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).

Program 2023

  • Conference

    Curiosity abounds when dealing with nonhuman forms of consciousness in relation to the very human forms of emotional and intellectual expression inherent to the art and music presented at Conflux Festival. Do abstraction and beauty translate? Do intention and meaning change? Can one compose for another type of consciousness? What dreams do machines and bees share?

    The one day Conflux Festival conference happening at Worm explores machine hallucinations for waking humans through talks and presentations by theorists, artists and performers from the festival program in response to the festival theme of Living Machines. With special focus on the nonhuman experience of consciousness, the conference presents alternate ways of understanding our rapidly integrated human-machine world.


    Click on names for more info

    Laura Tripaldi
    Soft Machines. Material Interfaces Between Bodies and Technologies
    Nicky Assmann
    Artist Talk
    Jorrit Paaijmans
    Artist Talk
    Joost Rekveld
    Analog Dreams of Nature
    Dave Murray-Rust
    Claire Williams
    Artist Talk
  • Club Nights

    After the neurological demands and multisensory stimulation of the Conflux's Festival day program, by night you're invited to viscerally engage in the techno-driven sounds of the club nights happening at POING and WORM across two dancefloors. Plunged into darkness and sensorially deprived by strobe and smoke, surrounded by other bodies ensnared in the ritualistic human-machine interactions of the dancefloor, here the unconscious processing can begin.

    At POING on Friday experience an afterhours program of bass-driven techno with daring producer and Fever AM label co-founder Rhyw playing with Amsterdam experimental bass artist Zohar and rising Rotterdam dubstep DJ Nala Brown from the female-focused AMPFEMININE collective. Plus local support from Ruwedata, Nikos and Mark Rutta (AKA Mark & Ruta Genyten).

    At WORM on Saturday, the playful leftfield house sounds of rRoxymore meets electro, industrial and seering "Mensch-Maschine" techno with Oliver Ho DJing as Broken English Club alongside Rotterdam techno veteran and Mord Records chief Bas Mooy, with a special collaboration from Perron resident Rita Maomenos and visual artist Cem Altınöz. Plus local support from Afra, dirtydms and Vox supreme.


    Click on names for more info

    Broken English Club
    Bas Mooy
    Nala Brown
    Rita Maomenos & Cem Altınöz
    Vox supreme
    Noach & Tyn
    Mark Rutta
  • Exhibitions

    Are machines living among us or are we living among machines? And how can we learn from each other's experiences? This year’s Conflux Festival dives deep into the human-machine dichotomy and raises questions about our relationship with artificial systems through two exhibitions exploring the festival theme of Living Machines.

    At V2_ artists Claire Williams, Evelina Domnitch & Dmitry Gelfand, Jorrit Paaijmans, Louis-Philippe Demers and Entangled Others Studio present multidisciplinary works at the intersection of science, art and technology. Under the title ‘Living Machines’ the selection of artworks show alternative views on how technology influences human perception. The second exhibition at Roodkapje presents kinetic light installations and screen based experiments by artistic researchers from the Macular collective, who celebrate 15 years of their nomadic lab practice.

    The exhibitions are free of charge. Opening times:

    Thursday 15 June: 18:00 - 21:00
    Friday 16 June: 14:00 - 20:30
    Saturday 17 June: 14:00 - 20:30
    Sunday 18 June: 14:00 - 20:30


    Click on names for more info

    Entangled Others Studio
    Macular: Nicky Assmann
    The Abysses of the Scorching Sun
    Macular: Daan Johan & Joris Strijbos
    Macular: Daan Johan & Joris Strijbos
    Macular: Eric Parren
    Macular: Nicky Assmann & Joris Strijbos
    Liquid Solid
    Jorrit Paaijmans
    Automatic Signum Series
    Jorrit Paaijmans
    Linearis Objectum No.3
    Louis-Philippe Demers
    A Monocular Dialogue
    Evelina Domnitch & Dmitry Gelfand
    Hilbert Hotel
    Claire Williams
    Macular: Matthijs Munnik
    Macular: Matthijs Munnik
  • Performances

    Conflux Festival explores the broad and murky boundaries between humans and their machines over a four day program of innovative sound performances, live audiovisual presentations and experimental cinema showcases by a cross-section of internationally renowned artists, happening across a diverse range of environments throughout the city of Rotterdam.

    For the free opening concert on Thursday, Conflux Festival presents a public sound art intervention at Plein 1940 featuring elements of the Kinetic Sounds multichannel sound installation. On Friday, the concrete cathedral Brutus will host an expanded cinema showcase of audiovisual works going beyond the traditional frame of a screen. On Saturday, visual artists and musicians will present a series of immersive screen-based performances at the Arminius Kerk, and on Sunday experience experimental theater and sound performances at Worm.


    Click on names for more info

    Drew McDowall
    Leila Bordreuil
    Ulla & Nan Wang
    AV live collaboration
    Joost Rekveld, Fani Konstantinidou & Anne La Berge
    Acidic Male & Jelmer Noordeman
    AV live collaboration
    Michela Pelusio
    SpaceTime Helix
    Olivier de Sagazan
    Encor Studio
    Mint Park
    Macular: Daan Johan
    Joost Rekveld
    Film Screening: Mechanisms Common to Disparate Phenomena; #59
    Pandelis Diamantides
    Paul Devens
    Pulses, Pops and Kaboom
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