Commissioned by Res. as part of 'Alembic', 2018.
Supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England.
Miasma VIDEO: video, animation and filming by Maggie Roberts; landscapes filmed by David van Rensburg; Swamp Demon Joe Walsh; Deep Dream data sets by Michael Vertolli; Datamoshing by Lendl Barcelos and Maggie Roberts; Lidar scans by Jason Stapleton/Lightfarm.
Miasma AUDIO: field recordings and audio samples by Justin Allart and David van Rensburg; ; Keening audio by Lliezel Ellick, Rosemary Lombard and Roxanne de Freitas; audio mixing and effects by Maggie Roberts.
'Chrominance' is a post-anthropocene ecocide narrative. A ritual reclamation and transmutation of mainframe data and earthly substance.
Developed on the edgelands of Capetown, ‘Miasma’ combines filmed and animated waterways with various algorithmic processing methods including datamoshing (a form of unpredictable video distortion), Google’s psychedelic DeepDream image generator, and the pulsing laser of a LiDAR 3D scanner. Overseeing the becoming synthetic transformation of these collaged liminal landscapes, an androgynous swamp demon summons the clogging of the waterways and calls forth an entropic ritual breakdown.
Quoting from ‘CTM 2012 Spectral’, with Reza Negarastani & Mark Fisher’s article ‘Trash/Streams (Wasteland)’:
‘Xeno-communications: Communication or data traffic based on the plane of being opened (by) instead of being open (to).
The concept of landscape is gaining a new dimension. People are investigating the autopoetic network culture of trash or human dependency on non-human communication clusters. Such approaches may be based on trust or shadowed by apocalyptic forebodings. But in either case, the landscape (which is to say, the dynamically networked communication currents in matter itself) is an actor, and no longer simply a passive backdrop to the accumulation and interaction of objects.
The material landscape and its currents, the dark and vibrant matters, themselves become active agents in our habitats. Here, the opposite of crystallization and glassy immobility defines the end (or the new beginning): untrammeled autonomous proliferation.’
‘Machine Vision’ is the unknown operator in this work, unraveling and destabilizing the certainty of the human gaze, proposing an expansive, tactile and fluid materiality. It has agency in this project. It’s appearance will be choreographed (from the autofocus on a camera struggling to see or recover depth of field, through After Effects filters, to Google Deep Dream code rendering imagery monstrous or rematerializing the image through datamoshing). As 3D scanner it will generate spectral mirages, swirling shadows objects in virtual registers. Depth becomes transparent, suddenly the viewpoint is inside a turning object, inside a point cloud skin. (see also ‘On The Animation of The Inorganic: Art, Architecture and the Extension of Life’ by Spyros Papapetros. ‘Prismatic Ecology’ ed Jeffrey Cohen.)