Bio

Sofian Audry is an artist, scholar, Professor of Interactive Media within the School of Media at the University of Quebec in Montreal (UQAM). His work is inspired from visual art, artificial intelligence, artificial life, biology and cognitive sciences. His computational artistic practice branches through multiple media including robotics, interactive installations, immersive environments, physical computing interventions, internet art, and electronic literature.

Audry studied computer science and mathematics at University of Montreal (BSc, 2001) where he completed a master in machine learning (MSc, 2003); following which he obtained a master in communication (interactive media) at UQÀM (MA, 2010). His PhD is in Humanities from Concordia University (2016). In 2017 he was a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and between 2017 and 2019 he was an Assistant Professor at the University of Maine and at Clarkson University. Sofian is actively involved in his community as part of artist-run center Perte de Signal (Montréal, Canada) which he led as president of the board in 2009-2017, and as core developer of open source softwares MapMap and Plaquette.

His work and research have been shown at major international events and venues such as Ars Electronica, Barbican, Centre Pompidou, Club Transmediale, Dutch Design Week, Festival Elektra, International Digital Arts Biennale, International Symposium on Electronic Art, LABoral, La Gaîté Lyrique, Marrakech Biennale, Nuit Blanche Paris, Society for Arts and Technology, V2 Institute for Unstable Media, Muffathalle Munich and the Vitra Design Museum.

"Driven by a fascination for autonomous, adaptive and self-organizing systems, I create fragile, affective, out-of-control machinic systems to generate evocative media experiences. These hybrid, dynamic assemblages blur the boundaries between technology and nature, science and culture, human and non-human. My open-ended and stratified works expand through different complexity levels, like life itself.

Computer programming is the cornerstone of my practice. I see it not only as a tool but also both a material and a creative practice. My algorithms are built within multiple materials such as image, light, sound and movement, creating dynamic artworks with diverse and hybrid forms. My dedication to using open source software and material, combined with my practice’s specific fusion of art and science speaks to my engagement in alternative dialogues for knowledge creation and dissemination.

My practice borrows from experimental science and hacking. I develop my projects iteratively through short research and development cycles in which ideas, forms and matter collide. Each new project becomes another opportunity to engage in a dialogue with matter, to enact the world around me. I picture myself working through this situation as an embodied agent, exchanging with my environment in an ongoing feedback loop.

My recent works stage autonomous electronic agents as they evolve within under-controlled environments. Rather than being directly engineered, their behavior emerges out of the indeterminate collision between their inner motivations, their bodies and their habitat. I thus invert, so to speak, the locus of control: neither the artist nor the audience have direct control over the agent's performance. In line with this endeavour, I am currently exploring machine-learning algorithms in dynamic artworks as means of generating new forms of aesthetic experience."

– Sofian Audry