Ralf Baecker (*1977 Düsseldorf) lives and works in Berlin and Bremen. His artistic practice is located at the intersections of art, science and technology. In addition to studying media art at the Academy of Media Arts in Cologne (2002–2007), he has a background in computer science and electrical engineering. In his practice he combines algorithmic-generative thinking with a sculptural way of working.
Baecker's kinetic and electromechanical installations and machines explore fundamental mechanisms of the digital, cybernetics, artificial neural networks and artificial life. The behavior of his complex and poetic objects oscillates between algorithmic/artificial and organic/nature-like. As translations and spatializations of digital processes, they allow an alternative look behind the surfaces of contemporary technology and its power structures. His objects are physical realizations of thought experiments that function as subjective epistemological objects, asking fundamental questions of the digital, technology, complexity, and the boundaries between nature and technology. His projects probe new imaginaries of the machinic, the artificial, and the real. It's a radical form of engineering that combines traditionally discrete machine thinking with alternative technological perspectives and a new understanding of materials that utilizes principles of self-organization.
Baecker has received numerous awards and grants for his artistic work, including the Grand Prize of the Japan Media Art Festival in 2017, honorable mentions at the 2012 and 2015 Prix Ars Electronica, a second prize at the VIDA 14.0 Art & Artificial Life Award in Madrid, a working fellowship from Stiftung Kunstfonds Bonn, the 2010 Lower Saxony Foundation Working Fellowship for Media Art, and a fellowship from the Graduate School of the Arts at UdK Berlin and the Einstein Foundation. His work has been presented at international festivals and exhibitions, including the International Triennial of New Media Art in Beijing, Künstlerhaus Wien, ZKM in Karlsruhe, Martin-Gropius-Bau in Berlin, WINZAVOD in Moscow, LABoral Centro de Arte in Gijón, Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona, InterCommunication Center in Tokyo, Kasseler Kunstverein and Malmö Konsthall.
Since 2016 Ralf Baecker has been teaching at University of the Arts Bremen as a professor for Experimental Design of New Technologies.