The Blue Humanities Archive is an interdisciplinary project designed at the intersection of digital art, environmental humanities, and emerging technologies to enhance and support the protection of the depleting biodiversity of salt and freshwater.
It is focused on developing an ecological database dedicated to aquatic environments. Ultimately, the archive will be based on DNA digital data storage technology and will take a liquid form of a drop. We understand water as non-binary, transitional, and fluid substance that supports the idea of queer ecologies, environmental identity and justice, and the Fifth Wave of Feminism. Therefore, our goal is to create a sustainable and multi-sensorial model of documenting endangered species, preserving the memory of extinct aquatic environments, and open a collective space for hydrofeminist network and multispecies future through digital art.
A feminist-queer collective Lux Æterna (Karina Gorzkowska, Yana Maroz, Agata Polak, Katarzyna Oczkowska) proposes interdisciplinary and intermedia action in the form of a hydrofeminist live act at the intersection of the real and the virtual worlds. The starting point is performing water body that comes from space. According to the principle that everything is a flow, physical space moves and flows toward virtual space and vice versa. Physical space and the experienced reality evolve in the specific laboratory conditions of the transdisciplinary conference: the reality of a specific space and time immersing humans in a dystopic state we want to transgress. Through the experience of the postmedia installation and performance, the collective seeks the possibility of infecting dystopia with a sustainable water utopia. It is specifically a techno-eco utopia enhanced with VR space offering the opportunity for the embodiment of queer eco-avatars. The work is inspired by the xenofeminist manifesto and hydrofeminism, both in terms of theoretical and practical action.
The performative action consists of three acts.
The first is a visual and audio infection of dystopian reality: improvised music is produced by synthesizers and enhanced with 2D and 3D visualizations. Following the principles of collective work and the idea of equality that comes with the flow, each member of Lux Æterna is equally responsible for the performance’s musical and visual layers.
The second act is the gradual appearance of the designed water VR space in the visual layer, designed for the conference in line with the idea of recycling. This part is based on the previous VR projects by members of the collective. The idea of recycling guides every aspect of performance production (visualization, VR design, costumes).
The third act is a collective transition of water bodies into VR water bodies navigating in space in a headset. The idea is to create choreography at the intersection of utopia and dystopia. Performing bodies embody and visualize the multisensory physical space, simultaneously present and performing [in] the VR space. The experience is available to the audience through the image from the projectors. Inside the water environment of VR traversed through deep virtual babies, the theoretical background of the project is also included in the form of 3D texts. The text layer (e.g., by Astrida Neimanis) is generated when we interact with objects. After the presentation, the VR headset was made available to the participants of the conference to practice the embodiment of deep virtual babies’ reality.
An interactive environment created using 3ds max and Unreal software. The project puts the player in the role of a castaway who finds himself on a deserted island overgrown with tall bushes and inhabited by insect-like creatures. The person using the project finds a collection of elements that are interpretations of children’s toys, remnants of the Anthropocene and whirling insects, accompanied by the melody of a lullaby. These objects allude to the need for arrangement and redirection of attention, which is reinforced in humans from birth as a cure for anxiety and loneliness.
In the island’s playground, the player must manipulate objects to move through the environment. The process of rearranging the island’s elements involves clearing, depositing and changing the current of the river surrounding the island, which leads to a reduction in the insect population and then lowering the water level. Every move of the player, that is, every interference with the island’s ecosystem has negative consequences, and the player is responsible for his impact on the environment.
The project refers to the disastrous hydrological situation in Poland. It is contributed not only by climate change, but primarily by human activity. Catchment areas – i.e. areas from which water flows down watercourses into a single body of water, such as seas, rivers and lakes – have been heavily transformed and improperly drained. This, combined with heavy rains, prolonged periods of drought and faulty hydrological measures, means that most water is lost irretrievably. The water footprint of a statistical Pole is nearly 4,000 liters, and 80% of consumption comes from surface water. As a consequence of these factors, 50% of the country’s land area is at risk of drought and could become a desert in the future.
A world where water is the basis of our #coresystem. Part of a collection of visuals #waterlove #LIQUIDLOVE #sexualwater for #TEChnoKaos sounds. Transmuting realities describe my sound environment. Sometimes it’s ambient sound overload, then there’s my mental noise. I try to explore the duality between the digital/virtual and the real world as an art installation. Basing my videos on soundscape, creating collages to generate imaginary as realistic effects combined with images of post-human blue worlds with post-natural wild aquatic ecosystems reminds me of what D’Escrivan calls “imaginary hearing”. Presence and audio in an “immersive” visual reality that I call “x 999 x attractions” : which currently has 4 video-sequences or as I call them; “minutes d’amour dans l’eau”:
Months and seasons pass, all indifferent. Love blooms, love dies. Time marches on, despite the withering of passion, the suffering of love. How do we recognize the injustice – of our countries or our desires, when all this is forgotten? This fragility, the awareness that everything is ephemeral, that even tenderness and carnal desires can be shattered, is the true feeling of these short films. Our days will pass, we will be far away and soon forget. The camera and they are still, only their eyes flicker. The eyes of artists who care, care for the water in their gaze with strength.Berlin- Murcia (Spain) 2022-23 Virginia Díaz. Project FUTURO3000. WEBSITE: www.futuro3000.com
The aim of the project is to create a multimedia work that is responsive to the movement of the user. I want to create an immersive environment that is a simulation of immersion and relationship with water.
The artistic tools and means I mainly use in the Immersion project are videos from under the water. Aesthetically, we experience water in different ways. I wanted to show its ability to reflect the world. Such as how the mirror effect of water takes many forms, from strongly defined, clear reflections to those that are completely blurred. And how we interact with water. By presenting video footage, I show the extraordinary underwater world. The journeys that, I made in the summer of 2021, gave me the opportunity to record and collect documentation of different types of marine waters, from different areas of Europe. To get the viewer to interact with my four-channel installation, I use a Kinect camera. Thanks to this technology and the Touchdesigner software, the user’s body, scanned by the camera, goes as a digital image, a collection of dots and digits into virtual reality and interacts with the video footage. The design of the Cave Automatic Virtual Environment further enhances the immersive experience with its cubic structure and projection projected from outside the cubic room. As the installation is interactive, the user becomes the choreographer of the projection. Through his or her movement, he or she triggers transformations; the more dynamically he or she moves, the more transformations there are or become, like splashing water. Personally, being in the space of the installation, I try to tell a short story of being immersed in water, and how the water reacts to my body. Performance is a very important part of the work, happening on and in front of the screen. As a result and in the digital space of the installation, in the program and in the image. Video art, performance art, and the themes of hydro art are the currents into which my work fits.
The significance of my project can be seen in two aspects. On the one hand, it is a purely aesthetic-technological, immersive journey into an underwater world. On the other hand, the work draws’ attention to the relationship that occurs between man and water. What influence do we have on it, and it on us? By extension, what impact do we have on the environment? The body in relation to water and its different kinetics is also an important element. How the physical properties of water interact with our body.
The components of the installation ‘Immersion’ are video footage, Cave Automatic Virtual Environment, Kinect camera, user, computer, Touchdesigner visual programming environment, Resolume software, sounds and text work.
It is a soundscape of the Ślepiotka River catchment which flows through Katowice. It is a kind of record of the layers of human history and the natural environment preserved on an audio carrier.
Transferring the acoustics of the catchment, with all its environmental contexts, was possible thanks to the field recording method with the use of the ZOOM H5 sound recorder. Sonification of landscape, related to the field called the ecology of music, helps to notice the multitude of elements, both positive and negative, connected with noise pollution. The author managed to register, among other things, the low drone sounds of helicopters flying over the nearby hospital, as well as a close encounter with a pack of wild boars using the riverbed as an ecological corridor. Thanks to this function of the river, animals, plants, and fungi can move safely between their habitats in the city’s surroundings. The waterfront areas of Ślepiotka are among the most interesting in this industrial part of Upper Silesia. This river has its origins in the ‘Ochojec’ nature reserve, which, despite the degradation of the environment, still shelters some remnants of the old Silesian forest. In its shadow hide the relict habitats of the protected Streptopus amplexifolius and Meripilus giganteus. Another rare, protected species appearing in the Ślepiotka Valley is the giant horsetail, which can grow almost 2 m high. It is a reminder not only of the riparian forests but also of the wet meadows.
The album has been divided into three acts referring successively to three different areas of the studied river together with the corresponding geographical coordinates:
It is a part of the bachelor’s thesis entitled: Natural and socio-cultural characteristics of the Ślepiotka river basin, carried out at the University of Silesia, Faculty of Natural Sciences, in cooperation with Dr. Piotr Siwek (Director of the Aquamatics – interdisciplinary management of water environments).
I created this piece using an analog toy camera that allows me to record using regular 35mm film. I went to a beach I used to go to when I was little and I took the camera with me into the sea. I submerged myself in the water just for a few seconds, enough time for the water to touch the film and start transforming it.
What you can see in the video is the imprint of the salty water on the film and how this encounter damaged and/or transformed what I had recorded. However, the video preserves a very very aqueous aesthetic, even dreamlike.
I edited this piece together with sounds I had been recording on different shores while researching my project “El Mar son las Raíces” in which I explore the interconnection between memory, grief, and the Mediterranean.
DNA is capable of storing digital data better than silicon in our computers. It fits millions of terabytes in a few grams suspension in the water, minimizing the ecological cost of the global network of digital databases. The binary code only needs to be decoded into the synthesized DNA strands. Let’s imagine a digital Blue Humanities Archive, ultimately preserved in a fluid form, where the digital is merely a transfer to its original character. The completed work in virtual online reality will be the inauguration of the blue humanities archive. What the digital data transferred to nucleic acids will be is in the process of conceptual work. The “Blue Humanities Archive” has been initiated by Justyna Górowska and Ewelina Jarosz and aims to collect and make creative use of different forms of underwater documentary studies of Polish aquatic environments (photos, 3D scans, videos, found footage, AR visualizations, VR, MR). The materials will serve researchers of various scientific disciplines, educators and artists. The music created for the artist’s installation has been built on the basis of DNA sonification research. Sound design: Kat Zavada
The demo of the project was launched as VR Interactive platform at Art Electonica: New Digital Deal 2021
What are the changing conditions for Archaeology in underwater ecosystems? Can challenges be predicted and solutions imagined using Machine Learning? With the passage of time, underwater artifacts are encrusted with coral, algae or other marine organisms. How do human activities and pollutions undermine these natural environments? What will our underwater heritage be like in the future? The project: “Future Memories of Deep Water” explores how algorithms can be used for predicting new entanglements between underwater artifacts and the changing environment where they are discovered. We reflect on current problems and dangers for marine environments, such as “plasticrust” and plastic pollution. Built upon experimental speculation, Future Memories of Deep Water calls for the protection of threatened marine ecosystems and aims to create awareness and encourage preservation of cultural heritage.
from Doggerland is a shared practice by Gemma Gore (UK) and Jo Willoughby (NL). With a practice-based-research approach, we study states of suspension throughout the submerged metaphysical site of Doggerland.
Enquiring with our research questions: Does the intertidal live within us? If we perceive the marsh or the estuary ecotones as liminal, how might this in-betweenness or transitional place become a site for complex understandings of climate change, climate grief, climate hope and climate action?
We explore the ecologies that our digital and in-real-life correspondences touch as we connect through cultures of water. Our website changes, a kind of durational performance like the sea, it continues to shift, ebb and flow, we use it as a studio space stretching across time and space.
This ecosexual wedding performance took place at the Great Salt Lake in 2021, near the iconic land art sculpture Spiral Jetty (1970) by Robert Smithson.The ceremony was graced by the presence of Annie Sprinkle and Beth Stephens who launched the ecosexual movement in art, and was carried out in collaboration with Bonnie Baxter and Jaimi Butler, the scientists from the Great Salt Lake Institute, Westminster College, in Salt Lake City. Joy Brooke Fairfield directed the wedding performance under the difficult circumstances of heat and drought the unique body of GSL water is now experiencing due to climate change.
Through this performance, humans were married to the tiny crustaceans the whole GLS ecosystem depends on. The brine shrimp brides were represented digitally through the Augmented Reality application Artemia designed to visualize these aquatic wildlife critters in contrast to modern science’s goals and consumer imagery of the Sea Monkeys, a commodified instant life-form. The wedding prioritized the representation of the multispecies community and connected ecosexual to hydrofeminism. It emphasized the need for alliances between artists and scientists to make brine shrimp lovable and visible in cyberspace beyond the global brine shrimp farming industry.
The discovery of one of the districts of Jelenia Góra (Poland) encapsulates the issues of Polish national memory on a microscale. The district, which once held a concentration camp within its boundaries, is a post-traumatic space. More than 32 families live there today. Studying the visual aspects of both the camps and the modern residential area architecture reveals deep ties between the modern-day landscape and the historical trauma that permeates it. Differences in the architecture of these two periods reveal how the local residents’ identity was being built. The purpose of this project is to ask whether the lack of cues that would connect the modern-day community to the space unique history is laying a false fundament that makes it more difficult to cope with the trauma, or whether, perhaps, it liberates the community from the traumatic memories hegemony, allowing them to reclaim the space and define it as they wish, leaving history behind.
The well’s design is a symbolic exoneration of the negative housing zone. The water drawn out of the well is natural mineral water with healing powers. Their presence is a perverse sign of changeable nature, almost following the pattern of the inhabitants of the district. The well is made of granite (prisoners of the camp worked on the extraction of this stone), and at the same time it is the principal ingredient of mineral water.
Work shows the area from 1944 (during the existence of the concentration camp) and images of the district of the “Fampa” at Wojewódzka Street in 2018.