Q&A: David Wexler, Graphic Designer, on Media, Design and Strangeloop

The following sentence is wrong. The preceding sentence is true. This self-referential paradox that cognitive scientist and philosopher Douglas Hofstadter describes as a “strange loop”, a phenomenon that occurs when you go through real or imagined levels, but unexpectedly get to where he or she started.

The works of David Wexler, a graphic designer also known by the stage name Dr. Strangeloop, are directly inspired by Hofstadter’s analyzes of endlessly recurring objects in his scenographies for Flying Lotus, Erykah Badu and the Rolling Stones.

Wexler will give a conference for Design | Media Art’s lecture series on Tuesday, where he will go backstage to the Broad stage to discuss media form and design.

Daniel Alcazar of the Daily Bruin spoke with Wexler, who was rehearsing for artist EDM Flume’s Australian tour, about his upbringing, his collaboration in creating visual shows and why his next conference is important to him.

Bruin of the day: Where does the name “Strangeloop” come from?

David Wexler: I’ve always loved loops, especially “weird loops”, endless recursive sequences, stuff you see in the work of artists like MC Escher… Video feedback loops are a great way to get an impression. visceral “weird loops”, and when I was a kid, that was one of the fundamentally fascinating effects that drove me to work with video.

BD: Can you preview your presentation?

DW: I want to talk about media, I want to demonstrate the kind of expressiveness that you can exhibit these days when working with live media and I want to discuss in more detail my background in the specific field of design and art in which I am currently in. I also want to talk about my grandfather, Haskell Wexler, who recently passed away. He was a very important person in my life and I know the lives of many others. He had a great relationship with UCLA, and I think if I’m going to be there, I really want to honor him.

Experimental hip-hop artist Flying Lotus performs using one of Wexler’s set design collaborations called “Layer3”. The design features projections behind and in front of the performer, which work in tandem to enhance performance. (Courtesy of Red Bull Music Academy)

BD: Can you talk about upcoming projects?

DW: I am working on a living archive project of all my drawings and paintings. I’m building a new site to distribute visual content, working on a movie with E. Elias Merhige, finishing a music video for Daedelus and Kneebody with Gavin Gamboa, and also lots of exciting stuff I’m not sure about. to be able to speak. In regards to.

BD: Are you a self-taught artist?

DW: I’ve always done art, but I went to film school for a year at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco and studied video installation and “mystical states” at Santa Monica. Middle School. Whatever that means. I think doing my own specialty was my way of focusing more directly on what really interested me in art and design. I guess I’m mostly self-taught, but I’ve had a lot of great mentors, people like Leigh McCloskey (and) E. Elias Merhige, and I’m very lucky to be surrounded by a lot of amazing artists who brought me to life. challenge. and teach me things all the time.

BD: What kinds of themes and ideas influence your work?

DW: Loops, science fiction, altered states, cosmic pessimism, natural patterns, infinite complexity, iterated strobe patterns of hyperdimensional geometry. Hyper-reality, simulations, artificial intelligence, dreams, are also very important (for my work).

BD: How does the collaboration process work when working with other artists?

DW: At this point in my career, I collaborate with many different musicians on creating visual shows. Sometimes there is a lot of direct communication with the musician, but more often than not I collaborate with a lot of different artists and engineers surrounding the musician to create something that visually reflects his sound, his iconography, his universe. The process can be drastically different depending on the show, but involves a lot of the same tools that you might use if you were doing a movie, storyboards, preview, design, edit.

While there seems to be an additional freedom in form, since it hasn’t been around as long as cinema, there is more of a willingness to break convention, to combine sound and image of innovative way that can create new types of storytelling. , or simply treat the imagery as a pure spectacle, somehow devoid of a traditional narrative.

BD: What is your most memorable collaboration?

DW: Not sure I can tell. Flying Lotus, Gaslamp Killer, Skrillex, The Weeknd – all have been very memorable experiences, and I definitely take something different from any artist I collaborate with.

BD: What’s the last song you listened to?

DW: “Holdin On” by Flume… 27 times.

Compiled by Daniel Alcazar, Senior Executive of The Daily Bruin.

Clifton L. Boyd

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