Archives for posts with tag: at a distance

2009 paradise suspended

Paradise (suspended) 

Latin suspendere, from sub- ‘from below’ + pendere ‘hang’ –

the prefix, sub- is often simplified to su- before sp; as seen in suspect, suspend, suspicion, suspension –

attachment from above/ imposed but not enforced/ dispersed through the bulk

A meshing of images and geometries which serve as a motif for the universe, fragmented and suspended echoing a time when dreams have been put on hold and the routines of daily life broken and held in limbo.

2009 paradise suspended 2

Work in progress looking at the possibility of a home from home orbiting the star HD70642 in the constellation of Puppis located about 92 light years away.  Link here to see HD70642 using the online planetarium Stellarium.

2009 STELLARIUM HD70642

This star has a long period planet companion making a circular orbit which means it is one of the most similar currently known planetary systems to our Solar System. There could be an Earth like planet orbiting this star. It would have taken my Mother’s whole life to reach here and the very first radio signals are only just arriving.

Puppis is one of the three constellations that once formed the huge constellation Argo Navis. In Greek mythology, the Argo carried Jason and his 50 Argonauts to Colchis at the eastern end of the Black Sea, to recover the Golden Fleece helped by Athena and Orpheus.

2009 Puppis

Imagine a world 92 light years away looking back at us. What patterns do the stars make? What stories are told here? Could those radio signals reaching them now be picked out from the noise of the universe?

I have made some progress with Seeker, Seer, Scientist an investigation at the boundary of my horizon. What lies beyond.

2009 gopro

Marking out a 3 mile radius on my customized ordnance survey map to determine each destination at the four points of my compass.  I embarked upon my first journey at dawn.

My GoPro headstrap had not arrived and so I had to improvise.

I was surprised by huge flocks of raucous parakeets rising from their overnight roost.

2009 parakeets

Destination North took me to Richmond Park. Wild deer and the terrifying roar of the nearby stag made a magical encounter.

2009 deer

2009 TEST membraneSome test filming of soap membranes for use in the film as a crossover point between the visual and the imagined reality.

2009 membrane 32009 membrane 22009 membrane still

Wonderful to hear that my video sculpture At a distance has been selected for Programme 2 of Visions in the Nunnery 2020 at Bow Arts

2009 At a distance

Nye Thompson’s Programme 2 explores our world through the many new digital systems that have fundamentally changed how we see and exist. Data is harvested, other worlds are imagined and the cataclysmic effect of technology is explored. I’m very excited to see her new work which virtually builds a colossal dividing wall on the un-walked territories of Mars.

In At a distance solitary figures using semaphore flags sign ‘We are one’ out across the ocean. Filmed at Lizard Point Cornwall on 29th March 2019 (the first date the UK was supposed to leave the EU). As in entanglement theory where two paired electrons mirror each other at a distance it is hoped the message will be echoed back.

Every outing is precious now. Visited Unit 1 Gallery/workshop Radical Residency V exhibition particularly to see the enigmatic sculpted forms of Marianne Walker’s 3D drawings connecting conversations across the ages echoing object and mark making. Impressive collection of works including Emily Woolley’s alchemical sculpture articulating swirling ocean currents through the use of mica.

First post lock-down gallery visit was to see Among The Trees at the Hayward Gallery.

‘In meditative works across different media, 37 artists explore how trees challenge how we think about time, and consider how intimately entangled they are with human affairs. They invite us to appreciate their soaring scale, in art works such as a monumental sculpture cast from a 2,000-year-old olive tree by Ugo Rondinone, a cinematic portrait of a 30-metre-high spruce tree by Eija-Liisa Ahtila, and a vast forest of trees constructed entirely from cardboard by Eva Jospin. Among the Trees transports us around the world – from Colombian rainforests and remote Japanese islands to olive orchards in Israel and a 9,550-year-old spruce in Sweden.

There was lots to feel in awe of as trees are such magnificent beings. During lockdown trees became a vital presence for everyone confined to their immediate neighbourhood. The daily walk gave us time to notice spring unfurl and appreciate local nature.

I followed the fortunes of stumpy from a brutal curtailment of growth happened upon during my first covid walk, to the fight back to regain some of what was before. Just as we are bristling and sending out tentative new growth as we emerge from lockdown.

2008 stumpy4 (4)2008 stumpy4 (3)2008 stumpy4 (2)2008 stumpy4 (1)

Rachel Sussman’s photograph Underground Forest #0707-1333 (13,000 years old; Pretoria, South Africa) Deceased 2007 was particularly intriguing.

2008 Among the trees 15

This is the crown of a tree that has migrated underground possibly to survive the areas regular wildfires.  These underground trees are found in the savannahs of southern Africa and South America and are different to the root systems of other trees. The shoots on the surface could be part of a network with large woody structures as much as one metre wide with stems measuring up to 10 metres across. If there is a fire the shoots above ground can quickly regrow. These underground forests are extensive and diverse and seem to be linked with the spread of the savannah around 8 million years ago that led to an increase in wildfires.

It is also what is known as a clonal tree which reproduces vegetatively underground. There are also clonal colonies where a forest of trees are all genetically identical linked by one network of roots that send up suckers. The world’s largest living organism (and maybe the oldest) is a clonal forest known as Pando or the Trembling Giant. This striking colony of quaking aspen covers 106 acres of Fishlake National Forest in Utah.

2008 Pando

The other thing everyone mentioned during lockdown was how birdsong was louder and more pervasive to our days as traffic and flights ceased to muddy our soundscape.

The lockdown zoom Ways of Listening from Complicité was a joy to listen to. I didn’t realise how starved I felt of these sort of conversations. Hopefully the link below will remain active for the future. Unlike our eyes, our ears are never closed.

Ways of Listening | Complicité

2008 complicite zoom

I also watched the film Infinite Potential: The Life and Ideas of David Bohm which gives a biographical account of his life and search for something beyond or at the intersection of science.

2008 David Bohm

Bohm was interested in consciousness because of its implications with regard to quantum theory.  He looks at the interconnectedness of all matter. How we interact with the earth, how we interact with each other. If we want to go beyond our current state of consciousness and experience wholeness we must look beyond the manifest veil of form to a realisation of oneness.

Reading stones could be considered the first instruments used to create an enhanced sensory experience. Originally made from ground and polished rock crystal or beryl, they were placed over texts to magnify them.

1909 reading stones

This early optical technology paved the way toward observation of the furthest reaches of the universe and its minutest components.

1909 Baetylus 2.jpg

Both the telescope and microscope are referenced by the sculpture Baetylus installed on St. Augustine’s Tower roof for the exhibition Reading Stones.

1909 Baetylus installed St Augustines Tower

Baetylus (meaning from the house of god), are sacred stones/meteorites of divine origin.

In this case sold to me for £6, a 15mm Nickel Iron Meteorite from Campo Del Cielo Argentina, falling 5000-6000 years ago. Photographed with a macro lens and direct to media printed onto acrylic by Genesis printing. The steel frame expertly welded by Nick Amott of J.& R. Precision Engineers.

1909 welding

The wind and rain on the roof soon added to the piece.

1909 Baetylus meteor shower

rain + meteor = meteor shower

An object falling through space distorts not only the space it travels through but also time as space and time are inexorably linked.

Each visit to the roof gave a different experience of the work.

1909 Baetylus 1

The act of “reading stones” can refer to both the scientific practice of geological investigation and the ritual of lithomancy which seeks to interpret the patterns of stones cast by those wishing to divine the future.

1909 Lithomancy reading

Offering ‘readings’ gave visitors a personal perspective to consider when thinking about how we experience time and negotiate the future. The board, a salvaged old table top was screen printed with a design created after researching the ancient art of lithomancy and prevalent variations. I gave the board a geological emphasis and aligned the areas of activity with traditional associations such as sedimentary = home, boulders = obstacles and challenges, strata = knowledge and experience.

1909 lithomancy board

The gemstones were assigned properties according to traditional meanings.

1909 assigning stones

It was magical to spend so much time within the thick stone walls of St. Augustine’s Tower, ascending and descending the steep narrow spiral stairs adding yet another infinitesimal trace to the worn history of the steps.

1909 St Augustine tower stairs

Working with Carol Wyss and Anne Krinsky on this project was a pleasure and we were delighted with the public response to the exhibition.

1909 Carol Wyss All that remains

Carol Wyss All That Remains 

“My aim is to re-create the original ‘UR’ bone which has neither gender nor race, the first ever bone which existed, the one which fell from heaven or space. It is an attempt at merging all the bones of the human skeleton into one entity, which then becomes the common denominator, the starting point from which all bones and consequently all humans came. I am referring to the bible story of Eve’s creation from Adam’s rib, the Greek myth of Pyrrha with the creation of humans from the stones / bones of the earth and Da Vinci’s perfectly proportional Vitruvian man, as well as to science’s search for the ultimate building blocks of our universe.” Carol Wyss

1909 Carol Wyss

1909 Carol Wyss Os

Carol Wyss Os

Deucalion and his wife Pyrrha were the only survivors of the great deluge and landed on Mount Parnassus, the only place spared by the flood.
Deucalion consulted an oracle of Themis about how to repopulate the earth. He was told to throw the bones of his mother behind his shoulder.
Deucalion and Pyrrha understood the “mother” to be Gaia, the mother of all living things, and the “bones” to be rocks.
They threw the rocks behind their shoulders, which soon began to lose their hardness and change form.
Their mass grew greater, and the beginnings of human form emerged.
The parts that were soft and moist became skin, the veins of the rock became people’s veins, and the hardest parts of the rocks became bones.
The stones thrown by Pyrrha became women; those thrown by Deucalion became men.

1909 Carol Wyss Osmosis

Carol Wyss Osmosis

All the sons of Adam are part of
One single body,
They are of the same essence.
When time afflicts us with pain
In one part of that body
All the other parts feel it too.
If you fail to feel the pain of others
You do not deserve the name of man.
― Saadi Shirazi 1258

1909 Anne Krinsky Ephemera Scrolls 2

Anne Krinsky Ephemera Scrolls

“I am interested in the ephemeral nature of the physical world – in the transformation of terrains and in the erosion of stone, wood and metal over time. In developing imagery for the Ephemera scrolls, I wanted to create visual relationships across time and space. I photographed the Tower’s clock mechanism and gravestones from the surrounding garden and other London churchyards. During a recent residency at Oberpfalzer Kunstlerhaus in Schwandorf, Germany, I photographed the River Naab, as its water levels dropped during the hottest June on record. I feel impelled to document changes to wetlands and waterways in this time of accelerating climate change.” Anne Krinsky

1909 Anne Krinsky Ephemera Scrolls 1

Anne Krinsky Ephemera Scrolls

Time Crystals video work installed alongside the tower’s ancient clock builds on an interest in the mystery of time viewed across human, cosmological and quantum scales.

1909 St Augustines Tower Clock

The clock by which we measure time on our watches and digital devices is very misleading;
it is determined by the daily rotation of the Earth around its axis and its annual rotation around the sun.
This astronomical time is linear and regular.
But the actual clock by which we live our socioeconomic lives is an emergent phenomenon determined by the collective forces of social interaction:
it is continually and systematically speeding up relative to objective astronomical time.
– Geoffrey West, 2017

The patterns employed within the film and spilling out from the projection as 3D triangles mirror the crystal structure of the mineral beryl, commonly used to fashion the original reading stones.

1909 time crystals video still

The work also makes reference to the scientific theory of time crystals; a model which proposes a structure that repeats in time, as well as in space. Variations in perspective are manipulated through the speeding up, slowing down and overlapping of events to deconstruct a linear flow of time and interrogate the methods by which humans measure and experience this phenomenon.

It is within my mind then, that I measure time. I must not allow my mind to insist that time is something objective.
When I measure time, I am measuring something in the present of my mind. Either this is time, or I have no idea what time is.
― St. Augustine of Hippo, 397

1909 Time Crystals

How can the past and future be, when the past no longer is, and the future is not yet?
As for the present, if it were always present and never moved on to become the past, it would not be time, but eternity.
― St. Augustine of Hippo, 397

Using Carlo Rovelli’s book The Order Of Time as a reference guide and the quotes of St. Augustine as points of enquiry the repeating layered films were made using time lapse and slow motion; recording the exchange of energy as objects collide, heat up, cool down, travel at speed, transform, reflect and absorb, display traces of past events and embark on supposedly predictable trajectories. How we experience time is relative to where we are in the universe, our proximity to a larger mass and how fast we are moving.

 

A crystal is like a class of children arranged for drill, but standing at ease,
so that while the class as a whole has regularity both in time and space, each individual child is a little fidgety.
– Dame Kathleen Lonsdale, 1948

The fabric of the ancient building also helped determine the work installed. The 3D element of my video installation needed to be built in situ. One challenge was projecting in portrait mode to neatly fit the wall space between window and clock mechanism. Projectors are not supposed to be set on their side but with an adapted ceiling mount allowing clear air vents for the fan it all worked out fine.

1909 making triangles

Clamps, weights, stitching, balancing and non invasive means of installing had to be employed not to harm the Grade I listed heritage site.

1909 time crystals video installation detail

On location. After much searching a secret tower in the woods was found, knotted within dense undergrowth. Hidden in time and space.

1909 secret tower

Artlyst review of Reading Stones. by Jude Cowan Montague.

A pleasure to be asked back to Guest Projects for a filmed interview about my experience during the residency Laboratory of Dark Matters for a promotional video to launch Yinka Shonibare’s new residency programme opening in Lagos.

 

I attended the UK High Altitude Society Conference 2019 to give an update on the project aiming to launch a cloud chamber in a high altitude balloon.

1909 UKHAS 2019 2.JPG

Live Stream of conference presentations – my presentation at 3:30 in.

Very interesting talk from Michael Johnson on citizen space exploration & inflatable spacecraft, building on past developments of inflatable spacecraft from NASA new technology could see thousands of tiny spacecraft launched within days as opposed to decades.

1909 pocket spacecraft 3

1909 pocket spacecraft 4

He also allowed us to hold the tiny spacecraft.

Finished working on video sculpture At a distance which has been installed at The Museum of Cornish Life, Helston for the Lizard Point Residency Touring Exhibition.

1909 at a distance install

This residency was inspired by an incredible communications double anniversary in 2019, for Lizard Lighthouse (400 years) and Goonhilly Earth Station (50 years: transmission of the first lunar landings), considering the importance of life-saving lighthouse beacons and internationally important transmissions across the sea and sky.

1909 Lizard Lighthouse

Lizard Point, overlooking the Atlantic, benefits from natural darkness, natural beauty and is a great spot for viewing the Moon, stars and meteor showers.

1909 Lizard Lighthouse 21909 LIGHTHOUSE beam

Staying on site, next door to the famous Lizard Lighthouse, artists had the opportunity to create works responding to the variety of astronomical sights found there, as well as be inspired by the rich communications heritage along this very special part of the SW coastal path.

Solitary figures using semaphore flags sign ‘We Are One’ out across the ocean; filmed on 29th March 2019 (the first date the UK was supposed to leave the EU).

1909 At a distance 1

As in entanglement theory where two paired electrons mirror each other at a distance it is hoped the message will be echoed back. The work looks at methods of communication over distance. It relates this to the mysterious twinning of electrons in quantum entanglement where particles link in a way that they instantly affect each other, even over vast distances, and which Einstein famously called ‘spooky action at a distance’. The video is back projected onto a Fresnel lens, the type found in lighthouses to increase luminosity of the lamps beam, another form of messaging over distance.

1909 At a distance 2

The video sequences through five sets of semaphore messages. Each message is echoed back within a swirling force field emanating from across the ocean repeating the pattern of the flag representing entanglement. This is interspersed with imagery from video captured of the Lizard Point Lighthouse Lamp slowly waking and powering up from dim to dazzling light, split and mirrored in a circle of sending and receiving messages.

 

The Museum of Cornish Life is surprisingly vast and crowded with innumerable artefacts at every scale. A fearsome cider press the size of a lorry included. The long passage through the museum to the exhibition rooms encounters an overwhelming volume of items jostling for attention.

1909 Helston museum

Here are the records of events from which we infer the past.

While in Cornwall there was time for a quick visit to Tate St. Ives. An unexpected treat to find Otobong Nkanga’s excellent exhibition From Where I Stand looking at the glittery desirability of minerals and the scars left on the landscape and people by it’s extraction.

What could a monument be? Is it the thing we build or the thing we have taken away from? A place of emptiness is the monument to remind us there is no possibility of getting back to what has been – Otobong Nkanga