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Not Only RGB: Q&A with Matt Kane

Not Only RGB (Decentraland, October 2022-June 2023) is a MoCDA group show supported by Decentraland DAO featuring works created by Kevin Abosch, Matt Kane, 38‰ (Mattia Cuttini and Luca Donno), Sarah Meyohas and Mathieu Merlet-Briand.
This is a Q&A session featuring curators Chiara Braidotti and Anastasia Pineschi in conversation with artist Matt Kane.

You conceived Gazers as a sort of conceptual self-portrait. Each work in the series is derived from an 'origin moon' that is linked to the date of a significant life event that happened under a particular moon. Could you expand on this aspect and how it informs each work's evolution over time?

I've been dedicated to my particular track of art practice for over twenty years. As each Gazer speeds up its potential frame rate relative to an origin moon's date, I see the synthesis of my own progress as an artist over time - and also the chaos that's influenced the influence that each of these events has had on myself and perhaps others. But I also see the progress of technology as these frame rates challenge technology to keep up and fulfil my grand vision for the work decades and centuries into the future. I grew up watching us move from 8-bit games like Pac Man to simulation games like Grand Theft Auto that are almost indiscernible from real life. That march of technology happened within my lifetime. So in Gazers, I made a work that through each individual Gazer's own complexity and combination of traits, the collection becomes variably generational - pushing into the future while also recalling the past - but remaining responsive to the context of the time it's being viewed in.

Each Gazer evolves throughout the day, changing colour saturation and value. Yet, the viewer's perception of colour is mostly determined by the interactions between each work's layers, as in a kinetic or optical work. Why did you create this element of interactivity within the work, and what does it say about the work’s and your relationship to colour and randomness?

Colour assignment does not change throughout the day, but the tightness of the pattern, thickness of the line, and transparency of the glaze changes. And the rotation of each layer. Those are the elements which cause our perception of colour to change moment to moment in Gazers. Earlier in my career, even 20 years ago, I was working with depth of physical materials. Colour suspended within layers of resin, glass, plastic, or fabric. As I'd physically move around those dimensional works, my perception of colour changed. And how beautiful colour glazes became when they got offset and interacted differently from when I was head-on with the work. I had the thought back then: wouldn't it be great if these layers weren't static and trapped within resin? If they could all rotate and interact differently - and not depend on the spatial movement of a viewer, but move itself? Gazers are the fulfilment of these old ideas. But at the same time, still just the beginning.

As it changes during its lifespan, each Gazer seems to encapsulate the tension between ephemerality and permanence present within both nature and the blockchain. How does this perpetual change question the idea of aesthetic value and its evolution over time? It's the unseen made seen. Aside from several more grey hairs in my beard, there's not much that has changed about my outward appearance since a year ago. Or even 5 years ago. But the changes within myself, within my psyche, within my identity - just over the last 6 months - these are staggering. Yet there are parts of me, inside and out, still recognizable from 20 years ago. Even 38 years ago. So how do we represent and make visible the unseen changes that happen within each of us? Art!

Each Gazer will appeal differently depending on the viewer and perhaps where they are within their own evolution. The beauty of the colour theory algorithm I wrote around Gazers is that each Gazer can develop an identity. To one who gazes upon a Gazer over time, and doesn't merely glance, the Gazer becomes recognizable no matter what month, no matter what century. Patterns emerge. Choices make sense, and yet there is still unpredictable posterity. You ask about aesthetic value. People don't fall in love and stay in love if they merely fall in love with a singular snapshot of a person at one fixed moment in their life. To fall in love and remain in love is to fall in love anew each day. To fall in love with another's patterns and proclivity to evolve or not evolve - all while maintaining our own capacity to connect while evolving ourselves. We must remain through the Winter to enjoy the blush of Spring. Pushing painting into time like Gazers has, Gazers are more like a person than a painting. This is the unseen made seen in us all.

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