Armstrong, Keith M., Dean, Roger, & Lawson, Stuart (2016) Inter-State. [Digital/Creative Work]

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The installation Inter-State integrates concepts of art, science and futural thinking through its two related works, which are placed in close proximity. The first work is a large-scale backlit print depicting a re-imagined scientific periodic table of elements, mounted in a hanging light box. The second work uses an old-fashioned manual microfiche viewer, accompanied by a complex soundscape played through headphones. This allows viewers to examine the imagery as a whole, or in forensic close up, by instigating slow scans across groups of ‘elements’ in close proximity using the scientifically arcane microfiche print reader.

Inter-State re-conceptualises the periodic table as a relational mesh of forms, contrasting its elemental reduction and tabular characteristics with Wu Xing’s inherently circular five phases, and their generating and overcoming interrelationships. This is achieved by re-imagining each element as being part of a deeply related collection of codes, quotes, thoughts and pictorial impressions of non-linear processes and philosophies, inspired both by Tony Fry’s re-futuring theories and the Wu Xing philosophies. The choice of the 1970’s vintage reader also draws attention to the claimed cycles of ‘necessary obsolescence’ that permeate and underline much contemporary design thinking.

In sympathy, the headphone sound is created in a 12-minute cycle with five passages, inspired by the Wu Xing’s ‘generative’ cycle of Wood-Fire-Earth-Metal-Water. Within each passage overlapping sounds suggest one of the five Wu Xing ‘overcoming’ interactions, such as Water overcomes Fire. Each of the five passages concludes with a sonification of a relevant group of elements from the periodic table, using the atomic numbers of these elements of one group to control an audio synthesis process that morphs a so-called ‘noisy sound cloud’. The transforming of this process predominantly controls the energy in a frequency band of the successively chosen atomic numbers from the group, along with other correlated ongoing changes. In this way the implicit challenge of the destructive cycle becomes reflected in the somewhat tense, foreboding atmospheres of the sounds.

In all of these ways Inter-State actively contrasts and combines modern scientific ideas and processes of elemental organisation with the relational thinking of selected contemporary artists and philosophers and the ancient processes of the Wu Xing, seeking to embody the relational imperatives of an emergent re-futuring practice.

Impact and interest:

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ID Code: 98449
Item Type: Creative Work (Digital/Creative Work)
Refereed: No
Other Contributors:
Role Contributors
Tania Creighton
  • Curator
Eleanor Zeichner
  • Asst Curator
Funders: Australia Council For the Arts, UTS ART, National Science Week
Material: Led signboard, semi-transparent print, headphone sound, iPad, 105mm microfiche, microfiche reader
Measurements or Duration: 2 x 3 x 2m
Number of Pieces: 2
Published Source: In Over Many Horizons
Publisher: UTS Art Gallery
Location: From date: To date:
UTS Gallery, level 4, UTS CB.06, 702 Harris St, Ultimo, Sydney 2016-08-02 2016-09-23
Additional URLs:
Keywords: ecosophy, installation, electronic art, media art
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > STUDIES IN CREATIVE ARTS AND WRITING (190000) > FILM TELEVISION AND DIGITAL MEDIA (190200) > Electronic Media Art (190203)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > STUDIES IN CREATIVE ARTS AND WRITING (190000) > VISUAL ARTS AND CRAFTS (190500) > Performance and Installation Art (190504)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Creative Industries Faculty
  • AUSTRALIA COUNCIL/218030-0061/52
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2016 The Author(s)
Copyright Statement: Creative Commons Licenses 2.5
Deposited On: 29 Aug 2016 01:52
Last Modified: 04 Sep 2016 23:24

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