Meet the New Media Artists

Daniel Iregui, founder of the Montréal-based digital art studio Iregular, is a programmer who thinks in 0s and 1s, a coder who appreciates the order of algorithms, and a software designer who uses technology to create objects that exist in the real world. But as much as he relies on technology to create his art, he thinks of it as a means to an end, a tool in his kit rather than a driving force.

“For me, technology for technology’s sake… is interesting, but I don’t love technology outside of work,” he says. “I don’t have the latest gadget. That part of technology doesn’t move my emotional needle at all.” Instead, what gets him excited is his code, his algorithms, his software to influence human behavior.

Take, for example, one of his most popular installations: Control No Control. “It’s a giant cube that has these graphics that are white and minimal,” he explains. “It feels physical, but it’s moving and it’s light, so the moment you see it, it really catches your attention.” It’s also noisy, in a glitchy way that’s slightly ominous. “It’s beautiful, but threatening,” Daniel concludes, yet still intriguing enough to make you want to touch it. And when you do, it responds. “You’re having this moment and this connection with something you’ve never seen, and other people are looking at you, and you become part of the piece.”

This is the moment he strives for. “The piece for me is never the object; it’s that situation I create where people interact with the object… There’s nothing more challenging — but also, when it happens, more satisfying — than to see somebody walking and suddenly stop, look at the thing you did, and then change direction.”


The easiest way to get people to notice something is to create it on a larger-than-life scale, Daniel says. “You put a big object in a public space, and people are really attracted to it.” Daniel is interested in stimulating the senses: sound, touch and, recently, smell — which he’s begun to explore as more than just as a background player. He wants to control the when, the where, and the how of smell, creating a truly immersive experience that leaves his audience transformed.

Daniel’s ability to wield technology to open up new avenues of creation and human connection is what makes him an XLIST New Media Artist. These artists are the vanguard of a new world of art, where “look but don’t touch” has been replaced by an invitation to touch, feel, listen, smell, and even taste — to interact with the art and also with each other.


XLIST 2023: The New Media Artists

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 “When you’re not just visually immersed but also physically immersed — and socially interacting with others, and holding maybe your wife or boyfriend or child or friend’s hand and doing this together — it just takes things to another level,” says Paul Raphael, a trailblazer in virtual-reality entertainment. He and fellow XLISTER Félix LaJeunesse met in film school and, for a while, made more traditional films, dabbling in music videos, commercials and shorts. But they were always chasing a more immersive form of storytelling, one that “put the viewer in a mental state that opened them up to a degree we couldn’t do with just film.” At first, they played around with visual effects, projections, and stereoscopy, eventually producing the first VR film ever made, Strangers with Patrick Watson.


Their focus these days is on exhibit-style experiences, like The Infinite, a life-size reproduction of the International Space Station in Denver, Colorado. “As you free roam around the space, you can touch these floating orbs… where we have filmed capsules of 3D content,” Paul says. “You’ll hit an orb, it will engulf you, and that will last 30 seconds to a minute; then you’ll be back into the real-time ISS, free to explore, touch another orb, and get immersed once again.”

Whatever they’re working on, their goal is to put their audience in a state of receptivity, an almost trance-like state that “cracks you open in a way where you allow all of this into a much deeper level than you would if you were just looking at something rather than being a part of it.”

Of course, not all of our New Media XLISTERS employ the latest sound location technology or generative AI. Known for her photorealistic pencil drawings, Australian artist
CJ Hendry takes a decidedly lo-fi approach to engaging the senses, using bouncy castles and wigs to encourage her audience to reconsider how they think about a certain topic. “My goal is to pick unusual ideas and use them in new, interesting ways… ideas you could experience in a way that could even be considered bizarre,” CJ said in an interview with Made in Bed.

But even for New Media Artists who rely on emerging technologies — like Barnaby Steel, Ersin Han Ersin, and Robin McNicholas, the trio behind the UK’s Marshmallow Laser Feast, whose projects include interactive laser forests and aquatic worlds where speaking creates unique “voice fruits” — the point is the human element, the goal to shift perspectives and change behavior.

Guillaume Borgomano, Multimedia Director for the entertainment studio Moment Factory, puts it succinctly: “The art we create shapes the experience, and the experience brings the art to life.  Art is the creative expression, the vision, and the conceptual backbone of what we craft. It begins with an idea, a story, or a message that we want to convey. Experience is about how this art is lived, felt, and interacted with by the audience. It’s the journey, the environment they immerse themselves in, and their emotional responses to the art.”

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XP Land is for experiential creatives and experience-makers, brand leaders, and IP-owners, space stewards and venue visionaries — all those in the business of epic gatherings and live, immersive storytelling.