|The exhibition Fields showed
works by artists, agriculturalists, designers, technologists and
scientists that are truly transdisciplinary, that blur the boundaries
between different disciplines or fields in a very profound way, and
that are of a socially transformative character. These works now find
continuation through on- and offline projects. This broadcast series
entitled "Kunst Fields" presents work by six artists who participated
in the show and a seventh work by curator Armin Medosch. This work
called “Wild Ontologies” looks at creatively making
taxonomies as a performative practice.
In participatory workshops called Playing Fields artists, curators and the public collaboratively invent terms that characterise a practice. Some of the terms created in discussion with artists in this short-list form the basis of texts, visuals and sounds by artists. “Wild Ontologies” will make audible the links between the Kunst Fields, the artistic practices that underpin the Fields exhibition. The works by the artists engender social fields, fields of knowledge and other open fields, from the sound of intelligent beehives to President Eisenhower's farewell speech to music made by microbes.
The exhibition was curated by Armin Medosch, Rasa Smite and Raitis Smits, and it took place in summer 2014 at the Arsenals in Riga. For two Kunstradio broadcasts Armin Medosch has invited some of the participants to create radio pieces based on their contributions.
1) „Earth Coding“ by Martin Howse
“Earth coding” refers to the interring of any symbolic structure within the earth. “Earth coding” equally desrcibes prehistoric earthworks such as Silbury Hill, the land art works of Robert Smithson and Nancy Holt, any burial cryptography, and recent attempts by the artist to forge a computer solely made of earth.
In this instance, a series of recordings from a forest near Berlin re-imprints earth coding on natural radio. The broadcast circuit is opened to the earth; mushroom antenna arrays decode cosmic background radiation, worms compose poetry and earth radio signals are re-emitted, feedbacking. Field and earth recordings, quotations and plain speech approach the following questions:
How can the earth as a process be tempted to compose software?
What signals can be transduced from the earth, using equipment of the earth, revealing hidden process and how can these signals be exposed and converted to brute code?
Finally, how can a dark interpreter enable earthy instructions to reforge that same landscape?
2) „Soundbees, anywhere & everywhere” by AnneMarie Maes and Billy Bultheel
For the Kunstradio bee-piece, AnneMarie Maes and Billy Bultheel started from the 8-channel field recordings made in the broodnest of the experimental Warré-beehive set-up. The sound-behaviour of the bee colony was recorded from june 10 2014 and the sound-experiment is still ongoing. For the Kunstradio piece, the artists started to work with the recordings from the longest day / shortest night (24 hours of the 21st of june 2014) and edited them into a 15 minutes-piece on which some processing was done with max msp, using 2 additional sound sources located at the entry of the beehive.
The beehive recordings pan over the spectrum of a day (from midnight to midnight). As a compositional principle different ideas around swarm formation were investigated.
The increase and decrease of swarm activity in the hive and its influence on its sound, became a guideline for the transformation of the recordings. Hereby using natural phenomena as musical tools and in retrospect, using musical tools as an artistic rendition or analysis for natural phenomena. The audio work tries to embody the bee swarm while simultaneously intersecting the swarm with swirling electronic sound clusters.
3) „Kayak Libre – free transport, free thinking“ by Manu Luksch
Kayak Libre provides a temporary experimental infrastructure in the form of a kayak taxi service along the waterways. The fare is a conversation.
The Kayak Libre water taxi is an artistic vehicle to explore the ideas of progress and belonging. Specifically, it examines an idea of progress rooted in speed, efficiency and connectivity, and how it relates to human desires for autonomy, mobility and community. It is a slow, contemplative vehicle that allows close observation of and connection with the rapidly changing physical environment of the area. The radio piece „Kayak Libre – free transport, free thinking“ is based on recordings of the conversations with passengers on the future of mobility.
4) „Biotricity“ by Rasa Smite and Raitis Smits
Networked sound & energy installation
Authors: Rasa Smite and Raitis Smits / RIXC in collaboration with sound artist and composer Voldemars Johansons, and biologist Arturs Gruduls / LU University.
Biotricity sonifies the process of generating electricity from bacteria living in pond and lake, or in common, everyday waste water. The microbial fuel cells is the next-generation bio-technology that converts chemical energy to electrical energy by using microorganisms - bacteria found in the dirty water. Someday, this technology could be used to upgrade waste treatment facilities into power plants producing renewable energy. The networked sound & bio-electrical installation consists of a "bacteria fuel" cell network altogether creating a mini bacteria-power station. Continuous measurements deliver audible and visible impressions of this form of electricity generation by micro-organisms, and of its fluctuations. Thus the "bacteria fuel" process is interpreted in video and sound structures providing an aesthetic perspective on the interaction between nature and technology, biologic systems and electronic networks, biology and computing.
The new version of Biotricity installation was exhibited in the FIELDS exhibition in Riga. It consisted of a double cell "bacteria battery", live stereo-sound that sonifies fluctuation of bacteria's generated electricity, and video, made from the electronic microscope images showing bacteria environment. The image stream simultaneously with the sound created real-time visualizations of bacteria activity.
Biotricity sound art piece for Kunst Fields programme is created by Raitis Smits and Rasa Smite. It is based on recordings that use algorithmic sonification environment designed by Voldemars Johansons. The fluctuating voltage values are used as control parameters for sound synthesis. The generated soundfield represents the current state of the bacteria colony. Over time, it gradually evolves as the state of the colony changes. The Biotricity Kunst Fields mix interprets 3 different stages of the bacteria environment. The first, on the very beginning, when two newly built cells just begin electricity generation process and together make 0.6 volts. The second, when the bacteria are acclimated to their new environment and keep working with maximum power, each cell producing now 0.7 volts. And the third stage - about 3 month later, when the bacteria are becoming less active.
Currently, Rasa and Raitis are experimenting with the out-door version of Biotricity project. With a title "Pond Battery", this installation is set-up as a long-term art and science collaboration in the pond of Botanical Garden of Latvian University in Riga. Live webcam from the pond is showing online realtime images and measurements - how much voltage each of the cells every minute is producing. "Pond Battery" will be monitored throughout the winter, all data will be recorded for producing new artworks of the Biotricity project.
[http://www.thenextlayer.org|The Next Layer – Art Technology and Social Change]