@Domenicodombarra is a dirty new media artist from Napoli (Italy) and based in the UK. He is also known by the Internet alias Altered_Data. Today he has big social media following on instagram as the New Media Artist @domenicodombarra.
Why did you first choose the nickname Altered_Data?
I adopted this nickname a few years ago. This choice is supported by the belief that
our persona is the result of everyday data alteration and updates that shape, manipulate and influence our online identity, behavior, and thoughts while we are chased every moment by algorithms on social media “emotional scrollacoaster“.
What’s your educational & professional background?
I studied art for two years at Leeds College of Art and Design but I considere myself as a self taught artist. I also work as an educator with Rome University of Fine Arts [RUFA].
Dom, how would you describe your art?
My research is an open dialogue on new media through storytelling based on personal doubts, intuitions, and understandings.
I would dare to say that my art is vibrant and perpetual. This is because exists in the realm of doubt and in a dynamic context as the internet and the consciousness, and as our life gets enrich by new meanings so it does my art.
I hate to think of my work as fixed event in time, obsolete, I like to imagine it in a flux surfing through waves.
What’s Crypto Art?
I am really into the technology, blockchain and NFTs that finally allow artists to claim authorship and authenticity, trading and ownership of digital art, and of course a new culture around art collecting. I especially like that the ownership is limited to the token and not to the actual artwork as it allows the artwork to be free.
Then some other aspects of the crypto art are still a bit too shady for me but I get that is the human nature :-D.
What technology and software do you use for your artwork?
I mostly use various software, and I am a big fan of photocopy, printing, and scan machines. As my works are mostly based on the interpretation, altering, and exporting of image data within image file format and the misuse of software and hardware, every system is a good opportunity to look for bugs exploitations and hidden and alternative use.
My favorites are Audacity, XVI32, Note ++, XnView, MSPaint, Xshare, GifCam, Processing because they allow me to work freely with digital matter and carry on unusual tasks. I also work with Databending.
What is Databending?
Databendins is a glitch art technic by which digital data of file formats can be altered creating glitch artifacts. Every system that allows me to manipulate those data will eventually become part of my art practice and creative process.
I must note that I’m also into Artificial Intelligence because it enriches my immagination. It gives me completely new ways of seeing and thinking of the relation between artist and machine.
Tell us more about the project White Page Gallery/s – What’s the idea?
The WPG/s idea developed into a concept. The White Page Gallery/s is adecentralized and distributed art network born in June 2019.
It is an online network for artistic sharing composed of artists, curators, academics, festivals, and cultural operators who host independently on their website and without the aim of profit art projects made and curated by others.
The experiment is based on a new form of curatorial practice and culture in which the enjoyment of art is re-imagined thanks to the internet and web pages, and especially by active participation and collaboration by the participants.
White Page Gallery/s focus on the social value of artistic curation as its presupposition: the WPG/s network is based on values such as solidarity, hospitality, inclusion, altruism, and mutual support.
A distinctive feature of White Page Gallery/s is the absence of hierarchies, gatekeepers, and vanity: all those who are part of the network have, in fact, total and independent decision-making ability with respect to the methods, times, and artistic projects they choose to exhibit in their online spaces. The focus is therefore shifted from the work to the practice and from the artist to the community. Those are some WPG/s numbers:
- 25 x White Page Gallery/s online
- + 90s x Artists hosted
- 3 x Co-hosted and co-curated shows
- 1 x Biennale
- 2 x Festivals
- 2 x Art magazine features
- 2 x Academic paper features
- 1 x Academic class presentation
- 1 x Online Virtual tour
The idea came to my mind because of the exigency and the necessity of reclaiming my internet space and role. As a personal statement, it then became a common goal because talking with other artists we all realized that we all shared the same feeling.
What’s the most challenging part of creating New Media Art?
Updating your own skills.
Even when knowledge is mastered, there is always something new to learn and implement in the practice. New sides to discover and explore, the digital landscape is massive and very lively. Especially when working with glitches. New media, new glitches, every update can carry a bug to exploit.
What’s the most exciting project that you’ve worked on so far?
I can list at least three because of completely different reasons.
White Page Gallery/s – because of the human relationship and the complexity and variety of the artists involved, very multidisciplinary. An amazing ongoing journey.
Then I would say Deus Ex Machina, because I succeed in merging what I love into one project, glitch art, artificial intelligence, and installation concept.
The launch of this video was not very lucky. The gallery where it was premiered had to close its doors because of the first Italian lockdown due to the spreading of Coronavirus. Then it was excluded from a show at the last minute.
I hardly give up so I carried on pushing it and Deus Ex Machina only in 2020 was part of an online project by the World Intellectual Properties Organization [WIPO]. It was featured in an online show by the MEDIALAB/UNB of the University of Brasilia, Brazil. Also, RTSM – Tearing and Regenerating – curated by the Central Academy of Fine Arts [CAFA], Beijing, China. Last but not least, it is included in an Italian publication by the Ministry of International Affairs about art and new technologies curated by Cesare Biasini Selvaggi and Valentino Catricalà.
But the most important and challenging project I have ever worked on is with no doubt The Beautiful Minds. I have started 2021 with a project as a form of exercise in wild creativity and discipline.
What’s your next project?
I have a brand new project coming up! I am aiming to make a portrait per day, as part of an ongoing series that will end on the 31st of December 2021 with 365 portraits in total. It is called Disordinary Beauty. I will probably fail it. In May my baby girl will be born, so, new life, I shall see how I will manage my time for fatherhood and art.
Can you tell us about the idea behind “Beautiful Minds”?
Beautiful Minds is a project of storytelling.
It is a true story, a personal story, telling the life of my family and our life with autism. The protagonists of the story are my cousins Carlo and Antonio. They are twins, both autistic. Through the poetics of glitch art, I built an exhibition project taking the audience on a journey through the memories and stories of Carlo and Antonio and our family. A story for autism awareness.
The glitch, a “malfunction” of a machine, in art becomes an opportunity. The glitch becomes then the metaphor of autism, the machine is the human, the software the human mind. Autism is then presented not as a disability but as another ability, a different one, where humans must be allowed to live to their potentialities and not abandoned and excluded.
The art practice is then the social life, and as we include the glitch in our art as a quality and opportunity, so we must with autistic people and other people with other mental conditions.
The design of society is a barrier, not the people.
I wanted to tell this story because I wanted to support others in telling their stories because when stories are not told we hardly become aware of the reality and of the possibilities we can build.
Support Dom Barra
The best way to support Dom is by buying his works. He has works on sale on several online digital art galleries and marketplaces.
His project Biologlitchy is exclusively available as part of Sedition art curated program. Into NFTs and crypto art? You can find his works at Rarible, Elementum, Snark.Art, Pixeos, Mintable, Ephimera, My BAE by BlockchainArtExchange. Links are to be found here.
Those who do not collect art but are into donations, can send over the old good FIAT via Paypal.me and also crypto at my Metamask address, all available here.