Artist Statement 

My work investigates the fundamental logic of digital technology, communication, and mark-making. I am interested in how history, heritage, and human codes exist within these realms. The digital domain has changed the way that we relate to each other, to the world, and to information at large. Information and knowledge are simultaneously omnipresent and continuously fleeting.

Through the video pieces, Dante's Inferno in 8 minutes 34 seconds and The Odyssey of Homer in 8 minutes 43 seconds, I invite the viewer to meditate on these notions. An indecipherable onslaught of text flows through the screen displaying the entirety of the epic poems. The compression of thousands of years of shared human knowledge and intellectual evolution into duplicable bits and bytes residing in ungraspable space is the conceptual footing for my work. From this point of departure, I investigate and decipher the logic and the machinery, not as an engineer but as an artist.

Working primarily in video and photography, I attempt to humanize the technology by interacting with it on humanistic terms: perception, language, and the senses. I touch, inspect, and confront the technology as naively as a child would. The video piece ABC, 123 is a recording of my handwriting of the alphabet letters A to Z, the number system 0 to 9, and my first name on the surface of a screen of a laptop computer. My intention is to question the status of traditional forms of communication and learning in contemporary culture, where technology is further mediating our experiences. I investigate the language within the computer's logic in Computer Simulation: Binary Language Lessons 1-3. In this piece I attempt to speak in the digital language of zeros and ones, following the format of a foreign language educational video. The intent is to examine the extraordinary complexity of the binary system, whilst drawing attention to its bare-bone simplicity and incompatibility with human expression.

Google Data 1, and Alternate Narratives are experiments in which I attempt to work with the Internet as a database from which to construct history. After searching the internet for my own name, Jesus Aguilar, I compiled information into a fictional construction of three separate narratives, offering "alternate realities" to the lives of myself and my namesakes.

My inquiries on the digital are analog in nature by simply recording a concept, a thought, or a proposition embedded into a simple gesture. As a conceptual artist, my materials are ideas and meaning.


Jesus Aguilar was born in San Lucas de O'Campo, Durango, Mexico and lives and works in the San Francisco Bay Area. In 2006, he received his MFA in Video and Multimedia from Mills College in Oakland, and in 1999, his BFA in Photography from San Jose State University. He's been awarded the Headlands Center for the Arts MFA Studio Residency, the Herringer Prize for Excellence in Studio Art, and a grant from the James Irvine Foundation for Intersections at the 2nd Bienniel 01SJ Global Festival of Art on the Edge.

Recent shows include, Floating Chronologies, at Space 47 in San Jose, The Projected Image, at Sonoma State University, In the Beginning, at UC San Diego's Art Gallery , The Contact Project, in Lancaster, United Kingdom, No Entropy, a solo show at Stephen Wirtz Gallery, in San Francisco, Ergonomics Exercises, a video installation curated by the Oakland Museum of Art at the Oakland International Airport.

Using Format