A contemporary arts exhibition
by Mat Chivers produced and curated
by the Musée d'art de Joliette (MAJ) 
An exhibition that uses a purpose-built Artificial Intelligence to reflect on the ethics and sensory deprivation of Artificial Intelligence.
Presented in 2019-2020 at Arsenal art contemporain Montreal
and in 2018-2019 at Musée d'art de Joliette



                      THE AI


With the advent of artificial intelligence, contemporary society is commencing a major transformation of its relationship to its environment. Over two years ago, the Musée d’art de Joliette invited English sculptor Mat Chivers for a production residency in Quebec to create a new body of work as a response to the AI scene, which was booming in Montreal. 


As soon as he arrived, Chivers took to the road to explore the province, which he had never visited before. He followed the Saint-Lawrence River all the way to Tadoussac, then headed inland to the Manicouagan reservoir, where people spoke to him of a peculiar mineral: impactite. This first journey had a decisive effect on the production of his project, which was intrinsically related to the encounters and discussions that inspired him, both on this occasion and on subsequent research-led travels. Collaborations were numerous and essential to preparing the exhibition, which involved the assistance of AI programers, ceramicists, 3D scanning specialists, and professionals in the use of robotic saws for stone-cutting. And yet, this project is interesting less for its technical prowess that for the larger issues it raises: how will developments in artificial intelligence affect our lives, at a base level? How do they help us ascertain and identify that which is essentially human?

The Migrations exhibition is composed of three elements: a major sculptural grouping, a video, and five diptychs of drawings. At its origin is the intuitive understanding that touch, allowing for a direct contact with our living environment, is a fundamental dimension of human experience that artificial intelligence will never really be able to grasp. It is by recounting an improbable journey, retold throughout his works, that the artist suggests hypothetical avenues for understanding the upheavals heralded by this technological development. In this context, the title of the exhibition refers to the migration of information through matter, but also to the processes by which one passes from one level of conscience to another. These queries that have preoccupied Chivers and led him throughout his exploration are rendered as much by the materiality of his works as by their subject.

This exhibition was made possible thanks to the financial and technological support of Element AI, Duchesne Lac-Mégantic, Groupe Omégalpha, USIMM, Concordia University, Halo Creation, C2 Montréal, UNTTLD, Marylise Parent, Jean-Daniel Sylvestre, Jean-François Bouchard, and Arsenal art contemporary Montreal.




Producing the various art works in this exhibition was a very intricate process that involved partners and collaborators across Quebec. Over three dozen individuals were involved at one stage or another, A new type of Artificial Intelligence was invented and costing edge tools were employed. The selection of images below retrace some of the important milestones of the production process.


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