Meet the Artist: Sal Moreno

‘that’s what I’m doing now, trying to find a balance within a chaotic creative process, and ultimately just trying to unearth the artistic and creative self’

Sal is a mixed media, sound and performance artist based in Chicago, US. He notes that his initial artistic abilities and commitment stems from music, as a drummer and percussionist. During his youth, taking part in extra-curricular musical organisations such as Drum Corps International and Winter Guard International developed his musical capabilities, and following college, he wanted to continue keeping this major characteristic of himself alive.

After learning about audio synthesis, micro-controllers, circuitry, film-making, music production, and computer science, he wanted to combine these academic skills with his experience as a drummer and performer. It was this experimentation that led to Sal finding his niche, and home base, in art and technology.

‘Currently, the most rewarding aspect of being an artist is the freedom to cultivate personal projects. Identifying an interest in an idea and having the agency to pursue this idea from conception to execution is extremely rewarding. Every project is treated like my own little baby, and I learn so much from each one.

Selected Works

Ethereal Encounters

Ethereal Encounters is a motion-capture performance piece of an interaction between a human and a generative visualization of that human’s movements, inspired by a reading by André Lepecki “Ghostly”. The intent of this performance is to investigate the relationship between humans and computer technology.

The setup and coding is structured so that the movements directly influence what is being generated in the animation. When performing, however, I experienced a blur between what movements had what effect. This, coupled with the soundtrack I was moving along to, created a deep sense of integration and synthesis with this “etheric substance”.

Introducing Something Unusual

‘Introducing Something Unusual is an augmented reality project, the third installment for my motion-capture series. Birthed from the circumstances of COVID-19, it is a way to document the internal mental/emotional/spiritual shifts that took place while adjusting to quarantine. My intent was to create a hybrid fictional/nonfictional story about a character (played by me) and his transformation while adjusting to the realities of facing a pandemic.

The character, called “the boy”, begins to see apparitions and hear noises around his apartment, and starts to document and record what he’s experiencing. The boy captures several figures that perform movements, emit strange sounds, and conjure ether-like clouds in front of them. These figures don’t just appear in his apartment, but begin to present themselves outside. He sees them on his walks in parks, in alleys, and even in stores.

As the videos progress, the figures grow in size, and their various characteristics begin to show in the boy. Their shape and design, the sounds they emit become part of the boy. Ultimately, this piece is about facing that which we do not understand, and the process of dealing with the realities of the unknown. As the unknown becomes more familiar and commonplace, we can then start to accept the situations‘.

A full archive of Sal’s work can be found on his website: https://salmorenoj.myportfolio.com/work

Interview

What interested you about collaboration with other artists?

I felt that it would be fulfilling to work with other artists to craft projects based on our own personal experiences with quarantine, and potential loneliness. Having a conversation and cultivating an experience where we can articulate and express the internal and artistic transformation that’s occurring in the field of creativity drew me in to apply for this collaboration.’

Is there anything that you usually use to inspire your work?

‘Checking in with other artists and seeing what they’re working on. I think the art community is connected through this circle of everyone inspiring each other to continue working on stuff. Whether it’s having a conversation about what you’re working on, giving feedback on someone else’s project, or just brainstorming altogether, I feel that dialogue and insight into others’ workflow and process are the main things that keep me inspired.’

How has the lockdown affected your work?

‘The lockdown has forced me to utilize what tools and materials I have on-hand. I’ve had to ask myself how I can creatively use something I wouldn’t have thought I would be using for art, ever. For me, this meant turning to my phone as my medium. Technology plays a huge role in my practice, and learning new ways to use tech in a domestic space to reflect and speak on current events has been my next challenge.’

If you could master any other artform, what would it be and why?

‘2D Animation. I was an avid viewer of animated cartoons and movies as a kid. There was a time after leaving college when I had no idea what to do, and animation was an option. I picked up the book “The Illusion of Life” which talks about Disney’s beginnings and the philosophy of bringing drawings to life. Giving characters and environments personality simply through drawing and simply learning more about the anatomy of people as an artist is something I may want to explore in the future.’

We look forward to seeing the work of all our artists in this seasons Collaborator’s Project. Works will be exhibited at the end of August. Follow us on instagram for more updates! CM