[-empyre-] Living Experiments / Nature needs to be constructed

Johannes Birringer Johannes.Birringer at brunel.ac.uk
Thu Sep 19 01:09:25 EST 2013

Yes, thank you Philip Thurtle, and to follow up on Adam's question (" I wonder if you could comment on how you
see the experiment functioning outside of this laboratory setting"] --   I suppose you were using
the term in quotation marks yourself, no?  "experimenting: with (other) lives, or even
with one'e own to change life, how does this relate to social politics and
social engineering, biogenetic intervention & surgery, proto-domination of others (if change is always about domination or control), 
one the one hand, can you give examples (not from bats)?

And how might it relate to performances of body/life modification?    I had asked Oron about the dangerous work that Australian performer Sarah Jane Pell has been conducting
in extreme habitats (where medical and technical "care" was quite necessary), but unfortunately Oron had to hike off. 

This bat/echolocation example did have some interesting resonances for me, 
as I sometimes watched them, not too long ago, when they leave the bridge
under which they live on the Bayou in Houston,  5 minutes from my studio; and I tried to study and figure out
why the swarm always, at dusk, flies south past the tall tower of American Insurance Group (picture attached),
as if this particular tower insured them their safe movement, paradoxically. 

Incidentally also, talking about echolocaton/theatre experiments, I heard from
BADco., a group from Zagreb, and their recent camp (audio recorder image attached).
Here is what they decided to do, and i've written to them to inquire about the outcomes, 
so here i'm sharing their approach to an experiment: 

*Nature needs to be constructed*

from 14.09.2013 at 10:00 until 15.09.2013. at 10:00...
BADco. invites you to 24-hour camping on the field between the Sava embankment and the river itself, not far from Zagreb's communal waste landfill Prudinec/Jakusevac and the Hrelic flea market.
For a period of 24 hours let's inhabit one of Zagreb's ecologically problematic zones with artists, activists and experts who will jointly carry out a program of performances, exhibit work and open discussion on ecology and the city, waste and its management.
Join the camp with your tent, camper or sleeping bag. Join the discussions, follow the performances and spend the night on location of the artistic-ecological camp.
The following artists are taking part in the program:
BADco., Ana Husman, Davor Savicenti, Alen and Nenad Sinkauz, Slaven Tolj, Zeljko Zorica Sis and other experts and activists.

Organization: BADco. aided by Green Action

I've come across the notion of constructing nature before, but have forgotten some of the contexts. But have worked this past summer in a disused coalmine (industrial site), it
struck me how astonishingly this site is changing into a biotop of sorts, without intervention. And yet, there is some for of intervention (care?), namely the government
agency, once installed to oversee and drive regional infrastructure redevelopment on the ste, lease out the old buildings that could be refunctioned etc,   has now mostly just set up fences
to protect the rot. And left (the agency). 

with regards
Johannes Birrnger


[Philip schreibt]

The way that the idea of “experiment” links past, present, and future
is what really fascinates me. In any complex, immanent system,
responses are not always what one expects. Approaching life (your
life, others lives, my life) as an experiment places a focus on the
unexpected outcomes that come about through multiply linked and
variable ontologies. One of my favorite examples is the echolocation
of bats. Bats send special audio signatures into the environment to
find out what is out there. The return of the echo can tell bats not
only about distance, but also about movement, surfaces, even the
histories of objects (as long as that history changed the reflective
properties of that object). Listening and acting are intertwined in a
way that the term “experiment” can suggest.

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