Fabian Winkler

Artist Statement


My work proposes new practices for looking at familiar objects and spaces around us. Using the expressive and aesthetic potential of new media technologies I create critical, surprising and sometimes humorous interventions.

I link technologies with concepts and vice versa - in this process four different media have become integral to my art practice:

Sound - I relate sound to the physical structures and the electronic components of my works. This results in either concrete sounds, produced directly from mechanical vibrations or pure electronic sounds, electric vibrations generated by means of an audio signal generator1 . Sculptural components become resonant bodies, doubling as visual and sonic elements.

Light - Light's exceptional opportunities for artistic expression lie in its potential for abstraction, to create new, artificial realities and to transform objects and environments visually and ideologically. Aesthetically, I am interested in unique explorations of artificial light rather than illusionary representations of natural light. Conceptually, I investigate the sublime qualities of electric light based on Edmund Burke's and Immanuel Kant's ideas of the sublime 2,3 and its extension by Leo Marx to the technological sublime 4,5.

Robotics - Robotics plays an important role in my artistic practice since it combines sculptural, technological and conceptual qualities. Physically, I think of robotic and kinetic systems as sculpture, installation and environment, allowing audiences to experience the work on different poly-sensorial levels. Masahiro Mori's theory of the "Uncanny Valley" 6, charting the emotional response of humans to robots and other non-human entities, has influenced my research of the aesthetics and behavior of interactive systems.

Moving Images - The cinematic apparatus mediates audio-visual, tactile and emotional experiences of synthesized realities. It presents the audience with (im)possible worlds - similar to my artworks. Specifically, I use aspects of cinematography, temporal montage, cinematic special effects 7,8 and set design as inspiration for and elements of my work. I have always been fascinated with non-digital cinematic techniques, since transformed and applied to my works they offer a more tangible experience (e.g. using real-time generated high voltage arcing with qualities of light, sound and smell (ozone) instead of recorded sound in my work DIELECTRIC).

I do not see these different media isolated from one another but always strive to integrate and combine them in my work. PI (personal interpreters), for instance, is a set of small robotic devices, which translate TV broadcasts' audio signals into abstract knocking sounds. In this process they create surprising image/sound relationships, challenging the audience to watch well-known TV content in novel ways. Flashlight Matrix, my most recent project, is a light installation that uses 64 computer-controlled tactical flashlights to project extremely low-resolution video footage of moving persons. It creates uncannily ambiguous images that reference the vagueness of visual representation delivered by tactical and surveillance technologies and its resulting consequences.

Fabian Winkler Bio

Fabian Winkler holds degrees from State College of Design (HfG) Karlsruhe, Germany and UCLA, Department of Design|Media Arts. His works have been shown internationally, including ISEA 2006/ZeroOne San Jose; Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe, Germany; Wood Street Galleries, Pittsburgh; Videonale 10, Kunstmuseum Bonn, Germany; 7th and 6th Japanese Media Arts Festival, Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography; Banff New Media Institute, Banff Centre, Canada; FILE2002, Sao Paulo, Brazil and lothringer13 gallery, Munich, Germany. Winkler is currently an Assistant Professor of Electronic and Time-Based Art in the Patti and Rusty Rueff Department of Visual and Performing Arts at Purdue University, Pao Hall, 552 West Wood Street, West Lafayette, IN 47907