aron smith 3d artist digital worlds cgi phothraphy oil production movie
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Aron Smith
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October 11, 2023
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Bending The Laws of Physique And Gender with Aron Smith

Aron is a multidisciplinary and anti-disciplinary artist who primarily works with photography, video, incorporating a significant amount of CGI and digital treatments, and more recently, performance. They also collaborate with two collectives: Oil Productions, which creates pornographic films, and L-AZCO, which specializes in performance art.

How does your work in the adult industry with Oil Production influence your personal work?

With Oil, we are in a concrete structure that sometimes offers opportunities on a larger scale, with slightly more developed projects, involving a group of people working together. The structure is so pleasant, as are the people, and I think it mainly influences the "faith" aspect in projects and a desire to see everything through successfully because there is a community that follows along. As for the work itself, I find that it's more of the opposite that has happened through our individual personal productions (by all Oil members). We all have an interest in themes related to the body, identity, ecstasy, and representations of emotions through photography and other means.

You're talking about the representation of the body in your work. Where does this desire to represent bodies that go beyond stereotypes, outside of heteropatriarchal and able-bodied norms come from?

I think that 3D and retouching have opened up an incredible world of possibilities for me. We can start to deform at will. The fact that I do self-portraits and work with my own image allows me to push the boundaries even further. When working with people, we want to represent them in a way that will make them the happiest. Personally, I started working with my sibling, who has severe gender dysphonia, and working with them has helped in healing certain things.
Later on, working with my own image allowed me to do the opposite and delve into the idea of monstrosity, not trying to appear beautiful, but imagining that every space, every sensation felt by the mind can be seen through the body. When we look at other living species, marine animals, birds, iguanas, the human form becomes a canvas with which I like to imagine we could see hybrid species. In our latest film with Oil, Extys, we explore the theme of humans mixed with insects, mushrooms, and plants. It doesn't start from a concept of reproduction but rather from how systems influence concepts. We absorb so much information constantly that it eventually becomes visible on the body.

You work quite a lot with 3D and CGI. Has all of this liberated you artistically?

What's fantastic about 3D is that it's a completely blank canvas. You start with your three axes, and you can create endless worlds. You can adjust parameters like gravity, the size of a planet, your distance from the sun... The laws of physics are entirely malleable, and as a result, we can generate incredible things. This also applies to bodies; we can have bodies with textures that have nothing to do with skin, and bodies that go beyond the norm and still remain functional. 3D has also allowed me to develop solitary spaces. You spend hours on a computer working in your room, and alongside the 3D spaces you create, you find yourself in a bubble that allows you to step outside of time.

Who are some queer artists you are currently collaborating with?

I work a lot with Valerie Reding; it's always great. Of course, there's the whole Oil team, and besides that, I work a lot with Julie Folly, Nahuel Mendes in Buenos Aires on the L-AZCO project, which is a duo performance. This project is evolving a lot right now. But more than the people, I like working within structures, having a mandate, and then being able to choose who to work with. I also work a lot based on personal connection, places and energies, and I really enjoy repeating collaborations when they go well. Sometimes we have proposals to occupy spaces, and naturally, this creates a rich network of collaboration, enriching the work more and more. It's fed by information, and it moves away from the cliché of the tormented artist with their monologue.

Indeed, it's much more stimulating to work with other people; it allows for much more experimentation.

Yes, and everything is an experiment on every project. I never feel like I've finished something and know exactly where I'm going. The more I progress on a project, the less I understand it. And it's when I understand it the least that I feel I should let go of it. I don't have the "Eureka, I'm done" moment. I start with the "Eureka" and evolve from there, creating a sprawling rhizome. In the end, there will surely be something that resonates, even if it's a bit surreal, unconscious, and abstract. That's where I feel most comfortable in my work, whether alone or with others. We're not trying to intellectualize everything, explain all the details. Generally, I create very instinctively and intuitively—even though there are theories about instinct and how it's shaped by the context in which we live. But I have a fairly visceral approach, especially since I've been in Buenos Aires because I know that every creative act, even if it seems instinctive, is actually generated by something much more powerful than intellect.

How did you experience the transition from your studies to the life of an artist?

I completed my studies in 2018, and for my diploma project, I made a short film called "I Fall in Love With Everybody," and this project marked the beginning of many things. At that time, I had already explored questions of intimacy and sexualities extensively.

But what is intimacy? How do we define it? These are questions that remain open; personally, I find it challenging to define the concept of intimacy.

Shortly after this project we created Oil. In our eyes, we finally had the necessary legitimacy, and we weren't ashamed of having dissident sexual practices. Through video, we can show others different ways of making love, and that's why post-pornography is also generous. It has something extra; it offers new things. These practices don't harm anyone, and they can boost self-confidence.

What can you tell us about the importance of Utopias?

There's something about this in artistic creation. We have the right to imagine the most horrible and gruesome things, but we can also imagine beautiful and dreamlike things through utopia. It can be a future that is extremely distant or very close but has parameters that make the world pleasant, even if only for the queer community, for example. With the L-AZCO project, we are trying to create a performance that almost turns into an installation, creating a space in which everyone can perform. It's a project based on balance, using elastic bands. If one performer resists the elastic, it disrupts the balance of the other, but if the forces are well distributed, we can play on this very delicate limit that refers to human relationships. This balance is so sensitive and fragile that the slightest thing can tip it over. It may seem kitschy, but the performance also speaks about human connections, which can go from beautiful and essential to extremely painful and traumatic in no time. We talk about how we are affected by relationships, how we translate emotional and affective information. These are post-traumatic reflexes, and it once again brings us back to how we process the emotional information we receive. The L-AZCO project has become very moving for me; it makes me reflect a lot. It's a work of bodily memory. And what I experience through this performance also inspires me in the creation of films.

It's fantastic how you transition from a purely digital 3D universe to a performance that delves into the sensitivity of the body, physical contact, and emotions.

In the end, it's the same substance; almost the same things happen between my 3D worlds and the performance, except in the performance, nothing is fixed, the final result doesn't get printed, and it remains evolving. It's direct emotion between us and the audience, and every time we perform, we know the outcome will be different. We're seeking new boundaries for the body, so we explore different ways of expressing ourselves each time. We'd also like to give this performance a more theatrical aspect. We go through the process of decoding; that's how the capitalist and heteronormative consumption system works.

When mainstream culture appropriates an alternative movement, that movement often disappears.

With the queer community, as soon as you're decoded, you can be commercialized, and you end up belonging to the system you originally criticized. In utopias, we are constantly projecting ourselves into something new, into constant evolution, so we become undecodable.

Image courtesy of Aron Smith


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