aaajiao is a Shanghai-based new media artist known for his avant-garde mixture of computer science and art. His multidisciplinary approach uses data, algorithms, vectors, and coding to visualize and produce tangible objects out of highly abstract relationships.
Born in 1984 in Xi’an, China, aaajiao’s trajectory from computer scientist to new media artist sees him constantly pushing into previously unexplored territories. From founding China’s very first co-working space Xindanwei to also starting the comprehensive Chinese new media blog we-need-money-not-art.com in 2006, aaajiao’s involvement in digital arts and culture in China has been very prolific.
This year, aaajiao has moved to a new studio on the outskirts of Shanghai in an old abandoned woodworking factory. Taking over an entire floor which overlooks the Huangpu River, aaajiao and his collaborators now have their own dedicated space to experiment, create, and put the finishing touches on artwork.
Coming from a production process that relied solely on a factory’s manufacturing time, aaajiao says, “My work process is different from other artists because they tend to wait for the factories to make their ideas actualize in the very final step. I use the factory as a tool, and control the process every step of the way.”
Working with jewellery designer Shen Lei and longtime collaborator Xu Cong, aaajiao created a series of wearable interactive art pieces, called Ornaments. Edible, magnetic, transformative, and also functional, this work raises questions about how technology can integrate with everyday objects.
Although his work starts on the computer using programming languages such as Processing, in his new studio it is translated into the physical realm using cotton, copper, LED displays, 3D printing, concrete, and even sugar.
Currently, aaajiao is working on a clothing series with a fashion designer which will also merge workwear uniforms with uniquely generated pattern designs. He says, “Working with different mediums and production methods is an amazing way to learn new things.”
“A lot of people are now also doing new media, but what’s really important is how you use your medium and process to solve interesting problems.” In addition to fashion, aaajiao also plans to experiment with furniture design in the future.