An installation examining modes of extraction and interpretation that are exerted on landscapes, Absorption, Saturation, Toxicity, Elimination explores the technological metabolism of the earth: extracting data, chemicals, and organic compounds of value. The work looks at these themes through interrelationships between three different sites. A volcano proposed as a source of energy for bitcoin mining, lithium processing facilities, and the human body; alchemical processes mediating between stone and ether.
Data is often portrayed as not only interchangeable with all things, but also entailing a high degree of scientific objectivity. Subverting these ideas through conceptual landscape models, the project rethinks the material connections between data and the real-world entities and phenomena they are extracted from, as well as questioning that very logic of extractivism. Absorption, Saturation, Toxicity, Elimination is a series of dioramas for imagined landscapes based on the massive scale of global data collection and processing. Combining references from diverse contexts including art history, data visualization, natural history museum displays and science fair presentations, the project expands on previous work on the materiality and extractivist tendencies in digital media, looking at the implications of fixating on data as the measure of all things. It examines the sublimation of substances through the body, the excavation of materials for the industrial manufacture of electronics, and the ephemeral yet materially catastrophic pervasiveness of data-based processes. Transmuting pharmaceuticals and mineral supplements, digital files, and views from sites of extraction into terrain, each work considers macro and micro scale of relations between data and our material reality.
Absorption, Saturation, Toxicity, Elimination
Becoming Geological: The Exhibition
Humankind has always been dirty and harshly geological, through intentional incorporation of earthly and thus cosmic elements (as part of medicinal or spiritual practices), and within a direct connection with a slowly changing earthly and cosmic environment. The earth authors us.
With the arrival of the questionable era of the anthropocene, marking another entry point into the planetary geological, new “natural” cycles are initiated. We literally inhale and ingest our own anthropogenic indicators – for example, as the particulate exhalations of burning forests, as isotopes from nuclear testing, as metallic dust from global extractions. These cycles are embedded in strange feedback loops and complex geo-algorithms informing climate catastrophe, and tense, global ecological conditions. Understanding this new nature for humankind involves a close examination and potential embrace of a becoming geological, becoming a-human.
Becoming Geological thus provokes new and ancient imaginaries for this essential relation of the human with the earth and with the cosmos, invoking becoming metal, becoming earth and becoming cosmic as potential and multiple ways of being and as active philosophies of the earth; an exploration of how to live and die within novel planetary and cosmic techno-cycles.
Becoming Geological: the exhibition marks, traces, invokes and unfolds these multiple routings and cycles of becoming through new and foundational artistic projects from six contemporary artists who interrogate and reflect on the close connections between technological, planetary, cosmic and earthly bodies, particles and imaginations.
Sissel Marie Tonn
Curated by Martin Howse and Florian Weigl. Publicity design and images: Alice Cannava, Martin Howse, Martin Sulzer, Antti Tenetz(data)
Becoming Geological: The Book
The book ‘Becoming Geological’ (2022) provokes new and ancient imaginaries for the essential relation of the human with the earth and with the cosmos.
Editor: Martin Howse
Design & production: Alice Cannavà
Copy editor & proofreader: Stefan Widdess
Type: Paperback, full color
Size: 16,5 x 23,5 cm
Price: € 24,50
Becoming Geological functions as a manual for a new relation of the human with the earth and with the cosmos, invoking becoming metal, becoming earth and becoming cosmic as potential and multiple ways of being and as active philosophies of the earth; a guide for how to live and die within new planetary and cosmic techno-cycles.
This divinatory guide has its roots and veins in the lustrous earths and waters of the Tiny Mining community, a mineral exploration collective committed to the open source exploitation of the interior of the human body for rare earth resources.
Table Of Contents
Martin Howse – Preface: Mining dreams.
– Agnieszka Anna Wołodźko – Tiny Mining: Theory of the earth from a sweatshop – on practising becoming cosmic
– The dose makes the poison. Interview with Ines Tomašek
– Aaron Parkhurst – Coffee and blood: A brief anthropological reading of Tiny Mining on and off-
– Anonymous sweatshop heavy metal test results
– Metals: Antimony, arsenic, copper, iron, lead, mercury, silver. Interview with a user
– Michael Marder – Geological Dis/Articulations
– Elaine Tam and Arthur Gouillart – Filth
– Thomas Moynihan – Orienting ourselves within life’s aeonic stream: or, what it means to have been produced by a planet
– Patricia MacCormack – From (immoral) Anthropos to ethical geo-stratum
– Rosemary Lee – Absorption, saturation, toxicity, elimination
– Anaïs Tondeur and Marine Legrand – Mourning the infinite
– Sissel Marie Tonn – We are all bog bodies
– Rosa Whiteley – Pollution-altered allures
– Alfonso Borragán – Stomach inside rock stomach
– Cecilia Jonsson – Petrified