SWAMP: Matt Kenyon


What goes up must come down. These words describe not so much a scientific truth, but rather a common generalization. This notion can be applied to a variety of things – from a ball thrown into the air to a stock market, which cannot continue to rise forever. All good things must come to an end. Right? The perceptual structures of the human brain enable individuals to see the world around them as stable, even though the sensory information may be incomplete and rapidly varying. Some of these perceptual structures are highly susceptible to manipulation. Seeing is not believing. Especially when the refresh rate of our reality hides the truth about our macabre fossil fuel faith. All around us people simultaneously hope and fear that our material abundance may never come to an end.
In the gallery a wire rack of vintage oil cans sits. One has a visible fissure out of which oil slowly flows, cascading onto the pedestal and the gallery floor. The only thing is, upon close inspection, the oil isn’t flowing out of the can. Instead, oil appears to slowly flow, drop-by-drop, back into the can. At times the drops of oil seem to hover unsupported in mid-air. At other times, the drops are in the process of a reverse slow motion splash onto the pedestal.

Matt Kenyon is an artist and educator who focuses on critical themes addressing the effects of global corporate operations, mass media and communication, military-industrial complexes, and general meditations on the liminal area between life and artificial life.
SWAMP (Studies of Work Atmosphere and Mass Production) was founded in 1999 by artists Douglas Easterly and Matt Kenyon who collaborated from 1999 through 2012. Kenyon now runs SWAMP solo in addition to being an Associate Professor in the School of Art and Design at the University of Michigan in the United States.