Daring and imaginative artist Mathieu Le Sourd, best known as MAOTIK, has been gifting audiences worldwide with spectral immersive journeys. Through the use of computer-generated algorithms, which he tweaks so that they improvise and show contingency, he brings this technology closer to the human essence. In this way, MAOTIK presents projects of an unpredictable nature while at the same time humanising technology, bringing it closer to our comprehension.
The France-based new media artist MAOTIK masters formative craftsmanship while allowing the works to develop within themselves and creating reality-shifting environments. He performs with audiovisual tools by generating graphic elements in real-time, to transform the perception of spaces. While some artists may avoid randomness and imperfection in their work, MAOTIK authentically embraces it as he plays within the possibilities of art, science, and technology.
Enhancing technology and science with an ‘artistic touch’
Dispatching the practice of creating works for passive admiration, MAOTIK aims at making it possible for people to experience more than just staring at a work of art. He dives into weaving immersive journeys, understanding it as a new art language that brings out strong emotions in the audience. Digital artists like himself have been on the edge of technological innovations, using new tools to craft these sorts of magical environments. However, he sees this relation between art and science as a mutual one: ‘We rely on the technology available but also contribute to its development by testing and pushing their potential to the limits.’ His project Erratic Weather highlights this merging of fields with a performance driven by atmospheric data, constantly evolving and being different each time.
When observing the environments created by MAOTIK, there is a striking potential to re-invent spaces through his use of a variety of architectural and digital tools; when he unleashes his art practice on these, a morphing of colours, structures, and shapes transforms a space. Daily spaces and objects, such as a square in the street, a tree, a balloon or even an airport room, are used as canvases; in consequence, people have their predicted ideas of a space completely interrupted by a new surreal way of perceiving it. Each project presents an unexpected set of aesthetics and emotional substances, making his practice unique and ephemeral.
The presence of the audience becomes in itself a means of expression
With his works travelling around the world in gardens, festivals and institutions from Europe to South America and Asia, MAOTIK takes on the challenge of letting the cultures in context speak for themselves before diving into developing a project. He understands that life's “codes” and the way the world is perceived change within cultures. All senses are activated in a diversity of ways making the experience of human beings, almost by definition, constantly multisensorial: ‘The type of interactivity we have with the world and other human beings are infinitely rich, full of constant surprises and unexpected turns’. With such a vision, his work naturally becomes surprising, rich, and unexpected in itself.
For MAOTIK, with so many people from different backgrounds coming across his installations, there should be no imposition of a one-sided vision of what a space should look or feel like. He allows the audience to manipulate his environment. From having a divine interaction with lights changing across church walls, to visuals in a tree shifting as people pass by; here, the presence of the audience becomes in itself a means of expression. There is no limit to the type of interaction audiences will experience, as he artistically manoeuvers digital tools in unexpected ways and environments.
Experimenting with the unknown humanises technology
The art of random art-making
MAOTIK works in somewhat of a counter-intuitive way. There is no specific final or pre-rendered vision associated with each project. In this sense, he considers himself a generative artist, refusing to work in a static manner by following the constantly changing dynamics of real life. Oftentimes inspired by the effects of temporality and fleetingness hitting the sceneries around him, his works generate unrepeatable compositions leading to a state of meditation. His work Sense of Blue, at the 2021 edition of Art Basel, is one of the many examples of how he achieves this contemplative facet in his compositions. The work presents a celestial experience, with minimal and sophisticated tools being meticulously orchestrated, triggering a transmundane imaginative journey.
Not being too fond of the idea of perfection and embracing the implementation of randomness, is what paradoxically makes his installations perfect for many of those who experience it. The boldness of coding computer systems to a certain logic that lets these computers improvise and adapt to new possibilities, brings these technologies - often so foreign to our comprehension - closer to our essence. In a way, it allows humans to see themselves as a humanless entity, creating a mirror-like synergy between the natural and digital worlds.
Over the last few years, MAOTIK’s work has been presented at international festivals and institutions worldwide, such as Mutek, Sonar, Oi Futuro in Rio, Art Basel and Signal Festival in Prague. You can experience the live AV show ‘Erratic Weather’, a performance by MAOTIK and Maarten Vos, during STRP Festival in Eindhoven upcoming April.