A Visibility Matrix is an exhibition project by Dublin-based artists Gerard Byrne and Sven Anderson, featuring contributions from a wide range of international film and video artists. Jeremy Welsh is participating, with material from an installation project, "Tracings" (2012), which was shot in the archives of the former Spode ceramics factories in Stoke on Trent, England. The imagery focusses upon old plaster moulds, which were the original forms for ceramic products made in the factory until it closed in the early 2000's when production was moved from the UK to China.
A Visibility Matrix unfolds as a response to the ambitions of abandoned art and technology projects from the 1960s–1980s that prioritised multiscreen video projection, monitor arrays, communications networks and algorithmic composition principles. These projects explored visual excess and hyperstimulation prior to the development of the Internet, and before multi-screen video displays expanded into the vernacular backdrop of everyday public and private life. Considered now, the plural voices of these experiments in perception and communication simultaneously prophesise and bypass the homogenised conditions that have come to be accepted as network culture.
Exploring the paradigms of what we see and how we construct visual knowledge, A Visibility Matrix returns to the instincts of these projects. It proposes a condensed counterpoint to the migratory, hyper-networked nature of visibility in contemporary culture by conjuring an offline matrix of video material presented in the gallery space for communal observation. The artwork speculates on an alternative to the composite formed by subject + smartphone + online-video-sharing-platform that has come to represent the current standard of visibility. It gathers content through an associative network of collaborators including visual anthropologists, cinematographers, documentary filmmakers and others from across the globe. By shifting focus from the production of images for sharing online to their reception in a shared, fixed-time spatial context, A Visibility Matrix offers another window on visual excess, confronting its own situated spatiality in order to reflect the more universal conditions that it addresses.
A Visibility Matrix manifests as a network of screens and spatial gestures, in which we observe images being duplicated, mirrored and displaced. These gestures unfold over days and months of exhibition, pursuing both repetition and re-assembly. This system speculates on the possibilities of video not as passive image but as an active signal, and the gallery as a site of condensation; a shared space and a space of reflection.