Anything from a person to a particle may act as an agent of physical phenomena or historical forces—both with and without individual agency. Events initiated in the past persist into the present; we can feel their inertia pushing into the future and antique agency pulling from the cultural unconscious.

In my videos, sculptures, and installations viewers meet a range of agents—mercurial materials, sites, and personae—that are entangled with natural processes and shape-shifting historical forces. My research based practice focuses in particular on drawing out and engaging agents possessed by ideological ghosts of Modernity, including capitalism, colonialism, and the Enlightenment, all of which continue to haunt the present. My process seeks to delve into, draw out, and make visible the unconscious persistence of Modernity’s modes of seeing, intellectual frameworks, and institutions.

I stage ritualistic encounters with Modernity’s agents. Such encounters are perceptual possessions, in the ambiguous dual sense of the word. I aim to precipitate perceptual exorcisms in viewers, through another form of encounter: with subtle, poorly understood, or unnameable phenomena to bring forth what has eluded or been suppressed by Modernity. This process of loosening history’s grip on the future makes space for new forms of agency.


Matthew C. Wilson is an American artist based in the Netherlands working primarily in video and sculpture. Wilson holds an MFA in Visual Arts from Columbia University. He has been a participant in the Whitney Independent Study Program and numerous residencies including the Jan van Eyck Academie and Skowhegan. Recently, Wilson launched the Spectral.Exchange platform as an outcome of an Artistic Research Residency at Tabakalera, San Sebastián, ES, and premiered his short film Within the Temple Without at IFFR - International Film Festival Rotterdam. Wilson is currently Artist in Residence at Aalto University in Helsinki.