Time Displacement / Chemobrionic Garden
Durational performance | sound installation | open laboratory
By Robertina Šebjanič and Aleš Hieng - Zergon
Curated by Ida Hiršenfelder
Video documentation by Senad Toromanović.
more about the project:
The project was first exhibited in December 2015 at the Aksioma Project Space in Ljubljana in production of Projekt Atol & LJUDMILA Art and Science Laboratory.
„In crystal we have a pure evidence of the existence of a formative life principle, and although in spite of everything we cannot understand the life of crystals – it is still a living being.” (Nikola Tesla, 1900)
Time Displacement / Chemobrionic Garden is an interactive generative chemical sound installation. The installation explores a relationship between hydrothermal chemistry, the passage of time, and sensory systems tracing changes outside of the human scale.
Artists created an installment comprised of several small chemical garden formations in a water glass (sodium metasilicate) solution, to provide an insight into research on the origin of life and on chemical processes.
The project’s theoretical background is based on a paper entitled From chemical gardens to chemobrionics, written and issued by a group of 21 distinguished scientists on 29 May 2015, a reiterating call for research into the principles of self-assembling structures, to produce – as they suggest – new insights into the origin of metabolism in Earth’s early geological periods.
The chemical reactions are monitored by cameras to detect changes in colour and in shape by means of a microcontrollers. The changes affect the code for live sound generation, and slowly work to alter the generative drone composition pervading the gallery space. It goes beyond the human perception of time. It calls for a perspective that considers multiple dimensions of temporal rhythms in space with slow modulation beyond the spectrum audible to the human ear.
The core proposition of this piece is to create a situation in which the growth of chemical structures takes the centre stage. The human expectations are put in the background in order to stimulate a state of altered listening in which one is exposed to the geological passage of time.
The antagonism between the human and the Earth’s processes is a direct result of anthropocentric perspective. In the age of anthropocene we need a radical shift in perspective if we are to survive as a species. Scientists are on a new quest to find in these abiotic formations the root of biotic protocells. In addition, Time Displacement poses a question of giving way to life by means of shifting ways of sensing. The question of the origin of life inevitably seeks to ask the question of finite nature of life forms themselves.
The colourful biomimetic morphologies of chemical gardens are a fascinating imitation of life. In the last few centuries, chemical gardens have progressed from being a counterfeit of biotic life to being the original; from childlike imitations of life to the sheer origin of life on Earth.