Conflux exhibition: 15 years of Macular

Macular is a collective of artists who share an interest in art, science, technology, and perception. The members of the collective collaborate on the creation and production of multi-sensorial immersive artworks. The collective functions as a nomadic lab in which the members conduct research and develop the technology and theory needed to create their works. Macular consists of: Nicky Assmann, Daan Johan, Jeroen Molenaar, Matthijs Munnik, Eric Parren, and Joris Strijbos. At Conflux Festival 2023, the Macular collective will celebrate its 15 year anniversary by presenting an overview of seminal works from the past decade and a half.

Light and motion are two of the main elements that link the works of the artists. Light is used as a direct source of emission and as a form of projection to generate morphing shapes, fields, and patterns. Flicker inducing stroboscopic light, oscillating through the color spectrum, is employed to create hallucinatory choreographies of shadows and colors, which trigger states of mental uncertainty. The towering light installation Citadels by Matthijs Munnik, which will be presented at UBIK during Conflux, is a prime example of this line of artistic research. Macular’s works are often accompanied by a sonic component that is either a direct result of the light producing processes or connected on a perceptual and conceptual level. This multi-sensory approach is characteristic of the collective’s interest in the biology, psychology, and phenomenology of perception.

Macular’s body of work can be placed in the historical lineage of expanded cinema as it relates to lumia and visual music through experiments with different elements of the cinematic apparatus: projector, image, screen, sound, space, and the embodied experience; exemplified by the intense spatial-light experience of The Abysses of the Scorching Sun by Nicky Assmann, which will be on view at Roodkapje. In addition to their installations, the collective uses their work as instruments for live performance, taking the notion of musical thinking and inserting it into other media in order to create generative compositions in light, movement, and sound. One of the other ongoing research topics is the creation and manipulation of emergent systems and the possibilities for composition that arise from them. When these systems are deployed as instruments for live performance, the performer and/or the audience becomes part of them.

In doing so, the artists aim to create their own abstract language that is mostly based on rule-sets within self-built systems as can be seen in the installation Revolve by Daan Johan and Joris Strijbos, in which dizzying arrays of light patterns come into being, mutate, and die over time. This development happens through constant interaction between the works and the creators. The pieces are shaped and transformed throughout the process. With this in mind, Macular aims for a minimalistic aesthetic through a continuous exploration of the basic characteristic properties of the media they use, such as in Drifting by Eric Parren, which deconstructs the analog video signal to its core elements to then build an intense audiovisual composition with them. Whether they are cultivated systems or natural phenomena, the medium gets stripped down to the essence of the medium itself, showing only what is necessary to perform the composition.

In recent years, Macular has been invited to exhibit their installations at media arts festivals, galleries, and museums around the world. Of note are the exhibitions ​Macular and Cycles at Wood Street Galleries in Pittsburgh and Unlimited Light at Boxes Art Museum in Guangzhou and Melody of Motions at MOCA Yinchuan. Each of these exhibitions consisted of four to ten new and existing works by the artists.

The works that are shown as part of the 15 years of Macular exhibition are:

Barycentre by Matthijs Munnik
Citadels by Matthijs Munnik
Cycles by Daan Johan and Joris Strijbos
Drifting by Eric Parren
Liquid Solid by Nicky Assmann and Joris Strijbos
Revolve by Daan Johan and Joris Strijbos
The Abysses of the Scorching Sun by Nicky Assmann


Check the Macular works at the Conflux exhibition at Roodkapje Rotterdam (Thursday 18:00 – 21:00, Friday/Sunday 14:00 – 20:30), at the WORM Facade (Barycentre by Matthijs Munnik, Thursday/Sunday 19:00 – 00:00) and at UBIK (Citadels by Matthijs Munnik, Saturday/Sunday 14:00 – 20:30).

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