Thursday, 7 July 2011

Semiconductor – Worlds in the Making, FACT Liverpool

I cannot ignore that how I feel effects the way I might read and experience whatever artwork I'm looking at. Why I'm bringing this up? Well after baking in a hot bus for an hour I not enjoying the closeness of the outside world either, it was windy and raining not long ago what is nature's problem? I'm feeling hot and nauseous as I enter the cavern of FACT's gallery one wherein the slight nausea is joined by slight disorientation as the triptych of screens explodes with fizzing and growing crystalline shapes.

Somewhere in the crackle there is voice I don't quite get what he is saying, but he sounds like one the deadly serious narrators from those documents which filled many of my summer mornings (well if you're 30 plus you might get that reference). I find a space on the bench and try to settle down. There's a little breather and quiet clouds gently slip across the screens, but there's a distant humming it's the sound of impending threat. (It's also the soundtrack created by Oren Ambarchi ). As the humming increases, or seems to increase, as a plume of inky smoke spreads through the sky like the artery spurt of some ancient and alien creature hidden below the Earth's thin crust. The soundtrack booms in my head, I want to escape this sinister place.

I don't but things calm down, maybe I calm down and we are presented with apparently alien vistas, which seem to be in the process of being colonised strange concrete structures keep a vigil and the changing landscape. The structures are home to volcanologist (I assume that's what they are) it appears to be their job to observe and detail these alien environments. They collect, separate the different elements of ash, rocks and dust and it is all mundanely catalogued into little plastic bags. One of the volcanologists appears to make a burnt offering as if to ask permission to stay safely within presence of the volcano and record its cryptic rumblings.

Does this cataloguing and recording express some kind need not only understand the world but also a need to overcome our fear of the power of nature by reducing, or converting it through the pragmatic collection of data or the creation of linear diagrams which can be transposed onto the world. It would be easy to see ourselves as tiny fragile creatures living in fear of the crashing, exploding, insanity of geologic time but would it be better it see ourselves as creatures who can transgress their fears in the of pursuit knowledge.

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