Matt Siber is a gallery artist who works in photography, digital imaging, video, sculpture, and installation artwork. After earning a Bachelor’s degree in History and Geography from the University of Vermont, he went on to earn an MFA in Photography from Columbia College Chicago. He has also worked as a freelance photographer for a number of clients but is currently focusing on gallery art. The Art Institute of Chicago and the Museum of Contemporary Photography are both permanent homes for some of Siber’s work. Various museums in Europe, ranging from Galeria Antoni Pinyol in Reus, Spain to Galerie f 5.6 in Munich, present his work, which has also been published in various international publications, bringing him worldwide acclaim. His projects focus on advertisement and its effect on society. They range from the effect of advertisement of a specific event on a society, to the effect of product advertising and the attention given to specific big brand names over the more obscure or “generic” products. Though completely the same, the generics are often passed by because they are not strongly advertised like the brand name product, and are therefore viewed as less effective, or not as good a product. His approach to his work identifies things in society that are often overlooked until brought to one’s attention or until manipulated to the point that they are hard not to notice. For example, his project Floating Logos, in which, through the two view points of Series I and Series II, he captures a sign in which he has digitally removed it’s support to further increase its presence. Series I captures a view of the sign where you never see the ground and creates the illusion of the viewer being present in the moment beneath the sign. Series II displays the environment in which the sign is located making it more place-specific and creating an equally effective approach at increasing the distinctiveness of the sign.
At first, I was not particularly attracted to Siber’s work, but as I spent more time viewing it, I found myself becoming more intrigued by the message and idea behind each photograph. His work really allows the viewer to see the strong impact of the commercial world we inhabit almost through a window, and recognize our part in it just as much as the subjects or products. I consider his most effective project to be The Untitled Project, in which each photograph captured a product or subject in which all the text was removed and the text was relocated to a blank white environment. I found it effective because our world is so commercialized and dependent on consumerism, and through his project he captures that commercial communication through the symbols and designs of many products in not only North America, but also in Europe and China. This project emphasizes the importance of the short but bold words or phrases of the commercial written language, and in other ways, with the text removed from the products and subjects it also emphasizes the logos or strong appearance of many products in our society and those internationally. I think through the use of such a strong idea and universal element, Matt Siber has a major impact on the world with which he is sharing his work.
This video, which is only a small portion of Siber’s 30 minute long video presentation: Wangfujing, Beijing, 2009 from his project Pulse, displays the process of an advertisement changing. The long billboard made out of many tiny panels changes every so often to display a new advertisment. What I believe is for effect, motion slows down every time the billboard is changing, and then speeds back up to normal pace while the billboard is stationary.