GIANT HANDS, COTTON CANDY, AND SLUGS IN SPACE

INTERACTING WITH TECHNOLOGY WIZARD PHILIP SIERZEGA

Philip Sierzega describes himself as a designer, animator, and artist with a passion for experimentation. His amazing and amusing works allow technology, people and, above all, fun to co-exist in one interactive experience.

Philip studied for his BFA in New Media Design at the Rochester Institute of Technology. Now based in Brooklyn, Philip is an inaugural member of the New Museum’s NEW INC program and the co-founder of the art studio Red Paper Heart. He received a Young Guns Award from the Art Directors Club (YG11), an award that honours the work of creative professionals under 30.

LIGATURE JOURNAL: Technology has really opened doors for you and your work. Is there a certain excitement about how quickly this field is growing? How do you harness this excitement?

PHILIP SIERZEGA: The speed at which the field is changing is both exciting and a bit scary at times. It’s amazing that in less than 10 years most people have learned that almost any flat surface can be a touch screen, no matter its size or orientation. It also means you constantly have to keep up with the latest trends and technologies, often times before they even come to market. It’s exciting to constantly have more tools in my toolbox to help bring my ideas to life, and it’s nice that my work and technology are able to grow together.

LJ: Your work is not only a visual experience but an audio and sensory experience. Is there a specific starting point when creating this interactivity? Do you start with visual or sound, is there a single idea that inspires a project?

PS: Anytime I’m asked to create an interactive experience my starting point is always the user and the audience. I start by asking a couple of questions:

“Who’s going to be using or experiencing this, and what is the setting they’ll be in?”

“Will other people be watching? Is it a single-person or multi-person experience?”

“What’s more important…feeling like you’re totally immersed in something,
or being able to watch someone experience it?”

It’s the same as doing a user scenario or case study for a website or a marketing campaign – you are identifying the target audience to make sure what you’re saying is being heard. Once you know more about the people and the place, you can add the visual, auditory, and sensory layers to create the actual experience.

Catch the rest of our chat with SIERZEGA in Ligature Journal Issue Three.


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