Juan Manuel Escalante, who they view as a dear friend and mentor. Escalante was the artist who taught the members of F3 Processing, which is a dynamic coding system used heavily within the new media art world, and, in their own words, also taught them discipline, quality control and documentation, which are all, of course, crucial for young practitioners emerging into the arts. Returning to the idea of emergent media as a fluid entity, wherein artistic practices, and through that, subcultures, intermix and intermingle constantly, F3 defines their placement as such: “At this time it’s a bit difficult to define what kind of creative culture you are part of, because boundaries are so blurry when talking about new media art, design or any creative profession. After all, we are living in what we believe is a transition between one era and another regarding creative, social and technological issues”. However, the duo happily acknowledges their presence within the larger new media arts ambit, as well as their emergent status.
Despite being relatively new, F3 has presented their work at a number of venues. These include, but are by no means limited to art exhibitions at Showfields NYC, at the National Center of the Arts of Mexico to celebrate the institution’s 25th anniversary as well as the Cultural Festival of the IPN, which is one of the most important public universities in Mexico. More recently, in 2020, the duo held their first solo exhibition called Memorias Orgnaicas, which was a fine art print-based undertaking that combined generative audio-visual work with printmaking. The pandemic affected this growing prolificacy in both good and bad ways. “Many plans changed or even got scrapped. It is not an easy time to make money out of art, and all of this just makes it harder to be an emerging artist. However, as a lot of events and festivals went online, we were able to show our work in places where it would be more difficult to be physically,” they inform STIR.
Speaking of the future of new media, the members of F3 seem quite excited. They cite the wild possibilities evolving technologies entail, and remark that they, as a generation, are currently living with one foot in reality and the other in virtuality. However, the duo seems to possess an unwavering vision that is wholly their own, and when it comes to their own role in the growing world of new media, they have only this to say: “We always seek to express the essence of our ideas. We feel that keeping loyal to our aesthetic vision is what has brought us to this point. And we are still on our way”.