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Matthew Halpenny - Ecologies of Experien

2020-2021 Season.



Matthew Halpenny B&W.jpg

October 2020

October 30th, 12:00 PM, Montreal GMT - 4, Zoom Webinar - Concordia University Faculty of Fine Arts.

Matthew Halpenny, Interdisciplinary Artist & Researcher.
Co-founder Somme.


Ecologies of Experience: Systems & Art

Matthew Halpenny - Ecologies of Experien


Matthew Halpenny is an interdisciplinary artist and researcher. Their research focuses on systems within ecology, energy, materiality, and perception. Their artistic work oscillates between bio-art and embodied art, focusing on the creation of works that rely on a degree of unpredictability and evolution, which frequently rely on interdisciplinary collaboration. Such works include bio-robotic e-waste sculptures (Mycocene); bio-sensing, interactive performance environments (Multiplexer), interconnected sense-based performances (SenseNet); and an installation of artificial organisms that rely on each other’s microbial communities for power (Teletrophicate(s)). He has lectured at the International Marketplace for Digital Art (MIAN) and ISEA2020. He is a founding member of the collective Somme, whose work has been shown at Elektra XX and Le Centre Pompidou.


Often when we think about artmaking or installations our mind conjures images of painting, sculpture, or video. These artworks are static, unchanging. What happens when we introduce systems into art? Systems rely on a collection of interdependent parts that follow the principle ‘the whole is greater than the sum of its parts’ (emergence). These parts are always changing, in flux, and result in an artwork that varies over time and by its environment. Much like natural ecosystems, we can’t isolate them from one single object (a tree does not make an ecosystem). So, it may be hard for us to imagine an artwork as a system. How do we display it? How can we draw meaning from it if it never holds the same form? This talk will present examples of system-based art, both from the presenters' own work and the work of others while giving a brief overview of how the process of the artwork reveals meaning through sense and experience. Drawing from fields such as ecology, complex systems theory, and perception this form of art relies heavily on interdisciplinary collaboration and opens up new opportunities for how we experience art.


The Convergence Sci-Art/Art-Sci Conferences is a series focused on the crossover of disciplines with science, especially arts and communication. The talks cover subjects like the influence of media on modern science, the public perception of the scientific method, neuroscience popular misconceptions, neuroscience and technology in the medical practice, or science immersed artistic practice.

The Convergence Initiative is an independent nonprofit initiative developed in partnership with the Brain Repair and Integrative Neuroscience (BRaIN) Program of the RI-MUHC, Concordia Faculty of Fine Arts, and Visual Voice Gallery. It is supported by the Canadian Association for Neuroscience, the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre, The Integrated Program in Neuroscience of McGill University, and the Montreal General Hospital Foundation.

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