Courtesy of Sarah Nance
As an artist working throughout media, I’ve used all the pieces from thread to my voice to poetically translate and specific info. Recently, I’ve been working with one other medium – geologic datasets.
While scientists use knowledge visualization to point out the outcomes of a dataset in fascinating and informative methods, my aim as an artist is somewhat completely different. In the studio, I deal with geologic knowledge as one other materials, utilizing it to information my interactions with Mylar movie, knitting patterns or opera. Data, in my work, features expressively and abstractly.
Two of my tasks specifically, “factors of rupture” and “tidal arias,” exemplify this manner of working. In these items, my aim is to supply new methods for individuals to personally relate to the immense scale of geologic time.
Points of rupture
An early mission by which I handled knowledge as a medium was my letterpress print collection “factors of rupture.” In this collection, I encoded knowledge from cryoseismic, or ice quake, occasions to create knitting patterns.
Working with ice quake knowledge was a continuation of my analysis into what I name “archived landscapes.” These are locations which have had a number of distinct geologic identities over time, like mountains that have been as soon as sea reefs.
Because knit textiles are made up of many particular person stitches, I can use them to encode discrete knowledge factors. In a knitting sample, or chart, every sort of sew is represented by a selected image. I used the open-source program Stitch Maps to jot down the patterns for this mission, translating the peaks and valleys of seismographs into particular person sew symbols.
Knitting charts usually show these symbols in a grid. Instead, Stitch Maps permits them to fall as they’d when knitted, so the chart mimics the form of the ultimate textile.
I used to be drawn to the expressive potentialities of this characteristic and the way the software program allowed me to experiment. I used to be in a position to write patterns that labored solely in idea and never as bodily, handmade constructions. This gave me extra freedom to design patterns that absolutely expressed the datasets with out having to make sure their viability as textiles.
Glaciers type incrementally as new snowfall compacts earlier layers of snow, crystallizing them into ice. A knitted material equally accumulates in layers, as rows of interlocking loops. Each construction seems steady however might simply be dissolved.
Ice quakes happen in glaciers on account of calving occasions or pooling meltwater. Like melting glaciers, knitting is at all times at risk of coming aside – however as an alternative of melting, by snagging and unraveling into formlessness. These structural similarities between glaciers and knitting are mirrored within the “factors of rupture” prints, the place disruptive ice quakes translate into unknittable patterns.
Repeated, interlocking loops are the bottom models that compose the construction of a knitted textile. The loop additionally varieties the seed of an in-progress work I pursued throughout an artist residency with the NASA GEODES analysis group. I joined their analysis staff in Flagstaff, Arizona, in August 2023. I assisted in gathering knowledge from websites throughout the San Francisco volcanic area, whereas additionally conducting my very own fieldwork: images, drawing, note-taking and strolling.
Screenshot of All Trails map
One of my walks was a trek round a very distinguished geologic loop – the rim of the S P cinder cone volcano. This is the second crater stroll I’ve accomplished, the primary being a tracing of the subsurface rim of the Decorah influence construction in Iowa.
I see my paths by way of these landscapes as stand-ins for yarn. Over time, by taking walks that hint craters, or geologic loops, I’ll carry out a textile. The efficiency of one thing as acquainted as a textile presents me a brand new approach to consider one thing that’s far more troublesome to grasp – geologic time.
This article is a part of Art & Science Collide, a collection analyzing the intersections between artwork and science.
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Performance and tides
Performance has been a great tool in my work, as it will possibly assist individuals perceive and relate to geologic processes.
The area of geology emerges from a protracted historical past of extraction and colonialist ventures. In this context, land is valued for its financial significance – as uncooked materials to be extracted or territory to be claimed. In my performances, I goal to work together with geology as its personal energetic entity, relatively than as a consumable useful resource.
In current years, I’ve composed and carried out two arias from tidal knowledge.
The first, “marseille tidal gauge aria,” sourced 130 years of sea stage knowledge collected from a tidal gauge within the Bay of Marseille, France. I transformed every yearly common sea stage into a person observe inside my vocal vary. This resulted in a composition that expresses the rising sea ranges of the bay as more and more greater pitches within the aria.
Its lyrics come from a somber poem in Rasu-Yong Tugen’s guide “Songs From the Black Moon.” Each observe of the aria communicates not simply the measured sea stage but additionally my emotive response to this dataset.
Last fall, “marseille tidal gauge aria” was transmitted to the ionosphere, the boundary between Earth’s environment and outer house. This was accomplished as a part of artist Amanda Dawn Christie’s mission “Ghosts within the Air Glow,” utilizing the High-frequency Active Auroral Research Program’s ionospheric analysis instrument, which is an array of 180 antennas transmitting high-frequency radio waves.
The aria’s transmission mirrored off the ionosphere, again to Earth and to shortwave radio listeners around the globe.
For the second of those vocal items, “skagway tidal aria,” I used predictive in addition to recorded tidal knowledge from Skagway, Alaska. With this knowledge, I composed an aria for The 2051 Munich Climate Conference, the place audio system offered from the attitude of a climate-altered world 30 years sooner or later.
I used to be drawn to this specific dataset as a result of the falling tide ranges in Skagway seem to contradict the worldwide pattern of rising sea ranges. However, it is a non permanent impact attributable to melting glaciers releasing stress on the land, permitting it to rise sooner than water ranges. The impact will flatten over the following half-century, and Skagway’s tides will begin to rise once more.
Over the following few months, I’ll be working with geophysical datasets gathered throughout the NASA GEODES area expedition to jot down new arias. I need these items to proceed blurring the separation between the human and the geologic, inviting listeners to assume extra deeply about their very own relationships with the lands they use and occupy.
The creator's tasks with GEODES and Ghosts within the Air Glow have been supported with funding from these organizations.