Two Artists, Two Portraits

Maximilian Prüfer © Ronald Clauss
Maximilian Prüfer © Ronald Clauss

ISTA Welcomes Artists in Residence Julia Carrillo and Maximilian Prüfer in April

The Institute of Science and Technology Austria (ISTA) welcomes two new residents for the second round of the ISTA Artist in Residence program . The German conceptual artist Maximilian Prüfer and the Mexican former mathematician turned multidisciplinary artist Julia Carrillo will join the campus community from April to June 2024. They will exchange ideas and start exciting collaborations with ISTA researchers. Get to know these creative minds via these two portraits, in their own words.

A long series of absurd coincidences and adventurous biographical circumstances led me to finally find my artistic niche. Being an artist is a great privilege for me. I am very grateful to society and therefore do my best to give something back to it.

As an ISTA Artist in Residence, I am eager to question my personal beliefs. I’m open to the fact that certain views I used to be convinced were right may turn out to be wrong. In doing so, I will actively seek new areas of application where the interface of art and science can make a social or ecological contribution.

I am delighted to be part of the 2024 ISTA Artist in Residence program!

My name is Julia Carrillo, and I am a multidisciplinary artist with a scientific background. I grew up in Mexico City, in a family of scientists, and have been attracted to creative activities and arts from a young age. My family influenced the way I understand and observe the world. As a child, I used to build toys and various objects using tools I could find in the physics labs of my parents’ friends at the university. At the age of 13, I became interested in photography and started courses in analog development processes. This determined many of the paths I have followed ever since as an artist. Later on, I did my bachelor’s in mathematics at the National Autonomous University of Mexico and then earned a master’s degree in visual arts at the Academia de San Carlos, also in Mexico. Thereupon, I spent a year at the New York School of Visual Arts on a scholarship for artistic improvement.

Today, my work centers on an artistic reflection and exploration of apparently simple physical phenomena and principles, like waves or the minimum energy principle, and how they interact with the physical space through artifactual contexts. I am particularly interested in how these events are made manifest through the articulation of devices that bring them closer to our capacities. In my work, I represent phenomena in artistic terms, constructing new artifactual arrays to extend our ability to perceive and interact with them. By doing this, I aim to share experiences that can get us closer to phenomena and seek to give new meanings to how we perceive them. I communicate this body of work through languages like photography, sculpture, installation, architecture, and performance.

Previously, my work mostly focused on features of phenomena that are assumed to exist independently of human existence. Part of my earlier activities found crucial input in periods of the history of science, particularly in the history of astronomy and geometry. Currently, some of my new interests involve examining contemporary phenomena that are co-created between humans and nature. I am interested in more sustainable ways of approaching human goals and curiosities. These include concerns like space conquest and its effects on climate change and, more generally, the current ecological crisis. Looking forward, my interests are leading me to also investigate cutting-edge science, which makes my stay as a 2024 Artist in Residence at ISTA timely. During my residency, I would like to explore ways to artistically express various technological and theoretical advancements that shed light on how we understand our place in the world.