F O A M I N G   E X E R C I S E S


  The Ship of Fools(Narrenschiff)

 I BELIEVE IT IS ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY

    TO MAINTAIN A SECRET AGENDA,

        TO WORK WITHIN THE OPERATION

             OF SUBTERFUGE AND MISDIRECTION.

WHAT IF WE COULD ORGANIZE AROUND

    THOSE WHO WERE HEREDICS, REBELS,

        DISSIDENTS, ATHEISTS, ORPHANS, AND NOMADS?

            WHAT WOULD THE PROPOSAL OF ART LOOK LIKE?

                 Brandt Sebastian. The Ship of Fools, trans. Alexander Barclay.

                      Edinburgh: William Paterson 1876, 8. (Kessinger Publishing’s

                          Legacy Reprint of Brandt’s book)



 

LOG starting 23 April 2019

23/4/2019

NOTES, TESTINGS AT THE COLORING BATH AT AALTO STUDIOS


SPATIAL SCENARIOS OF MULTIPLE ECOLOGIES AND ECOSYSTEMS

We begin our exploration thinking foams as metaphors that help understand how our environment, broadly understood as multiple ecologies and ecosystems, are interconnected. Spatial experience connects us to the world and in that sense much defines what, who and where we are. And at the same time it is crucial to acknowledge how the conception of space is ever more complex e.g. via globalisation and digitalisation. In a way foam-like co-joined structures manifest the spatialisation of our vantage point to the world today. Through foam exercises we at the same time explore and manifest spatial scenarios of equal co-existence.



 

 

foam, foaming

Inspired of the third and final volume of philosopher Peter Sloterdijk’s spatial trilogy Spheres (Volume I: Bubbles, Volume II: Globes, and Volume III: Foams – Plural Spherology), this research examines the phenomenology of polyspherical spatiality, and the metaphorical use of foam. I use the term foam as both noun and verb (foaming) in order to explore foam-like co-joined spatial formations at the intersection of physical, imaginary and virtual space, and in terms of space as socio-political construct.


The Foams book is described “a phenomenology of spatial plurality”. Inspired by the relation of polyspherical spatiality to our being in the world and its imaginality, I open a try-out scene for  practicing (with) foam. These foaming exercises aim at manifesting different ways of polyspherical spatiality, and the effects this bubbly existence trial launches and produces. This exposition introduces two recent foam exercises in two different scale: one a small scale material experiment, and another an installation that was part of the Research Pavilion #3:Research Ecologies composition as part of one of its research cell's, AIRA Artistic Intelligence Research Alternator, initiatives. Of Sloterdijk’s Spheres trilogy[1] I here reflect mainly the Volume 3: Foams, a plural spherology.


Sloterdijk's foam contemplations stem from his attempt of sketching "an onto-anthropology which takes into account the metaphorical imagery and visual thinking that shape the contemporary human coming-into-the-world." Sloterdijk’s spherology can be seen as an effort to produce thought images that make us see and navigate in world-images of which the (contemporary) world itself is made. (See Jongen, Marc 2018. "On Anthropospheres and Aphrogrammes. Peter Sloterdijk's Thought Images of the Monstrous.")


 

25/4/2019

NOTES AT THE COLORING BATH


We all know from childhood fun bubble bath moments how every single bubble touch each other, share the same wall, but still each cell maintains its individuality. Topology of this kind makes every unit, every being (like) an island. Each microsphere can ignore its neighbors only to a certain extent – they are immune of nature, but at the same time they are dependent on the spaces that surround them. Could we call this ethics of foams?

 

 

scenarios of co-joined spaces

The foaming exercises started in May in Research Pavilion #3 in a form of installation, and as a process where things and entities may have a real place, and may as well have no real place.


PHASE 1. The foaming laboratory focused in its first phase to foam’s anatomy by way of micro-scale (analogical and digital) explorations of foamy existencies by setting up and archieving micro and small scale observations, reflections and documentations. The experiments were made in collaboration with Paul Cegys, and our roles were differentiated into "the analogical-material one" and "the digital-virtual one". I produced and collected the "analogical samples", photographed and video-shot the documentation in and out of the aquarium, filled with foam (made out of various combinations of water, dishwashing detergent, glycerol and sugar), and tested different modes of presenting an anatomy of foams – on dark silk, on plexiglass, and as collection of archaeological treasures. Paul produced and collected the "digital samples", focusing on the immersive cinematic experiments e.g. by the use of 360-dergee camera (fly and other video shooting gear) that enables a cinematic staging of "being-in foam-space".


PHASE 2. The exploratory foam-ing processes continued in June as they were choreographed further into a form of installation staged as a large aquarium for foam-ing experiments, and accompanied with other spatial, visual and textual notes, narrative and historical observations, pathways, translations and exchange – analogical and digital.



Albrecht Dürer’s Wheel of fortune for Ship of Fools

P H A S E  1

FOAM’S ANATOMY: MATERIAL-ARCHITECTURAL AND IMMERSIVE-CINEMATIC 360º EXPERIMENTS

in collaboration with Paul Cegys, tests at Aalto Studios 22–26 April 2019. Screenshots from mp.4 video by P. Cegys


Coming from a background of scenographic and spatial artistic practices, I wanted to highlight the performative and scenic aspects in staging the foaming installation. The first explorations and tests (April-May 2019) were made in collaboration with scenographer, media artist and a doctoral candidate Paul Cegys.

Our roles in the foam exercises were divided into "analogical" and "digital":

My research focused on the co-dependencies in foamy architectural structures, and on the "anatomy of foam" in different scales and material formations. I explored how the passages between often abstract and fluid matters and ideas may enter, in terms of co-joined spatially grounded existence, into the sphere of conceptualisation and articulation. These experiments will evolve into a more site-specific direction along the lengthy process.

Paul Cegys’ research focused on the intersection of immersive 360º cinematic foam-poems and tactile environments in order to explore the knowledge that is created when real and virtual worlds come together.

The shared approach was based on a will to acknowledge the co-joinedness of "foamy spatiality" and the contemplative aspects of foaming.

series 4, foam islands on dark blue silk

series 1, fly360 stills

22–26/4/2019 FOAM'S ANATOMY, GALLERY

series 2, fly360 stills

part of AIRA Artistic Intelligence Research Alternator

within one of the seven research cells, the AIRA + Disruptive Processes research cell. AIRA investigates how notions of "new fictiveness" modulate our social facticity, especially when in conjunction with processes that produce new narrative-image constellations. AIRA is particularly concerned with sites of inquiry that enable temporal meeting points for negotiation of parallel realities initiated by the five AIRA artist-researchers. AIRA explores means of thematising through processes that produce new narratives, images and constellations. It deals with suspension of belief in the interplay of concepts, spaces, things and ideas that can be either/both gravitational and tangible (physical, concrete) or floating and ethereal (clouds, spheres).

24/4/2019

series 5, foam on black plexiglass

Understanding the world as a non-round entity sets a ground for studying polyspherical spatiality, that according to Sloterdijk defines our time and our world-views. I take ‘foam architecture’ onto a surgical table and take a closer look at its conceptual, material and practical implications together with an ongoing series of foaming exercises. Some of the exercises are material tests and experiments in small scale, and some are experiments in form of large-scale installations. 

series 3, foam islands on black plexiglass

25/4/2019

SETTING UP IN THE PAVILION 5–8/5/2019

W O R K   I N   P R O C E S S


FOAMING EXERCISES is preceded with several research, art and teaching activities during 2018–2019: SPACE READING CIRCLE (SPACE in context): FOAMS was a monthly reading circle organised for master's students at Aalto ARTS during spring 2019. Two artistic research conference presentations related to the work-in-process were: terror spaces, foams presentation was part of Star Chart Performance (in collaboration with Harri Laakso, Liisa Ikonen, Mari Mäkiranta, Jonna Tolonen and Eija Timonen) at the Alliances & Commonalities Conference in Uniarts Stockholm 25–27 October 2018, and God is in the bubbles. Exercises on polyspherical spatiality was a presentation in the Floating Peripheries Conference 2019: Sites and Situations at the University of Lapland, Rovaniemi 14–16 January 2019.

In the frame of the Lapland conference I also presented a related site specific silent disco work in a forest, called Dance. It's the natural order. as part of  the Sites and Situations Art Event . I invited a group of people to share a freezing winter scene in the Ounasvaara fell (a place where people usually gather in the middle of the summer for Midsummer's fest) to dance *together and in isolation*, headphones on, listening to Anti-Love Song composed and performed by one of the harshly undervalued pioneers of female funk Betty Davis.

P H A S E   2

FOAMING EXERCISES DISCURSIVE EVENT 9–10 MAY 2019

Open-for-public sessions by the performative installation, in collaboration with Paul Cegys.


The installation was staged around a round table as its centerpiece, and a large aquarium on top of the table. Around the table there were small stools to enable gathering around the table and the aquarium. The aquarium was filled with enough water to produce an aquarium-full of foam with using compressed air through a pipe. The gathering became a contemplative moment, at times almost mediative, as the intense focusing on the foam as it was "made" and as it started after a while to transform as it gradually grew smaller – "died". The foaming exercises proved performative as itself, and the intensity of performativity became hightened as we arranged reading-out-loud sessions – readings of chapters of Sloterdijk's Foaming book by the foam setting. The staging opened unexpectedly effective scenes of group-thinking.

9/5/2019

NOTES AND PARTICIPANTS' COMMENTS, TWO OPEN SESSIONS between 13:00–16:00


SESSION 1

9/5 have you tried to store foam in vacuum to prevent it from breaking and diluting


9/5 meditative and contemplative aspects of staring at the foam while listening to three pages of text read out live. makes you dwell in the subject discussed in a deeply meaningful way


9/5 perhaps to be tested: reflecting you or the persons by the foam “as in inside a bubble”

 

SESSION 2

9/5 when was foam invented?

what is the origin of foam?

who did the first human-made or synthetic foams and why?

 

9/5 to be tested in various ways… dramaturgies of presenting artistic research or a working session

 

9/5 layers of contemplation

…looking at the foam by the acquarium around the round table, alone or together with others

…temporality, a long while of contemplation (first without/before the text, then with the text)

…focusing on the actual foam staged on the pavilion vs looking at recorded clips of the process

 

9/5 how to deal with the beauty of foam

 

9/5 what will be the next stage – if there going to be a next phase? is there going to be an “end product” (exhibition or something similar)?

 

 



 

 

https://soundcloud.com/burgerrecords/betty-davis-anti-love-song

10/5/2019

NOTES + COMMENTS, OPEN SESSIONS between 13:00–16:00


10/5 hans christian andersen’s mermaid


10/5 discussion regarding possible pathways (historical, mythological, ontological, artistic, humanistic, topological, narratological)

 

10/5 is it an ontological project – and if it is, is it a Hegelian or a Husserlian project?

 

 

10/5  does the synthetic origin of the foam (soap) indicate a parelleity to Sloterdijk’s way of manifesting a “foamy theory” ? And, if yes, what is the next phase in framing thinking through spatial multiplicities and what will emerge as the core questions or conceptualisations?


 

 

NOTES

 

 

IN-PROCESS

* observations made during AIRA collective gathering in June 2019 + link to expanded language-based prcatices (Convocation event)

P H A S E   3

IN-PROCESS

* conclusions of the RP #3 leg of foaming process