Daniel Palacios [ES]

Receptive Environments



Receptive Environments, 2011, Laser engravings on wood sheets.

Receptive Environments

A receptive environment is that one which is in constant change, the one always shifting from state to state, adapting itself to its surroundings. We are part of it, but we are only able to perceive change as big differences, starting and end points, while the process itself remains invisible to us.

The project deals with those limits by creating a series of images that represents change over time. A growing organism, which slowly evolves from picture to picture, created by the visualization of data captured (previously) from the environment where the pieces are exhibited; becoming logs of our everyday experience.

All the representative data (air quality, temperature, humidity, light color, light and sound levels, etc.) is collected during a significant time frame for the specific place. The data is analyzed and visualized in the form of a vegetal-like organism, where its global shape, nerves and every defining element is related to the data variations.

Rather than showcasing key-points, the growth is fed by the data, meaning that the data is never represented on a clean slate but added to what is already there, so it takes into consideration mixed factors and behaves differently on every occasion.

Those computer graphics are then laser etched on thin birch sheets, taking them far away from the digital imaginary but closer to something as natural as leafs.


For this special edition of the project in Trondheim, a new series of pieces will compile two weeks of data in different scales and formats, so:

– Each panoramic frame will arrange 7 individual pieces within it, each one compiling one day of data, visualizing the week as a group.
– Each square frame compiles 7 days, merging that same week of data into one bigger engraving.
– The large frame visualizes the full dataset in one single engraving.

The series of small pieces recreates the process on a daily basis, generating an individual engraving per day. They are fed with the data only from that specific period, thus showcasing a more analytic view of short-term patterns and how they affect the shape.

The two one-week pieces grow during a longer period, merging seven days of data into one engraving. Rather than resetting the process with new data every day, it keeps being added to the actual shape, which keeps expanding thus generating a more complete view of the effects of data changes over time.

The bigger piece becomes a time-line by merging the complete dataset into one single engraving, which reveals how even the stable values can affect differently in a long-term process. The mix of values every step of the way, as well as its relation to the shape that already exists at the moment of adding every new bit of data, decides how ramifications grow and die while the organism keeps expanding.


The sensor box: air quality, temperature, humidity, light color, light and sound levels.

Daniel Palacios creates machines that can scan and visualize the flow of visitors, objects that communicate with their viewers by means of artificial intelligence, or images that represent the intricate relations of a specific moment and space.

Viewed in terms of form alone, his artworks consist of complexly functioning machinery with scarcely comprehensible software components. Beyond such technical aspects, however, the artist’s works are stirring inasmuch as they are concerned with extremely human, philosophical questions, about perception, memory, time and space.

The fascination of Palacios’s works derives from such intuitively comprehensible spatial images and experiences, as well as the discrepancy between technical precision of its production and a subjective reproduction of reality.

His practice leads him through a methodical exploration of the world, which beyond the subject matter in each project, the research itself becomes part of the process of the artist; sharing the amassed knowledge in workshops and lectures, as well as creating beautiful artworks.

His works has been presented at many museums, festivals and art fairs of Europe, Asia and America including CAAC, MEIAC, ZKM, NAMOC and Ars Electronica. They are part of public and private collections worldwide, as well as widely awarded, including twice by the international VIDA Art and Artificial Life contest; and featured on several specialized books and publications as Leonardo by MIT Press among others.