2020

MAXIME MATTHYS

[UN]INNOVATION

Maxime Matthys is a Belgian artist, born in Brussels in 1995. In 2015, he graduated from the ETPA (School of Photography and Game Design) in Toulouse with a Bachelor’s degree. 

At the crossroads of various practices, his work questions the influence of new technologies on our contemporary way of life. He uses different media: photography, video, performance, sculpture, and installation, to produce works where reality intermingles with the virtual world. Maxime Matthys regularly collaborates with scientist to deconstruct the myths linked to new technologies and thus to imagine new languages. His award-winning work has been shown at the Maison Européenne de la Photographie and has been the subject of solo exhibitions in Europe. His last project, 2091: the Ministry of privacy was exhibited at the Centre Pompidou as part of the fourth edition of the Mutations/Creations event. He is the author of Sortez Couverts, a performance produced during the coronavirus health crisis and relayed by over 80 media in France and around the world. 

He lives and works between Rennes and Paris. 

Since last year, I was looking to collaborate with the Informatic Research Institut of Toulouse (IRIT), the largest computer research institute in France. This year, Philippe Guionie, director of the 1+2 Factory program, offered me a 4-month residency at IRIT in partnership with the CNRS Occitanie Ouest.

My work is based on the creative potentiality of artificial intelligence that I use as a tool to produce contemporaries works. I question the impact of technology on humans and environment, and its place in contemporary art. I wanted to work especially on issues related to the data center and the amount of energy that this equipment requires. I also wanted to study electromagnetic waves (4G/5G), to model them and make them perceptible. I selected projects which were able to be realized in the time of my residency and according to the disponnibility of the scientists. Beacause of the sanitary crisis and the time-out disrupted, we decided to focus on data centers and artificial intelligence in contemporary art. I worked alone on electromagnetics waves.

During my residency, I had the chance to enjoy IRIT’s equipment and technologies. During my many meetings at this public research institute, I got in touch with Tim Van de Cruys (CNRS researcher in automatic natural language processing), with whom I designed two major projects of the 1+2 Factory. I woked according to his researches and I especially followed the poetry generated by artificial intelligence. Then, we collaborated with Jacques Thomazeau (CNRS research engineer in software intelligence) to photograph the OSIRIM servers with thermal imagery, when the structure hosted computations of artificial poetry algorithms. In the framework of a second project, we worked using the deep learning type GAN to produce original portraits of art counterfeiters and then questionning the place of creation by artificial intelligence in contemporary art.

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