Experimental and Foundation Studies


Clement Valla

Clement Valla is an artist and programmer interested in processes that produce unfamiliar artifacts and skew reality. Valla works within systems, applying a ‘programmed brain’ that pushes problem-solving logic to irrational ends. His recent work examines copies, repetition and reproduction markets – from Chinese ‘Oil-Painting Factories’ to drawings on Amazon’s Mechanical Turk. This work explores the tension between individual creativity and the influence of systems and networks on the individual.

Valla received a BA from Columbia University in 2001, where he studied architecture. After working for architects in the USA, France, and China, Valla began using computers and digital technologies in his own work. He studied the intersection between art and computer programming at the Rhode Island School of Design’s Digital+Media MFA program.

He has collaborated with a number of artists, architects, designers, scientists and archaeologists, developing novel uses for digital technologies. His work has been shown and published internationally. He is currently a full time faculty member in the Graphic Design Department at RISD.

Academic research/ areas of interest

I write instructions and computer code in order to explore systems. My programs are generative. They rely on chance, randomness, repetition and recombination in order to produce complex and unexpected images that lie on the boundary between nature and artifice. I find systems that produce unintended artifacts, unexplored juxtapositions. Glitches, not designed effects. I collect these strange occurrences.

I explore an authorless world at the intersection of human labor and digitized systems, a blurred boundary between human creativity and machine intelligence where computers are built to think increasingly like humans and where humans act like computers , and use them as metaphors for looking at nature and themselves. In this ambiguous territory, I play notions of the hand-made, the mechanical, the natural and the systematic off of each other.