Daniel Eric Carlos Hector Alberto Sabio (b. Augusta, GA, USA, 1988) is a Puerto Rican conceptual new media artist and creative technologist living and working in Chicago, IL (location subject to change).
Their work primarily focuses on performance and installation arts and is driven by a deep interest in science and spiritualism balanced with an understanding of emotional and transformational responses to an art experience (plus an occasional dash of humor).
Most well-known for their live audiovisual performances, their work ranges from virtual reality performances and multichannel sound installations to brain/heart controlled artworks and video game experiences, with the chosen medium being a reflection of the concept of that work.
Despite using new technologies in the production of their art, their creations commonly question technology’s relationship with humanity, and explore ideas aiming to challenge the bounds of an observer’s philosophical grounding and universal view.
For nearly 10 years, the artist’s work has been welcomed at diverse festivals and symposiums including Ars Electronica, ISEA (International Symposium of Electronic Art), SXSW (South by Southwest), Bass Coast, VRHAM!, FILE, LEV, and DreamHack, among others. It has been awarded placement in Oculus Launchpad, Art Omi:Music Fellowship, Berlin Sessions Residency, UNCSA METL Immersive Storytelling Residency, and Zoo Labs Music Accelerator.
As a local organizer, they founded Art in Tech Atlanta and are a founding member of Volta Laboratory Social Club, an internet-based music and arts label. They have been invited internationally to speak at Google DevFest, IAM Weekend, Chaos Computer Congress, and Tate Modern, to name a few.
In professional realms, they are a former member of Envoy Chicago (Leviathan), Cosmic Lab in Osaka, IMRSV in Berlin, and contribute as needed to Ommatidium Studios in Edmonton.
In human realms, they enjoy snowboarding, nature-ing, making art, seeing art, making music, seeing music, and spending time with their canim.
Their artistic history starts with a deep interest in video games, at around age 4 while skipping violin practice to play Mario and Ninja Turtles on Nintendo, when they decided they would be a game programmer. Following that dream through high school they discovered the need to take “computer science” courses and compiled a base knowledge of C++, Visual Basic, and Java by age 16. They also switched from violin to drums.
Going into higher education at the Georgia Institute of Technology, they switched majors on the second day after discovering a new one specifically for video games (but really creativity with computer science) called Computational Media. They also met Roark Bailey and Eddie Torres and started a band or three, finding their hands more suited as a percussionist. During their time there, they delved into a diverse range of courses, including African Film and the Digital Narrative, Experimental Digital Art, and Computer Audio. As part of their international study, they had the opportunity to explore the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya in Barcelona, Spain, as well as Bilkent University in Ankara, Turkey.
Driven by their curiosity and experimental nature outside of classes, Sabio attended many graffiti parties and hacker spaces while in Barcelona in 2008. In one such space, Hangar, they discovered the ability to create art from code (by hacking a PlayStation controller to make a VJ system). They never looked back, and this inspired a life-long artistic practice incorporating technology into experimental, philosophical expression.
The following school year, the artist ventured to Accra, Ghana for an internship doing web design for a media company called GMA. Aside from working on the websites, Sabio was invited as a DJ for the Y! FM station, and they spent every spare moment learning music from regional masters in djembe and kora. Unfortunately working 8 hours and studying music for 4 hours each day in sub saharan heat can take its toll, and the artist was forced to abruptly end this journey due to health concerns. However, the griot traditions learned during this time remain close to the artist’s heart.
The years immediately after their graduation from Georgia Tech (2011-2013) were spent hitchhiking across Turkey and Europe, and then working at digital agencies and freelance web development (in Switzerland, Jackson Hole, and Nicaragua), with limited free time spent on their artistic practice. After being accepted into a Master’s program at Baltic Film Academy, they declined in favor of working on a documentary film with renowned percussionist Layne Redmond.
It was during this period with Layne that an artistic balance was found. Perhaps inspired by the elder artist’s rigorous work ethic and dedication to joyfully playing in nature. and through various collaborations the artist was able to show work publicly, both locally and internationally. Together they worked on an experimental documentary entitled Axe Orixa, detailing the rhythms and dances of the African spiritual tradition Candomble in Brazil.
After Layne’s death, the artist returned to Atlanta to be amongst friends and regular collaborators, in search of community. It was during this time, while working at a tech incubator (TechSquare Labs), that Sabio saw many disparate communities in Atlanta that should be unified. Thus, the artist formed the Art in Tech Atlanta Meetup, a regular meetup to discuss creative programming and arts in technology. The group grew to over 3,000 members in the artist’s time in the city, and was left in the capable hands of regulars in the group.
Seeing similar gaps in the music scene in Atlanta, together with Dylan Banks, Colin Mulligan, and Peter Roglin, they created Volta Laboratory Social Club (VLSC), a music and events label known for organization of cross-scene, cross-genre events (that usually included an art installation or two). Not long after its formation, the label added key member of the Atlanta Synthesizer Club, Eric Flohr Reynolds, to its roster, and together the two organizations were able to organize innovative events for the Atlanta area.
Concurrently happening in the broader tech world at the time, virtual reality had arrived as consumer tech, and with the relative proximity to new tech companies, the artist had an early chance to try the HTC Vive. Immediately something clicked, and where in the past they would have to carefully think over projector logistics to create immersive spaces, they saw the potential to instead build 3D worlds and have those be immersive installations that the headsets help people explore. A week after obtaining the headset and starting on an installation, they discovered the ability to make music in VR…and again, never looked back.
After performing in VR at numerous conferences and venues, the artist wished to explore new horizons in sound design, and ventured to Berlin to the School of Machines, Making, and Make Believe, specializing in Ecoacoustics (Spatial Audio Sound Design) in 2018. This intensive program took place in Funkhaus and MONOM, and allowed them to delve into binaural recording techniques, 360 audio mixing, interactive sound design with SPAT in MaxMSP, multiple channel audio techniques, and the creation of binaural recording rigs.
As the program ended, Sabio saw potential in the XR and music communities in Berlin, and extended their stay for around two years, forging bonds with Music Tech Germany, Berlin Sessions, and Radiance Arts, and collaborating regularly with the multidisciplinary collective IMRSV. Despite previous appearances at festivals, it was while in Berlin that the artist received their first placement in an exhibition at a gallery show (Galerie Weisser Elefant) for their VR installation Justin Time. After a string of residencies and festival appearances, the artist received an invite (after months sitting in the spam box) for a residency in Tokyo, Japan.
During the three month residency in Tokyo at ARTnSHELTER, Sabio found a deeper connection to their artistic practice, and the balance between ancient cultures, science and technology. They also discovered Cosmic Lab, a group with similar interests based in Osaka. They met with Cosmic Lab for a few of their performances, and invited the group for a studio visit in Tokyo. After Sabio’s solo show (featuring two immersive pieces: Justin Time and Black Iris) at ARTnSHELTER, they invited the artist to join the creative lab in Osaka at the start of 2020.
From here, Sabio’s professional life becomes one directly based on their art practice, with time spent at Cosmic Lab (and subsequently Envoy), contributing to the programming of interactive experiences using TouchDesigner, Unreal Engine, Unity, C++, Python, and Roblox. Their rapid prototyping skills (with cutting-edge code libraries, sensors, and previz systems) and ability to meet tight deadlines for art grants has translated directly into satisfying some of the world’s most demanding clients.
The artist’s continued involvement in collaborative and community work has not ceased, founding music and fashion-focused Ommatidium Studios with Evan Pierce and Josh Tokarsky while in Japan, working with art house game studio Otro Inventario (founded by Leo Castenada and Lauren Monzon) and helping Thorne Brandt as needed with the audiovisual venue DADS (Digital Arts Demo Space) in Chicago.
Despite working normal hours, Sabio continues their “time is malleable” hustle, and their artistic pursuits continue to garner acclaim, with their works regularly being featured in festivals, exhibitions, and conferences worldwide. As The Glad Scientist, they have left their mark on events such as the Venice Biennale, LEV Festival, FILE Brazil, and Ars Electronica, and exhibited art in galleries in New York, Tokyo, Miami, Berlin, Shanghai, among many others. Their relatable and kind persona has granted them speaking opportunities at Google DevFest, IAM Weekend, Chaos Computer Congress, and Tate Modern, to name a few. Their creations continue to stay relevant in asking poignant questions about our relationships with ourselves and technology, and their collaborations continue to be as compassionate as ever.
Now, Sabio wants you to do what you can’t avoid, no matter how hard you try. Sabio wants you to “be glad, make science”. 🙂
Bachelor of Science, Computational Media | 2006 – 2011
Key Courses: African Film and the Digital Narrative, Experimental Digital Art, Design for the Internet, Media Studies, Video Production, and Computer Audio.
International Study: Universitat Politecnica de Catalunya in Barcelona, ES | Bilkent University in Ankara, Turkey.
++with Rosa Arriaga, PhD., on the implication of BLUI (Blowable User Interface) technology in HCI to improve ecological conditions of pediatric asthma treatment, with a focus on low socioeconomic families.
++with Matthew Swarts, helping to teach high school students intriguing uses of isovist 3D modeling, as a part of the SURE (Student Undergraduate Research Experience): Tech to Teaching program
School of Machines, Making, and Make Believe
Intensive, Ecoacoustics (Spatial Audio Sound Design) | 2018 Intensive Focus: Binaural recording techniques and 360 audio mixing | Interactive sound design with SPAT in MaxMSP | Multiple channel audio techniques | Creation of binaural recording rigs (dummy ears) | Recording and Mixing of original spatial compositions
Senior Creative Software Engineer @ Envoy
Nov 2021-July 2023 | Chicago, USA
-Programming of interactive experiences using TouchDesigner, Unreal Engine, C++, Python, Unity, and Roblox.
-Rapid prototyping and environment deployment of sensors, bleeding edge code libraries, and staging systems for bespoke interactive systems.
-Development of client-facing CMSes to simplify the management for bespoke interactive experiences with a variety of complex sensor architectures and API integrations.
-Principal engineer on major client account, with daily communication and guidance for onsite maintenance team, and regular client interaction.
VR Dev in Residence @ UNCSA METL Immersive Storytelling Residency
May 2021-Oct 2021 | Winston-Salem, USA
-Programming of VR+AR immersive interactive story in Unreal Engine and TouchDesigner.
-Translation of multiplayer interactions (across phones and headset) into custom metadata system for generating unique physical takeaways at the end of the experience.
-Synchronization of iPhone Facial Mocap and sophisticated Vicon Motion Capture system to expedite the capture of realistic animation performances for the duration of the experience.
-Collaboration with screenwriters, sound designers, and 3D artist to develop an original sci-fi quantum narrative from scratch, and manifest it into a public facing work at SECCA (SouthEastern Center for Contemporary Art).