June, 17th 2021


From May 3rd 2012 to June 10th 2012  / 


PREMIÈRE MONDIALE. Sous forme de métaphore, l’artiste transdisciplinaire Matthew Biederman interprète la définition scientifique de l’« horizon du trou noir » ainsi que la notion d’un événement se déroulant hors de portée du champ de la perception. Dans cette fascinante installation vidéo, le visiteur est appelé à observer autrement l’espace, la lumière, la couleur et le son. Une expérience singulière caractérise cette exploration des phénomènes qui se situent à des points de rupture. Ici, l’image résulte d’une saturation du dispositif de visualisation, certains sons ne sont perçus que par l’interaction des ondes dans l’espace d’installation. Issues d’un espace/temps en constante métamorphose, les images projetées modulent des motifs et des rythmes alors que chaque instant de l’expérience méditative est unique et ne se répète jamais. 

Alain Gauthier, coordonnateur des expositions, Cinémathèque québécoise

Une installation vidéo présentée par la Cinémathèque québécoise dans le cadre de la Biennale internationale d’art numérique (BIAN).


multichannel generative HD audio/video installation
image synthesis
4X, audio synthesis
I am foremost interested in the idea of perception, what it means to perceive. How light, color, space and sound form a singular experience.  What does this experience uncover about our own understanding in ways of perceiving? How much of perception is a singular experience, and what is shared?

The work is a meditation on the idea of the ‘event horizon’.  Understood scientifically, the term can mean the space-time beyond which events do not effect an observer.  That is, the event is beyond the scope of perception. The most common event horizon is at the edge of a black hole,
beyond which no light escapes. The work explores the event horizon as a metaphor, the point where questions their ability to perceive an event that they are confronted with highlighting the point at which perception collapses into experience.

Within the work ‘Event Horizon’, the term can be interpreted many ways – most directly it can be seen in the formal aspect of the work; creating a horizontal line across the wall of the gallery. However, within the visual composition, the metaphor is of the event horizon becomes the point when it breaks down. The collapse of the ability of the display technology as the software commands it to display more resolution than the display is capable of resolving becomes the event beyond which one cannot see.  What does occur as the software pushes beyond the
technological horizon and attempts to display more resolution than is possible is a breakdown of the technology itself, which creates an unstable digitally induced moiré pattern.

This pattern creates the perception of an image which is not actually explicitly defined, it is a glitch through the overload of the hardware by the software.  By forcing the projector into states that it cannot reproduce – it does the only thing it can do – interpolate, creating an unpredictable pattern that is perceived as a third dimension. In essence, we perceive an image that is not actually being represented. The same can be said for the audio track – using a multichannel environment (quad speaker arrangement + subwoofer), and synthesizing particular waveforms –
the physical sound waves inhabiting the space create ‘additional’ sounds that are only perceived through their interaction within the physical space of the installation.

The software iterates through a generative system of instructions that utilizes the basis of all digital imagery, that is, pure fields of Red, Blue, and Green. These are modulated, layered and interspersed with black, and using specific coordinates and levels, creates the ‘Event Horizon’ state where the viewers’ perception, coupled with the technological horizon and the physical space of the installation creates a heightened perceptive state within the viewer. The sum of the parts do not equal the whole, 1+1+1=5.  No longer does a viewer perceive separate fields of red, green and blue, but something else; yet it only exists in the perception of the viewer.  Finally the ‘Event Horizon’ is understood at the point where perception, technology, color, light and sound produce a state that is only ‘in the head’ of the viewer calling into question again the horizon of perception.

Technically, the entire piece is run from a computer, where the imagery is created using custom algorithms, which in turn drive the audio synthesis, an inversion of the more common practice of adding imagery to a sound track or vice-versa – here the two are created simultaneously.  While there is a rhythm and pattern that the work adheres to, there is no ‘loop’ in the traditional sense, each moment in time is unique and never repeats.

Matthew Biederman
A trans-disciplinary artist working across media and milieus, who has been exploring perception, data systems, media saturation and its politics since the mid nineties, Biederman seeks to dissolve separations of genre, media, form, and content. Since receiving the Bay Area Artist Award in Video by New Langton Arts in 1999, and First Place in the Visual Arts category of Slovenia’s Break21 festival, he has continued to exhibit a wide variety works throughout the world. Whether performing at such venues as Ars Electronica (AT), Futuresonic(UK), Mutek(CA), or Hipersonica(BR) or exhibiting at the Lyon Biennial (FR), 7th ATA Internacional(PE), SCAPE Bienniale (AU) or the Quebec Trienniale (QC) he continues to cross boundaries by incorporating themes of science, cybernetics, community engagement, custom software/hardware development and aesthetics. He cut his teeth in the past as a co-director of San Francisco's Artist Television Access, a long-standing community media access center on the US west coast. He has since co- founded the Arctic Perspective Initiative, with Marko Peljhan, in 2007, a non-profit, international group of individuals and organizations, whose goal is to promote the creation of open authoring, communications and dissemination infrastructures for the circumpolar region while continuing to work on a wide variety of other projects, both collaborative and singular.

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