Technology is immersive
Human society is embedded in nature, and so is technology. Society is technologically saturated. Most of what we perceive and sense are technically conditioned and modified, particularly so for urban areas. Technology has already shaped the environment we are in, it is part of our everyday life and access to technology is the normality that we take for granted. We cannot imagine our lives without it because we have no such experience. Since ecological awareness requires the ability to transcend, see or imagine nature beyond human society and our technologically mediated perceptions, bringing the recording technology into wilderness, beyond the urban, temperate conditions they were designed for provides an opportunity to put this into relief.
Wilderness reveals technical vulnerability. The complex series of recording devices (camera, recorders, cables, microphones, etc.) functions as a chain of relays. When there is no store or supplies, batteries will boost in their significance. Depleted batteries stop the whole chain from functioning, and thereby the field recording session is put to an end. Therefore, in the mountain, sufficient battery power requires cautiously attention. To keep them warm in wintertime during the night below zero degrees, they need to be kept under the duvet and next to the skin. This is an essential skill.
This is not only a matter of logistics. When I am on the mountain, I sense that down there in the valley is ‘civilisation’. Going down there is to return to ‘the treadmill’, I become like a cog in a wheel. I enter into another state of mind, with different needs, demands and sense of time.
There are more pertinent logistic requirements for exploration of mountain with recording technology. Without roads, electricity and supplies, everything have to be carried on foot or skis. Packing a rucksack requires attention to conditions of survival in a winter mountain, and, it requires attention to the whole chain of devices necessary for a recording session. Carrying a heavy rucksack with recording technology and equipment necessary for existence is an embodied experience of the topography, terrain and the gravity of the earth. Altogether, such experiences enhance awareness of the social and technical ‘bubble’ within which we live our everyday lives. It follows that the altering in and out of this ‘bubble’ is a great source of knowledge of our relationship between nature, technology and human civilisation. And so is the challenge to articulate it artistically.