FEATURE: The Magic of Electricity: An Interview with Simon Schiessl

BY Ignacio Nieto


Ignacio Nieto: Would you agree that your work lies in an area that borders between raw data processing and a highly stylized information design ?

Simon Schiessl: My work is mainly about physical objects. I am not so much interested in working within the medium "computer" - It is more about generating complex installations in which data processing is just one part among others. In most of my pieces I try to avoid standard user interfaces: the 3:4 computer screen; mouse; keyboard; and, including underlying operating systems, as I feel limited by them. In fact, I don't like personal computers, but I do like circuits. Or, in other words, I am more interested in the magic of electricity than in digital information.

IN: In "Haptic Opposition" an unpredictable machine fights with two human emotions--

nervousness and aggression-- adding new function to the machine in order to answer a specific human behavior in the physical world. Could you tell me how you developed the idea for this piece? What were some of your influences?

SS: My motivation was to build a 'dangerous' machine that forcefully manifests itself in the immediate surrounding space. The moving slider is a point, here and now, of direct confrontation, designed to be a form of return to the fact that technology has physical implications beyond images on a screen. On a more basic level, I like to build objects from scratch, crafting the single pieces, assembling the parts, programming low level logic, and so forth. Within this process, I see information processing just as another element equal to mechanical parts and any other real objects blended in. So, if I should name some reference points, I would look to artists like J. Tinguely, S. von Huene, or E.


IN: Could you make a table called "Art Piece" showing us the differences between two variables: 1. Microchip Coders and 2.Web Coders?


SS: Table Art Piece

For more information you can contact Simon Schiessl at simon@signalfluss.de

  Hardware based Web based
Workspace On-site Distant, remote
Means of expression

Enriched by adding in
physical objects

Relies on a framework

provided by operating

system and application



Can be seen in tradition ofinstallation art

Rooted in video art
Quality of experience Confrontation Imagination