Archives for posts with tag: Reading Stones

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Great excitement at the Gate Darkroom as I was helped to develop and print the 35mm film that had reached over 35km altitude as stowaway in the payload of a high altitude balloon.

1907 35mm at 35km

New to film processing; my first job was to insert arms into a light tight bag and get the film out of the cannister and wind it onto a large spool while not being able to see what I was doing. I learnt about the Digital Truth App and followed instructions in order to develop, stop and fix the negatives, then put them under the darkroom viewer to see the results.

If any record was made of the cosmic ray activity at high altitude I expected it to be just tiny white specks of light where the high energy particle hit the sensitive film emulsion.

At first it looked like there was nothing on the film but on closer inspection there are quite a lot of specks of light.

1907 negative scan 35mm at 35km

Are these faint white dots evidence of cosmic particle activity or just general noise in the large crystals of the photosensitive emulsion?

 

There is a link here to a short video of the preparations, launch and outcome of sending a cloud chamber up in the payload of a high altitude balloon which fed into the work Aóratos.

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Insatiable Mind Exhibition at Salisbury Arts Centre came to a close1905 Insatiable Mind Wonderful technicians ensured Pentacoronae smooth taken down

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Editing video of semaphore performance filmed on 29th March (the first date the UK was supposed to leave the EU) for At A Distance to be back projected onto a Fresnel lens for the upcoming exhibition in Cornwall and London looking at ways of communication across distance inspired by the heritage or the Cornish coastal area.

1907 semaphore

Playing with ideas for an etching of my iris and using magnetism to explore magnetoreception, something evident in birds and some mammals that we may once have had access to as a way of navigating.

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Plans are also underway for new work for Reading Stones exhibition at St. Augustine’s Tower, the oldest building in Hackney.

Reading Stones could be considered as 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 Originally made from ground and polished rock crystal or beryl they were placed over texts for the purposes of magnification. This early optical technology paved the way towards the observation of the furthest reaches of the universe and its minutest components.

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Testing some lens options for visitors to use to read tiny hidden texts.

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

1907 beryl structure scale

Looking at the molecular crystal structure of beryl to map out the structure for a video. The word brilliance is probably derived from the ancient Greek word for beryl, berullos.

The tower is defined by a magnificent 16th century clock whose mechanisms still strike the hours and occupy three floors connected by narrow stone spiral stairs.

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The nature of time itself was a concept that St Augustine of Hippo grappled with in his philosophical texts sixteen centuries ago and is still perplexing us today; namely, how to equate the subjective experience of time with an objective understanding.

The New Materialism Reading Group has meandered to the conclusion of Geoffrey West’s book Scale to discover an open ended question.  Can we avoid the mother of all singularities and the stagnation and collapse of civilisation with another paradigm shift through innovation or deurbanization?

“The time between the ‘Computer Age’ and the ‘Information and Digital Age’ was no more than about thirty years – to be compared with the thousands of years between the Stone, Bronze and Iron ages.

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

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We also looked at an article from the Guardian questioning Donna Haraway on her position relative to a post-truth society.

1907 Donna Haraway

Referring back decades to what seems a golden age of freedom and creativity she was clear that she never advocated truth as just a perspective; that reality is not a question of belief but of worlding, inhabiting and testing if things hold. She stresses the importance of not shying away from ‘strategic essentialism’ which is using the same language as those you wish to engage and make progress with and opening up to what is possible through play and creativity. There are huge problems to address. But don’t be negative.

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I have also been reading Antimatter by Frank Close. Fascinating to read about the dazzling explosive fireball witnessed in a remote Tunguska river valley in 1908, a thousand miles east of Moscow, which left a charred circle of devastation; threw so much dust and smoke into the atmosphere around the globe that in London the midnight sky was lit up by photons scattering off the dense air pollution; but left no crater.

1907 Tunguska event

Antimatter is found on Earth in the form of the positron. These positively charged electron are produced by some radioactive elements. They are used in PET scanners – positron emission topography where the flash of gamma ray produced as the positron immediately bumps into an electron and annihilates is recorded to map out an image.
In the extreme temperatures at the centre of the sun where atoms are unstable, positrons emerge, annihilate into gamma rays and begin a hundred thousand year journey of transformation to the surface of the sun eventually emerging as daylight to nurture life on Earth.

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Energy is stored in matter. Whatever antimatter touches it will destroy, releasing more energy more explosively than anything else we know.

The difference between bodily warmth and a chemical explosion is just a question of timescale. If time were compressed and the energy delivered to the body from a meal were given out in a millisecond the results would be explosive!

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Lee Krasner 

Lee Krasner (1908 -1984) led a commission for the War Service in 1933 to design public information window displays. She included photographs from classes she attended as part of her research – the class on explosives she described as ‘an alchemist’s dream’. Showing in Living Colour at the Barbican.

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Lee Krasner Imperative 1976 Future Indicative 1977

Exciting use of projectors and collaged film with much poignant material particularly a shocking ever increasing list of those who have died in search of a better life in Lis Rhodes Dissident Lines at Nottingham Contemporary.

Incredible night at The Royal Albert Hall with Public Service Broadcasting performing Race For Space Late Night Prom.

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It was a unique coming together of technological and geopolitical events that inspired an explosive burst of development for the human race. It also touches deeply on our spiritual side as a species, making us ask bigger questions about the universe and our role within it, as well as drawing attention to the bravery of so many of those involved on both sides.

J. Willgoose, Esq., of Public Service Broadcasting

 

 

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A happy return to Allenheads Contemporary Arts for Continuum research.

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It is a place which pulls you in like gravity or a magnetic field. It would be no surprise to find a wormhole portal here.

Joined by Annie Carpenter, Nicola Ellis and Robert Good we spent the time reading, walking, thinking and sharing ideas.

“The miners did not find the riches they hoped for and the tunnel never reached its destination…”

Theoretically it is possible that wormholes exist. Every point in spacetime could be connected by a hidden web of tiny wormholes left over from the beginning when the universe was turbulent and unformed. Should they be discovered, to open them and pass through would require a colossal amount of negative energy which we are unable to create with current technology. However, there is a lot of metaphysical negative energy around at the moment so maybe this could be used to power a wormhole.

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The Allenheads Blacksmith’s Forge seems a good place to open a wormhole portal. It is a place of high energy collisions and hot fusion.

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It is also home to a collection of local rocks and crystals which must surely offer some negative energy cleansing properties. For research imagery my glass sphere encapsulates and condenses its surroundings. If the image is made to spin fractals begin to appear.

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I also captured the landscape at speed as travel through the wormhole would exceed the speed of light.

1904 ACA at speed

I probed the depths of rabbit holes with an endoscope camera and discovered alien landscapes and the hidden web of the interconnected root system.

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We made a site visit to Newcastle University to view the space that Allenheads Contemporary Arts will performatively occupy during The Late Shows

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As the project Continuum focuses on ideas around speculative fiction the newly installed Museum of Classic Sci-Fi in Allendale made an interesting day out with an impressive collection of artefacts and information.

Plasmaton:”ramdomly formed blobs of protein, wrought into being ‘psychokinetically’ …”

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The Cosmic Sublime exhibition presented by Lumen Studios opened at The Pie Factory in Margate. The concept of the sublime has long been associated to both fields of astronomy. Derived from the Latin “sublimis”, the sublime is translated as “set or raised aloft, high up”- etymologically the word “sublime” is very much linked to the space above our planet and to what may inhabit it.

I was pleased to show the video Soft Borders made with dance artist Paola Napolitano.

1904 Cosmic Sublime Susan Eyre

The video speculates on the idea of a universe that is a finite shape but has no borders. If we were able to exit at one point we would immediately re-enter at another point. It also considers our body in a similar way with open borders for the unseen passage of cosmic rays and other particles.

Thanks to artist Rosie Reed Gold for some great photos of the show.

My wonderful optician John Rose spent some time scanning my iris for me.

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This is for work I am planning looking at the possibility that we retain some residual magnetoreceptor in our eyes that once enabled us to navigate using the Earth’s magnetic field. And other ideas.

In 2019 the Lizard is celebrating the 400 year anniversary of Sir John Killigrew’s building of the first lighthouse on Lizard Point in 1619. The lighthouse also has important links to the search for reliable Longitude measurement, with an assistant to the astronomer royal visiting the lighthouse at the time of the first Transit of Venus to record an accurate location for the Lizard Rocks.

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Following on from the Lizard Point Residency I have made a mock up to test the Fresnel lens projection work. A film exploring entanglement and communication across distances will be back projected onto the lens.

1904 at a distance mockup

Joined by Anne Krinsky and Carol Wyss, we made another site visit to St. Augustine’s Tower in Hackney and made some decisions about who would install where for our upcoming group show which will be titled Reading Stones.

1904 St Augustines Tower Clock

Reading Stones were the original tool for magnifying text, first made from polished glass or crystal in the 13th Century – the same era the tower was built.

I will be installing in the room that houses the clock mechanism. It is a wonderful animated machine. On the way home reading Carlo Ravelli’s book The Order of Time I came to the passages quoting from St. Augustine.

“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.”

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The British Library have released some excellent scans from their archives for free use.

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While in Suffolk visiting family I made a detour to Dunwich and found the tide clock has become redundant.

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Time and Tide wait for no man. The earliest known record is from St. Marher,  1225: “And te tide and te time þat tu iboren were, schal beon iblescet.”

In my present, the ruins of Greyfriars Monastery at Dunwich where large chunks of the coastline have fallen into the sea.

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The last gravestone standing as the land crumbles

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In the studio –  Sugar lift for work looking at cycles and forces

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Copper sulphate etching

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Four colour separation screen-print

I made two pieces – one delicate etch, one fierce

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This is an amalgamation of images from the ruined Waverley Abbey and St. James Church Weybridge – not ruined in my present. Sanctified spaces drawing people to them who seek transformation. All matter becomes regenerated.

Out of  the studio…

Another Land at Kingston Museum, a showcase of experimental visualisations of place to draw links between creative practice and anthropology, archaeology, architecture and geography.

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Victoria Ahrens Lleva y Trae (2019) Exploring notions of the politics of place, resistance and ruin looking at the spaces between what we know and what we think we know about the world

 

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Matthew Flintham Nuclear Airspace  – The radial danger areas surrounding active nuclear power plants in the UK.

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I liked the collection of remote controls –  accidental installation

 

 

 

Anamorphic Waves at Ugly Duck.

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An exhibition exploring how digital interfaces and technological tools are reshaping our personal, professional and ecological relationships, and how they have modified our view of love, sexuality and gender.

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I liked this work looking at big data. I was intrigued how the multiple projections were installed, baffling as only two projectors in the room and neither seemed to be pointing in the right direction.

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Mesmerising images from Stuart Faromarz Batchelor who explained some of his methods working with oil paint and coding algorithms which respond to the brush strokes via a camera link at the latest Flux Social Event.

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Visceral and beautiful work at the Hatton Gallery in Newcastle, the exhibition presents a dialogue between oil paintings by Francis Bacon and Morphia, a series of works on paper by Ellen Gallagher.

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Great installation looking at the moon from an earthbound perspective from Shaney Barton. Anomalous Mass is showing at Allenheads Contemporary Arts Gallery as part of the Continuum series of events. Multiple screens show footage captured of the moon over a ten-month period with found dialogues on recent moon histories and projected near futures of the moon race and plans for human colonisation.

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Wonderful poetic visons, some realised some imaginary from Katie Paterson at Turner Contemporary with A place that exists only in moonlight.

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Like Paterson, JMW Turner was fascinated by the sublime wonder of nature, capturing the changing and atmospheric qualities of light, air and weather in his paintings, while also being deeply curious about science and the physical world. Paterson has selected a group of over 20 Turner watercolours and paintings to be interspersed with her works.

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Also on display were some of Caroline Herschel’s notebooks describing her extraordinary astronomical discoveries of comets made by patient observation.

1904 Caroline Herschel notebook

Great to be able to see the screening of Sarah Sparkes film Time You Need and her GHost Tunnel installation in The GHost Parlour at New Art Projects. The GHost Tunnel references portals, black holes and equates time travel with death as another dimension that we may enter.

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The film gently leads the viewer on a journey beyond the physical and explores the potential for consciousness to time-travel within the material limits of the human body.

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