Its been a long time without any new posts, mostly due to me being busy with exhibitions , live video gigs and my final MA exam, which took place yesterday.

Here is a short video of the piece presented:

Presences from Mattias Arvastsson on Vimeo.


I recently was invited to Dublin to participate  in the exhibition Refunct09 at imoca.

The show was part of the ISEA conference and curated by Banjamin Galoun and Ivan Twohig and will be on trough september, and the piece will possibly be shown again during the culture night.

The piece called 5038:kmii was  built on site  and the sculptural part was defined by the material available and the projector given to me.

The video material was as usual the result of a lot of procesing and originated from recent experiments with surfaces captured with a USB microscope.

Not to give up the source but it has a very organic feel to it, one might even say biological……

I had initially planned to work with sound again as part of the piece but realized that my usually subtle sounds would disappear in the noise from the other pieces by among others Joan Healy, Loud objects and Gijs Giske.

This has once again put me in doubt about using sound…..   until I started a new collaboration with sound artist Richardo del Pozo. more on that later………

” partial evidential excerpt”
Is a fragment from the ongoing research of a fusion between sculpture and video
It is the result of mishaps and cross connections that have generated new strings of thoughts that  form new “presences”.
The part that are shown in the exhibition “An educated guess” developed rapidly with the starting point in a folded train ticket, scanned barcodes and sounds generated from the visual material.

In the form of a list:
Airport bouncing
Relocation confusion

and some videos:

video in an spatial and architectural context


What´s it all about so far!
During my BA I worked a lot with different ways of presenting my video and audio material in varying ways, mostly focused on breaking away from the wall and use the whole room. This is something that I feel a need to continue and focus even more on, I feel that I have barely scratched the surface of the possibilities in shaping and reconstructing moving images in a spatial context.

The best way for me to work is with a hands on approach, with practical tests and experiments of different setups in a diversity of spaces to expand my understanding of video in an physical context.
This will be done with different projector setups not only as a way of getting a larger image but also to move further away from the traditional perception of video as a rectangular image.
I want to continue to find new ways of acquiring material. This usually happens through experiments and cross connections and is a constantly ongoing process.

What associations does people have when they see my work?
Using more and more abstract material my interest lays firmly in an fascination of surfaces and “grain”.
I use the term grain even if I work with a fusion of analog and digital video which cant really have grain in the sense of film. Several years of experimentation and tests have led to a workflow and choice of equipment that ranges from cheap surveillance cameras to high end compositing software, this gives me a result that doesn´t (at least not to me ) emulates film, but have a rich grainy feel to it.
I also notice that people often try to find non abstract references in the material, and this is something I would like to avoid if possible as much as possible. Because of that I need to explore the use of abstract visuals even further.
“Why no colour?”
This is a question that I often got from one of the teachers during my BA and is still something that I´m trying to figure out and verbalize.
It´s not an entirely conscious choice. I´m sure that I am, on a subconscious level a chromophobic in the sense that I´m attracted to visual material that have a certain high contrast quality to it, I believe that this is not possible to achieve with an excessive use of colour. 

Sculpture and other forms of projection surfaces
I have become more and more fascinated with using physical forms as projection surfaces, and need to look at the semantics and history of sculpture a lot more to better understand how to integrate objects in my installation works.
Ideally I would like to find some kind of more organic/fluid forms for these objects, but to get there I need to start with a very basic set of objects (boxes)  and  start exploring the possibilities.
I plan on experimenting with a multiple of smaller objects and build changeable patterns that will let me break up  the square.
Ideally I would like to find a material other then wood that would let me try different shapes and forms more easy, different kinds of fabric and plastic material as well as styrofoam blocks will be tested.
I will also build a small test setup with a variety of smaller objects that will let me quick and easy test ideas without having access to a full scale setup. 

 Make it breathe
Non static playback is also a very important part of what I´m trying to figure out. The material should be able to change in a natural pace almost like it was a natural organism.
For this I´m doing research in different forms of chance operation and especially a set of “life tools” created by Bill Vorn that emulates biological mutation processes.
These  are being integrated in traditional sequencer systems that are used for controlling playback order and triggering effects.
With this I create a sequence and then let it mutate over time, constantly changing the order and rhythm of the video material, but eventually I would like more parameters and even the content of the individual clips to be effected/changed thru similar processes.

 Stage work
A important project is also the collaboration with research fellow Victoria Johnson at Norges Musikk Høgskole.
I have been given a great opportunity to explore video as an integrated part of a musical stage performance.
The first part of our collaboration will be the composition “Victoria Counts” written by composer Henrik Hellstenius.
The idea is to work with different spaces in terms of public, private, abstract and musical, and interpret that in a visual score that I will perform live.
This will premiere at Vinter Lyd festivalen on the 26/2 2009. 
We are also discussing different forms of improvisations or freeform performances where the video material will drive the music almost as if I was conducting her.
This is something we will explore further in the spring and perform at various location in both Oslo and Bergen ( still in a planning stage).

 Other forms of live video (Im not a VJ)
Live video in another form is the site specified explorations I do from time to time.
This is more an attempt to let a space define the projection surfaces in form of existing architecture and me interpreting the activity in the space.
This is largely based on the work I have presented at the “VJ picks the DJ” events at Landmark, a collaboration I hope to continue and possible expand to different events and locations.
This together with the stage work will give me a better understanding of the flexibility and reactiveness of me and the video material. 

 Where is it going?
With a better understanding of the different components involved in my work.
And with continuous experiments with a variety of spaces and physical objects as projection surfaces,
I will form a knowledge base and tool setup that will let me produce a series of installation works.
This is also the form I see myself working with towards the final exam and exhibition.
And to develop both a visual and verbal language I will look at artists working with different aspects of the components involved in my work:
Pablo Valbuena: Artist
Have made a series of Augmented sculptures, working with video as an animated light source to dynamically change the perception of a static sculptural object. 
Iannis Xenakis: Architect and composer.
Polytopes is a series of architectural works that involves light and moving visuals to transform the dynamics and perception of the space.
And he is also known for his mathematical composition technics that might be interesting to look closer at in terms of sequencing.
HC Gilje: Artist and research fellow at KHIB.
HC:s research project Conversations with spaces involves a lot of the same ideas and questions about using video in a spatial context.
He is all ready an important resource for my work.
Samuel Becket: Author and Theatre Director.
I have very little insight into his work, but I have understood that he was working a lot with the idea of having control over how his work was perceived, this is some thing that I want to look a lot deeper into.We also seem to share a fascination or maybe appreciation for B/W or grayscale imagery.
Mark Rothko: Abstract Painter.
Even if Rothkos work often are interpreted within a spiritual context, something I cant relate to, I will use him as a starting point for better understanding the language and  esthetics of abstract art.
Henry Jacobs and Jordan Belson: The Vortex Concerts.
A series of immersive audio/visual experiments in the Morrison planetarium in San Francisco presented during 1957 to 1960.
Seems to have many interesting components and ideas about immersive audio/visual work.
Jud Yalkut: Filmmaker and intermedia Artist
Working with multiple projections in both performances and installation, although I have not actually seen any work I´m intrigued by the following from Gene Youngblood:s Expanded Cinema:”As a filmmaker first and intermedia artist second, Yalkut displays a sense of control and orchestration that is the result of of working closely with superimpositions within the film frame. Thus in the superimpositions of multiple-projection environments he is able to control not only the spatial and temporal dimensions of a performance, but the graphic composition and integrity of the image as well”
Lev Manovich: Artist, Writer 
Have some interesting ideas about non-narrative and the use of content data bases instead of linear sequences that I need to look into.



Copy paste from

“The Game of Life is a cellular automaton devised by the British mathematician John Horton Conway in 1970. It is the best-known example of a cellular automaton.

The “game” is actually a zero-player game, meaning that its evolution is determined by its initial state, needing no input from human players. One interacts with the Game of Life by creating an initial configuration and observing how it evolves.

The universe of the Game of Life is an infinite two-dimensional orthogonal grid of square cells, each of which is in one of two possible states, live or dead. Every cell interacts with its eight neighbours, which are the cells that are directly horizontally, vertically, or diagonally adjacent. At each step in time, the following transitions occur:

  1. Any live cell with fewer than two live neighbours dies, as if by needs caused by underpopulation.
  2. Any live cell with more than three live neighbours dies, as if by overcrowding.
  3. Any live cell with two or three live neighbours lives, unchanged, to the next generation.
  4. Any tile with exactly three live neighbours cells will be populated with a living cell.

The initial pattern constitutes the ‘seed’ of the system. The first generation is created by applying the above rules simultaneously to every cell in the seed — births and deaths happen simultaneously, and the discrete moment at which this happens is sometimes called a tick. (In other words, each generation is a pure function of the one before.) The rules continue to be applied repeatedly to create further generations.”

Used in an sequencer each state, and more so the state of each cell functions as triggers in different ways.





Copy paste from

Tiction is a flexible, nodal music sequencer.

It’s pretty simple: Each node represents an event, and a connection from one node to the next triggers the next event after a certain number of tics. Nodes send MIDI note messages and/or MIDI controller change messages when triggered. Connecting nodes in a circuit lets you start a repeating pattern when one of the nodes is triggered.

A node can change its pitch and controller values based on its position on the screen. When a node is triggered, it performs some physical action: either repelling or attracting other nearby nodes, or nudging itself in a random direction. The physical interaction between nodes allows you to construct complex, rhythmic melodies and effects without having to draw filter envelopes or touch a traditional sequencer.

video of tiction:

Copypaste from

Step sequencers

A special case or mode of sequencers are step sequencers. Instead of recording played notes or drawing notes by hand on the piano roll, the user composes patterns using a grid of (usually) 16 buttons, or steps, each step being 1/16th of a measure. Step sequencer patterns are monophonic by nature, but usually a single pattern may contain individual subpatterns for a number of different instruments. These patterns are then chained together to form longer compositions. Step sequencers are mostly used in drum machines and grooveboxes.

In this case I used a DIY model cooked up in Max/MSP/Jitter, witch consist of four individual “channels” or sequences that can be individually controlled.


Her is a couple of videos of tests with different sequencing technics that I have been working on the last couple of days.

I will go into more detail on the different technics in the next post.

16 step seq.

Tiction” Nodal based seq.

Game of life Based seq.

Early on I had an idea to create rhythmic visuals, to translate the perception of rhythm from from music to video.

The first attempts at this (many many years ago) consisted of hours of DV ( and even some Super-8) tapes with panning shots of building facades. 

The idea was that the repetitive pattern in the facade would be perceived the same way as the graphical representation of a step sequencer, but it never came to a result that I felt was successful enough.

Lately I have gained a new interest in sequencers and sequences and how they can be manipulated and changed.

so instead of rendering static clips of video, I divide them in to smaller independent  parts and then use a sequencer to play them in different orders.

For the BA exam piece “55798” for example I had a selection of clips with motion mixed up with white static clips in various lengths.

These where combined in sequences  consisting of numbers representing the clips, after a sequence was played  the string of numbers was sent through a mutation algorithm (created by Bill Vorn) and a new sequence was created, sometimes clips not in the original seq. was added while other was dropped and by so creating an on going non static playback. This have also lead me to look at and experiment with step sequencers as a tool for visual playback, maybe its time to dig out those old dv tapes and see if they can be of any use today….. 


Short video of “55798”:

In my artistic practice sound and visuals have always been tightly linked, one have never existed without the other.

Even though they usually start as separate processes, there is always a point where they intercept each other.

But for my MA project I feel a need to focus on the visual work a lot more, exploring different sides of video, not as a narrative media, but as a purely visual tool.

So for the next couple of weeks I will try to create content that can function without the company of audio, search for a pure visual (and time based ) form………..

A text that deals with sound and more so the absence of sound in film (the narrative kind) that I enjoy reading and often come back to is Mike Figgis text ” Silence: The Absence of Sound” from “Soundscape The School of sound lectures 1998-2001” witch is available here.

Check back here for continues case studies and lab rapports.




May 2018
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