M. Armstrong

  • Ceramics
  • Experimental
  • Film
  • Fine art
  • Installations
  • Memoir
  • Mixed Media
  • Multimedia
  • New Media
  • Non-Fiction
  • Sculpture
  • Site Specific
  • Storytelling

I am an undisciplined, non-binary, mixed-race, settler-scholar living and working in so-called Canada. My current body of work is focused on queering notions of scientific objectivity and determinism to imagine and manifest processes that arise from liberated modes of knowledge-production. For the most recent Transmute series of animations, data contained in neuroscientific laboratory notebooks was subjected to a multi-step protocol analogous to a mathematical analysis pipeline including deconstruction as data tidying, reconstruction as data modeling, sanding as data transformation, animating as data visualization, and exhibition as data narrativizing. The animations were produced by capturing images revealed when sanding through blocks made of (de/re)constructed neuroscience laboratory notebooks. Pages from the books were interleaved with objects and materials associated with experiments, experimental subjects, and events that occurred within the dates documented on the pages. The resultant block of material was obliterated during the sanding, a process that converted evidence to ephemera. The juridical scientific object transformed into an emergent and unpredictable moment, while integrating multiple and marginalized forms of data, information, and knowledge, including the affective and subjective.

Previous exhibitions and projects have emphasized immersive and exploratory environments that change over the course of a show. The loss of physical materiality was key to many early sculptures and installations and works were co-created with the communities, locations, and conditions of their specific time and place. I often used ceramics, sugar/candy, sewing/fiber arts, and paper, though the medium always varied depending on the particularities of the exhibition or project. Movement, shift, change, presence and absence, traces, loss, and disappearance are all themes that emerge across the totality of my work to date.

I have been an artist in residence at artist-run programs in the US and France, and exhibited artwork in South Korea, the US, France, and Canada. My neuroscientific research has been supported by the NIH, my writing published in The Ex-Puritan and the Journal of Comparative Neurology, and my programming code published with rOpenSci. My family and I moved to Hamilton, ON from Vancouver, BC in summer 2023 and I look forward to becoming an integrated part of the local arts communities. Future projects that are underway will continue to work through the impacts of scientific knowledge production on more-than-human relations and community care through materially embodied practices in sculpture, sound, and film/animation. I am also working on a book that blends science, art, memoir, and critical theory.

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