‘The Age of Autonomous Exploration’ – Matthew C. Wilson [US]

Film Screening

This video installation by Matthew C. Wilson approaches the Canary Islands as a site that attracts agents that explore, claim, colonize and transform new worlds.

Anything from a person to a particle may act as an agent of physical phenomena or historical forces. Sometimes with and sometimes without awareness. Wilson’s current videos and sculptures approach the Canary Islands as a site which attracts agents that explore, claim, colonize and transform worlds. Christopher Columbus departed from the Canary Islands on his journeys to claim whatever he “found”, helping inaugurate Modernity – a transformation structured on lasting social inequalities, set in motion with great loss of life and freedom to colonized people.

The night sky by which early explorers navigated is now mapped by optical/infrared telescopes that dot the peaks of the islands. Islands once at edge of ancient Greek maps. While colonial ships required crew, autonomous planetary rovers are currently being tested on Canarian volcanic terrain standing in for alien landscapes. Lichen are colonizers of barren rocks like volcanic landforms; the organism’s ability to withstand radiation makes them prime candidates to terraform other planets. Events initiated in the past persist in the present, where we can feel their inertia pushing into the future. When intelligent robots and lichen become the first colonizers of other planets, then what?

Matthew C. Wilson
Matthew C. Wilson (1982) holds an MFA in Visual Arts from Columbia University. He has been a participant in the Whitney Independent Study Program and at numerous residencies including the Jan van Eyck Academie. Wilson works primarily in video and sculpture, often presented together in installations. Viewers encounter mercurial materials, sites, and personae animated by shape-shifting historical forces. His work draws out entanglements between natural, historical, cultural, and economic processes.