Around the end of May 2020, something caught my attention in the social media river: a post by Mat Chivers in which he announced that he was entering quarantine, and was going to post daily about his experience of being isolated and turning his attention inside of himself.
During two weeks, he shared his thoughts, impressions and feelings, while going through this process, all on his Facebook personal page.
Every single day, I found myself following the real time intrigue on my mobile phone — The candid pictures, the personal reflections, political views, even dreams. I honestly thought it was the most interesting thing online.
Eventually, I asked Mat the permission to publish his quarantine journal, and he agreed.
Why is this Interesting?
Mat Chivers is a British visual artist who’s practice I find stimulating and inspiring. « He explores ideas relating to perception, cognition, evolutionary process, ecology and ethics by bringing traditional analogue approaches to making into counterpoint with state-of-the-art digital technologies. ». — matchivers.com/bio
I also had the pleasure of meeting him in real life, while he was preparing a major solo exhibition at Musée d’art de Joliette, and thought he was quite simply very charming. Since then, I’ve been following him on Facebook and Instagram.
Collaborations were numerous and essential to preparing the exhibition, which involved the assistance of AI programmers, ceramicists, 3D scanning specialists, and professionals in the use of robotic saws for stone-cutting. And yet, this project is interesting less for its technical prowess that for the larger issues it raises: how will developments in artificial intelligence affect our lives, at a base level? How do they help us ascertain and identify that which is essentially human?museejoliette.org/en/expositions/mat-chivers-migrations
The Power of Vulnerability
There is something about the intimacy and vulnerability of sharing what one goes through, day by day, that I find most endearing. I just love this type of journal entries — Very much in the logic of a blog — And find something magical in this way of integrating whatever happens on different levels for a person.
We are indeed multidimensional beings who are living within a certain time frame — And that human condition resonates for us mentally, emotionally, etc.
In this 14 days diary, Mat allows us to peek at his mind and heart. We are invited to dive in this very personal quarantine journey, and witness the intricately intertwined, sometime mysterious, objects forming a complex stream of consciousness.
I’ve set the alarm on my phone for midday every day for the next fourteen days and I’ll take a photo of myself when it sounds…
Last night I was sitting quietly with a beer watching the tide drop, when a tree fell in the forest…
It was odd travelling in that moment…
As the alarm sounds and trying not to think, I pick up my phone, flip the camera and reverse it until I see me on screen, and press the red button…
A sharp boat was coming up the river in my dream last night — slick white and blue paintwork and stained wood…
I feel way overexposed…
Some years ago I made a sculpture that records the invisible turbulence trail made in the air as I breathed…
I spent the morning looking at the news stunned, and it feels like I’ve thought of nothing else all day…
I’ve lost a steady stream of followers over the past nine days of posting…
Witnessing the eruption of pain and rage through my screen has left me reeling…
In solidarity #blackouttuesday
Today’s my last day of quarantine and my kids were going to be with me tonight but they’ve got some kind of vomiting bug…
- Mat Chivers, Migration (work in progress), 2018. Photo: Mat Chivers
- Mat Chivers, autoportait, 2020