If Claudia Maté’s latest work doesn’t crash your computer it will probably melt your brain. Her web page ‘Moody Vibes’ features hundreds of tiny emojis, peppered with little yellow grinning faces and bright pink love hearts wrapped as presents, twirling over one another on a black background with only a loud original Nokia ringtone to jolt you from its trippy screensaver visuals. Built using the _playGnd animation tool, developed by Nick Briz, it’s ever expansive presence, testing a graphics processors’ limitations, is typical of the London-based, Madrid-born Maté’s creations, her practice making her both an experimental digital artist and adept web-developer.
Growing up, Maté says the first thing she ever bought was a computer, or to put it better, the individual pieces of hardware, which, with the help of her dad, were soon assembled to create a fully functioning desktop. Her first website was designed with Adobe Flash while studying 2D animation, and soon enough the childhood papier-mâché and engraving tools were dropped for everything from HTML5 software to DAZ kits. From there an aesthetic that links 90s net-graphics with new codes in a mix-and-match between gifs and dialogue boxes create endless scrolling collages fragmentally referencing disparate ends of the internet.
Now, after spending more time in front of a monitor than anything else in her life, Maté finds herself making shapeless videos on the human form like ‘1′ V trance’, in collaboration with DIS Magazine on web mix cover art, exhibiting at MoMA group show Abstract Currents, developing web pages for girls magazine Pony Tale and co-curates Tumblr page Cloaque with Carlos Sáez. An art project which some have referred to as ‘digital trash images uploaded to the internet and then forgotten’ but which Maté and Sáez lovingly call an index ‘to bring all the artists we admire within.’
When it comes to her personal work though, Maté rejects the idea of collage being a key part of her aesthetic – rightly pointing out most of her pieces are created by her alone. She’s also quick to dismiss being locked into being one of the artists practicing the style termed as ‘New Aesthetic’, under which much net art referencing early computer graphics has been labelled, quite pertinently answering, “we live in a never ending new aesthetic”. It’s clear though that in both her web-design and art there is a rejection of the Apple aesthetics, itself pilfered from industrial designer Dieter Rams minimalism.
Confronted with this juxtaposition between her aesthetic and ‘luxury corporate’, she jokingly replies, “big white spaces make me nervous”. And that’s perhaps the point. Maté isn’t someone who’s worried, “not too much” anyway, about the closing in on internet freedom nor is she all too fascinated by the darknet like artists Eva and Franco Mattes. From humble gifs manipulating kitsch nostalgia in endlessly looping moving-image files to formless sculpture in video, Maté has realised her ambition is to fuse with the internet and interactive 3D technology, in an aesthetic that is non-ideological and immensely pleasurable.**