FUTURE MOVEMENT LAB

Image by Benjamin Blättler

POST_001: LIGHT SPEED 

Lab Authors: Una Chung and Will Scarlett 

Movement Lab begins with an inquiry into the question of indigenous futures, specifically a project by fifteen young people in Hawaii, who learn to create a video game together as a way of ensuring their own futurity. What kind of a vehicle does video game provide and itself become in the hands of this particular group? Within the game story, indigenous youth gain space travel and visit other planets, taking their culture and language with them. But this is not just a story about technology’s power, the politics of its accessibility, or the enduring value of culture. The question we might ask here has to do with the particular weave we achieve by threading indigenous futures into lines of travel at light speed and through sound waves emitted by traveling spaceships. When NASA launched Voyager 1 and 2 in 1977, a golden phonograph, containing diverse sounds and languages representing earth as a diverse yet singular entity, was included in each vehicle. As the Voyagers continue their journey today, a question remains. Although it was NASA’s planetary ambassadorship which influenced Carl Sagan’s decisions on the design and engineering of this phonograph, how might youthful indigenous travelers craft a portable form of culture for intergalactic encounter? As game designers, these youth aspire to craft the form and procedural rhetoric of contact, not merely give voice to their own time spent on earth.

Example: A point-and-click video game collaboration between Kanaeokana and the Montreal-based Initiative for Indigenous Futures.

Image: He Ao Hou: A New World (2018)

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Image by Benjamin Blättler

POST_002: ELISION OF TOUCH

A body walks, pauses, initiates an embrace. From another angle, a body running at high speed approaches and passes through the first body. People stand in this room, mesmerized by the longing, anguish, and tenderness of naked beings whose intimate lives are unfolding as moving projections of light on walls. A machine placed in the center of the room is the animating force of this scene. What most of the humans in this space will notice is that these moving bodies do not meet. Surely the particles of light make physical contact with each other and with the optical lenses of museum goers, and yet it is the point of non-contact that is felt most vividly. The naked appearance of body and machine prove equal to the task of transmitting haunting emotion. What eludes us—our ability to come into the presence of the other, to touch, to converge—becomes a thought made visible by the paradox of how form and matter behave in this room. Touching is no longer, here, a reliable metaphor for the solidity of the world. The digital reveals that the elision of touch during contact can be the empty space out of which deeply affecting moods are evoked.

Example: An immersive room-sized multimedia installation; visitor activated motion sensor triggers looped choreography projected onto walls.

Image: Teiji Furuhashi, Lovers (1995)

FutureMovement2.jpg
Image by Benjamin Blättler

POST_003: REFRAIN MACHINE

A choreographer (a singer, a reader, a thinker, a, a, a) sets something in motion—a refrain machine. He begins by presenting a body, a voice, sliding across a range of registers--reciting poetry, singing, expressing poetic nuance in vocalizations, expressing, gesturing, moving, dancing. These words are too static to capture the quality of the in-between which is the fullness of what becomes present in Bsides. The slippery chain, the refrain, of yet another collaboration, makes it impossible, wondrously so, to find a referent in an artwork stable enough to capture in writing. To refer to the piece is challenging, for it exists for us only in a brief interval of time, the time of contact, contingent, fleeting, changeable—

Example/Image: Diego Gil, Bsides (2011)

Collaborators: Rob List, Igor Dobricic, Pablo Fontdevila, Tian Rotteveel, António Maia, Michele Rizzo, John Sinclair, Iris de Hertogh, Victor Perez Armero, Noriko Nishidate

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Image by Benjamin Blättler

POST_004: THE SCROLL

Xinona’s irreverent, biting, unabashedly sentimental, and brassy essay animates the scroll in singular ways. Scrolling is a gesture, a movement of mind, a near-automatic flickering of attention, and as such can’t avoid being influenced by the particular affects scrolling by—wait, scrolled back. It is tempting to reach indolently into history for a metaphor from reading, montage, or jogging to explain the significance of an increasingly common motion. Speed, length and style of each stroke—Morse code, calligraphy, or a pause for breath in ongoing respiratory exchange—are not unfamiliar as aesthetic elements, as bits of code. But here Xinona sits with phone covering face in a post-apocalyptic dried-out economy, contemplating the situation of the indigenous artist. What does she scroll into presence, into oblivion? Have we scrolled by without a trace?

 

Example: A web and device based essay with animation and sound.

 

Image: Walter Scott, Xinona (2017)

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Image by Benjamin Blättler

POST_005: SELF-CHANNELING FLOW

Life began when the swirling primordial soup shaped itself with the first membranes; from then on fluids learned to move on their own, no longer simply dispersed by gravity or cycles of the weather; certain precise mixtures were achieved, their peculiar flows sustained - one of them: the human... As humans begin channeling this primordial power of fluid movement they also find new ways of transforming the miraculous into the banal: liquid headphone cables.

 

Example: Scientists use nanoparticle membranes to create and manipulate all-liquid structures. https://www.wired.com/story/unusual-fluids-flip-twirl-and-redefine-how-liquids-work/

Image: Ferry Siemensma, Amoeba Proteus, 2019 https://www.arcella.nl/genus-amoeba/

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Image by Benjamin Blättler

POST_006: WANDERING HOME

A century before Airbnb Velimir Khlebnikov foresaw cities composed of mobile dwelling modules - “the glass hut” - that could travel by rail or ship to any city in the world. Everyone would have the right to space in each city’s framework buildings shaped like bridges, trees, hanging filaments, etc. After a long journey in his wandering home now installed on a bridge-building overlooking the sea his thoughts too begin to wander: “What were fairy tales really, I wondered: merely an old man’s memory? Or were they visions of a future only children can foresee?”

 

Velimir Khlebnikov, “Ourselves and Our Buildings: Creators of Streetsteads,” in The King of Time, translated by Paul Schmidt (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1985) pp. 133-143.

Image: Velimir Khlebnikov, architectural sketches, ca. 1919

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Image by Benjamin Blättler

POST_007: LUXURY OF STASIS

As the winds and tides intensify, so too will the movements of people. The perpetual mobility once reserved for jet-setters will become an inescapable condition of life in the storm surge. And over the wreckage will rise monuments to the exclusivity of stasis: luxury bunkers.

 

Example: A luxury home in Puerto Rico built like a bunker to withstand hurricanes.

Link: https://www.dezeen.com/2021/01/30/casa-flores-fuster-architects/

Image: Noémie Goudal, Combat, 2012 http://noemiegoudal.com/haven-her-body-was/

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Image by Benjamin Blättler

POST_008: VOIDED FOREST

Roberto Bolaño tells of shamans who can discern hidden messages in the hypnotic swaying of the trees. What meanings will be revealed to us by the programmed movements of the virtual forest? Or will its preternatural stillness invoke a void that renders even shamans mute?

 

Roberto Bolaño, 2666, translated by Natasha Wimmer (USA: Picador, 2004).

Image: Ali Eslami, False Mirror, 2020 https://youtu.be/NcsC2NFxvy8?t=2632

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Image by Benjamin Blättler

POST_009: FUTURE TERRITORIES

A vision of a future map: mosaics of overlapping territories shaped by the movements of people rather than the imposition of abstract powers. The map projects a memory of countless worlds lost to genocide - can a vision project this memory into the future? Or does the fact this vision is born of a boundlessly corrupt present mean it can only fulfill the colonial fantasy of total appropriation of the real?

Example: Native Land Digital maps Indigenous territories. https://native-land.ca/

Native Land Digital, Native Land, 2021 https://native-land.ca/

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Image by Benjamin Blättler

POST_010: THEATER OF IMPERCEPTIBILITY

Emperor Shirakawa once said “three things refuse to obey my will: the waters of the Kamo River, the fall of the backgammon dice, and the monks of the Enryakuji Temple.” He had no idea as he spoke hundreds of billions of cosmic particles were streaming through each cubic centimeter of his body. The dry riverbed of the Kamo is where the first Kabuki performances were staged by all-women dance troupes; what theatrics will be inspired by the imperceptible movements of neutrinos, omnipresent yet only detectable at the bottom of the deepest lake in the world?

Example: Neutrino telescope installed in the depths of lake Baikal. https://www.livescience.com/russia-deploys-underwater-telescope-lake-baikal.html

Neutrino Particle Interaction Event, Fermilab https://www.sciencephoto.com/media/1326/view

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Image by Benjamin Blättler

POST_011: LANGUAGE OF THE SWARM

To the delight of surveillance companies and panoptic states scientists have confirmed our bodies each carry a unique “movement signature” that can be tracked with an algorithm.

Athletes and dancers have long shown us how to embellish these signatures into a calligraphy we understand with our viscera. Only by transforming our movement signatures into a universal

language of movement will we efface our encoded identities in the emergent murmur of the swarm.

Example: Scientists use machine learning to classify individuals’ muscle activation patterns.

https://journals.physiology.org/doi/full/10.1152/japplphysiol.01101.2018

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Image by Benjamin Blättler

POST_012: PERIPHERAL MOVEMENT

A flicker in the corner of the eye vanishing before it appears, a silent rustling behind the ear, a vague palpitation of skin. Could these movements at the periphery of our awareness be the true sources of the future, the eternal wellspring of our agitated creativity? Or are they the corrosive currents of a shadow world our dreams guard against?

 

Example: Bruno Schulz attributes his stories to “a certain flickering of the wallpaper, pulsating in a dark field of vision - nothing more.”

 

Image: Jerzy Ficowski, Regions of the Great Heresy (New York: Norton, 2003) p. 146.

Image by Benjamin Blättler

POST_013: SILENT ROAR

The infrasonic rumbling of Earth - elemental vibrations of earthquakes, volcanoes, storms through which animals sense the impending disaster; in our bodies they register not as sound but as fear. Are our incessant movements misguided attempts to respond to these planetary cries or mark a territory against them? For what we feel now deep in our flesh isn’t a sublime exhortation (“you must change your life”) it’s the paralyzing subaudible roar of a tiger about to feed.

Example: Pandemic quiets seismic vibrations caused by humans. https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-020-00965-x

Image: Henri Rousseau, Tiger in a Tropical Storm, 1891

Image by Benjamin Blättler

POST_014: GOD OF MOTION

Abyssus, a name worthy of a Titan. Your serpentine line distills sacred architecture to its essence - pure movement, intensity, levitation - terror and bliss. For a fleeting moment in your thrall pilgrims will endure the most ascetic act of their lives: waiting. But what spiteful god did you offend, cosmic wager did you lose, universal law did you transgress, condemned as you are to push us up until we roll back down again and again and again…

Example: Rollercoaster Abyssus at Energylandia Poland. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=syiO0ZdmPrY

Image by Benjamin Blättler

POST_015: FUNGAL ERA

Oxygen - the toxic byproduct of a certain prehistoric algae - once decimated life on this planet; billions of years later it fills the air we breathe. In the poisonous sludge of industrial waste pits and radioactive pools of fallout zones life is again mutating to feed on the corpse of a dying world. The next epochal move in evolution will not be AI; it will be whatever fungal sentience is birthed from these dark rhizomes spreading over Earth and into the beyond.

Example: Toxophilic bacteria and radiotrophic fungi.

https://www.atlasobscura.com/places/berkeley-pit https://www.nature.com/news/2007/070521/full/news070521-5.html

Image by Benjamin Blättler

POST_016: TUNNEL OF THE REAL

For every attempt to rise above the dirt there’s a counter-movement of tunneling and pulverization. Laws can construct spaces of exclusive order and transient stability but will never enclose desires that obey the subterranean law of total movement. Along with weapons, drugs and people - all of them reduced to the extralegal amorality of dirt - the real moves underground.

Example: Tunnels below US-Mexico border.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p9JsmDzG_UU

Image: Alexander Grabchilev, Light at the End of Ground Tunnel, 2018

Image by Benjamin Blättler

POST_017: NANOMETROPOLIS

Coursing through the bloodstream by the millions nanobots form floating colonies in the host’s circulatory system. A symbiosis emerges, shaping the nanobots’ culture and host’s behaviors to suit the flourishing of an infinitesimal metropolis. Drawing on the seemingly limitless resources of the host’s body and brain the nanobot civilization achieves pinnacles of decadence no human could ever imagine.

 

Example: Nanobots coordinate movements inside a living host. 

https://www.zmescience.com/science/nanobots-coordinating-in-vivo-82637465/

Fritz Lang, Metropolis, 1927 https://www.moma.org/magazine/articles/263

Image by Benjamin Blättler

POST_018: PULSATION MACHINES

We are each born with a pulse - when it stops, we die. Humans have always found ways to amplify and extend this pulse through collective rhythms resonating in the most intense moments of life: the erotic, the ecstatic, the deep silence of night. What pulsation machines must we invent to carry on this vital impulse before it’s entirely transplanted by the monotonous thud of technical survival?

 

Example: Artificial heart https://youtu.be/xdcLKTpxr2g

Image: Cymascope, Human Spinal Signal, 2020 https://rubinmuseum.org/spiral/cymatics-sound-science-of-the-future

Image by Benjamin Blättler

POST_019: SPACELESS MOVEMENT

At the core of every notion of time’s shape - line, curve, circle, spiral... - is the intuition that it moves. In this they’re all true; where they go wrong is in not conceiving of motion prior to space, flowing without form or direction. Time is this spaceless movement impossible to visualize yet sensed by each of us with uncanny clarity when the walls of the eons tremble.

 

Example: “Let us free ourselves from the space which underlies the movement in order to consider only the movement itself… pure mobility.” Henri Bergson, An Introduction to Metaphysics (New York: Knickerbocker Press, 1912) p. 14.

Image; Joachim Patinir, Charon Crossing the Styx (detail), ca. 1520-1524 https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/1/1b/Crossing_the_River_Styx.jpg

Image by Benjamin Blättler

POST_020: GLINTING STILLNESS

The well known secret of the future is that it never arrives, suspending us in a perpetual state of waiting. Cryonics - the preservation of life in deep freeze - encapsulates our present cultural condition. And so we must learn to wait no longer as frozen cadavers but with the calm intensity of a frigid wasteland, the deceptive stillness of glinting steel. 

 

Example: Ridge A in Antarctica is the stillest place on Earth. https://www.livescience.com/7860-coldest-driest-calmest-place-earth.html

Image: Masaki Kobayashi, Harakiri, 1962 https://youtu.be/gfABwM-Ppng

Image by Benjamin Blättler

POST_021: COSMIC CONSUMPTION

The universe and everything in it is an infinitely complex explosion. The common telos of stars, planets, life forms, technologies is intensive energy consumption. Do embers spewed over the earth by volcanic eruptions also ever wonder where all this is going?

 

Example: Bitcoin mining will soon use as much energy as a country. https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-021-22256-3

Image: Geoffrey Short, Untitled Explosion #1CF2, 2007

 

http://geoffreyhshort.photoshelter.com/gallery/towards-another-theory-2009/G0000y8jbdrs7pcw/

Image by Benjamin Blättler

POST_022: ETERNAL COMMUTE

Every day billions enter the empty space-time of the in between, a mass meditation on the inescapable boredom that waits at the limits of productivity. For many it’s an experience to erase (but even mobile devices and leather seats can only do so much). Perhaps deep down we savor the stale air of eternity, cherishing our aimlessness in tune with a world traveling one more time around the sun.

 

Example: Airlines plan 20+ hour flights. https://samchui.com/2021/02/07/qantas-committed-to-launching-project-sunrise/#.YIGxw31KgWo

Image: Godfrey Reggio, Koyaanisqatsi, 1982

 

https://quod.lib.umich.edu/f/fc/images/13761232.0041.104-00000005.png

Image by Benjamin Blättler

POST_023: PERPETUAL PRAYER MACHINES

Perennial recipe for the sacred: matter and movement sealed with an incantation. Icons fade, pyramids crumble, prayer wheels turning in ancient streams eventually fall silent. Does our longing for the sacred to last forever arise from the fear of it dying with us or the sense of an excess we could never fulfill?

Example: Android Bodhisattva preaches at Kyoto temple. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mJDf1GXaF-w

Image: Water Prayer Wheel https://sanaakosirickylee.files.wordpress.com/2012/02/prayer-wheel-water.jpg

Image by Benjamin Blättler

POST_024: CHAIN OF HUNGER

The oldest form of politics is the organization of hunger along territorial lines of predator and prey. How many societies have justified their violence, greed and domination in terms of that supposed cosmological hierarchy, the food chain? Whoever controls our hunger binds us in their power - the future will belong to those who shape the currents of this primordial sensation.

 

Example: Declaration of Nyéléni calls for food sovereignty for all people. https://nyeleni.org/spip.php?article290

Image: Dagger with Zoomorphic Hilt, India, 16th century https://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/457730

Image by Benjamin Blättler

POST_025: PULSE OF THE FUTURE

Somewhere around the back of your apartment building or deep in the woods at night or behind the moon hanging over you as you sleep the darkness moves like many translucent medusas gently breathing. Like swarms of iridescent jellyfish congealing into swirling erotic forms you’d think were your own pulse throbbing in your ears and eyes and on your skin - if you could ever really sense them - those distant bells of nullity droning on in endless twilight. But only when you turn away, stop listening, close your eyes and die do they appear.

 

Example: Stefano Scodanibbio, Voyage That Never Ends (1998). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rX2fSd7DlXc

Image: NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research, Hydromedusa, 2017

 

https://oceanexplorer.noaa.gov/okeanos/explorations/ex1705/dailyupdates/media/may6-3.html

Image by Benjamin Blättler

POST_026: ANIMAL CURRENTS

Animals don’t decide to move, they just do. “Every animal is in the world like water in water” (Georges Bataille) and together they become torrential currents; those currents - like rivers and winds - form and swell as each animal-molecule responds to shifting climatological pressures. Will the barriers we’ve built withstand the immense migratory tides we’ve set in motion or will the dams finally burst?  

 

Example: Migrations in Motion maps projected animal movements in response to climate change. http://maps.tnc.org/migrations-in-motion/#4/19.00/-78.00

Image: Dan Majka, Migrations in Motion, 2016

Image by Benjamin Blättler

POST_027: MINIATURE EMPIRE

Institutional powers work by making us small. Bureaucracies, towers, corporations, temples, palaces, prisons are crude theaters of the sublime, shrinking us down so we’re easier to impress and intimidate. That is until we eventually vanish beneath the threshold of incalculability.

 

Example: Some quantum properties are in principle unknowable. https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-020-00120-6

Tatsuya Tanaka, Miniature Calendar, 2014 https://miniature-calendar.com/140127/

Image by Benjamin Blättler

POST_028: FORMULA FOR THE FUTURE

Gambler, fortune teller, mystic - these figures have always been shrouded in an aura of the occult still worn by the statistician. Theirs is a demonic science of cosmic disintegration, of transcendent forms fallen into time and uncertainty. Is the search for the ultimate secret formula - a numerical pattern of everything - intended to bring about the final redemption of the whole or yet another transient ecstasy in a universe woven of incompletion? 

 

Example: Analysts predict global market growth for ergonomic office chairs.

 

https://marketintelligencedata.com/reports/160578/glob

al-ergonomic-office-chair-market-growth-2020-2025?Mode=S48

Image: Darren Aronofsky, Pi, 1998 http://thebigpicturemagazine.com/lost-classics-pi-darren-aronofsky-1998/

Image by Benjamin Blättler

POST_029: ARTIFICIAL MOVEMENT

The Turing Test - intended to determine if a machine can think like a human - opens a space of indiscernibility between the artificial and organic. As this space expands we begin to sense we recognize each other as alive less by how we think than how we move. Artificial intelligence will produce modes of thought that exceed human comprehension - will machines also transform movement in ways no life form could embody?

Example: Robots that can dance. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fn3KWM1kuAw

Giovanni Bracelli, Bizzarie di Varie Figure, 1624

https://publicdomainreview.org/collection/bracelli-s-bizzarie-di-varie-figure-1624

Image by Benjamin Blättler

POST_030: STOCHASTIC UNIVERSALS

If the search for universals always tends to end in enraptured resignation before the universe’s endless multiplicity, then doesn’t that suggest one has been found? From Lucretius’s swerve to Brownian motion to the random walks of associative thought a stochastic theory of everything is emerging. Who can predict what might happen as we tap more deeply into this all pervading element of movement: our shared randomness.

 

Example: Researchers use stochastic resonance to sense indetectable signals.

https://news.psu.edu/story/630751/2020/09/03/research/make-better-sensor-just-add-noise

Image: Agnes Martin, Untitled, 1960 https://www.moma.org/collection/works/34006

Image by Benjamin Blättler

POST_031: ENDLESS GRIND

One of the earliest human inventions, borrowed from the immense grinding power of the earth and from teeth, was the mortar and pestle. Down through the centuries this once sacred tool of vital destruction has extended into a massive grinding process: of the earth, of all life, of ourselves, of each other - who or what is it nourishing? Whatever forms the future takes one thing is certain: it’s going to be a grind.

 

Example: Cerro Rico mine in Bolivia provided silver for the Spanish empire and tin for Apple products.

 

https://www.vice.com/en/article/433wyq/everything-thats-inside-your-iphone

Image: Dani Nadel, bedrock mortar ca. 14,000-11,700 b.p., 2014 https://www.researchgate.net/figure/above-A-view-of-the-Raqefet-Cave-floor-Chamber-1-Note-the-variety-of-types-and-the_fig1_266912834

Image by Benjamin Blättler

POST_032: ONRUSHING FUTURE

Future historians may consider the myth of progress to be less an error of colonial hubris than mistaken physics. The Copernican shift from a geocentric to a heliocentric cosmos set in motion an enlightened era of progressively unified knowledge about a supposedly coherent universe. What abyssal epoch will erupt once we finally recognize we’re not progressing toward the future - the future is careening toward us and pulling us in?

 

Example: “What would it have looked like if it had looked as if the earth turned on its axis?” Ludwig Wittgenstein in Elizabeth Anscombe, An Introduction to Wittgenstein’s Tractatus (London, 1959) p. 151.

Sven Sauer, Melancholia, 2011 https://www.artstation.com/artwork/04Yo4

Image by Benjamin Blättler

POST_033: MYTHIC RETURN

If we measure the value of knowledge not by the information it contains but the imaginary movements it makes possible, we’re living in impoverished times. The blanks of the map have become too small for the numberless mythical beings that live beyond the edges of the cladogram - which seems to grow in proportion to the mass extinctions and ever expanding void. Will there come a time when all these excesses of the known return to our world or will we first encounter life forms that are even stranger?

Example: Scientists speculate about extraterrestrial life inside stars.

http://journals.andromedapublisher.com/index.php/LHEP/article/view/166/85

Alfred Kubin, Illustration for Lesabéndio: An Asteroid Novel by Paul Scheerbart, 1913 http://50watts.com/filter/alfred-kubin/Illustrations-for-An-Asteroid-Novel

Image by Benjamin Blättler

POST_034: WALKING THE LABYRINTH

The walls, floors and ceilings are the world, each movement a step deeper. The problem isn’t of completion or escape - all paths lead to the same unreachable center - but the convolutions and intensities we pass through in search of..? For all the fears the future may erase it will invent countless more, yet one will always remain with us lighting our way: the feeling of being lost.

 

Example: “I imagined a labyrinth of labyrinths, a maze of mazes, a twisting, turning, ever-widening labyrinth that contained both past and future and somehow implied the stars.” Jorge Luis Borges, “The Garden of Forking Paths” in Collected Fictions (New York: Viking, 1998) p. 122.

Jim Henson, Labyrinth, 1986 https://www.astrolog.org/labyrnth/snap/maze1.jpg

Image by Benjamin Blättler

POST_035: PERMANENCE OF ASH

Humanity’s infatuation with permanence began with techniques of shaping stone and metal (the blacksmith’s blasphemous secret: even iron flows). As this knowledge grew so did its transformative power, displayed in great monuments to the eternal: pyramids, cathedrals, vortexes of indestructible plastic. Will future constructions incorporate the movements of their own disintegration or will humans refuse to build the foundations for a cloud of ash?

 

Example: Over centuries lead atoms gradually slide down the shingles of medieval cathedrals. Sophie Fiennes, Over Your Cities Grass Will Grow (2011), film.

Image: Harmonia Amanda, Notre-Dame de Paris, 2005 https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/7/73/Notre-Dame_de_Paris_01_detail_lead_roof_before_2015_fire_Toiture_plomb2.jpg

POST_036: METAMORPHIC TRAVEL

Any given spiral of spacetime is composed of manifold overlapping perspectives ranging from the quantum to the cosmic scales. We who consider ourselves well traveled for crossing the earth and a little beyond have barely explored a tidepool beside the sea of sensory worlds surrounding us wherever we go. Will future travel include techniques to pass into dimensions of experience unknown to us but familiar to animals, insects, plants, molecules, planets?

 

Example: Hypothetical VR system would record brain activity for playback in other brains. Antti Revonsuo, Inner Presence (Cambridge: MIT Press, 2006) p. 347.

Image: Stargazer Pictures, Octopus sucks onto arm and won’t let go!, 2016 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C7zRnLoRbpE&t=14s

POST_037: MOVING CONSTELLATIONS

The magic of a falling star is that it disrupts the celestial order as a rare omen of the impossible. Look up tonight and you’ll see many more, not falling but moving steadily in inscrutable paths across the sky. What constellations can we salvage from this aluminum and silicon babel, this ever-shifting scatter of fleeting mythologies?

 

Example: SpaceX plans to launch 42,000 satellites over the next few decades.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h-S67Y7gEeY

Fermi Gamma-Ray Space Telescope, Godzilla Constellation, 2018

 

https://astronomy.com/news/2018/10/using-gamma-rays-scientists-map-out-21-new-constellations

POST_038: CONVOLUTION MAP

Thrown into a complexity we will never fully comprehend, confusion can’t be avoided. We need a new kind of map that rather than directing us down the most efficient path intensifies the convolution, turning it into movement. A map that doesn’t show us where we are or where we’re going but traces the contours of our desperation and longing, the only sure landmarks in the desert of the real.

 

Example: Tech companies are developing “living maps” continuously updated by video, radar and lidar.

 

https://medium.com/geographical/the-future-of-digital-mapping-is-a-tale-of-two-halves-9d3155df43bc

Frank Morison, Map of Los Angeles 4, 2020 http://www.fmorisonart.com/#/la-4/

POST_038: THE SUBLIMINAL GAME

Those who demand access to the law can wait their entire lives outside the door but we were born already inside this game. All attempts to codify its rules inevitably fail, as if its purpose were to entice structures into being only to fracture and dissolve them in subliminal tremors, but games don’t need a purpose. As a diversion we play our own games and for a time that other one seems to make sense or simply disappear - until they end and the subliminal game resumes and so we play again.

 

Example: “In the infinite game… man is not a player - nor even the dice - but an almost passive counter that is moved from square to square in its turn, together with other reiterated emblems.” Roger Caillois, “The Natural Fantastic” in The Edge of Surrealism (Durham: Duke University Press, 2003) p. 357.

Jes Scarlett, Race, 2019 https://jscar704.wixsite.com/mysite-1

POST_039: AFTER THE ENGINE AGE

Someday one of the greatest failures of humanity will be known to have been the engine. Living in a sea of perpetual movement we struggle against it all, imposing our own noxious source of propulsion in a way no other life form finds necessary. This absurd excess amid such abundance will surpass the nuclear bomb as the ultimate symbol of the catastrophic ignorance behind our supposed ingenuity - to whatever comes after us.

 

Example: A wave-powered boat. https://newatlas.com/autonaut-autonomous-unmanned-surface-vessel/53949/

Tomás Saraceno, Aerocene Concept Drawing, 2015 https://www.uncubemagazine.com/blog/16411455

POST_040: COSMIC FLICKER

The wind crackling through the blinds casts blazing shadows of noon upon your closed eyelids - a virtual microcosm of the sun. Moths dance in chaotic spirals around a lightbulb flickering in the night like a projector faster than the human eye can see. Words coalesce in strobing frequencies across the screen, darting out from their hiding places in the depths of insomnia to the throb of a headache.

 

Example: The constant oscillations of artificial light.

 

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/the-scientific-reason-you-dont-like-led-bulbs-mdash-and-the-simple-way-to-fix-them/

Charles Gatewood, The Dream Machine, 1972 https://flashbak.com/brion-gysins-dream-machine-the-only-work-of-art-you-look-at-with-your-eyes-closed-436094/

POST_041: FORCE FIELD

Soccer goalie Gigi Buffon explains the ball’s power to enchant like this: “around the magic object there is a kind of force field, which is the territory of the story itself.” The link between sports and war is ancient and deep but the force field he describes is the flip side of both. Instead of sealing us off from our opponents it opens a space of captivation from which poetic forces can emerge and radiate.

Example: Military researchers propose a missile defense system using lasers.

 

Link: https://futurism.com/the-byte/military-force-fields

Image: Hieronymus Bosch, The Garden of Earthly Delights, 1504

https://arthistoryproject.com/artists/hieronymus-bosch/the-garden-of-earthly-delights-closed/

POST_042: ALCHEMY OF EMPTINESS

All that we are can be reduced to two elements: void and movement. Void is the zero degree of movement, movement the intensification of void. The sensation of void (overwhelming feeling of emptiness) can only be resisted through movement - until its sublimation as complete exhaustion.

Example: “The simplest atom is a material form, a vortex, as we are told, a vibratory rhythm of a certain kind, something by all appearances infinitely complex.” Gabriel Tarde, Monadology and Sociology (Melbourne: re.press, 2012) p. 44.

Image: Cioran and his bike. https://www.pinterest.com/pin/287386019942710439/

POST_043: HIDDEN MOVEMENT

Secrecy has long depended on the power of a hiding place: the vault, the hole, the trap door… Even those masters of camouflage - animals, insects - rely on stillness to perfect their disappearance act. In a future rendered fully measured and transparent, leaving nowhere safe to hide, concealment will become an art of hiding in motion.  

 

Example: Stealth drone prototype. https://theaviationist.com/2019/11/05/airbus-has-just-unveiled-germanys-classified-diamond-shaped-low-observable-uav-testbed-lout/

Institute of Critical Zoologists, The Blind, 2008 https://www.criticalzoologists.org/projects/blind/blind_main.html

POST_044: SPACE-MOVEMENT

The spirit or soul is associated in many cultures with the movement of breath within and around the body. In a similar way couldn’t we say the vital source of any structure is less its form than the movements it channels and rhythmizes? Future architects - especially of the virtual - will use space-movement as their primary building material, fashioning immaterial presences from a fluid negativity found previously only inside collective dreams. 

 

Example: “Whoever can feel space, its directions, its scale; whoever understands that the movement of the emptiness means music; to him is granted entrance to a nearly unknown world, the world of architects and the world of painters.” August Endell, The Beauty of the Metropolis (1908), Grey Room 56 (2014) p. 132.

Image: Lebbeus Woods, Terrain, 1999

https://www.moma.org/collection/works/88847?artist_id=26299&page=1&sov_referrer=artist