LAMENT @ BLOCK MUSEUM
LAMENT (The Mine Has Been Opened Up Well)—my collaborative mixed-reality performance work in progress with Judd Morrissey and Abraham Avnisan, also featuring sound by Mark Booth and Ted Gordon and sculptural elements by Elena Ailes—will be the opening performance at the Ordinary Media Symposium at Northwestern University's Block Museum, Thursday, May 18 at 4 pm. See this link for the complete schedule.
LAMENT is a mixed reality performance that excavates sites, histories, and languages of mining in a poetics of generative telegraphy, geophysical extraction, and the multilingual hauntings of forgotten laborers. As a sited compression of the work SMOKEPENNY LYRICHORD HEAVENBRED, LAMENT posits a critical archaeology of contemporary network culture in response to the extraordinary material, political and environmental legacies that have made ordinary media and always-on computing possible.
Immersed in a lush 3D point-cloud derived from Lidar scans of a defunct copper mine, two performers, I (input) and O (output), activate a custom augmented reality system by manipulating iPads suspended from the ceiling and installed in hand crafted wooden frames. As I and O move through the virtual mine, they extract, hoist, encrypt and decrypt language from original and archival sources while composing through a database of 30,000 telegraph codes used by the mining industry in the 19th and early 20th century.
From the data-void, a gap in the (point) cloud at the center of the system, comes a raining lament that
sounds the material substrate of modern network culture,
spotlighting labor practices and struggles composing the transnational circuitry of copper—
sought-after conductor at the heart of electricity and communications technologies—
to render the data that we breathe via encrypted message
mined and struck from the historical record
by way of pneumatic drill—
as code, blast and particulate aftermath
of a cabled earth’s wireless imagination
*Telegraph codes extracted from The New General & Mining Telegraph Code (1891).
LAMENT: The mine has been opened up well SMOKEPENNY: During last year LYRICHORD: By constant penetration
HEAVENBRED: Encroaching on the reserve
SHUDDERING: Copper wire