Fascinated by the intersection between “bytes & mortar,” Ricardo is a versatile leader with 15+ years of experience turning innovative ideas into tangible solutions. Determined to drive digital transformation, entrepreneurship, and tackling challenges within the construction and real estate industries. Adept at securing strategic partnerships amongst stakeholders and envisioning the growth potential of web3 opportunities.
Ricardo J Rodríguez De Santiago (@bytesandmortar) is a recovering architect, futurist, and digital creator exploring the fringes of architecture, tech, and Puerto Rican culture. Based in the Washington Dc metro area, he works with Artificial Intelligence algorithms to generate views of what he describes as “present futures.” His AI-generative explorations are anachronistic, irreverent, and delve into topics as varied as contemporary politics and the metaverse. Ricardo’s pieces are a reaction against “professional exceptionalism,” which he sees as dehumanizing and monopolizing creative discourses.
His previous career heavily influences Ricardo’s compositions. A background in architecture and construction overlaps with a love of sci-fi cinema. The images Ricardo generates a wide array of artificial landscapes product of his long fascination with the intersection between “bytes & mortar” and his 15-year experience with virtual design & construction and digital transformation. His preferred medium, AI-powered text-to-image algorithms, is highly experimental, iterative, and at times, controversial. Ricardo describes his work with algorithmic platforms as a collaboration, a product of “having a conversation with a hallucinating computer.” He sees the accelerated progress of AI-generated images as challenging timeless paradigms of what we consider art. Access to “bottled” and boundless creativity allows for unburdened and concurrent explorations by seemingly anyone. In this interaction, a creator's inputs are both ends and means, used with and by the AI.
Ricardo’s algorithmic creations combine text and image, abstraction and coherence, timelessness and casualness. When broaching the subject of his native Puerto Rico, his works focus on the dichotomies of affluence vs. poverty, formal vs. informal, and tradition vs. futurism. The gray zones where Ricardo sees fertile ground. His naive and casual approach is a deliberate reaction against the strict dogmas. Ricardo routinely borrows Puerto Rican idioms and relies on folkloric imagery to provoke questions about Puerto Rico's colonial position and the injustices it perpetuates. At times his visual language is sharply political, cynical, blunt in its opposition to colonialism, and advocates for his country’s most urgent problems.
“Nonconformity with everything that needs to be improved,
dissidence with everything that offends human dignity and needs to be changed, and boundless enthusiasm to fight for the nonconformists and dissidents.”