MATTHEW
         HALPENNY.  

Proprionetics, 2018

Proprionetics is a wearble techology project designed for artists and created to liberate the user from relying on their computer for performance. The goal of this technology is to bring performance gesturalism and uniqe gestural style back to electronic performances, which has been lost in contemporary electronic music. Built over a period of eight weeks, the first prototype of Conductivity utilizes a sum of 12 sensors that respond to 3D positioning in space. It can sense movement, rotation, NSWE positioning and gestures. All of these real-world sensor readings are passed to a personally crafted synthesizer built within the Max MSP environment. For the full project details see the pdf linked below.

EXHIBITIONS

Art Matters: (dis)Connect @ Espace POP, Montréal QC
March 2018

CUJAH Conference: (dis)Connect @ Concordia University, Montréal QC
March 2018

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Sensenet, 2019

Sensenet is a concept piece realised as an experiential installation: it is centered around emergent agency within art, inspired by the neuroscience theme of how timing affects synchrony in networks. Emergent behaviour is a property in which the artwork acts and behaves in a way outside the creators intent, and correspondingly, Sensenet will create an environment of unknown variables in which the participants are left to explore in a novel and disrupted state of perception. Furthermore, timing in synchrony is a motif that appears across different levels of neuroscience investigation, from simple learning rules at a cellular level to whole-brain oscillatory activity; it is an idea that has captured the imagination of wide audiences, making it an ideal subject for abstraction and artistic exploration.

Three participants enter the environment of Sensenet muted from their own senses; others are welcome to observe the participants in Sensenet. Each participant is equipped with a lightweight suit that is networked to all other suits, such that the senses of one participant are effectively swapped with the other participants; this enables one person to experience a warped perception of their senses. A synchronous stimulus delivered to all three participants (flashing LED lights in the environment) unifies timing across the participants, allowing each of them to synchronise the different, mismatched senses into a unified perception.

Created by:
Matthew Halpenny
Matthew Salaciak
Owen Coolidge
Zahraa Chorghay
Nailia Kuhlmann

EXHIBITIONS

Convergence @ Hexagram Black Box, Montréal QC
April 2019

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Mycocene, 2018   |   visit

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.

Created by:
somme

EXHIBITIONS

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

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

Behavioral Matter @ Centre Pompidou, Paris FR
January 2019

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Multiplexer, 2019   |   visit

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 by:
somme
In collaboration with Jeremy Michael Segal

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poetry.DNA, 2018   |   visit

Poetry.dna explores the relationship between the organic and the mechanical.It is a generative poetry bot that is modelled after the biological principles of evolution, mutation, and self-regulation. Inspired by artificial intelligences that learn based on associative phrasing (such as twitter bots) this project is given the capacity to create unique phrasing, wording, and formatting to poetry on it’s own accord. This ability is passed on through JavaScript where Poetry.dna is given a large array of data about the English language and the use of mathematics such as Markov chains (thanks to RiTa.js). What makes Poetry.dna different is it has no end goal. Most modern AI learns through a process that involves reward systems upon correct identification. Poetry.dna does not learn in the sense one might traditionally expect from an AI, instead of a static algorithm that dictates its creative direction it was instead modelled after nature. True evolution does not have an end goal, when a mutation occurs the organism either dies, or passes on their genes. AI evolution typically evolves to a specified point, when it reaches that point it is deemed successful. Poetry.dna does not have an end point, like in nature it evolves at random and does not move solely forwards but possibly backwards, it is always in a state of flux and self-regulation. It has corrective mechanisms within its coding, but it is not always guaranteed, much like genetics.

EXHIBITIONS



RiTa Gallery @ rednoise.org
June 2017 -> Present






3DLA Render #1, 2019   |  full size

Inspired by the sketches of Ernst Haeckel, this rendering was coded as a generational alogrithm of natural processes. The process that inspired the rendering is called limited diffusion aggregation, a process of growth related to environmental rewards. This process can be seen in the growth patterns of organisms like slime mold, or the inorganic growth of certain crystals. This model takes the LDA growth pattern and applies it to three dimensional space, allowing the growth of a speculative orgasmism.



GAN Series, 2019

Built using BigGAN (Made Accessible by Joel Simon)

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ABOUT   |   cv

Matthew Halpenny is a cross-disciplinary media artist from Montréal who works between the milieus of biology and technology. 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 performative instrument, artificial organisms, technological-biological sculpture, 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, sense theory, emergent behavior, and media ecologies. He is currently a research member at Milieux Institute for Arts, Culture, & Technology, where he works within the Speculative Life and Critical Materiality research clusters.

He works within the collective somme, which 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. somme was awarded the Caisse Desjardins New Media Creation Grant (2018) for their work Mycocene. The project was subsequently shown in Elektra XX (2019) and presented at International Marketplace for Digital Art (MIAN). As part of the presentation Behavioural Matter by Alice Jarry, Mycocene was brought to Le Centre Pompidou (2018).

His research portfolio involves a residency at MilieuxBauhaus (2019) as part of the Bauhaus100 research study, Vision in Motion: Moholy-Nagy. His research on technological-biological system relations will be published by ISEA 2020 (2020), where he will be speaking about the work.

LECTURES

ISEA 2020: Designing Technologies for a Symbiosis between Natural Systems and Digital Infrastructure @ TBD, Montréal QC
October 2020

Sympoiétique @ Hexagram-UQAM, Montréal QC
August 2020

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

CUJAH Conference: (dis)Connect @ Concordia University, Montréal QC
March 2018

WORKSHOPS

BioCircuitry: Slime Mold Networks and Computational Models @ Speculative Life, Montréal QC
April 2019

WRITING


Designing Technology for a Symbiosis Between Natural Systems and Information Infrastructure
December 2019

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