Creative Feature

Daria Jelonek: Recreating Natural Phenomena

Zealous Stories Sculpture winner, Daria Jelonek, is a media artist, researcher and designer based in London. Her work is situated in the field of interactive design and immersive art installations, often focusing on the relationship between nature and technology.

Technological Nature

Technological Nature

Hi Daria, congratulations on winning Zealous Stories Sculpture! You refer to your winning work Technological Nature as an audio-visual sculpture that investigates the augmentation of natural phenomena in everyday life. Could you tell us a more about your exploration of this theme?

I have an ongoing artistic interest in exploring light phenomena. You can find these in nature; in our atmosphere, as well as in artificial light. These phenomena are wonders, which make us as humans contemplate the physics of our world and our relationship to natural laws within our surroundings. Whilst I was exploring the impact of the rising amount of technology in cities, I began speculative research into atmospheric phenomena in our technology. What if a rainbow could arise from our phone? How would we feel about it? Would it make a difference if this happened through natural coincidence or if these wonders were pre-programmed into everyday technology to disrupt us, presenting us with these important moments of wonder?

Technological Nature

Technological Nature 

You mention that Technological Nature resulted from your experience of living with machines that artificially imitate natural light. How did these machines influence your project?

It was important for me to experience these imitation machines before judging them. And even though I wanted to be critical, some of them are really pleasant and can have a positive impact on you. For example, a sun clock that wakes you up with first blue and then orange light, equipped with artificial bird sounds. I still think real biophysical nature is better than artificial nature, but artificial nature can help when our artificial 24/7 rhythm doesn’t allow us to wake up late for instance.

Living with rainbow and aurora machines led me to my next step: looking into everyday technology and how atmospheric phenomena could appear purely “by accident” – through lucky coincidence.

Are these first-hand experiences typically a vital part of your artistic process?

Hands-on research is always part of my art practice. This can either happen through personally experiencing specific phenomenon or technology, interviewing people or experimenting with technology in order to ground my thinking, doing and creating.

Technological Nature

Technological Nature

The light patterns created from your work are beautiful. Could you give us some insight into the technology that you implemented to achieve these mesmerising effects?

Each light pattern is an abstraction of an atmospheric phenomenon, such as Aurora Borealis, blue hour, the green flash, etc. I have used 3D software such as Cinema4D or Houdini to create these digital patterns. The sound is coming from digitally deformed recordings of each technology itself, such as the fridge, which has all the tools to create Northern Lights if conditions are right

As co-founder of the art and design collective Above&Below, could you tell us a little more about the studio’s initiatives and how your own artistic practice feeds into the collaborations and research that takes place there?

Studio Above&Below was founded by artist and designer Perry-James Sugden and myself, after graduating from the Royal College of Art. The manifested practice explores the intersection of art, design and technology. My role within this practice is to push the research of how technology is having a positive but also negative impact on our surroundings and environment.

Technological Nature

Technological Nature

You mention that Technological Nature is an ongoing art research project. Do you think that this work will continue to readapt itself over time as you further explore these themes?

Yes, I am currently preparing the next stage of this project, which will take place this summer during a residency at NKF – Nordic Art Association in Sweden. More details will follow soon, but I plan to further explore the importance of wonders and phenomena in technology and research the impact and future of Artificial Intelligence.



One of your other bodies of work Interference tackles the complexity of light and air pollution. Do you visually present and explore issues like this as a means of spreading awareness?

Absolutely, my interest in the exploration of the intersection of nature and technology is borne out of a desire to create an awareness of our environment and our impact on issues such as climate change. I believe understanding our environment in a deeper way leads to better interactions and increased respect. I hope that through the creation of interactive, playful and meaningful artworks, we can see the relationship between nature and technology in a new light.

What advice would you give to creatives who want to get their work seen and interact with wider audiences?

Love what you do and share your thoughts, mindset and artwork with others. Use every source of support in your emerging digital and physical network and always be fair and nice to people that support you. At this point I want to thank Zealous for their amazing platform which is so helpful as an emerging artist.

Technological Nature – Film 

Daria’s work, Technological Nature was selected by industry guest judges from Artellite, Winter Pride, The Royal Scottish Academy of Art and Architecture, Elephant Magazine and Lacuna Projects.

Daria also won a membership to International Sculpture Center, a subscription to Sculpture Magazine and £80 worth of Yorkshire Sculpture Park publications.

See her work on our homepage.

Website / Follow Daria on Instagram 

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