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Artist Feature ://
Henry Driver
Posted January 2018

Henry Driver’s practice is driven by the fascination of the speed at which technology is increasingly dominating our lives, leading to the blurring of physical and virtual worlds. He creates immersive artworks that critique and communicate the issues, effects and ethics that technology causes. To create works Henry combines a variety of mediums such as projection mapping, sculpture, sound, CGI and video, as well as creating interactive works that utilise experimental game design.

Henry has exhibited internationally in Berlin, Melbourne, Copenhagen, Toronto, Sydney and, most recently, in Montreal for MUTEK Festival. Nationally, he has shown at Tate Liverpool, Tate Britain, Whitechapel Gallery, Wysing Arts Centre, Firstsite and The Barbican.

‘Videocube’, Phantom (2015) Firstsite, Colchester

Multi screen video sculpture. Photograph by Benjamin Beauchamp

Q. Do you feel working in a digital medium has allowed your practice to explore avenues that may have been restricted if you were working in a different way? If what areas, professional and artistic have you been able to explore because of this?

Working in a digital medium allows your work to exist anywhere in the world, which from a professional sense, particularly early on, allowed my work to flourish and reach audiences that would be impossible otherwise. The ability to search, find and send work to opportunities that suited my work from further afield had a huge impact on the development of my practise, and if the internet hadn't existed i’m not sure where I would be now!

For me interactivity is the key artistic element of the digital medium which really sets it apart, allowing you as an artist to not only create unique experiences but also allow the audience to view artwork in a completely new manner. The ability to hack and build experimental video games or create pieces which utilise facial detection and A.I to allow the audience to interact is just staggering.

‘Visions’, A Latent Reality (2017) Barbican, London.

Multi-screen video work using CGI, photography and computer vision. Photograph by Henry Driver

Video link: https://vimeo.com/244612412

Q. In some of your work, you seem to blur the lines between physical and digital art forms, what does this juxtaposing relationship mean to you?

It’s a response to the society that we exist in, where our time, personalities and lives, continuously co-exist upon both physical and digital platforms simultaneously. It is a recurring point of interest, research and inspiration.

‘St. Marys’, Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts Graduate Residency (2016), St.Marys, Norwich

Video installation including projection, 16 screen video wall and plasma display. Photograph by Henry Driver

Video link: https://vimeo.com/185296849

Q. Is there any artists or artwork that you would describe as visionary?

I think the ways that Gibson/Martelli use technology to create artwork is really quite powerful and exciting. Heinrich & Palmer are great too and I loved their recent projection piece ‘Floe’ that was commissioned for Hull UK City of Culture.

Q. Which awards and funding schemes have you found the most beneficial and why?

Last year, I received a Research & Development grant from Collusion (a Cambridge based art/tech organisation) to explore innovative and critical uses of VR and AR. Through this I was provided access to cutting edge technology and support, as well as given free reign to explore the critical and innovative uses that these mediums might provide. The skills development which took place during this time was phenomenal and the sheer amount that I learned has had a huge continuous impact on my practice.

I was also part of alt.barbican, an accelerator programme for artists working at the intersection of arts and technology. Through this I met an astounding number of incredibly interesting creatives, as well had my practise and understanding dramatically pushed. As part of this I also attended, exhibited & presented at MUTEK festival in Montreal, which was such an amazing and eye-opening experience.

Finally, I received a Firstsite Collectors Group Bursary award at the end of 2015, to help fund the creation of a bespoke studio and blackout project space at my home, which after quite a wait I am just applying the finishing touches. It’s a great space and I am really looking forward to making the most of it by creating a load of new works there throughout 2018.

‘Mimic’, Subversions of Reality (2017) MUTEK Festival, Montreal

CGI, computer vision and photography. Photograph by Henry Driver

Video link: https://vimeo.com/243320305

Q. Where would be the ultimate venue to hold a piece of your work?

Often it’s quite a rewarding challenge to create work which is moulded in response to spaces which have a unique architecture or aesthetic. For example, I really enjoyed creating work in response to the unique elements of Firstsite for the event Phantom (2015), as well as the specific aesthetic of the derelict shoe factory St.Mary’s, as part of the Sainsbury Centre Graduate Residency I undertook in 2016. So a large dark space, with a budget to match and a unique architecture or aesthetic would be pretty ideal!

Q. In your opinion, what does the art world need more or less of?

More money to support young artists.

︎ www.henrydriverartist.com

︎  @henrydriver_

︎ henrydriverart

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