New media artist Valentina Ferrandes combines forensic research and a technology-driven approach to produce her digital artworks. As lockdown restrictions ease in London, Valentina was able to meet in person, to tell us about the digital artwork she’s exhibiting at The Sublime 3.0: Fear and Awe and her journey as a digital artist.
Francesca Miller | Ed Peter Traynor | 27 October 2021
Born in Italy, now based in London, media artist and designer Valentina Ferrandes (b.1982), draws on the rich classical southern Italian cultural heritage and pre-Christian, Mediterranean imagery. Inspired by history, art, literature, contemporary and archival found footage, environmental recordings and documentary video, she creates 3D animation and CGI films. Through these, she explores themes and issues of displacement in relation to collective identities and her cultural and geographic heritage.
Ferrandes’ works have been screened internationally at festivals such as Visions du Reel, European Media Art Festival Osnabruck, DokuFest Kosovo, Cairo Video Festival, Rencontres Internationales, Alchemy Moving Image Festival, MACRO Rome, 5th Moscow Biennale and Bardo National Museum.
1 November 2021 – 31 March 2022: The Sublime 3.0: Fear and Awe, Agora Digital Art x thewrong biennale
Valentina Ferrandes, Victory (2019) © Courtesy of the artist.
Ferrandes has just won the Emerging Scene Art Prize Dubai 2021. The winners’ show, curated by Nebia Raim in collaboration with Elevision Media opens on 18th November at Van De Goudenberg Art Gallery in Gate Avenue, in Dubai @goudenberg_art @gateavenue.
Valentina will be presenting a series of large scale limited edition prints from her latest digital artwork, She. With Gleaming With Eyes. Her videos will be broadcast on a network of architectural LED screens in Dubai, for the duration of the show all curated by Elevision Media.
Valentina Ferrandes, She with Gleaming With Eyes (2021) HD Video. 5′. Ed.1/5 © Courtesy of the artist.
Did you know?
Ferrandes uses algorithmic tools including AI, machine learning and generative systems to create her visual artworks. She incorporates the same tech tools in her practice as experience designer for creative agencies in London.
Three Goddesses series (2019 – 2021)
This series is composed by Victory (2019), included in the Sublime 3.0, The Beautiful One Has Come (2020) and She with Gleaming Eyes (2021)
Valentina Ferrandes, Victory (2020) Moving Image. © Courtesy of the artist.
Valentina Ferrandes, The Beautiful One Has Come (2020) Moving Image. © Courtesy of the artist.
Valentina Ferrandes, She with Gleaming With Eyes, (2021). Moving Image. © Courtesy of the artist.
Victory is Ferrandes’ contribution to Agora Digital’s exhibition The Sublime. It is a computational exploration of the Hellenistic sculpture Nike of Samothrace and is the first part of a series of three algorithmic moving image pieces.
The other two films are Beautiful One Has Come and She. With Gleaming Eyes. Like Victory, these revisit classical sculptures and represent Ferrandes’ continued explorations of key female icons in Mediterranean ancient history, looking at Queen Nefertiti of Ancient Egypt and Greek goddess Athena respectively.
In each video, Ferrandes deconstructs a classical sculpture and reconstructs it using an algorithmic 3D model analysis. This generative system creates a constant morphing of the surface, itself a composite of polygons while offering a different reading of the original artwork. The effect is a series of entirely unpredictable motions. The framing of shots, camera movements and lighting of the sculptures are all also wholly iterative. Through this dynamic deconstruction and by shifting the lens to digital technology, Ferrandes offers the viewer a new perspective on the works and narratives of classical masterpieces.
Speaking of the series, Ferrandes says, “I use technology to render the sculpture through a new lens, to transpose the viewers’ experience from the static iconography of the classical heritage in the museum set up to a new exploratory space. Nike’s 3D model is treated with a custom software patch”.
Valentina Ferrandes, still from series Arete’s Question (2017) CGI Video 03:03 min GR-TK. © Courtesy of the artist.
Arete’s Question (2018)
Arete’s Question is a contemporary take on human migrations in Southern Europe and the various narratives woven around these over time. Interestingly, this digital artwork draws the viewer’s attention to how, throughout history, media narratives have continuously developed a biased view of cyclical migration in the Mediterranean sea.
Arete’s Question is a multilayered short film that includes excerpts of scenes from Homer’s classical work, Odyssey (Book VIII 555–563), snippets from the 1968 series L’Odissea by Franco Rossi and images of migrant rescue missions in the Mediterranean Sea that have occurred in the last few years.
Commenting on her work, Ferrandes said: “Arete’s Question is a small film where a timeless myth entrenched in the Mediterranean culture is used to reflect on contemporary ideas around sea borders, freedom, utopian lands and the concept of otherness”.
In the closing scene, the artist designed a simulation of a CGI wave that is juxtaposed against a dreamlike seascape that fluctuates mid-air set against the outline of a mountain in the background, which an actual picture of part of the northern tip of Kos Island in Greece that was taken by the artist. Of this, she says: “For a short time, while I travelled through the area in 2015, this was a short and safe passage for thousands of migrants entering Europe”.
Valentina Ferrandes, Other Than our Sea. Experimental Video, IT, TK, 10’21’’ © Courtesy of the artist.
Other Than Our Sea (2016)
Other Than Our Sea is another and earlier observation on migration in the Mediterranean. Ferrandes explored relics of an ancient Greek colony in Southern Italy and modern day shipwrecks in the Mediterranean Sea. She also wove together fragments of classical literature, excerpts of ethnographic films and current newsreels to create and tell the story of migration through the different areas of the Mediterranean.
The film references the tragic circumstances in which thousands of migrants have drowned as they sought asylum in Europe and recounts how they often embark on a journey of discovery or take a leap into the unknown, that can, sometimes, be fatal, or if they are very lucky, can act as a rebirth.
VR Exhibition in Hubs Mozilla
Ferrandes holds degrees in Art, Music and Drama from Bologna (Italy) and Fine Art from London. She also attended the China Academy of Art in Hangzhou.
2021, Emerging Scene Art Prize, Dubai, Winner
2021, Officine Culturali, Production Grant, Winner, Italy
2016, Japan Media Art Festival, for Other Than the Sea, Jury Selection, Japan.
2015, South Heritage Foundation, Publication Grant, Italy
Exhibitions and Gallery Screenings
Exhibitions and gallery screenings
2019 |Empire, artist-led satellite project during the 58th Venice Biennale, Venice, Italy
2021 | Emerging Scene Art Prize Dubai
2021 | Bogota International Experimental Film Festival, Columbia
2021 |Cineautopsia – Competition
2021 | Warsaw Animation Festival, Competition, Poland
2021 | Sphere Film Festival
2021 | International Video Poetry Festival
2021 | FILE Festival – Brasil (postponed from 2020)
2020 | MADATAC – Spain
2020 | Athens Digital Arts Festival, Greece
2020 | Miden Video Art Festival, Greece
2020 | Athens Animfest, Greece
2020 | 16 Festival Transterritorial de Cine Underground Global, Online
2020 | Supernova Digital Animation Festival, US