Like many of us, Hong Kong-based Portuguese artist Joao Vasco takes much of his creative inspiration from nature. Nature is, after all, the one all-pervasive element that unequivocally influences our lives and experiences. It is the system and the construct through which we operate and formulate our existence. But Vasco’s approach is different from that of most of his contemporaries — the young artist creates work that aims to critique our desire to emulate, manipulate or otherwise control nature. Instead, Vasco creates logistical frameworks based in natural systems but then relinquishes control of the actual artworks to the framework itself, lending an element of chance to his pieces. Like a generative artist, Vasco opts to let the projects unfold of their own volition, yielding unexpected outcomes that often surprise even the artist himself.
Vasco presented the installation Chirps at our Creators Project Beijing launch event this past September. Composed of dozens of mechanical birds that are interacting with and responding to one real bird that serves as a kind of “maestro” for this bird chorus, the work is quite literally a dialogue between nature and technology. We caught up with Vasco at the event to learn more about the piece, his creative process, and the ideas about nature that run through many of his projects.