Welcome by the Geologic Imagination Blog. This blog will be used for content written by participants of the Critical Writing Workshop: Describing the Indescribable.
Dream Sequence: Karen Gwyer at OT301
A chunk of the OT301 crowd stands in front of the stage looking quite unsure if to dance, a few others stare meditatively at Karen Gwyer, who has just begun her set. The London-based electronic experimentalist was part of this year's line-up for the Sonic Acts festival opening party, with the likes of TCF, Vessel, Minor Science, M.E.S.H and Killing Sound...
A very own spectacle
Friday, February 27, the second day of Sonic Acts. As a part of the conference session A Journey to the Unknown, Norwegian artist Espen Sommer Eide shares own experience of hidden, disconnected places of the word. Material Vision-Silent Reading is an art research project investigating the ways landscape affects human vision, resulting in the creation of new musical instruments. The research was conducted in the Bear Island in the Barents Sea, in conditions of harsh climate and utmost isolation.
The meditative collage of the session Earth Magnitude and the World Beyond Humans
Accumulating knowledge is the collective crystallization of our sensory information. The drive for knowledge is the urge to make contact, to grasp, to touch, to understand. Yet, crystalized information over generations also provides insights into the mechanism of our sensory machines. And the more we investigate, the bigger the gap between what’s known and what’s unknown.
Journeys into the Unknown: Making the Un-sensed Sensible
The "Journeys into the Unknown" panel revealed how contemporary technologies can illuminate aspects of the world we often ignore or about which we remain unaware. Through several modes of experience--vision, hearing, and speculative imagination--each speaker expanded our understanding of what the world is and what it could be.
Conference: Noise in the electromagnetic spectrum
Tue 3 Mar
Electromagnetic radiation is everywhere. It is a broad spectrum including both visible light and invisible radiation from radio waves and microwaves used for mobile communication and wireless internet. In this conference session, electromagnetic radiation was explored –under the skin and far out in the Earth's upper atmosphere.
Session on listening: a modern ritual
There is no stage, only the single table covered with most different devices, cassettes and found objects which trigger a journey, wandering. The atmospheric vibes of this UK duo encounter aggressive whiteness of the exhibition room. Layers of recorded ambient and voice conversed with flute create the mystical folk soundscape. The pool of sounds increases, building up into a ritualistic polyphony. Over half an hour, the performance sets a quest towards the ends of consciousness.
A Return to Night
Nickel van Duijvenboden The most striking remark in Paul Bogard’s lecture, last Friday, on the increasing disappearance of true night, was the fact that most people in favour of the ubiquity of electric glare use the argument of safety. Our modern discomfort with darkness can perhaps be compared with the common suspicion of silence and solitude.
The Man and the Nature (from Shelley to Panda Bear)
The second day of Sonic Acts started with a biblical quote: “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep.”The central theme of the three conferences of yesterday morning was the relationship between darkness and light from the point of view of man and, specifically, in the context of Anthropocene. We focus on the lecture by John Tresch.
Mark Williams encourages us as members of the anthropoceneto rethink our self-proclaimed geological hegemony -as it were- and confronts us with our collective arrogance on a geo-temporal scale and platform. Williams begins by questioning if the anthropocenereally exists and if humans are really significant to geological change. As a Professor of Geology who uses preset-day earth processes as a key to the past, he posits that the past four hundred, million years can she light on the true scale of our geological impact.
A script for collective boredom
Doors open. A clinical set up. A floor full of grey cushions. A booklet is handed out and small silver envelopes are on the floor. A pink light is projected on the wall. In the centre, a small ice cube sits on the floor – inaccesible to the people in the back. Three narrow, imposing white speakers face the audience. The artist is absent.
Conference: Earth Magnitude
Fri 27 Feb
19:00 - 21:00
Kittens. Every chapter in Mark Williams’s talk was intercepted with a headline of a cute kitten. I’m not sure if it has been scientifically proven that the internet generation attends more to a stream of images when it is interleaved with adorable cat pictures, or the kittens were there to illustrate which animals will survive the Antroposcene. Perhaps the epoch of human influence will be dominated by fuzzy pets and supersized chickens?
Tuning the Strata of Ground and Sky
He begins to layer the sounds, creating a chorus of voices from cavernous depths: a choir of rock and soil, hum and steam, roar and crumble. Harmonically related, yet in non-western tuning, the texture beats against itself until Eide filters out the mid-tones and reduced the bit resolution. The choir becomes a distant rattling crackle with occasional comet-like glissando’s reminiscent of the sounds of the cosmic radiant ionosphere.
Reading Earth/Worm Poetry
What could it mean for nonhumans--wind, worms, world/earth--to "write poetry" through computer coding language? In the Earth Coding workshop led by Nik Gaffney and Martin Howse, this question (among others) drove me toward a greater understanding of the embeddedness of technology in nature, while also showing how a creative misuse of advanced technologies can provide new ways to relate to and appreciate the earth and its nonhuman inhabitants.
The lightning-filled night: Douglas Kahn on Energies at Earth Magnitude
A borrowed quote from one of the most known artist from the historical avantgard movement of Surrealism, is emblematic as it suggests how some ideas have already been thought, formulated, and proposed, even if not fully implemented at their time due to a lack of highly advanced technologies.
It all started with darkness
On the occasion of the warm-up event on Wednesday 25th at the gallery W139, the audience was welcomed in a dark empty space, dimly lighted up by small flames. These feeble fires were produced by flaming pipes connected to gas tanks, and held by four members of DNK Ensemble. Wearing white overalls, they were positioned in different corners of the space, as if waiting to begin to perform a ritual.
Geomancy and Earth Codes
In the Earth Coding workshop, Nik Gaffney and Martin Howse brought ancient practices of scrying into a present-day context through the use of modern technologies and languages. Using amplifiers to capture electro-magnetic signals, and programs that transduce dynamic fluctuations into code, the pair initiated experimental interactions, where our location and listening experiences were generated remote viewing, attaching wires to a weather balloon, and throwing worms onto a microchip.