05 Dec Interview published on Chinese magazine Southern Weekly
1. What made you come with the idea to use Google Map images in your artwork?
It was 2011 and I worked as an advertising graphic designer. Since 2007, I had devoted myself to landscape photography using my digital reflex. I remember that within three months I got fascinated by an idea: to be a virtual traveller via internet and the satellite maps, still remaining a true nature photographer, not modifying the shots digitally.
2. Google Map contains a vast archive of visual content. When you try to create an artwork, how did you make the selection of google earth images?
Google Maps obviously shows the earth in its wholeness; I decide the photogram, following the philosophy of the great Henri Cartier Bresson who advised “to put on the same line of sight one’s mind, eyes and heart”, even if I no longer use a camera.
3. Upon question 2, more specifically, while you made the artworks of country flags, what made you believe that the selected google images could be good for a certain flag? Were the key features of the related nation also considered while you re-built its flag by earth images?
I consider the physical features of a nation a means to start creating, although not the only one. The current historical, economical and political issues of the world are also determinant for my artistic creativity.
4. It’s interesting to have the images from the different locations in the global on the same art work. Will you introduce a little more about the ideas behind this way? What makes them connected on the same plane?
In every work of mine there is a graphic and chromatic alchemy not easily explained in words. It would be easier to analyze my life paths, the spiritual growth that has always accompanied me, my strong desire to live in a world in harmony with nature. I use the colors of the Earth through maps as a painter would use the colors of his or her palette. The natural shape of the earth in my works might remind the observer of other shapes. My works are images that may contain other visions. They are creative by themselves.
5. While I saw your artworks of country flags, I found you always used the Google Earth images of other countries. For example, the satellite photography of Iceland, Syria and Australia are used to make Belgium’s flag. The flag of Germany is composed by images from Italy, USA, Kazakhstan. What sorts of concepts would you like to deliver?
There is a narrative strength in each one of my satellite flags. For example, I created the Belgian flag in the morning of the terrorist attacks in Brussels on 22nd March 2016…those tragic events influenced me, and so I decided to narrate them in my work. The Brazilian flag, which at first sight makes one think of Amazonia, really represents the Indonesian forest, which is also seriously endangered by men. I always use other places to re-interpret the flag of a nation. The blue of the European Union which portrays nearly the whole of the Atlantic Ocean from east to west, to symbolize the great alliance between Europe and America. The USA flag whose blue is the sea stretch between Libya and Italy, a front for thousands of refugees that decide to cross it to escape from conflicts partly wanted and managed by westerns governments. Finally, the flag of Peace which really gathers all the colors from every corner of the Earth, hoping for a real communion between peoples!
6. In the world now days, many countries or unions have been broken down (i.e. the betwixt event of UK), and many nations are isolated. Do you want to use your works of country flags to call up a certain attention to unification?
No, I am not trying to unite the countries, although their borders are arbitrary, politically created by mankind. While describing my project All the Colors of the World I said “let’s imagine a world where a person is first considered an inhabitant of the Earth and then a citizen of a nation. A world where we are all brothers in sharing diversity, joy, the colors and energy of life”.
7. After you eliminate the borders of time and space in your artworks, what’s the most important messages do you want to deliver? And, do those messages connect to any factors of geography, environment, geology or tourism?
I believe that the new technologies will lead us to interact with virtual reality more and more. The most important message that I would like to convey is to rediscover the ancestral, natural beauty of the Earth in XXI century modernity. Progress cannot be accompanied by a slow and relentless self-destruction. We have a new world to invent and a great ecological challenge to face!
8. These days, people are criticizing the way of imitate the nature and art by technologies. It looks your way is to make arts by nature, while technologies are just the bridge. What do you think of this point? Will your artworks change the way of human being interacting with the nature?
I consider the Earth the most extraordinary work of art ever accomplished. Why do I like to define my art as a bridge connecting the XX century to the digital era? I am a photographer born at the end of the seventies, and in the years in which I was born and grew there was a great proliferation of technological progress (which continues today) which accompanied my life. Today I have the maturity to analyze things from my point of view. Since we started observing the Earth through satellites, our perception of it has also changed as well as our creativity and imagination. I would be very happy if my works of art would contribute to awaken peoples conscience on environmental issues. This is my real mission! If images, intrinsically expressing words and ideas, have a real ethical value, they are transformed into action. Beside beauty, my works offer the simplest and lightest dimension of the earth. Primitive. Where there are no traces of pollution nor of any type of environmental abuse of power. If this aesthetic action will be understood, positive transformations will then happen. Maybe in the long run, but it is right to create and act for a better world.
9. The world is changing over time. In the future, will you think of updating your artworks by the updated images from google earth?
No, all the photos and the reportages will remain unchanged. Every work of mine is printed with the best museum fine art techniques in a limited edition print run of nine copies in a unique big format.
10. Through your revolutionary way of create artworks, I have the strong sense of respect to the nature. Do you think your artwork is going to call people up to eliminate the indifference, and pay more attention to our nature? How do you think your artworks can achieve this goal?
Yes, I believe it and it is happening everywhere my works are circulated and on display, in museums or art galleries. I have still many objectives to achieve, but I have ideas and the will to experiment. I think I am on the right path, when I observe the wonder on the faces of the people who come and see my exhibitions, whether it is the face of a child or of a Hollywood actor. I think that nature will never cease to amaze us.
11. I have strong feeling that your artworks show some instructions to the fantastic corners of the globe. In a same image (i.e. one nation flag), satellite images across multiple locations can exist simultaneously. Do you think they are connected? How do people find out the connections if they are going to visit them?
The satellite flags of the project All the Colors of the World are the result of one year inner and artistic-aesthetic research on the theme of ‘life journey on earth’ and of the peoples that inhabit the earth. The connection is conceptual, the identity of a country, through its flag, is reassembled by the rest of the world.
12. If your fans want to visit the places as touched in your artworks, what’s your advice to them? Where to start? And how to streamline the places?
I could give them the satellite coordinates of the place.
13. What’s your plan in next step?
An International expositive project of Satellite Art. Moreover, I would like to donate every nation its flag, printed on material, symbolically, so that it might be adopted as an ‘Earth version’ flag beside the official one.