Listening beneath the bog.
I have spent a few visits sitting quietly with the moss. Training myself to listen and allowing myself to imagine the unseen landscape beneath the bog.
When the sky is grey there is a softness.
On still days everything whispers
On windy days everything maps the energy of the wind.
Broken patterns of light and movement.
Spring is bringing new layers to my understanding.
A simple walk and conversation with Anna Keightley led us to a small pool just off the main mossland area. Anna wondered if its more sheltered location would reveal some signs of activity using the hydrophones.
She was right, the pool was full of Toads gathering to spawn. Their chatter was fascinating. Listening below the water you could recognise distinct sounds, clicks and squeaks.
The arrival of the Snow Moon left a thin layer of ice on the moss.
There was a stillness but a clarity to the light which illuminated the pools and the grasses. Sitting quietly I could see vapour rising gently off the peat as the sun heats the surface.
Birdsong gently surrounds me.
Winter Hill was shrouded in a pinkish mist.
Visiting Place Number 18483
by Dr Sarah Robinson
I have just walked around Lake Richmond, Western Australia.
A heritage listed site because of the rare and critically endangered freshwater thrombolites; microorganisms that resemble the earliest life on Earth.
The water levels are so low!
Here, there has been a recent bush fire and I noticed these ‘mini volcanoes’ of carbon… visually striking lines of thought for my creative practice.
Under the Microscope
by Dr Sarah Robinson
The arctic snow is showing signs of getting darker as black carbon particles fall to earth while the snow and ice becomes redder with Chlamydomonas nivalis algae blooms.
The cellular mechanisms for these unicellular algae organisms display phototaxis as an eye spot on the side of the cell wall sees cycadean rhythms. These organisms are responsible for Red Algae blooms and can position themselves using flagella to swim. This enables the cell to metaphorically see and position itself in the best place for light and hence growth in the snow. In my mind Phototrophic algae link black ice to etching alchemy as a proposition to construct etching plate sensors in the wilderness.
How will these plates sense in the light and dark?
What boundaries will be lost between us and digital technology?
Dr Sarah Robinson is a transmedial artist whose practice is concerned with technical perception and digital technologies’ affect on contemporary printmaking.
This is the first post of many (I hope) which will begin the research dialogue between myself, Sarah and Donna leading towards our research residency in Finland.
I am very excited to be working as part of the Carbon Synthesis research project with UK artist Tracy Hill and Perth (WA) artist Dr Donna Franklin. Donna and I have just finished a joint SymbioticA Bioarts residency at the University of Western Australia as part of this investigation. We both began with explorations into the carbon cycle that drew on molecules passing from one form to the next.
I started to draw my ideas from life forms in the Arctic, historical events, and material engagement with algae and pig tissue in a wet biology laboratory.
I am currently interested in linking the phenomena of black ice to etching alchemy. I am examining Black carbon and its impact in Arctic environments which is rapidly becoming a recognised factor of climate change. The circulation of dust, carbon, and heavy metals held in soot and carbon aerosols are being monitored like never before.