Born in 1980, Dutch-Brazilian Rafaël Rozendaal lives and works in New York. A visual artist who uses the internet as his canvas, his artistic practice consists of websites, installations, drawings, writings and lectures and attracts an online audience of over 40 million visits per year. He is also the creator of BYOB (Bring Your Own Beamer), an open source DIY curatorial format that has been rapidly spreading across the world.
Rafaël began his talk by explaining how his work lies somewhere between the cartoon and the painting. “I thought of self-empowerment as soon as I saw the internet,” he says. “I loved the way everyone on the internet has the same sized screen and platform to work with, whether you are an anonymous individual or Coca Cola.” His first successes were a ‘farting game’ called Mr. Nice Hands and a repetitive perspective illusion involving towers of dollar bills that never seem to get closer or further away as the stacks automatically rise.
Rafaël explained how he uses domain names as frames – “the title is name of the work as well as its location and part of the work.” He told us he is interesting in “interaction for the sake of interaction” while showing us works that involve a simple button that clicks on and off with no results whatsoever, a hand whose fingers fold and unfold as you click them, and a toilet roll that scrolls to infinity. “My ideas are so basic it’s sometimes embarrassing,” he admits.