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SIGHTINGS
MEASURES 

Launched in 2012 in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Leonard & Bina Ellen Art Gallery’s Permanent Collection, the SIGHTINGS satellite exhibition program was conceived as an experimental platform to critically reflect upon the possibilities and limitations of the modernist “white cube.” As part of this program, artists and curators are invited to develop projects for a cubic display unit located in a public space at the university, with the aim of generating new strategies for art dissemination.

Running from August to December 2020, the current edition takes place outside the limits of Concordia’s Hall Building to unfold online in response to the stakes of the cube, itself reformatted as an open and virtual site. The cycle of projects will work with the notion of measures—as a means of negotiation, calculation and representation of slippery in-between zones. Measures are commonly referred to as abstracted indicators or as a set of regulatory actions and procedures designed and implemented to manage, prevent or redress a situation: over time, new measures become default standard practices. The SIGHTINGS programming contemplates measures as a way to interpret and confront the subtle and not so subtle agents that indistinctly permeate beings, spaces, and things, invisibly link them and regulate their relations; those determinants of distance and proximity, access and isolation.

SIGHTINGS 30
Don’t protect me from all that noise
Mathieu Grenier, Don't protect me from all that noise, 2020

Born in Black Lake, QC, Mathieu Grenier lives and works in Montreal. He holds an MFA in Studio Art – Photography and Media from the University of Texas in Austin and a BFA in Visual Arts and Media from UQÀM. Grenier’s interests are centered on the typology of images and their potential for representation. He creates photo-based installations that draw from a multiplicity of display strategies to address the photographic space as a site of affect.

Grenier’s work is currently on view at Arsenal Contemporary in Toronto and Blouin | Division in Montreal for their inaugural show. He has presented solo exhibitions at the Centre d’Arts La Halles in Pont-en-Royans, grayDUCK Gallery in Austin, Le Lobe in Chicoutimi, as well as Arprim and Roger Bellemare & Christian Lambert Gallery in Montreal. He has participated in numerous group shows including at Factatory, Galerie de l’UQÀM, Diagonale, and Artexte. Grenier was awarded the 2014 Charles Pachter’s prize for Canadian Emerging Artists from the Hnatyshyn Foundation. He is represented by Blouin | Division Gallery in Montreal.

Mathieu Grenier would like to thank Virginie Fauve, Hugo Nadeau, Stéphanie Hornstein, Bin Han as well as Julia Eilers Smith and Michèle Thériault from the Leonard and Bina Ellen Gallery of Concordia University.

August 17, 2020 to January 5, 2021

An online project by Mathieu Grenier

This project, which was initially conceived for SIGHTINGS, the Leonard & Bina Ellen Art Gallery’s exhibition cube at Concordia University, has been recast in a new format: the virtual space of the web. Don’t Protect Me From All That Noise features a selection of photographs from my archives and text excerpts that deal with the notion of the photographic in the digital realm. The images are from a series of random shots that I had filed away until they could be presented. The title alludes to noise, disruption, deviation, bifurcation: phenomena that to my mind allude to interference—the kind that not only prevents proper signal reception, but also reveals the existence of an underlying system.

 

View project here

 

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Through the formatted language of the web, the image appears on screen in its own specific texture. This texture is sometimes characterized by its resolution, which can give it an appearance more real than life, and sometimes by its compression, making it less defined. Departing from the huge amount of data that originally comprised it, it is made lighter and more easily shared. We recognize it by its general composition, its lack of nuance, the inaccuracy of its colors.

While altered by the medium, the image reveals itself in the predefined space of a technological and virtual frame. The screen becomes the interface through which we interact with each other and acquire what we need: this interface is the space of desire. A virtual space where we can project ourselves, a vortex that consumes us, a grid that fragments us. In it, we represent an often-idealized reality that reflects, a priori, a concrete and sensitive experience of the world. Our relationship to the world becomes both disembodied and amplified by this accumulation of digital content and mediums.

The focus to explore the idea of noise grew out of my interest in the flow of information (and disinformation). In cybernetics, noise is defined as a form of interference in communication signals. It is also, in some way, a natural form of resistance. When a signal is sent (nerve impulse, radio waves, telephone signal, internet, etc.), the interference that prevents its proper reception and decoding is identified as noise – a sound, or a multitude of unharmonious sounds that hinder the clarity of a message.

In analog images, noise can be interpreted as film grain in photography, for example. In digital imagery, it appears similarly, but in the form of colour or black and white pixels. On a larger scale (image or sound), noise can partially or completely alter a signal, causing new textures, forms, and colours to appear. It can also cause glitches or bugs that lead to technical malfunctions. The clarity of a message can be compromised to the point where it has lost its meaning and is interpreted differently or even stifled, making communication impossible.

Essentially, this noise could be a way to resist or tamper with the dominant signal, to distort or subvert it as a way to control its reception. A rumour can be noise. So can widespread news. Someone told me that there was a lot of noise on the stock exchange right now, and that the COVID-19 pandemic was making it hard to identify stock market trends. Protest movements also make a lot of noise; they disrupt the bandwidth of the dominant structure.

We now use images more than ever to communicate, and the screen (television, phone, computer, etc.) is the primary site of these exchanges. I am attempting to measure the wavelength of an image and the oscillation of its “feedback.” In other words, how we become exposed to an image, how it moves us, and how we respond to it.

 

Mathieu Grenier

 

Translation by Jo-Anne Balcaen

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Born in Black Lake, QC, Mathieu Grenier lives and works in Montreal. He holds an MFA in Studio Art – Photography and Media from the University of Texas in Austin and a BFA in Visual Arts and Media from UQÀM. Grenier’s interests are centered on the typology of images and their potential for representation. He creates photo-based installations that draw from a multiplicity of display strategies to address the photographic space as a site of affect.

Grenier’s work is currently on view at Arsenal Contemporary in Toronto and Blouin | Division in Montreal for their inaugural show. He has presented solo exhibitions at the Centre d’Arts La Halles in Pont-en-Royans, grayDUCK Gallery in Austin, Le Lobe in Chicoutimi, as well as Arprim and Roger Bellemare & Christian Lambert Gallery in Montreal. He has participated in numerous group shows including at Factatory, Galerie de l’UQÀM, Diagonale, and Artexte. Grenier was awarded the 2014 Charles Pachter’s prize for Canadian Emerging Artists from the Hnatyshyn Foundation. He is represented by Blouin | Division Gallery in Montreal.

Mathieu Grenier would like to thank Virginie Fauve, Hugo Nadeau, Stéphanie Hornstein, Bin Han as well as Julia Eilers Smith and Michèle Thériault from the Leonard and Bina Ellen Gallery of Concordia University.