A New York City native, Matthew Ostrowski has worked as a composer, performer and installation artist, exploring work with music, multimedia, video and theater. Using digital tools and formalist techniques to engage with quotidian materials — sonic, physical, and cultural – Ostrowski’s work explores the liminal space between the virtual and phenomenological worlds. His work, which has been seen on six continents, ranges from live electronic performance to installations incorporating video, multichannel sound, and computer-controlled objects. He is a freelance developer of interactive technology for artists, and teaches at NYU and Columbia University.
His work ranges from live electronic performance to installations incorporating video, multichannel sound, and computer-controlled objects. Ostrowski has collaborated with a large number of artists in the US and abroad, including David Behrman, John Butcher, Diamanda Galás, Nicolas Collins, Anne LaBerge, Andrea Parkins, The Flying Karamazov Brothers, and many others. He was composer-in-residence for the MacArthur-award winning choreographer Elizabeth Streb, and has designed interactive technologies for performing and fine artists ranging from Laurie Anderson to Martha Rosler. He regularly performs in the duo KRK, with Prague-based contrabassist George Cremaschi, and with R. Luke Dubois in the multimedia duo Fair Use.
Ostrowski’s productions have been seen or performed on six continents, including the Wien Modern Festival, Transmediale and Maerz Musik in Berlin,the Kraków Audio Art Festival, Sonic Acts in Amsterdam, PS 1 and The Kitchen in New York , the Rencontres Internationales video festival in Madrid, and Yokohama’s dis_locate Festival. He has received numerous awards, including a NYFA Fellowship for Computer Arts.
Much of my recent work is focused on creating immersive environments using computational intelligence to generate sonic and visual structures rooted in the sounds and materials of the real world. Digital technologies can animate quotidian objects, giving them behavior, agency, and capacities for transformation in ways not conceivable in daily life: This grant of sentience gives them play within a field of meaning beyond our usual perception.
Objects have dual existences: as phenomena that exist in the world and as signifiers. I am interested in reworking the material aspect of the cultural object in order to throw light on its signification. One can subject it to statistical, permutational, or algorithmic treatments — in other words, compose it — purely as a material object. Through this material re- imagining, using the qualities inherent in its mechanical or quantitative nature, we can reveal, alter, or undermine its intended or culturally determined meaning, while keeping the work intact within its own boundaries.
As an artist, I am interested in revealing the truth behind our operations of mind, how we assemble reality and meaning from the torrent of perceptions and feelings we are confronted with at every moment of existence. By recontextualizing concrete sonic and visual information, these works, whether open-form or fixed, seek to function as environments in which to exercise one’s attention and inventiveness, to create a place and time in which one can engage with what Richard Foreman calls “the process of consciousness colliding with the world.”