At the end of July we concluded the first part of FIBER’s multi-year Reassemble project, an intensive but energetic online lab under the name Weaving With Worlds. In 1,5 months we collectively investigated the potential and possibilities of worldbuilding to give imagination to much needed transformations. With several workshops, talks and public events we aimed to enable the dawn of new research collaborations growing into sketches or prototypes of new immersive art installations.
First and foremost we would like to thank the inspiring participants of this lab (visit our instagram to meet them), the speakers and mentors for their contributions. We would like to share some of the outcomes of the collaborative experiments, research and first prototypes of artwork. FIBER will further support and collaborate with the participants to advance these projects further.
In the upcoming weeks, we will update this page regularly. Stay tuned!
Secrets of Soil
The first project we’d like to share with you is Henry Driver’s beautifully designed videogame “Secrets of Soil”. In this interactive game, Henry digitally recreated the microscopic world of soil, laying bare the diverse and rich ecosystem in the earth under our feet. “Secrets of Soil” is an existing project of Henry’s, but the lab has inspired him to weave together real life actions with the game in such a way that the player takes care of their own minuscule piece of soil. Real life actions, like reducing your own plastic footprint, would interact with the game and show change in ‘your soil’. Henry believes there lies a huge power in the interactivity of videogames and likes to explore this potential to inspire change and combat climate change.
“Secrets of Soil” is freely available on Steam.
The All Rivers and Species Act 2021
The next project that was born during Weaving With Worlds is ‘The All Rivers and Species Act 2021’. This multifaceted blueprint is a collaboration between Cristina Napoleone, Ibelisse Guardia Ferragutti, Nayeli Vega, Jemma Woolmore, Jenny Handley & Lily McCraith. The collective uses the name Rights of the River.
The group drew inspiration from the 2017 event in which the Whanganui River in New Zealand was considered a living entity and granted legal personhood. The local Māori tribe of Whanganui initiated this approach in an effort to protect the river and its species. The Māori culture traditionally views humans and the land as equal and deeply connected.
After conducting research on related stories and indigenous relations to Rivers, multiple tools were woven together to give a voice to All Rivers and their inhabitants.
Designed by Nayeli Vega
In collaboration with machine learning AI-tool GTP2, Rights of the River generated the legal text (read here), which was instructed by various models interacting with each other. To give this voice to a specific creature, the collective visualised an organically woven combination of River life. Drawing from images of the River, like pictures of the riverbank and the water, several soundscapes were extracted as imagined by AI machine Imaginary Soundscape. These soundscapes inspired to combine it with actual aural interactions from a River. To collect these sounds, two different indigenous methods were practiced, recording in and near the water.
Designed by Nayeli Vega
This project focuses on canals, specifically Canal Saint Martin in Paris, as artificial rivers. Juliette and Shailoh conduct(ed) research on how the man made waterways house their own variety of (deeply polluted) ecosystems and function as both a cross section and gateway between other waters.
The duo collected all sorts of visuals from the Parisian canal, combining them in a hypervideo presentation (see above). On top of that they created a text about the canal, by training AI-tool GTP2 with history of the canal, eco-fiction and water ecologies. Read the text below and watch their composition video below.
Juliette and Shailoh invite you to go to a canal near you to observe and document your experiences and share this with them. If you would like to be part of their ongoing research feel free to contact them for more details.
Canal Saint-Martin text:
I am below, water and clouds cover me. Above me all is visible. I am connected with the divine water, a hitchhiking queen hums her way across the canal. A liquid state, a concave mirror, a can of Coke.
We are algae. We are a rusty shopping cart. We are fish feeding on the crumbs. Swimming in the black hole of the present. It is summer, and the twilight is long, deep and thin, with a quiet murmur of picnics, car exhaust, plopping bottles and dog feet passing by above the edges. There is a pseudonym for the channelled tunnels that escape the banks of a river. We call it Via.’ Via is the way that got us into this mess.
We are so deep in the future that it actually feels like now. A feeling of déjà vu. How very dark the future is. In the canal there is another world, under water. This world is submerged.
That plop. That sound. And over here? Time stop? I can’t hear you. I can’t tell you what time is. It’s still light up there, with the lights of the city hitting the surface of the canal. We use this part to protect ourselves from human paw-marks.
How is the canal different from the river?
The water skater darts over the surface. It says, “This is how the boat goes.” It goes “underneath” it.
Here in the canal, fishes were pondering among the duck feet, pondering among the trash. From the reflection on the top of the tower block we could see the Seine running steadily towards us. Our minds were forever occupied with the beauties of the dimly lit canal surroundings, the dimness of the attunement tube.
The canal in question they call the Canal St. Martin. It runs through the heart of Paris, connecting two arms of the meandering Seine. A straight river, chopped into pieces, divided by dams, sluices, gates. The water does not go where it wants to go; it is contained, channeled up, down and through. A gated community.
It’s a place where creatures can get stuck. Our sense of place starts to dissolve. Eventually this surreal situation reaches the point where it can’t end. You begin to realize that you are somewhere.
Underwater everything is opaque. If you are living in a canal, the distance between you and the river seems to expand. The river seems to be growing towards you, complaining about the absence of fish. The locks are full of them, grazing their toes. Things are slipping around.
There is a body on the other side of the canal. We can’t tell whether the water is telling the truth or lying, what it is carrying, where it is going. This nightmare is of a kind that makes us momentarily forget the thing running in our head until we wake up and go on dreaming about ourselves.
The system will be changed so that we can never tell where we are going. The system will become-with the weather: wet episodes, and possibly even drier episodes, will ensue. Floods and droughts; empty and overflowing. Where else can we go?
The weather is like a weed of dread. And the weather is going to ask you what you plan to do with your life, and you will have to say, “I don’t know . . . I’ll just keep on guessing.”
Juliette Pénélope & Shailoh Philips: Canal Channel
Lastly we’d love to introduce you to Wendi Yan’s research on fungal technology. Fungi are well known to be an organic technology, and so for this project Wendi challenged the ‘nature/technology’ binary. She has designed and mapped a facemask, for the nose specifically.
The second picture contains a virtual photoshoot with a tattoo that’s inspired by graphene-based tattoo, which can function like a wearable electronic device for health monitoring.
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Another collaboration that came out of our most recent lab, Weaving With Worlds, lies between Deborah Mora and Carina Erdmann. Together they are diving deep into the layers of the earth to see what knowledges the soil holds. In this they are inspired by the ideas of deep time, and the practices of deep listening. Through these alternative modes of perception it is possible to encounter the soil anew, to listen with ears attuned and minds open to what the soil holds.
Deborah’s background in visual creation will intertwine with Carina’s experience in creating gaming and performance hybrids as together they develop ideas into a sensorial and immersive world in the near future.
Carina’s earlier work with a connection to soil (‘STUBBORN AND REAL’).