Friday 21st May 2021
A Short History of Nearly Everything
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Antonio Roberts is an artist and curator based in Birmingham, UK, working primarily with video, code, and sound.
He is critically engaged with the themes surrounding network culture and in his practice explores how technology continues to shape ideas of creation, ownership, and authorship. As a performing visual artist and musician he utilises live coding techniques to demystify technology and reveal its design decisions, limitations, and creative potential.
For Estuary 2021 Antonio Roberts creates a new audiovisual artwork about the connections between the river and technological advancements. Part of the artwork is to be aware of the methods being used to produce it, the sustainability of technology-based practices and the potential impact this may have on the environment.
The environmental impact of his practice is an aspect of his work that Roberts has been thinking about for a long time. 3D animation is a notoriously resource-hungry process, which for some artworks and films can require massive render farms that may take many hours or even days to render a single video frame, which can have a massive impact on the energy usage and environment. Similar issues exist for AI, VR, and blockchain technologies.
Roberts makes a conscious choice to only use technology or methods which don't rely on render farms or outsourcing the work to other companies or people.
The artwork itself is an audiovisual journey along the Thames Estuary, imagining the river is part of a network that absorbs all that is around it, which includes nature but also man-made materials, such as cables, technology and waste. The work deliberately uses a lo-fi style addressing the concerns about the energy usage required to make it.