On Friday, December 3, 10:00-17:00, The Design & the Deep Future Research Group organised a day of exchange centred on our projects-in-progress and collective thinking around art, design, research and climate justice.


Chaired by Alice Twemlow, research professor at KABK, the group comprises five KABK tutors, whose research practices engage with geological time and climate crisis. We meet every few weeks in each other’s studios to engage with the work, read texts, write and think with each other through the doubts, dilemmas and complexities of our individual projects and the methodological or thematic composite that connects us.

For this event, we will were joined live at West Den Haag by some of our students and colleagues from KABK and by guest speakers, who we invited to help frame and contextualise our work.

Fault Lines programme booklet

Programme

10:30: Alice Twemlow, Design Lector
Vestiges and Prospects: Imagining Design and its Deep Futures

11:00: Jasper Coppes, Core Tutor, Theory and Writing, MA Artistic Research
Poison Lake: Metabolizing Toxic Sediment Through Film

In conversation with:
Sissel Marie Tonn, Visiting Artist, MA Artistic Research

Student respondent: Elisa Cuesta Fernandez, MA Artistic Research

11:30: Vibeke Mascini, Tutor, BA Fine Arts
The Custodian: Telling Stories about Care to Counter the Ownership of Nature

In conversation with:
Esmee Geerken, geologist/artist

Student respondent: Taya Reshetnik

12:00: Invited speaker-respondent:
Jeff Diamanti, Assistant Professor, Environmental Humanities, University of Amsterdam
Carried by Currents: Reconsidering Climate Realism as a Floating Concept

12:30: Discussion and Exchange

13:00: Break

13:30: Hannes Bernard, Tutor, Interactive Media Design, BA Graphic Design
Anthropocenic Ruptures: Speculating on the Present through Displacement of Time in Media

In conversation with student respondent:
Farah Fayyad


14:00: Katrin Korfmann, Tutor, Image, BA Graphic Design; Post-Photography, MA Non Linear Narrative
Images in Limbo: 'Compositioning' Photographic Debris in the 'Climatic Regime'

In conversation with student respondent:
Charlotte van Alfen


14:30: Louis Braddock Clarke, Tutor, GeoMedia, HackLab, BA Graphic Design
Out of Focus: Listening to Arctic Landscapes through Geological Sonics and Long Conversations

In conversation with:
Alexander Cromer
, PhDArts candidate

15:00: Break

15:30: Invited speaker-respondent:
Danielle-Maria Admiss, Curator, researcher and writer
Sunlight Doesn’t Need a Pipeline: Just Socio-energy Transitions in the Arts

16:00: Discussion and Exchange

17:00: End

Guest Speakers-Respondents

Jeff Diamanti, Assistant Professor, Environmental Humanities, University of Amsterdam.

Carried by Currents
This talk is about being carried by currents. Both hydro-physical currents like the one carrying moist, warm air from the Caribbean to the North Atlantic and Arctic Oceans—a torquing mechanism largely responsible for the weather patterns in Western Europe—but also psycho-social currents shared across epistemic habits, critical postures, and aesthetic iterations.

Jeff will spend some time thinking with a number of artworks that take up the current as both a pressure on form and an occasion to float in ecological media. But he also wants to make an argument for how an ethic of being carried by currents opens up to a reconsideration of what a climate realism might involve, as an experience of 1) nested totalities through which the real becomes actuality, and 2) an always provisional and situated relationality (including its impediments).

Danielle-Maria Admiss, curator of the 2021–22 edition of transmediale, ‘for refusal’, and of the online project ‘Toxicity’s Reach’, and tutor in Design Theory and Criticism at NCAD, Dublin.

Sunlight Doesn’t Need a Pipeline: Just Socio-energy Transitions in the Arts
Against the continuums of extraction, capitalism and (slow) violence, a long and difficult age of decarbonisation and repair lies ahead. What will a just and democratic energy transition in the arts look like? How can communities be part of larger decision-making practices about energy and carbon? And, can the distributed violence brought about by petroculture’s grip on the planet be replaced with more equitable futures?

Danielle-Maria is developing a collaborative public transition plan that takes Stanley Picker Gallery (SPG) on a journey of holistic and just socio-energy transition. In this talk she’ll discuss the thinking that has shaped this project and the ways in which it will engage artistic research and critical making, and involve organising and consensus-building with artists, researchers, local communities and students.

Research Group Members and their Research Projects

Jasper Coppes, Core tutor, Theory and Writing, MA Artistic Research.

Poison Lake: Metabolizing Toxic Sediment Through Film
This research project started in 2019 with a film I made in the muddy estuaries in Greenland that includes a meditation on granite rock-powder which the country hopes to export to Brazil to remineralise depleted soil. In March 2020, back in the Netherlands, I discovered that a Dutch distributor of granite was dumping contaminated rock-powder in several lakes that are part of ‘Over de Maas’, an area in Gelderland where ‘New Nature’ is created by dumping toxic waste. As a potential fertiliser in Brazil and contaminant in The Netherlands, this material sits uncomfortably and ambiguously somewhere between pollution and nutrition.

How could a film project kick-start the halted metabolism of these granite sediments that are dumped into Dutch lakes? How could the research project initiate a process transforming this indigestibility into nourishment? These are some of the questions which I am exploring through gatherings with local residents of the affected area, as well as ecologists from Greenland and the Netherlands, and in the context of the Design and the Deep Future Research Group.

Vibeke Mascini, Tutor, Sculpture Department, BA Fine Art.

The Custodian: Telling Stories about Care to Counter the Ownership of Nature
Considering the vulnerability of nature conservation in a legal system based on ownership, can the legal role of a formal ‘custodian’ be a meaningful example of imagining other ways in which a person or institution relates to nature and natural resources? Can the custodial relationship instigate an alternative notion to property, one that invites and demands mindfulness and care?

The Custodian is a practice-oriented research project that investigates the legal role and relationship (including limitations and responsibilities) between a person or institution and a natural resource that by law cannot formally be owned. This research builds on from a previous artwork of mine, ‘This Giant Time’, 2019, in which I incorporated some Spermaceti whale fat derived from a stranded whale. I did not own this material, but rather I was its legal caretaker, after it was loaned to me by Ecomare Research Centre Texel.

I am exploring custodianship to learn about a more mindful relationship between beings and so-called ‘things’. With the help of a legal adviser, I research, map and speculate alternatives to ‘ownership’ of nature and natural resources in which the notion of responsibility has a central role. By tracking all preceding ‘care-takers’ of the whale oil that went before me, I am weaving together a dialogue between people and their interpretations of care. Simultaneously I speculate on the caretakers that will come after me in an attempt to imagine the future of the spermaceti: will its future lie in the hands of officials, humans, or the ocean? And where is the agency, the voice, of the whale in all this?

Taking an essayistic approach to the dissection and reassembling of a formal contract, The Custodian collects stories and conversations about care, visual documentation and questions about person-hood, agency and material memory.

Hannes Bernard, Tutor, Year 3, Interactive Media Design, BA Graphic Design.

Anthropocenic Ruptures: Speculating on the Present through Displacement of Time in Media
This research explores and mediates the often volatile contraction and collision of vastly different time scales. These range from the deep geological and cosmic time scale through the temporal malaise of what economist Francis Fukuyama has termed the ‘end of history’ to the rapid techno-acceleration and urgent, impending crises imposed by rapid climate change. The research expands upon a series of discussions between the late cultural theorist Mark Fisher and Italian philosopher Franco ‘Bifo’ Berardi on what they characterised as the ‘Slow Cancellation of the Future’: a disruption to cultural time present in the late stages of globalized capitalism. Their analysis suggests that contemporary music, art and pop culture are trapped in a haunting feedback loop of nostalgia; hardly capable of imagining exhilarating new futures.

Meanwhile, technology—specifically within the digital sphere—has become the seemingly singular channel through which to parse human progress and hope for the future regardless of the industry’s production of digital waste and influence on climate crisis acceleration. These diametrically opposed interests produce an ‘Anthropocenic Media’ environment, whereby deep time (and its vast geological scope) bursts into the present as a series of shocks and stutters across social media posts, timelines and news headlines.

The aim of this research is to explore new ways of interpreting, relating and interpolating these impositions or disconnected disruptions of media, which are how we experience the problematic issues of the present. I conduct my research with and through a non-linear, multi-channel video and audio ensemble. The Long Now is both a work and a media research tool, developed and generated by a series of machines and databases of text, images and video footage with coded scripts prompting new and original montages and musical compositions with each screening.


The Long Now attempts to engage and synthesize a more pluralist definition of the present by adopting a speculative and fictional future position. As a tool, it processes these layers of complexity through generative techniques and a fictitious storyline in the tradition of programmatic music in performing arts such as opera and ballet. It does not aim to provide a singular answer or account, however, but rather to bring together (in visuals and dialogue) the multiple agents, components and aesthetics that contribute to the topology of the present.

Louis Braddock Clarke, Tutor, GeoMedia, HackLab, BA Graphic Design.

Out of Focus: Listening to Arctic Landscapes through Geological Sonics and Long Conversations
My research in the KABK Design and the Deep Future group focuses on sampling the shifts in iron magnetism in Northern Greenland, and thereby navigating the intersections of climate change, mineral extraction, indigenous cosmology, and post-colonialism. The core narrative takes place at Cape York, Greenland, where 10,000 years ago meteorite fragments collided with the ice cap. This geological spectacle set in motion a technological leap in the lives of the Inughuits, who sculpted fragments of these ‘heaven stones’ into ulos, knives, and harpoon heads. Today, another geological anomaly occurs. An accelerated climate change melts the freeze, unhinging the metallic masses from their bedrocks. These iron ore deposits become an open invitation for explorative extraction. Geologists drill out, cut off, and measure up mineral samples from the exposed surface. In this landscape of speculation, an uncertain climate may liquify into cash flow.

During the summer of 2021 I traveled with my collaborating partner, media artist Zuzanna Zgierska, to Meteorite Island in Northern Greenland. The journey by boat, helicopter, and endless hiking went ​​down the Crimson Cliffs, past the Fjord of the Dead, and over Signal Mountain. A key component of the time spent in the high Arctic was to engage with the act of listening, and discover ways of reading the embedded languages that arise through conversations with the spectral landscape and its inhabitants. To listen to the landscape, and its geological sonics, I use a self-built geo-tool that transduces terrestrial and cosmic geomagnetism into sound outputs. To listen to the inhabitants, I took long and undirected walks with local hunters, and recorded our long conversations in an informal manner. Together we explored and performed topics of paleomagnetism, mineral trophies, sizzling ice, disoriented drones, Inughuit cosmologies, and weather demons.

‘Out of Focus’ is an effort to find connections to a landscape and culture through magnetic materials (magnetite and meteorites) and inaudible phenomena. My central research ambition is to unlock the entanglements between displaced ecological conditions, full-spectrum listening, sites of anomalies, and embedded technoculture.

Katrin Korfmann, Tutor, BA Graphic Design and MA Non Linear Narrative.

Images in Limbo: 'Compositioning' Photographic Debris in the 'Climatic Regime'
Photography today is much less about a single image or a single moment of time; rather it is a continuum of networked images and moments that are continually altered and edited, processed and manipulated.

The context for my research project is this massive and ever-increasing amount of photographs that exist in the world. More specifically it is the massive and ever-increasing amount of photographic waste that exists in the world. It is a phenomenon and issue that makes me doubt if I as an artist should produce any more images at all. Everyone creates image debris—the material left over, or discarded, or just not in use, during the processing of images. But as a professional photographer I am especially aware of it, since my computer hard drive regularly fills up with Terabytes of folders of images, fragments of images that don’t end up in my final compositions. What is this material that is in limbo between the state of being trash and potential raw material? I’ve come to think of it as my not-dead-yet images.

Are there creative methods to rethink and recontextualize The Photographic, and to experiment with my images-in-transition? I want to find out if methodologies that evolve from non-Anthropocentric ways of living such as Anna Tsing’s concept of ‘contamination-as-collaboration’ can be useful in developing artistic strategies that engage photographic image debris. For example, could I interpret ‘reciprocity’ as trying to engage with my photographic images, ‘metamorphosis’ as embracing the fact that the appearance of an image can change over time, ‘collage’ as making something other out of many, and ‘impermanence’ as welcoming the fact that nothing is stable?

In what ways can I, as an artist, use these methods to animate, augment, materialize and transform my digital photo debris, my 'not-dead-yet' images into compost for composing post-photographic art?

I decided to work with a specific set of 467 DNG photographs left over from my project ‘Fast Fashion, Wastescapes 2021’. In my ongoing attempts to reactivate my own image debris I am experimenting through a set of experiments, variations and, improvisations where I collaborate with humans and machines. I use object reconstruction software and algorithms as tools to process the waste images.

I use collage techniques as the main guideline when making and I consider failure as a possible companion. Inspired by what Heather Davis coins as ‘Queer Kin’ and her invitation to ‘Go closer to what distracts you’, I am following both my irritation and affection for the image debris I created. Through doing so, I am starting to conceive of using debris-processing as object, method and concept at the same time.