I am a Nova Scotia based artist and beekeeper, exploring consciousness and networks through a symbiosis of art and science. At the heart of my process is the online participatory art event, enabled by social media networking. I am interested in both the relational aesthetic of these events, and the visual aesthetic of the grid.
Using honeybee-like collective intelligence, ephemeral online networked communities can make nuanced and complex artistic responses to our shared experience; this is a proposition central to my practice.
My collective intelligence art events attempt to engage the widest possible audience in the creative process, engaging with people through social media and creating digital artworks online. I think of the event itself - the interaction between participants and the situation - as fundamental to the work; it has a unique 'relational aesthetic'. The visual aesthetic of this work interests me too. Abstractions based upon the grid - simple line and geometrical forms.
Inspired initially by the idea of closing the two cultures gap between science and art, my work as a beekeeper, and my interest in cognition, my work has progressed from experiments with small groups and simple line drawings, through to collaboration with the collective intelligence scientist Dr. Louis Rosenberg in the ‘Nexus’ series of experiments, to my current onine making and exhibition space, the 'Grey Matters' project.
The participatory CI-Art events engage groups of people connected remotely via the Internet, working together in real-time, focused on the creation of art objects in the form of digital drawings. These art objects enable the emergence of a collective intelligence focused on the creative act; the collective intelligence defined by Pierre Levy in his seminal ‘Collective Intelligence - Mankind’s Emerging World in Cyberspace’ as “a form of universally distributed intelligence, constantly enhanced, coordinated in real time, and resulting in the effective mobilization of skills... for the mutual recognition and enrichment of individuals”.
My practice is situated at the intersection between contemporary collaborative new media and telematics, as pioneered by Roy Ascott (Aspects of Gaia), and the participatory work of artists such as Yoko Ono (Instructional Paintings). and the machine-like conceptual art drawings and structures of Sol LeWitt (Incomplete Open Cubes). With the development of collective intelligence art I attempt to break new ground; sites for the emergence of collective intelligences concerned with the creative act - interactions in cyberspace that create aesthetic moments and micro-eutopias (not Utopia); ‘good places’ as opposed to impossible dreams.
CI-Art is concerned with interactions and relationships as much as visual forms, as we live in an age, as Foucault put it, of 'simultaneity..of near and far..of the dispersed..when our experience of the world is ..that of a network that connects points and intersects with its own skein". Its art objects are not purely products or commodities. Their importance is tied to the way they mediate the group dynamic of the event. And yet, compositionally and operationally, the art objects of these CI-Art events are well described by Deleuze and Guattari’s notion of the Rhizomatic: an ‘interplay’ on the ‘grid’; the ‘multiplicities’ created by the collective; manifested on the ‘plane’ and defined by the ‘abstract line’.
With the Nexus experiments I developed an approach based upon a quasi-relational dialectic. Conversation between participants is replaced with digital mark making - the use of line and colour, repetition and rhythm, tension and equilibrium, asymmetry and balance, addition and negation and so on; these form the words and grammar of the visual dialogue. The overall indeterminate forms are metaphors from science - cells and networks, the connectome and consciousness - expressed as fundamental planar geometries evolving from the grid. Using the grid and grey as metaphors, the Grey Matters project explores the polarisation of contemporary politics, and asks, "Does reason matter anymore?"
Nexus 1.2 14.11.15 (early experiment in collective intelligence art)
Mathew Aldred, with the participation of Laura Mezzalani and Marie Koch
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Study for Frame #2 8.45pm UTC 04.01.2017
Prune lines from the grid network leaving paths at least one cell wide. Cap some of the remaining cells with grey.
Mathew Aldred, with the participation of Lee Hard, Charlotte Gloge
Sarah-Jane Field, Maria Aldred and Anonymous
READ MORE ABOUT THE GREY MATTERS PROJECT