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The Voice of the Ancient Bard

Youth of delight, come hither
And see the opening morn,
Image of thruth new born
Doubt is fled & clouds of reason,
Dark disputes & artful teazing.
Folly is an endless maze,
Tangled roots perplex her ways.
How many have fallen there!
And feel they know what but care;
And wish to lead others when they shoud be led.

- William Blake




Blue Waters, Dries Segers, 2018, 248x150cm, Cyanotype on cotton.

Susan Walsh, Wind Drawings,
Beacon, NY #14,
Charcoal powder, wind, 2018, Arches paper, 22x30”

Sanne Vaassen, After Landscape, alcohol, metal, plastic bottles, 220x80x80cm, 2021

Dries Segers, Kirlian Leaf, 2022, unfinshed project

Kirlian photography is a way to create images of coronal discharges around an object. A coronal discharge is an electrical discharge caused by the ionization of gas or fluid surrounding an object. This technique is also used in paranoramal science.

Markus Krottendorfer, Untitled; of the series Phantom of the Poles, 2022, 30x40cm, Framed C-print

Lucy Raven, Untitled, 2021, Shadowgram; Silver gelatin contact print

They document the shockwaves of exploded raw materials on large format photosensitive paper and negative film. To achieve this, Raven built a room-sized black box that acted as a camera inside the ballistic sciences lab of the New Mexico Tech University. In it she fashioned a lighting mechanism that triggers a stroboscopic flash timed to the exact moment of detonation, precisely capturing the exploded materials as they travel at mach speed (a unit indicating the speed of sound, named after the Austrian physicist Ernst Mach (1838-1916)). The resulting images bear a faint resemblance to the first visualisation of the shockwaves of a bullet, recorded in 1887 by Mach. But rather than pointing to the trajectory of a single bullet, Raven unleashes an array of different materials, each generating a series of interacting shocks and turbulent wakes.

Babs Decruyenaere, Random connection #6: Emotional remnant, 2017, 50x65 cm, gelatin silver print

Decruyenaere saved tears and dried them for eternity on a glass slide, later she made some contactprints. out of it. “It was trial and error: sometimes the tear crystallised really beautifully and sometimes not at all. It wasn’t clear to me which factors were responsible for the way the tear would crystallise, but that didn’t concern me. Because of the quick drying and eventual evaporation of the tear, the trick was to develop the image quickly during the brief moment that the crystallisation was at its most beautiful.”

Walead Beshty, Six Sided Picture (CMYRGB) Irvince California, 2010, color fiber based photographic paper, 76.2 x 101.6 cm

Lucas Leffler, Zilverbeek 06, 2019,
Analog print made with a mixture of mud, 70x100 cm

These photographs were made with mud from a creek behind an old photography factory. Leffler’s investigation into the historical and environmental effects of silver externalised in creating sculptural photographs that pay homage to the process as well as to the land.


Stenciled handprints and wall paintings dating back 10,000 years, some of the earliest forms of cave art.

Cueva de las Manos is named for the hundreds of paintings of hands stenciled, in multiple collages, on the rock walls. The art was created in several waves between 7,300 BC and 700 AD, during the Archaic period of pre-Columbian South America. The age of the paintings was calculated from the remains of bone pipes used for spraying the paint on the wall of the cave to create the artwork, radiocarbon dating of the artwork, and stratigraphic dating.

Full-length photograph of the Shroud of Turin which is said to have been the cloth placed on Jesus at the time of his burial. 

“Life is not only about matter and how it immediately interacts with itself but also how matter interacts in interconnected systems that include organisms in their separately perceiving worlds – worlds that are necessarily incomplete, even for scientists and philosophers who, like there objects of study, form only a tiny part of the giant perhaps infinite universe they observe”

(Dorian Sagan, A Foray into the Worlds of Animals and Humans, with a Theory of Meaning, 1934)

Dennis Oppenheim, Reading Position for Second Degree Burn, 1970, 216 x 152 cm, Colour photography and collage text, IMMA Collection, 2001

Sit with the Contradiction: Fuck Trump!, Risk Hazekamp, Organic photographic print with emulsion made from homegrown and nurtured cyanobacteria

Why did the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima leave shadows of people etched on sidewalks?

Hito Kage No Ishii, Nuclear shadow prints after the Hiroshima bombings. Photo: Universal History Archive / Getty Images

6 August 1945 is the day when an American B-29 bomber dropped the world's first atom bomb over the city of Hiroshima, Japan, during the ongoing World War II. The fireball (with a surface temperature of 5,000 degrees Celsius) ignited every flammable material for over 3.5 kilometers, creating a firestorm that lasted for six hours. To put things in perspective: of the 90,000 buildings in Hiroshima, only 28,000 remained; of the city's 200 doctors, only 20 were left alive or capable of working. 

Susanne Kriemann, Falsche Kamille, Wilde Möhre, Bitterkraut, 2016, photogram and silkscreen with plants and clay dust on handmade paper, framed, 180 x 220 cm, unique

Kriemann identified and harvested the three weeds most capable of extracting and storing their environmental pollutants. The substantial traces of metals found in the plants — lanthanum, gadolinium, germanium, uranium, mercury, lead, nickel, zinc, aluminium, copper and others — are also important raw materials in the manufacture of smart phones: photosynthesis, in these plants, fixes the same chemicals that are now used by millions of us to fix light as photographic images.

About Etienne-Jules Marey: Towards the end of his life he returned to studying the movement of quite abstract forms. His last great work was the observation and photography of smoke trails. (This research was partially funded by Samuel Pierpont Langley under the auspices of the Smithsonian Institution, after the two met in Paris at the Exposition Universelle, 1900.) In 1901 he was able to build a smoke machine with 58 smoke trails. It became one of the first aerodynamic wind tunnels.

Judith Fegerl, Full Spectrum, 2022, 30x40cm, brass, coated with copper electrically induced by solar-electricity

James Welling, Chemical, 2015, Black and white chemigram on Kodak Metallic Endura paper, 50.8 x 40.6 cm

Daisuke Yokota, Untitled, 2015, 90×72 cm, Archival Pigment Print

“A photograph without the intervention of human perception is just a material, but when a human being sees it and thinks about it at a certain time and place, the photograph becomes an interesting phenomenon. To think about photography is to think about the human being him- or herself.”

- Daisuke Yokota

Tomás Saraceno, Hybrid Webs, seen in Palais de Tokyo, 2017

Ask your hands to know the things they hold

- Kae Tempest

Raphael Hefti, Lycopodium, 2014, 700 x 390 cm, Photogram on color photopaper using the gently burning spores of Lycopodium moss.

Coëxitence, Stephen Gill, 2012, Aperture

Stephen Gill was commissioned to make a photographic response to the postindustrial town of Dudelange, Luxembourg, once a center of European steel manufacturing. For this project he focused on a heavily polluted pond that had been used to cool the steel mill's furnaces, drawing visual parallels between the microscopic life in the water and the human life in the nearby town. Gill visited the University of Luxembourg, where he made use of a medical microscope to examine single drops of water to better understand the existence teeming below the pond’s murky surface. His images reveal a minuscule ecosystem —diatoms and other creatures—a sign that the abused pond may be coming back to life.

These unique negatives from the Best Before End by Stephen Gill series were part processed in energy drinks, then left to dry over a three-year period and were then incapsulated in resin blocks.

Pierre Cordier, Chimigramme 1971, Chemigram on photographic paper, 59,5 x 49,3 cm

A chemigram is the result of an experimental process where an image is made by painting with chemicals on light-sensitive paper.
The term chemigram was coined in the 1950s by Belgian artist Pierre Cordier.

Alison Rosssiter, Gevaert Gevarto 47, exact expiration date unknown, ca. 1960s, processed 2019 (#74), 2019, Four Gelatin Silver Prints, 31.1 × 25.4 cm

Tomás Saraceno, Printed Matter(s), 2018

Printed Matter(s) is a series of photo giclée prints made with an ink of black carbon PM2.5 pollution sequestered from the air in Mumbai, printed on eight-gram handmade paper. These prints reproduce images of cosmic dust from a 1982 special issue of the NASA Cosmic Dust Catalog, entangling the celestial and the terrestrial, the cosmic and the atmospheric. An approximated 40,000 tons of interplanetary dust falls to the surface of Earth every year; a speck of cosmic material touches every person every day everywhere around the world. In these prints, the material with which the air has been poisoned becomes a tool for the air to communicate, reminding us of its ever-present agency even in the face of efforts to destroy it.

Kristof Vrancken, Hunger of the Pine I, Anthotype on paperroll, 2021



  • Mining Photography; The Ecological Footprint of Image Production, (ed.) Boaz Levin, Esther Ruelfs, Tulga Beyerle, 2022, Spector Books

  • Inadvertent Images : A History of Photographic ApparitionsPeter Geimer, 2018, University of Chicago Press

  • Revelations, Experiments in Photography, Ben Burbridge, 2015, MACK & Media Space



  • Arts of Living on a Damaged Planet: Ghosts and Monsters of the Anthropocene, Anna Tsing, Heather Swanson, Elaine Gan & Nils Bubandt (ed.), 2017, University of Minnesota Press

  • The Mushroom at the End of the World; On the Possibility of Life in Capitalist Ruins, Anna Lowenhaupt Tsing, 2015, Princeton University Press

  • Down to Earth; Politics in the New Climatic Regime, Bruno Latour 2018, Polity Press

  • Meeting the Universe Halfway, Karen Barad, 2007, Duke University Press*

  • Earth and Reveries of Will: An Essay on the Imagination of Matter, Gaston Bachelard, 2002, Texas: Dallas Institute of Humanities and Culture Publications


Category:Being Biotic

  • Cambio, FORMAFANTASMA, 2020, Serpentine Galleries and Koënig Books

  • On the Necessity of Gardening: An ABC of Art, Botany and Cultivation, Laurie Cluitmans, 2021, Valiz (in collaboration with Centraal Museum, Utrecht)

  • Graphology, 2012, 18.5 x 13.4 cm, 95p., Museum van Hedendaagse Kunst Antwerpen/The Drawing Room, London/MER. Paper Kunsthalle vzw, Ghent




A gas leak from Nord stream 2 is seen in the Swedish economic zone in the Baltic Sea in this picture taken from the Swedish Coast Guard aircraft on September 28, 2022. Swedish Coast Guard/Handout via TT News Agency/via REUTERS

A Little Girl Lost

Children of the future age,
Reading this indignant page,
Know that in a former time
Love, sweet love, was thought a crime.

In the age of gold,
Free from winter's cold,
Youth and maiden bright,
To the holy light,
Naked in the sunny beams delight.

Once a youthful pair,
Filled with softest care,
Met in garden bright
Where the holy light
Had just removed the curtains of the night.

Then, in rising day,
On the grass they play;
Parents were afar,
Strangers came not near,
And the maiden soon forgot her fear.

Tired with kisses sweet,
They agree to meet
When the silent sleep
Waves o'er heaven's deep,
And the weary tired wanderers weep.

To her father white
Came the maiden bright;
But his loving look,
Like the holy book
All her tender limbs with terror shook.

'Ona, pale and weak,
To thy father speak!
Oh the trembling fear!
Oh the dismal care
That shakes the blossoms of my hoary hair!'

- William Blake

New materialist scholars use ‘matter’ as their focal point and searchlight. Zooming in on the matter of ecology, economy, politics, technology and art, these scholars move away from a framework of representation.


- Donna Harraway

Ernest Thompson Seton, “Code for Smoke Signals.” Illustration from Seton’s The Birch Bark Roll of Woodcraft: The Twentieth Edition of the Manual for Boys and Girls from 4 to 94 (New York: Brieger Press, 1925).

The 14th sign of the Apocalypse: earth and sky are consumed by fire. From Livre de la vigne nostre seigneur, 1450-1470


What artists do is open different portals. Art shows us the ways in which material can be modelled, shifted, transformed. 

- Otobong Nkanga



Extreme heat wave sparks wildfires in parts of Europe, july 2022, © Damira Kalajzic



  • relating to things in the environment that are not living
  • physical rather than biological; not derived from living organisms."abiotic chemical reactions"
    • devoid of life; sterile.

#temperature #lightintensity #humidity #wind #sunlight #water #minerals #light #air #soil #climate #atmosphere #pH #salinity


    • involving, caused by, or relating to living things in the environment:
    • relating to or resulting from living organisms."biotic interactions"
    • living things

#bacteria #virus #animals #plats #fungus #animals #humans #archaea #protists

Gaston Bachelard uses water (as he does elsewhere with the other elements) as an endlessly generative image, as a way of gathering language around an image, and re-imagining the world. And, as in all his work, the tension between reverie and rationalism keeps the discourse alive. “Here…materialism, imagined through the material imagination, takes on a sensitivity so sharp, so painful, that it can understand all the woes of an idealistic poet.”

A couple in London, in 1952, wearing masks because of air pollution. Photograph: Juliette Lasserre/Getty

Police using flames at Marble Arch to direct the traffic in the 1952 London smog. Photograph: Trinity Mirror/Alamy

Sixty years ago, London, UK was hit by the Great Smog, a week-long pea-souper that brought the capital to a standstill and caused the deaths of at least 4,000 people. Pollution from fireplaces and factories combined with foggy weather to blanket the city in thick clouds, which seeped into homes, buildings, obscuring cinema screens and theatre stages. Many of the deaths were from respiratory disease caused or aggravated by toxic sulphur dioxide in the air.


Spending the War Without You,
Norton Lecture series with Laurie Anderson, 2021, Harvard University Department of Music

The River
The Forest
The Rocks
The Road
The City
The Birds

Argus Panoptes         (All-seeing; Ancient Greek: Ἄργος Πανόπτης)

The Pitch Drop Experiment

︎︎︎Vinciane Despret in conversation with Tomás Saraceno


Sand timer

Sun clock or Sundial

Candle Clock

“If material emerges from our apparatus, they would be closely paired in one-to-one relations: our apparatus, our material. We leave aside the material reacting across it’s varied components; we leave aside nonhuman relational apparatuses. Some of this problem is addressed in the scholarly turn to multiplicity, which shows us multiple knowledge apparatuses acting simultaneously. Yet as long as human knowledge apparatuses continue to make up the frame through which we know multiplicity, nonhuman makings never enter.”

Anne L. Tsing. When the Things We Study Respond to Each Other. Tools for Unpacking “the Material”, p. 016. In: André Jacque, Otero Verzier, Pietroiusti. More than Human. 2020.


Critical Zones, exibition at ZKM Karlsruhe, Germany, Online discussion on the Film »Storytelling for Earthly Survival« with Donna Haraway (biologist, philosopher, feminist), Bruno Latour and Peter Weibel

[Chorus 1]
We are the earth intruders
We are the earth intruders
Muddy with twigs and branches

[Pre-Chorus 1]

[Chorus 2]
Here come the earth intruders
We are the paratroopers
Stampede of sharp shooters
Come straight from voodoo

[Verse 1]
With our feet thumping
With our feet marching
Grinding skeptics
Into the soil

[Pre-Chorus 2]
Shower of goodness coming to end
The doubt pouring over
Shower of goodness coming to end

[Chorus 3]
We are the earth intruders
We are the sharp shooters
Flock of parachuters
Necessary voodoo

I have guided my bones through some voltage
And love them still
And love them too

[Pre-Chorus 3]
Feel the speed

[Chorus 3]
We are the earth intruders
We are the sharp shooters
Flock of parachuters
Necessary voodoo

[Verse 2]
There is turmoil out there
Carnage, rambling
What is to do but dig
Dig bones out of earth

[Pre-Chorus 4]
Mud graves
Morbid trenches

[Chorus 4]
Here come the earth intruders
There'll be no resistance
We are the canoneerers
Necessary voodoo

[Chorus 1]
We are the earth intruders
We are the earth intruders
Muddy with twigs and branches

- Björk

“Many attempted images cannot survive because they are merely formal play, not truly adapted to the matter they should adorn.”

- Bachelard, Gaston. Earth and Reveries of Will: An Essay on the Imagination of Matter, Texas: Dallas Institute of Humanities and Culture Publications, 2002.

Ask your hands to know the things they hold ︎