© 2023, Matthieu Bourel
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Dataism / / Reviving the absent perception

This text serves as a preliminary version, aiming to elucidate the concept of Data-Ism—a term intended to encapsulate my creative endeavors across various mediums. It involves a process of assimilation, appropriation, reinterpretation, and an implicit dialogue with external influences, almost akin to a lifestyle characterized by the exploration of diverse curiosities.

In various interviews, I've been repeatedly questioned about the concept of "dataism." However, my responses have often been too vague, constrained by time limitations and insufficient reflection, leading to the omission of crucial details. While dataism can be broadly understood as the digestion of the daily influx of information, it particularly resonates with Art in its general sense, defying a singular overarching definition. It holds a subjective appeal, intertwined with the passage of time—a temporal marker for collective memory—prompting the need for clarification.

By dataism, I refer to an immediate interpretation and response to images. It involves spontaneously uncovering double meanings, avenues for digression, hidden elements, and ways to divert the form's substance—a reflection of our contemporary era. There isn't a singular approach; rather, there are numerous ways, often unique to each individual based on their choices, curiosity, and personal experiences. It serves as an effective exercise for cultivating a discerning gaze, fostering curiosity, and engaging in the act of creation itself.

I posit that this approach necessitates a profound and nuanced comprehension of both the image at hand and one's own curiosity, self, and perspective. It involves reactivating an older image by introducing a collage element, which is inherently disgressive, echoing Max Ernst's methodology in his "A Week of Goodness" series—predominantly based on the collage principle of association. This revival can take diverse forms: a simple overlay of vibrant, primary, abstract colors (as exemplified in the Sur/Face series), a collage employing the multiplication of the same image (as demonstrated in Duplicity), or the creation of multi-layered portraits (referencing faces, and drawing inspiration from the works of Lucas Simoes, whose influence was significant during this period, creating a perceptual "tilt").

Alternatively, envisioning a swift or gradual mechanical animation, such as a GIF, can also breathe new life into the image. This kinetic approach, reminiscent of Jean Tinguely and kinetic art, introduces a dynamic element that offers a secondary meaning to an initial context often overlooked or forgotten.

Dis-Place / This concept is achievable through basic tools, even digitally, reminiscent of the chisel and glue used in traditional cinema montage techniques. Employing X-axis symmetries or simple rotations, like a pivot, lays the foundation. Beyond these initial steps, the possibilities are boundless, with absolutely no restrictions on the methods employed. The mantra is simple: do it your way, whatever that may be. There's no prescribed doctrine except my own.

Reflecting on the dynamics of social networks in the past decade, I find it intriguing to randomly select an image posted by someone, one that captures curiosity, and then proceed to modify it. Assigning a new name, I reintroduce the image into the same network shortly after, creating a ripple effect and fostering interactivity with others. It's crucial, however, to acknowledge the source of the image, its original author, and the first publisher—not to feign original creation but to wholeheartedly embrace the approach, valuing curiosity, even if done anonymously, with the requisite humility.

In addition to Max Ernst's contributions, Jiri Kolar's work in the 60s deserves attention. He crafted a personal lexicon of innovative techniques, such as Rollage and pliages, serving as a repertoire of his life. Living in Czechoslovakia under the former USSR, where such diversions and collages were deemed subversive and forbidden, Kolar's work became a political act of resistance against conformity and the sacred. It aimed to reveal the visible invisible, exposing societal flaws to all.

This notion of "political" dataism is intricately tied to numerous influences, including my illustration works. I aspire to bring a fresh perspective through myself, serving as an interface for these influences, fostering a dialogue with others, and potentially inspiring new approaches. The primary goal is to facilitate exchange and, in doing so, invite others to join the discourse. Exchange, the main goal

Thank you.