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Shift Register: Media-geological Grounding of the Anthropocene through Artistic Research

English title Shift Register: Media-geological Grounding of the Anthropocene through Artistic Research
Applicant Allen Jamie
Number 166400
Funding scheme Project funding (Div. I-III)
Research institution Institut für Experimentelle Design und Medienkulturen Hochschule für Gestaltung und Kunst, FHNW
Institution of higher education University of Applied Sciences and Arts Northwestern Switzerland (without UTE) - FHNW
Main discipline Arts
Start/End 01.10.2016 - 31.03.2019
Approved amount 200'000.00
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All Disciplines (2)

Discipline
Arts
Climatology. Atmospherical Chemistry, Aeronomy

Keywords (10)

DIY; artistic research; electronics; fieldwork; citizen science; data; anthropocene; geology; signal; media

Lay Summary (German)

Lead
Die Erde hat sich in ein “planetares Labor” verwandelt: dies um sie zu erforschen, zu kontrollieren und umfassend zu verstehen. Wissen aus diesen Interaktionen mit der Erde macht globale Phänomene wie den Klimawandel wahrnehmbar, welche wiederum modernistische Illusionen wie einer Trennung zwischen “Natur” und “Gesellschaft” auflösen. Es ist daher wichtig neue Wege zu finden, ein öffentliches Verständnis für diese Erkenntnisse zu schaffen. “Shift Register” möchte die Verschiebungen, wie die zwischen der Erde als natürlichem Objekt und der Erde als Teil von Kultur, erfassen. Das Projekt adressiert das interdisziplinäre Problem, wie sich solche Verschiebungen identifizieren, katalogisieren und lesbar machen lassen.
Lay summary

Materielle Nachweise menschlicher Aktivität auf der Erde werden von “Shift Register” untersucht und zugänglich gemacht: nicht nur als Indikatoren menschlicher Leistungen, sondern als mehrdeutige Verhandlungen und Wegweiser planetarer Erschöpfung. Das Projekt setzt von Medien-, Labor- und Feldforschung inspirierte Methoden ein, um die Markierungspunkte der Auswirkungen der Menschheit an signifikanten Orten zu bezeugen. Die Resultate des Projekts – Texte, Medien- und Ausstellungsobjekte – versuchen Umweltwissenschaften mit anderen kulturellen, affektiven sowie inter- und subkulturellen Perspektiven zu verknüpfen und so die Komplexität und ständige Widersprüchlichkeit der Energie- und Kommunikationsinfrastruktur der Erde zu integrieren. 

Zu finden sind die Markierungspunkte menschlicher Aktivitiäten und Veränderungen in den Wachstumsringen von Bäumen, den Oberflächenstrukturen von mineralischem Gestein, als radioaktive Isotopsignaturen und als Veränderungen im Erdboden, der Athmosphäre und deren mikrobischer Zusammensetzung. Diese Markierungspunkte erlauben uns “die Erde” als nicht-lineares Archiv menschlicher und nicht-menschlicher Bestrebungen zu lesen. Der Kontext der wissenschaftlichen, sozialen, künstlerischen und kritischen Medienarbeit von “Shift Register” bezieht aktuelle Arbeiten und Debatten in den umweltbezogenen Geistes- sowie den Geowissenschaften ein. Ziel ist es, die Simplifizierung in Debatten um singuläre “anthropozänische Markierungen” produktiv zu stören, indem wir unterschiedliche, sogar gnostische Wege vorschlagen, unsere irdischen Spuren zu verstehen.

Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 12.09.2016

Responsible applicant and co-applicants

Employees

Publications

Publication
Sitting On Top of the World: Meridional Media, Arctic Condescension, and Northern Techniques
AllenJamie (2018), Sitting On Top of the World: Meridional Media, Arctic Condescension, and Northern Techniques, Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin.
The Overgrounds and Undergrounds of Pure and Applied Science: Cosmic Collisions and Industrial Collusion
AllenJamie (2018), The Overgrounds and Undergrounds of Pure and Applied Science: Cosmic Collisions and Industrial Collusion, in Media Theory, Vol 2(No 1), 352-392.
Why is it so hard to describe experience? Why is it so hard to experience description?
Allen Jamie, Bruder Johannes, Mareis Claudia (2016), Why is it so hard to describe experience? Why is it so hard to experience description?, in Latour Bruno (ed.), MIT Press, Cambridge, 496-515.
Shift Register (final publication)
Allen Jamie, Martin Howse, Ibach Merle, Shift Register (final publication), Motto Books, Berlin(Issue 5.2 ).

Collaboration

Group / person Country
Types of collaboration
Haus der elektronischen Künste Basel: H3K Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Research Infrastructure
Rosemary Lee Denmark (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
University of Southampton/Winchester School of Art Great Britain and Northern Ireland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
Institute for the Study of Earth, Oceans and Space - University of New Hampshire United States of America (North America)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
Finnish Society of Bioart (SMEAR Finland) Finland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Research Infrastructure
The Institute of Nature and Culture at DePaul University United States of America (North America)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Research Infrastructure
Transmediale Festival Germany (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
K. Verlag Germany (Europe)
- Publication
University of Helsinki, Department of Atmospheric Sciences (Climate Whirl, SMEAR Finland) Finland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Research Infrastructure
Science Friction Denmark (Europe)
- Publication
Sadie Plant Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
Laboratoire de Glaciologie et de Géophysique de l’Environnement France (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
Art Papers United States of America (North America)
- Publication
Dirt Foundation France (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
Capsula (SMEAR Finland) Finland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Research Infrastructure
Haus der Kulturen der Welt Germany (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
Leuphana University Germany (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Research Infrastructure
LEAP Berlin Germany (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Research Infrastructure
Environmental Humanities Switzerland Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Exchange of personnel
Oxford University School of Geography Great Britain and Northern Ireland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
Science Po (Bruno Latour, Paris) France (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication

Scientific events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Title of article or contribution Date Place Persons involved
Imagining Climate Change Individual talk This cycle, here, this one. 11.02.2019 Florida, United States of America Allen Jamie;
Machines Are Not Alone: A Machinic Trilogy Individual talk Field Remediations, Carbon 21.07.2018 Beijing, China Allen Jamie;
Walk&Talk Arts Festival Individual talk Eye Land Band Width 21.06.2018 São Miguel Island, Azores, Portugal Allen Jamie;
Tuned City Festival Individual talk The Afters 03.06.2018 Messene, Greece Allen Jamie; Howse Martin;
We Are Not the Number We Think We Are Individual talk The Altering Eye 02.02.2018 CITE Internationale des Arts, Paris, France Allen Jamie; Ibach Merle;
Ars Electronica, Artifical Intelligence Individual talk Transmission 10.09.2017 Linz, Austria Allen Jamie; Ibach Merle;
Abandon Normal Devices Festival Poster EOAE-TC 08.08.2017 Treak Cliff Cavern, Great Britain and Northern Ireland Howse Martin; Allen Jamie;
Transmediale – Ever Elusive Individual talk Earth Observatory Array Activation 24.02.2017 Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin, Germany Howse Martin; Allen Jamie; Ibach Merle;
Symposium, University of Turku, Division of Geography, organised by Päivi Rannila Talk given at a conference The Invisible Earth. Finding Your Way in the Invisible World 12.12.2016 Turku, Finland Allen Jamie;
Project Launch – Workshop at RIXC Festival Talk given at a conference RIXC Festival Proceedings 01.10.2016 Riga, Latvia Howse Martin; Kemp Jonathan; Allen Jamie; Ibach Merle;


Self-organised

Title Date Place
Solar Eye Polar Eye – Workshop 10.06.2018 Kurant, Tromsø, Norway
Soft Sickness: Earthly Dependencies & Compulsive Transfictions – Workshop 08.06.2018 Furtherfield, London, Great Britain and Northern Ireland
The Aerosoils of the Airpocalypse 12.03.2018 Peking, China
Earth Observation Source – Workshop 03.09.2017 Hyytiälä, Finland
Northern Atmospheres – Workshop 07.03.2017 Montreal, Canada

Knowledge transfer events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Date Place Persons involved
Note: As Artistic Research methods, events listed in "Academic Events" are also Knowledge Transfer and Public Communications Events Performances, exhibitions (e.g. for education institutions) 01.06.2019 Basel, Switzerland Howse Martin; Ibach Merle; Allen Jamie; Kemp Jonathan;


Communication with the public

Communication Title Media Place Year
Print (books, brochures, leaflets) Eye Land Band Width (Azores) – READER International 2018
Print (books, brochures, leaflets) Soft Sickness (London) – READER International 2018
Print (books, brochures, leaflets) Solar Eye Polar Eye (Tromsø) – READER International 2018
Print (books, brochures, leaflets) The Aerosoils of the Airpocalypse (Bejing) – READER International 2018
Print (books, brochures, leaflets) The Afters (Messene) – READER International 2018
Print (books, brochures, leaflets) The Altering Eye (Paris) – READER International 2018
Print (books, brochures, leaflets) The Altering Eye (Paris) – RESPONSES International 2018
Print (books, brochures, leaflets) Earth Observation Source (Hyytiälä) – READER International 2017
Print (books, brochures, leaflets) Earth Observatory Array Workshop (Tokyo) – READER International 2017
Print (books, brochures, leaflets) Earth Observatory Array Workshop (Tokyo) – RESPONSES International 2017
Print (books, brochures, leaflets) EOAAW Transmediale (Berlin) – READER International 2017
Print (books, brochures, leaflets) EOAAW Transmediale (Berlin) – RESPONSES International 2017
Print (books, brochures, leaflets) EOAE-TC (Treak Cliff Cavern) – RESPONSES International 2017
Print (books, brochures, leaflets) Northern Atmospheres (Montreal) – READER International 2017
Print (books, brochures, leaflets) Northern Atmospheres (Montreal) – RESPONSES International 2017
Print (books, brochures, leaflets) Shift Register Transmediale Responses International 2017
Print (books, brochures, leaflets) Earth Bodies - The Poison Cure (Basel) – RESPONSES International 2016
Print (books, brochures, leaflets) Earth Bodies – The Poison Cure (Basel) – READER International 2016
Print (books, brochures, leaflets) Recursion (Riga) — RESPONSE International 2016
Media relations: print media, online media SHIFT REGISTER // “EARTH BODIES: The Poison Cure” Video International 2016

Associated projects

Number Title Start Funding scheme
156185 Times of Waste 01.01.2015 Project funding (Div. I-III)
185494 Cycles of Circulation 01.12.2019 Project funding (Div. I-III)
170104 Ökodaten - Ökomedien - Ökoästhetik. Die Bedeutung von Technologien und techno-naturwissenschaftlichen Methoden in der Kunst für die Wahrnehmung und Ästhetik des Ökologischen 01.11.2017 Project funding (Div. I-III)
173371 Institutions as a Way of Life 01.10.2017 Project funding (Div. I-III)

Abstract

‘Shift Register’ is an artistic research project that renders sensible the proposed markers of the Anthropocene, a new geological epoch marked by irreversible Earth-magnitude changes caused by human activity. These are markers of geoscientific, geopolitical, geosocial and ecological novelty. They are material and conceptual inscriptions of exchanges between Earth’s geologies and human beings, behaviors, and thinking. ‘Shift Register’ directly and critically encounters the Anthropocene, ‘shifting the register’ and status of its markers from symbolic, scientific fact toward their reality as aesthetic, media-technical geoscientific and climatological methods, practices, instrumentations, and data. Critical, media-epistemological, artistic research and ‘sensory anthropological’ perspectives are used to look at personal-cultural and sensory-informational spectra of the Anthropocene and its evidential sites: our ambiguous, even celebratory fascination with determining a singular, static, human-selected marker that in fact should mark an exhaustion of obstinate, deterministic human endeavour. We attempt here, instead, an ‘unmonumentalisation’ of the proposed markers of the Anthropocene, bringing them ‘down to size’ by doing and documenting the media-technical activities of geoscience, shifted into hands-on Do-It-Yourself (DIY) science, as artistic research strategy. ‘Shift Register’ is a novel approach to Anthropocene research, reasserting the radical, dynamic nature of material Earth processes.The onset of the Anthropocene is “primarily an aesthetic event.” Artistic praxis is one of the principal means by which we frame sensory experience, and how we confront and characterise the problematic of ‘ends’ and ‘beginnings’. ‘Shift Register’ is a research platform that brings modes of artistic research into dialogue with global Anthropocenic debates, through AMs as spatio-temporally localised conjunctions of History (as a domain of the Humanities), Natural History (Geology, Biology, Chemistry, Physics) and Culture (Art, Aesthetics, Communications Technology). AMs constitute Earth-signals-material-informational ‘responses’ to the ‘impulse’ of anthropocentric and anthropomorphic activity. Earth-signals are read back as rock, soil, biomass, water, ice and air-documents from the Earth-as-media-archive. Infospheres and technospheres are always already geological; subterranean and atmospheric regimes are inscribed as in formation, as ancient biospheric ‘tree-rings’, antecedent atmospheres frozen in ice, and radioactive rippling of bygone cataclysms. AMs are not only geoscientific determinations, but complex, eco-aesthetic archives of psycho-geotrauma, intersecting numerous knowledge domains.Artistic, citizen-science laboratory and fieldwork research methods for geo-ecological sciences are here created toward ‘unmonumentalising’ the Anthropocene, by emphasising the aesthetic (as in aisthesis) centrality of media-technical knowledge production in both Science and Art. The global Anthropocene is returned to the wild locality of anthropogenic life, via self-built toolset development and documentation, and a Basel-based material and aesthetic-geological “Earth Lab” that comparatively links fieldwork excursions at sites marking the Anthropocene, and provides a venue for public workshops and exhibition. Contemporary scholarly writings (2 collaborative peer-reviewed papers) are fused with discourse-oriented digital media (online platform, PDF and multimedia internet dispatches, Artistic Publication in an international distributed contemporary arts magazine, and digital Final Project Book) and artistic outputs (artefactual processual Earth Lab Exhibition at the Earth Lab). ‘Shift Register’ is the contemporary, impactful work of internationally-known artistic researchers and geological science specialists. The project hosts invitational workshops, invites online discussions and publicly presents research in its site of production. Through the project, we seek deeper understandings of the Anthropocene’s construction, in avoidance of this new epoch further authorising destructive anthropocentrist modes of technoscience.
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