Mat Chivers. Migrations

Curators: Jean-François Bélisle and Anne-Marie St-Jean-Aubre

About —

HUMAN / AI

With the advent of artificial intelligence, contemporary society is commencing a major transformation of its relationship to its environment. Over a year ago, the Musée d’art de Joliette invited English sculptor Mat Chivers for a production residency in Quebec to create a new body of work as a response to the AI scene, which was booming in Montreal. As soon as he arrived, Chivers took to the road to explore the province, which he had never visited before. He followed the Saint-Lawrence River all the way to Tadoussac, then headed inland to the Manicouagan reservoir, where people spoke to him of a peculiar mineral: impactite. This first journey had a decisive effect on the production of his project, which was intrinsically related to the encounters and discussions that inspired him, both on this occasion and on subsequent research-led travels.

Collaborations were numerous and essential to preparing the exhibition, which involved the assistance of AI programers, ceramicists, 3D scanning specialists, and professionals in the use of robotic saws for stone-cutting. And yet, this project is interesting less for its technical prowess that for the larger issues it raises: how will developments in artificial intelligence affect our lives, at a base level? How do they help us ascertain and identify that which is essentially human?

The Migrations exhibition is composed of three elements: a major sculptural grouping, a video, and a diptych of drawings. At its origin is the intuitive understanding that touch, allowing for a direct contact with our living environment, is a fundamental dimension of human experience that artificial intelligence will never really be able to grasp. It is by recounting an improbable journey, retold throughout his works, that the artist suggests hypothetical avenues for understanding the upheavals heralded by this technological development. In this context, the title of the exhibition refers to the migration of information through matter, but also to the processes by which one passes from one level of conscience to another. These queries that have preoccupied Chivers and led him throughout his exploration are rendered as much by the materiality of his works as by their subject.

This exhibition was made possible thanks to the financial and technological support of Element AI, Duchesne Lac-Mégantic, Element AI, Duchesne Lac-Mégantic, Groupe Omegalpha, USIMM, Concordia University, Figure 55, C2 Montreal and UNTTLD, as well as Marylise Parent, Jean-Daniel Sylvestre, and Jean-François Bouchard.

 

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© Mat Chivers. Migrations, Musée d’art de Joliette, 2018. Photos: Romain Guilbault.

Biography —

The work of British visual artist Mat Chivers looks at how the fundamental phenomena that exist below the surface of things inform the way we experience the world around us. The process of making utilises combinations of analogue and digital technologies in works that embody a hybridisation of old-world and contemporary envisioning and fabrication processes in order to explore the nature of perception and action. Mat Chivers participated in residencies in Italy (2016), South Africa (2014) and England (2013 and 2009). His work is shown regularly in Europe in solo and group exhibitions. In 2014, he was commissioned to do a sculpture project for the new Mathematical Institute building at Oxford University. He developed the project with mathematicians and after a residency at that institute, a method of working that is emblematical of his approach.