mycocene multiplexer

Mycocene, 2018

Mycocene is a room sized installation consisting of reanimated electronic waste sculptures and a live cell culture, all occupying a shared dimly lit space. Mycocene uses a juxtaposition of bio-art and electronic (kinetic) sculpture to critique our relation to technology, one that largely ignores the ecological impact technology has on the Earth. Using a mixture of reclaimed electronic waste and the fungal-esque organism slime mold, Mycocene acts as a hybrid between the living and the technological world.

The room of Mycocene contains five electronic waste sculptures all separated but in communication with the slime mold. The slime mold is centered in the room, bathed by a spotlight of green light that emanates to the remainder of the room. The e-waste sculptures, positioned around the cell container are separated by dimly lit, relying on the green glow of the slime mold to outline their components. Each of them are actuated by an electronic pulse modelled off the live growth and movement of the slime mold. The two are intertwined, creating a living atmosphere permeated by the sound of motors spinning, cameras zooming, hard drives spinning. The atmosphere is disharmonious, yet organic. The soundscape solely relies on the physically audible (non-curated) actuations of the sculptures. As they jolt to life, the biological pulses of the slime mold can be heard in the rhythms of the sound echoing through the space. Moving around the dim channels between sculptures, decaying security cameras start to scan, the frame of a human body emerges onto a CRT screen buried under wires. Another pulse triggers a melody punctuated by noise and static, as a magnetic tape crawls along the walls. Surrounded by electronic waste, the singular slime mold culture orchestrates an evolving performance, using the sculptures as its means of communication with the world.

EXHIBITIONS

Elektra XX (solo exhibit) @ OBORO, Montreal QC
June 2019

MIAN – International Marketplace for Digital Art @ Centre Phi, Montreal QC
June 2019

Behavioral Matter @ Centre Pompidou, Paris FR
January 2019

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MULTIPLEXER, 2019


MULTIPLEXER is a speculative performance in which perpetual labor, network processing, and control protocols are poetically articulated as elements of a closed thermodynamic system.

In this durational piece, the body acts on and is acted upon by its environment. From within a human-scale structure—a hybrid between a server farm and a greenhouse— the primary action is the performer’s control of the lighting and sound through the use of a custom multiplexer panel. Meanwhile, infrared lamps inject heat into the system, acting as concrete metaphors for the thermal exhaust generated by intense data computation. In this way, the performance investigates the impact of heat on a biomechanical system. This individual, confined, labors endlessly within a network.

Changes in the performer’s body state are monitored and mediated in real time. Their heartbeat and body temperature have direct effects on the real-time video, projecting images of the body and its sweat onto the back wall of the structure; quantifying the performer’s exhaustion. Within this arrangement of perpetual thermal exchange, the performer’s energy is extracted and injected into the system.
Heat as a medium has theoretical, political, material and environmental implications. In thermodynamics, heat reveals the qualitative aspect of molecules energy in matter. But heat is often considered as the undesired waste generated by a system. Heat is now controversial. Within this framework, MULTIPLEXER establishes a speculative context that challenges human digital behaviors and their collateral effects on the biological and geological. Taking place in a fictional future where individuals and machines are mutually dependent parts of closed systems, this piece examines the inherent exhaustion of such arrangements.

Created in collaboration with Jeremy Michael Segal

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somme

somme is an interdisciplinary art collective formed by Sam Bourgault, Owen Coolidge, Matthew Halpenny, Matthew Salaciak, and Emma Forgues in 2018. Their diverse individual backgrounds allow them to collaborate on projects that lie between programming, biology, robotics, video and sound synthesis. Driven by research-creation questions surrounding biological-technological relations, surveillance, and data politics, the collective creates works that could be defined as a hybridity of bioart, robotic sculpture, and networked performance art.

sam bourgault   |   website  |   cv

Sam Bourgault (Montreal) owns a bachelor in Physics Engineering (2015) and one in Computation Arts (2019). Embedding coding, video, sound and electronics, her practice involves constant back and forth between art and science and explores how technology impacts and shape the social and individual experience one has with machines and algorithms. Her work has been exhibited at Ars Electronica Campus Exhibition (Linz, 2018), Mutek Festival (2017), Livart for Nuit Blanche (2019), Art Matters (2018), and the VAV gallery (2018). Bourgault has also performed at RIPA (2019), OFFTA (2019), Induction (2019), VAULT (2018), LIP (2018), Algorave (2018), and InnerEchoes (2018, 2017).

owen coolidge   |   website  |   cv

Owen Coolidge is an interdisciplinary artist whose practice includes design, photography, and new media art. Common throughout all his work is the critique of human exceptionalism. Originally from Los Angeles, he has exhibited at art festivals, galleries, and conferences in Montreal (dis)Connect (2018), CUJAH: Art History Conferences (2018), VAV Gallery (2018), Articule (2018), has received the Milieux Undergraduate Fellowship (2017), and his work has been presented at the Behavioral Matter Conference at the Centre Pompidou (2019). He attends Concordia University and is a research assistant to Chris Salter.

matthew halpenny   |   website  |   cv

Matthew Halpenny is a cross-disciplinary media artist from Montreal. His work seeks to disrupt conventional boundaries around life, evolution, the body, consciousness, and human expression. Such ideas have been explored through use of the human body as a computational instrument (wearable technology skins), artificial evolution, biological hybrid art, and networked cognition performances. His work is inspired by mathematical patterns within nature (such as random chance within evolution, and the probability mechanics within thought and language), embodied cognition and sense theory, network theory and emergent behavior, cybernetics, and individual ecologies. He is a member of Concordia’s interdisciplinary research institute, Milieux, under the Speculative Life Cluster where he works within Concordia’s Biolab.

matthew salaciak   |   cv

Matthew Salaciak (Montreal) is an electronic musician and interdisciplinary artist. Stemming from a curiosity to understand how things work, his interests are aimed at electronics, models of computation and their interactions with the physical world. Furthering this, he has recently been interested in the relationships between analog and digital interfaces at the software and hardware level. His work as an artist and musician is guided by such research questions. His electronic music performances are developed solely by the interaction with analog electronics.

emma forgues   |   website  |   cv

Emma Forgues is a new media artist based in Montreal. She has showcased her work in multiple galleries and festivals in Montreal including MUTEK (2017), Arts Matters (2018), Eastern Bloc (2018), Livart (2019), RIPA (2019) and OFFTA (2019) and more. Forgues has been given awards and residencies including the Public Choice Award at Mutek Next Era Competition (2017); a residency at LA SERRE - Vous Etes Ici (2018); and her works iO and Mycocene were presented in March 2019 by the artist Alice Jarry at the Behavioral Matter Conference at the Centre Pompidou (Paris, France) as part of The Fabric of the Living exhibition.