diffracting a wall











windscreen wiper on



wind gusts


diffraction is a mapping of interference, not of replication, reflection or reproduction, of the effect of interference46


It is a mapping of interference.

When I think of ‘interference’, I think of patterns of waves,

cancelling out or enforcing each other.

Thinking ‘diffraction’, I think of a prism hit by a ray of light, which is split into a variety of colours.

To read (be with) kelp diffractively could mean to read (be with) in different perspectives (ways).

How does the notion of interference work in this context?

Karen Barad’s ‘reading of something diffractively’ is influenced by thinking matter in quantum-physics. Electrons sent through two slits in a plate create interference-patterns on a wall behind. Barad reads something through two disciplines (physics and feminism) to let them interfere with each other - and to see what the outcome might be. It’s an image to think with.


What does it do to an artwork to read it through the lens of critical realism (a documentary approach in art, and a term coined by Benjamin H.D. Buchloh writing on Allan Sekula’s work) or through the lens of social practice? (Allan Sekula didn’t apply the term ‘critical realism’ himself, but preferred to talk about his work as social practice)

The main difference might be the focus on result or process respectively.

The image and text assemblages presented in books or exhibitions are clearly critical to existing economic systems. However, 'critical realism' implies a questioning of images' capacity to tell a (documented) truth about reality, too. To follow Sekula on his travels and encounters, meeting obstacles, negotiating access, one perceives the person in encounter with others - implementing criticality by collecting a variety of perspectives.

Buchloh talks about resulting images, Sekula about being immersed with a camera at hand.


To return to my own work:

Approaching Agential Matter through theories of new materialism creates in one case focus on the materiality of entities (or the material-discursivity of their asthetics) involved in a resulting presentation (objects, words, sounds, technology and images spread in space and encountered by human bodies), and in another wants to follow material relationalities in the tracing of socio-political issues (about harvest of a natural resource, discussions of ownership and rights, innovation-driven development, toxics, knowledge systems etc).

The interest is to make the one work through the other in changing collectives of various spaces, and to bring immediate presence as close as possible to the representational, to underline sociomaterial entanglements.


The question of how to put it in Allan Sekula’s work might be a difference between the doing of the artist relating to his specific context of people and places, and the doing of his art work relating to a(n art)public (‘s understanding of politics). In reality, maybe, there never was a difference - in the sense of separation - to begin with.

It is both.




difference as not opposed to sameness nor synonymous with separatedness47


If something is different, it doesn’t mean that it is opposed. The two things come together in one. It’s not opposed; it’s not a duality in that. It’s not separated. It should be looked at together.

This would mean that both aspects expressed in the two terms applied to Sekula’s work are part of what the work does. If Sekula wouldn’t have engaged in the way he did - using the camera as a tool in dialogue engaged in social practice -, his works would not be able to address public issues and concerns in the way they do, which means to act as a critical approach to a shared reality. The camera is partaking in dialogue on site, and by way of its looking produces images at the same time. It becomes a tool to fulfil two different purposes.


When I apply cameras in my work in the field, or in the studio, the use of them in the respective space provides me with a more clarified position in it - I show what I do. The use of the SLR-camera with its size, weight and visibility demands a different presence - it secures my ground as much as it helps to focus my gazey21. The use of small action-cameras enables a different performance by keeping a distance between my body (or eye) and the eye of the camera. In several situations the cameras perform the task of observation (almost) without me, they are asked to do what they want to do and show me what they seey22, when I pull them behind me walking along a pier, or moving along the shore in a kayaky23.

The first time they were applied was when diving: attached to one leg, as far away from the eye as possible, but still part of the body.


long silence



a disruption of the binary48


When the pointing towards differences rather leads to a notion of togetherness in an encounter, it is the consequence of the disruption of binary thinking. The disruption of opposition, the disruption of dualism. Not a cut but a joint.


Finding out by DNA-sequencing that makroalgae actually are not plants, but an evolutionary blend of various categories established throughout a long history of science, creates a stumble stone when we want to use a term to apply to them. It destabilizes our language, and it destabilizes our (thinking) images. Things start to move, and we become aware of the affectivity of encounters.


result is the process49


And the reverse: process is the result.

Who is the audience? And who’s the participant?

Also these questions set up a binary to begin with.

Are people we encounter in Sekula’s work objects of his gaze, partaking in a collaboration or involved in a transformation as audience of an artist’s (dialogical) work?

To look at my own work: independent of if I encounter others in field- or studio work, in the public or the gallery, I regard those involved in dialogue as participants in the process of an art work.

The artwork can take shape in a dialogue, one to one, without any audience present or any documentation of it to represent it somewhere else. It can happen with a group of researchers of a marine biological field station, with workers of a landing station or harvesters of kelp, or with a scientist in the office of a university herbarium.

Still, I wouldn’t necessarily announce it as art.

When I enter others’ spaces, my observation of the thing in focus is different from what those see, who inhabit them. The caring about and caring for in a necessarily different manner (as I am neither marine biologist nor worker at a landing station), can be perceived as ‘disruptive intervention’ (Puig de la Bellacasa in Matters of Care) in the given context and is made explicit in saying and doing. The mere giving time and space to observe - to slow down the pace of knowing - can function as disrupting a concept of effectivity. Artwork and research collapse into each other in a displacement.

Recording or any other kind of documentation, and even more so the presence of an audience, is adding a layer, which changes the situation. It constitutes an instance of yet another observation. No observation without changing effect. This can be the point (to create focus for instance), but if it isn’t, then it is a better choice not to document (or invite an audience). In case of the landing station use of the camera in observation of kelp and its processing through the machinery helps to frame my presence on site as research activity, additionally to the physical processes with kelp itself.


Two interventions on site were considered, but not implemented:

A diagram drawn in space at the laboratory in Bodø, in a similar manner as I did in the studio, and based on the marine biologist’s gestures and doingsy23. This never happened due to changes in employment.

The second was a version of Common Notions with elements drawn from knowledge of workers and harvesters on specific qualities of kelp at different locations, seasons and stages in the processing, for an audience at the landing stationy24. Health and safety restrictions, new ownership, a new person in the decisive position and resulting difficulties in communication got me to put this idea to rest.

The landing station is a place where a Norwegian past of local identity, strongly connected to work and natural resources, meets with globalising developments. Even if those developments have been going on for a long time, they have accelerated throughout the last years. Research on the internet led into intricate entanglements of interests for kelp and algae for various reasons and on a global level. Conflicts regarding harvest and its impact on the environment have mainly local focusy25. The landing station itself appears as a time capsule, it seemed to be a place where almost nothing had changed throughout decades; meanwhile development of the world ‘outside’ seemed to press on increasingly.


The first time I followed my curiosity regarding seaweed in Norway was in 2012, after research on makroalgae in Greenland and Iceland, fascinated as much by their physiognomic traits as their place in cultural history and as focus area for newer economic interests for peripheral communities in the North. I visited the factory at Karmøy and was with a trawler to follow the harvest. I regarded kelp as a potentially interesting material for sculptural work and wanted to learn more about it - and how to get it.

In 2016 access to the factory was more difficult.

But it was finally agreed upon that I could stay at the landing stationy26, in agreement with those working there. My expectations to what I would do there became reduced to mere observation of harvesting rhythms and quality of kelp in relation to locality on the map, and according to conditions, and changes throughout the seasons. A search for the best quality for sculptural purposes, changed into search of the search itself - to put it like that. I stayed at the landing station several times throughout a year (basically from April 2018 to April 2019) to experience a full seasonal cycle.

What I am left with is photo and video material, which I still struggle to use. The White Book Documents X seem a temporary result. They keep me restless. The conversations on kelp, harvest, machinery, marine biology and the experience of rhythms and physicality of the site were most important. But still it troubles me that I couldn’t find a better way to communicate with the company in the south. To work on site with a major intervention was no option.


From that, plans changed altogether to a stronger focus on a new studio and the art space as the place of work, parallel with more focused reading of new materialist theories. From an ‘unconditional being in the middle of things’ to ‘modernism by default - prompted by distress’ (an expression taken from Sekula to criticize modernist withdrawal from conditions of life and politics of his contemporaries in the seventies).

The art or gallery space is a particular kind of framing that makes encounter and observation explicit. I’m interested in it as a working station, a displaced studio, as place of encounter, not necessarily just with the usual audience. I was not interested in representations of sites I had worked with, but in the concept of transfer of their agencies.

Looking at the setting of Relay X: There is a gliding transition between being together with a group of people out for harvest X, bringing the harvest to the gallery by boat, preparing the harvest in bundles for conservation in the sea, and bringing one bundle of kelp at the time into the space each morningy25, for its presence throughout the day. To point out opening and closing hours is just a formal affair, as a public basically can be there at any time - one will merely encounter different conditions of accessibility. Technology is running 24 hours the day, projections and screens are on in constant loops X (even if the sound is not audible outside). One change marks a shift from day-open to night-closed: when the video screen closest to the outside shows a still image throughout the nighty26 - resembling a commercial screen, reminiscent of the screens you would encounter at the airports in the North to announce for innovative aquaculture technologiesy27. The still image substitutes pro.vocations, the videowork in essayistic style about various entanglements of kelp and human interests in it X, which one can listen to by head-phones in day-time as long as entrance doors are open. (The same still image as used in the night, was applied as start-up image for the marine biologist’s talk in the end of the week, picking up on the aesthetics of conferences, which blur a line between scientific research and economic interests.)

The window front allows a continuity between outside and inside throughout the night (as it also does throughout the day, just in opposite direction). The space performs in its awaiting of the next day. Any space of activity vibrates by the absence of it.

The packing of stuff in the end of the ‘exhibition’ becomes the last doing on the site of the gallery. Matter, which was on display, gets recycled X. The setting up and the packing of stuff provide as much a discursive space as the time of ‘showing’.

It is this fluidity, which makes space for an ecology to form. These processes are the work of collectives. They can be found, and they can be created.

I hope to find and create shared spaces, where material agency can be perceived, and discourse happen. And as dialogue also happens with the materiality present, certain activities offer possible involvement in material processes X.


When I present something, and call it result, I only can present interlacing processes, superimposing each other. No process can easily be separated from any other process and it wouldn’t be the goal or make any sense. A frame is there to rather allow leakages, than keeping things contained.

Any ‘showing’ creates detachment by setting up a subject-object relationship. It needs to be a collaborative effort in collective imaginings (see also note 45) to overcome the separation. On the other hand: to remain in silence with an object in space enables a complete dissolution of object-subject separation in the act of contemplation. A constructed working station gives also the space for an audience to comfortably remain silent meanwhile the artist is busy with something else.


no more rain


subjectivation by interdependence in ecological systems50


Something, or someone, becomes subject by relating to others. Ecological systems are social and material alike and provide spaces for encounters.

This thinking formed the base for Oslofjord Ecologies, a project initiated in 2016 by artist Kristin Bergaust, researching the ground of possibilities to critically address social and environmental sustainability, with artistic means. Its focus was on a certain geographical area, but the definition of what these ecologies constitutes was kept open to scrutinize with Felix Guattari in mind. He is adding a third layer to the social and material, which is the mental one, and he does this with concern for capitalist developments. These three ecologies can’t be separated and belong to the same. He points this out with a concern for the impact of mass media on social life - which in the translators’ introduction is mentioned as a ‘penetration of people’s attitudes, sensibility and minds’ - and a prevailing lack of ability to relate to reigning environmental problems as consequence. (He wrote Les Trois Ecologies in 1989). The three ecologies affect each other, and images are embedded in them, not merely about or separate from them. He calls for a ‘resingularization of existence’ and asks:


How can I maintain a relative sense of unicity, despite the diversity of components of subjectification that pass through me?


There are various ways and qualities in the experience of interdependence, which is the cause for subjectivisation. They are not always comfortable.

Spinoza talks in his Ethics about encounters between (human and non-human) bodies as moments of compositions or decompositions. He describes encounters as the consequence of bodies striving for more power. Power increases with composition, and decreases – at least for one part – in the moment of decomposition. This is how one can identify an encounter for one part as good or bad. It doesn’t necessarily mean the same for both, but it absolutely can – in mutual empowering or mutual destruction.

To be able to relate to conditions and potentials in a relationship between for example kelp, sea urchins, airplanes, temperatures and human bodies (me), one (I) first has (have) to acknowledge their interdependence. This means to acknowledge that each of our subjectivities is made up of a relation with all the others.


(heavy) rain (again)


exercises in collective cognition51


An exercise is a task or activity done to practice or test a skill.

Cognition is a process of acquiring knowledge and understanding through thought, experience, and the senses.

Exercises in cognition can be more fruitful when carried out collectively. Then more differences can come into play. Sensitizing for differences (and allowing their disagreement) is training a skill.

Based on the assumption that collectives are composed of social and material entities, any act of cognition is necessarily a collective endeavour - even if walking alone along a street. In the same sense as reading is a process of collective thinking.

In spite of highlighting the material aspect as active part in the collective, there is at first a focus on a group of people from various (disciplinary) background, I want to address with exercises carried out with the Kelp Diagram Collective X. These exercises are meant to address switching between individual and collective cognition in relation to a wider collective with other-than-humans. (see also note 45) I expected from these collective doings new impulses for my own search.

In a similar manner was the performing of pro.vocations as cardgame sessions X conceived, with following conversations about content and format and the relating of both, and focus on language and image as bearer of meaning. Fieldwork with marine biologists, or at the landing station, are likewise exercises in collective cognition. But here I ask for permission to take part in an already ongoing process.

All those are examples of exercises in collective cognition with a varying level of hierarchical structures, not exclusively but also established by knowledge. Sometimes I’m the host, sometimes I invite myself in to others' collectives. Even if my reading voice in the cardgame sessions becomes part of a pedagogical-like situation, is the aim at the same time to challenge this positioning by a rather monotone voice and open rules for play. I want to challenge resistance.

In case of the Kelp Diagram Collective the exploration of sensual experience in a common doing was thought of as on equal level for all involved - researchers, artists, harvesters and the marine biologist alike. To achieve this seemed more complicated than anticipated.


rain stopped


the subject as a consequence rather than a starting point of epistemic experience52


An epistemic experience occurs from encounters. What would happen, if each and any encounter would be regarded a starting point for epistemic experience? Rather than something that comes in the way for it (like noise or disruptions)? An un/doing or dis/continuity. In any moment of encounter, experience is gained, and takes part in forming the subject. Being is knowing.

The subject that was, before the actual encounter, is a subject that had formed in other encounters, and is brought into the new. It is the source and the outcome of epistemic experience. It gives something into it as well. It’s not just taking something out of it. It is both.

It is a constant taking and giving.

A constant forming and being formed.

What with an unwillingness to be formed in particular ways?

What if certain epistemic experiences are not welcomed?

Is this the place for conflict?

(see also note 50)


Michel Serres’ analysis of a soccer game53


That’s a very particular note.

It was meant to remind me of certain moments in the project.

It is about the player’s situatedness when entering the game and how she transfers into sensing and holding and enacting all the potentials that constantly shape and reshape from changing relations in the frame of the soccer field. 

It is a similar constellation to sitting on the hook on a rock in the sea, entangled with kelp to withstand the waves, and getting adjusted to their rhythm, to be able to understand when it was the right time to loosen the grip to cut. (in the frame of the Kelp Diagram Collective)

It is like sitting by the table close to the open window in the shed at the centre of the landing stationy28, listening through head phones to sounds, simultaneously picked up by the microphone on the pier, close to the water, and the sound picked up by an other microphone placed on the shelf close to the fridgey29 (when moving I heard myself sitting there).

And finally, in the same manner as the player is hold in place by the elements of the game, is the performer in Common Notions hold in place by the rhythm of sounds and appearing and disappearing images, a closing door off-screen on the boat, and outside in the corridor at USF, and the increasing sound of water to boil in the pot beside of the tabley30.


the subject as a privileged pivotal point of knowledge, truth and being54


It’s the negation in the line, which is important.


refuting the concept of an individual autonomy, the concept of intentionality, and the notion that the human body could be used and controlled like an instrument55


What is the least necessary level of intention to enable collaboration, and can this intentionality take shape or direction in the doing?

This means an enactment of potential of any given situation, and is in this understood as a collective endeavour. Can intentionality be the non-intentional?

These questions arise when enacting an anarchiving process in a group. A certain frame is given by a decision on what the archive is, at the outset. The Kelp Diagram Collective was thought of as an attempt in anarchiving, after a series of exercises to build an archive. This archive came together in two days at the outer coast, before moving to an abandoned retail shop in Svolvær. It comprised seaweed, objects, images, sound and video. A performative reading and writing in space of Emanuele Coccia’s The Cosmic Garden disrupted doings in space.

Turning to the part of the note about refuting control: I think of the body as a sensing instrument, when merely auto-responding to encountered perceptions, not executing something pre-decided (apart from relating to a script). The concept of control seems for me bound to a strict subject-object relation, meanwhile the giving up of control seems important for collective doing.

Furthermore, to regard an instrument (for example a camera) merely as thing to be controlled misses the point that things are part of hybrid collectives whose entities always have an impact on each other (a camera ‘doing its own thing’ when twisting and jumping along a pulled line, resisting the forces of the line and stones met on the way).


an engagement with the field, in all its messy complexity56


To engage in a messy field is what we do all the time. To engage in a messy field, to acknowledge this, acknowledges that the purely neutral laboratory or studio or white cube is not possible. None of them ever manages to keep this messy complexity outside, even if we think of not engaging with the field at a certain moment. We always do to a certain degree, just by being alive. It’s affecting us. It’s there. It becomes part of us.


long silence


agencies don’t exist as individual elements57


no, surely not

They exist between entities.







the local possibility of uniting the hybrid collective58


[at LIAF, at the landing station, at the research vessel or the marine biological fieldstation, at the laboratory, in my studio, whereever - a hybrid collective of humans, non-humans, technologies, phenomena and ideas]

>>> 2_002

diffracting a wall








kollektive gefüge59


Continues perfectly on the hybrid collective from before [did I miss that when batteries run out of energy?]. Kollektive Gefüge. The more I turn the expression in my mouth the better it tastes.

Collective...junctions? Collective joints? [Langenscheidt dictionary says ‘structure’ and ‘system’] But none of the English words has the beautiful sound of ‘Gefüge’. Which includes also the association to ‘sich fügen’ - to submit oneself to something, to adjust. The term ‘ein Gefüge’ sounds more open than a structure or system; it’s a rather loose connection that easily can be left to join others. Slight displacements are easily made.

Displacements. Destabilization of structures and thought by displacement. Destabilization has a kind of negative connotation. I would like to find a better word. A better word, which...is more about...hm...a smoothing or loosening or making more flexible by destabilization.

Some words can only give space to what they really mean to me, when articulated in my mother tongue.


a frame for things to appear and disappear60


A frame to make things appear and disappear. A frame to make agency...noticeable? To make the appearing and disappearing of subjectivities tangible? To make the appearance and disappearance of... differences, distinct? ‘A frame to make things appear and disappear’ is a description of the performative space of a stage, gallery, laboratory or table. The setting of an experiment.

The silence of the instrument in John Cage’s 4’33” makes other sounds appear in the frame of an expected performance. Untitled Event makes something appear in a different manner - by chance encounters of overlapping frames, decided on in their ‘placement’ (more below).

A photograph is a frame, for sure. To make something appear and disappear? Is a photograph a frame that makes something appear inside the frame and disappear what is outside of it? Or, on the other hand, actually reverses it in the mind of the critical onlooker? Who is aware of the photographs’ potential to exclude what is outside the frame. And due to this awareness of the critical mind it is rather what is outside the frame, which comes into appearance. Thus, appearance can as much concern the seen or heard, its absence, or that which is not seen or heard due to the presence of something else.


such inventive whole-body practices give rise to an extraverbal understanding by constructing living pictures that extend beyond the borders of the self61


flows of becoming by interaction with multiple others.

   A subject thus constituted explodes the boundaries at skin level62


This was best experienced at the outer coast in exercises of the Kelp Diagram Collective X. But also, on the boat of the marine biological research station outside Bergen, when we were out to harvest kelp for Relay X. Engagement with the sea, kelp and tools is one thing. I had practiced these doings a lot on my own. To share them with colleagues of an art community, enhanced and deepened the experience, with the conviction that a kind of iconic propagation of self-organizing thought can take place.


patching is a form of communicative action where two or more people and/or a variety of differentiated things must coordinate their agreement (disagreement)63 (see also note 51)


patching as a form of communicative action64


- to put it like that wants to highlight that communication is not just a verbal thing. When patching is a communicative form, it is a parallel to the soft montage. Or, for that sake, the more modernist montage as well - here just in a more serial order. (see also note 3)

The patching of images is communicative. (see also note 2)

The patching of images is a showing of thought and a thinking in its doing, in its cutting, in its collecting, in its capturing. Practising this in the former retail shop in Svolvær as continuation after exercises at the outer coast, and immersed in the daily life of the place, worked fine as long as it was a working space that could be observed or randomly entered by a public (it was perfect with the large windows, in a certain parallel to the windowfront in Bergen with Relay). It became research in public. It stumbled when becoming the showcase of a public event.

Seeing itself can be a patching of images. Their coherence depends on the strength of the joints. Which doesn’t necessarily mean, that the stronger the joints, the bigger the picture, and as a consequence the stronger the memory. It can be exactly the power of the fragment, to stick relentlessly to your mind, because it has fallen out of its context, because you can’t put it back into place again, because you don’t know, because of its fall.




abrupt stop - battery empty

>>> 2_003

diffracting a wall








opened window after driving out onto the motorway

more noise, but more sharp as well

not as blurry as in a closed car-box

closed again after a while


a scripted space65


a scripted space concerns the organization of temporal developments in a sociomaterial collective. Matter becomes social. And the social becomes material bodies.

A collective space is not necessarily a scripted space - quite the opposite. Most often a collective space would rather be messy, without rules. There is also a difference between the scripted and the structured space, which is about rigidity. Where the script is about flow, is the structure about boxes. The scripted space isn’t necessarily machinic, even if it can be, it doesn’t say so much about its content, only tells about the moves. The script rather provides spots or areas for the unknown to unfold, when variables are added. The scripted space is what I think of, when I think of the Untitled Event, (or Theatre Piece no.1) by John Cage and collaborators at Black Mountain College. Cage distributed timeslots to individual participants or contributors, and asked them to fill these timeslots with any kind of activity. The audience was organized in four triangular blocks, more or less facing each other, with corridors between them. It was agreed upon placement of everyone, in relation to a specific setting for an audience, and in relation to walls and openings like doors, or in relation to objects like a ladder. None of the contributors would know much, if anything, about any doing of the others. Those who contributed only knew given space-time-coordinates, but they didn’t know anything about the potential content, apart from their own. The content was generated by chance encounters, made possible by the script. The script becomes a frame for things to appear and disappear in four dimensions.


Not very different from certain research designs in science maybe. The aforementioned frame of the marine biologist could be such an example, in combination with decisions on placement, season, weather conditions or any other thinkable additions including time.

Tides, and rise and setting of the sun might be regarded as coordinates in such a script, which means an inclusion of rhythms of a planetary system.

Historian of science Hans-Jörg Rheinberger describes the experiment as a set-up of a (strict) framework to make the unexpected or unknown appear in a series of repeated events. The scientific experiment has to be reproducible to justify its outcome, but to begin with is it not carried out to proof something, but to make appear what one can’t think of beforehand. While Latour mentions Whitehead’s approach when saying, to look at the setting is not so much about the question ‘what is it we see?’, but more about ‘how do we know?’.


When the formulation ‘a scripted space’ is taken from a discussion of Philippe Parreno’s work in Gropius Bau in Berlin in 2018, it refers to total control of a space via scripted technology in immersive environments like 3D-cinemas. Even if the development of the sum of events in Parreno’s work is not completely controlled by him, because its core is based on living matter - it is developing by chance (algorithms produced by biochemical processes) - the ecology created by it seems in its function rather closed in on itself, and the most ‘living’ and uncontrollable are the mechanisms in an onlooker’s mind. The work creates the impression of an autonomous world, functioning without us. We can do and think of it what we want, but our choices to navigate in it don’t have any kind of impact. Responsibility is not an obligation. Nor is respons-abilty (in the sense it is used by Haraway or Barad) - it won’t make much difference to the work to respond (if not our coming closer changes temperature or humidity in such a way that it has an impact on the yeast cultures).


I want to make an attempt to look at the days at USF X as scripted space, preparing the ground for a living ecology - not just the six days publicly announced as exhibition, but the whole period of 14 days access to the space:

The first thing done when taking over the space was to turn off the heating to allow the space in December to adjust as much as possible to temperatures outside and conditions favourable for kelp.

Five days were used for setting up physical objects and technology, with the help of three people in shifting constellations, along with a Skype-meeting with a human geographer dealing with related issues as those forming the base for my work (kelp seen in different perspectives of the harvesting company, marine biologists, administrative authorities, and local communities), a phone call to the technician of the marine biological station to clarify the right timeslot for harvest regarding weather and light conditions (days are short in December and weather potentially rough). Those two conversations point to a wider socio-political and material context of the work. Both were an as-good-as-possible up-date on current conditions to anchor myself, and the ritual of ‘showing’. A third conversation follows below.

One day was spent on driving to the research station, getting out by boat to harvest kelp and sailing our catch to Bergen, getting the harvest on land, binding and submerging kelp bundles in the sea, and a performance for the committee in the evening.

Six days were announced as exhibition, with a performance of Common Notions the first evening after official gallery hours, a performative reading of Emanuele Coccia’s The Cosmic Garden as public workshop on the third day, after and as involvement in physical tasks, a telephone call to the alginate factory the day after the workshop to offer kelp for industrial processing, and on the fifth day a lecture by marine biologist Eli Rinde X, followed by a break with drinks and finally once more a public performance of Common Notions X.


Each of the publicly announced days started with collecting one of the kelp bundles from the sea, placing it in the inner gallery space on the floor and unbinding it. Part of this room was used as workstation throughout all days X to chop-up, weigh and pack kelp, a doing in which the participants of the reading became involved, too.

A second task was bound to the White Book Documents. There were three identical sets of them in the space, all of them placed in such a way, that the option to sit down and open them was obvious. My task was to go through all the books of one set to add a sticker to those pages I connected with certain elements and doings in the space of Relay X. The audience had the option to do the same with available stickers. I would have liked some of the books to fall apart, that images would have flooded the floor, but this would have demanded more engagement with them.

Three days were spent on dismounting and carefully packing in the end, and started with a ritual for returning kelp to the sea X. Three assistants (different from those who were there the first days) in changing constellations helped with these tasks.


There isn’t a clear-cut line to draw between ‘mere’ assistance or help with various doings and a mutual learning of a workshop situation, alongside a dialogue with a public who approaches us when getting the harvest from boat on land, sorted and organized in a specific manner, to get it back into the sea, taking the rising and falling tide and weather conditions of the following days into account. What is set up in the gallery space, where we will go and why, what it means in relation to words in the space, is discussed and talked about in relation to what we do, whilst out for harvest and in the breaks.

Sure, I had the lead or main responsibility, took the final decisions. But actions are done in a complementary manner, adjusting and re-adjusting (to) each other and prevailing conditions. They are exercises in collective cognition, not so unlike those with the Kelp Diagram Collective the first two days at the outer coast of Lofoten, and the following days in the retail shop. What happened, happened inside a given frame, coordinated via a certain script.


The ritual performed to return kelp to the sea, was conceived of as an alternative to the adding of kelp to the production cycle. After the performative reading and collective chopping up of kelp X, I had called the factory in Karmøy to offer the delivery of kelp for alginate production. The offer wasn’t accepted, as it would complicate their processes, if we didn’t add formalin for conservation and a kind of curing. I had also been in contact with them earlier to ask if they would harvest in the area at the time of the exhibition and could deliver some kelp to the gallery, aware that harvest in Hordaland county happens very rarely. However, they had offered earlier to provide me with necessary raw material. It was an attempt to anchor parts of the event in the gallery in the larger context of industrial processes. It finally didn’t happen in real, but it still happened in a conceptual way.

It was important for me to inform industry and scientists all the way about events through which I addressed a public in the art context, and invited them, too. Conversely, it was important to make information accessible in the hand out for the exhibition, about who it was I had encountered in the project, and this list could be linked to sites represented in the White Book Documents.


To finish with the script of Relay: The way of returning kelp to the sea, placement of the involved performers along the pier and choice of location was determined by weather conditions of the given day, with their impact on wave and currents. (On a very calm day we would have gone to a place at the outer coast to secure wide dispersal, but under given conditions wide dispersal also happened in the inner fjord.)


A script was there. Proceedings were decided on in accordance with what happened in-between.

Why rather ‘script’ than ‘program’ or ‘plan’?

It is a consideration and articulation in hindsight, and first of all a proposition for how to conceive of work in the future, after a reflection on how things developed and connected. Most actions and their timing were decided beforehand, but I didn’t know how they would influence each other.

Methods come with the work itself. A script seems more useful than a plan or program, if the main goal is to find out something I don’t know beforehand, and if I want to point out an openness in the proceedings.

What happens in the gallery and connected to it, doesn’t happen in isolation. What I decided on had to relate to a time schedule, which wasn’t exclusively the gallery’s, but part of the programming of a culture house with concerts and other events, and of the faculty (in accordance with guidelines for the presentation of a research fellow project). At the same time, it was necessary to relate to such a thing as weather conditions, or other people doing their research in other locations. To control such a space by a program is impossible, but to turn it into a script can hold potential in how various demands and conditions might encounter each other. To set up a script instead of a program enables the artist herself to become an observer of what is going to happen.


The decision of having the same performance on the first and the last public evening was following an interest for two very different situations and conditions of the space as art institution and part of a larger cultural context.

On Tuesday it was rather quiet in the building, almost no other people around than those attending the performance. The evening was focussed on the event in the gallery space, the space outside functioning as a seemingly empty backdrop, an open plaza, illuminated like a second stage outside behind the stage of the performance inside the gallery, ending at the edge of the pier in front of the dark space of the sea and lights in the distance. The audience could hint a slight reflection of itself in parts of the window panes, blending into the backdrop of the outside. There was no exhibition opening that day - how it usually would be -, the space was just announced as open to the public as on any other day. Those attending the performance after official gallery hours would only encounter the first space with the platform and a screen with something like commercials in the window toward the plaza. No light in the second room behind, apart from the screen leaning in the corner, mostly white, sometimes active with a wricking and turning kelpbody. No outspoken invitation to encounter other elements in the gallery as they were hidden in (almost) darkness.


On Saturday the whole situation was different. The plaza in front of the building and towards the sea was populated with people and cars driving in and out. Common Notions was scheduled to fit a very narrow timeslot between two sold-out concerts somewhere else in the building, with several hundred people expected. All of them would pass the windows of the gallery space.

How to anchor the contemplation of an object (kelp), or the encounter with it, in the gaps of an event culture and the frame of (innovative and academic) knowledge production at the same time - both spaces of ambiguity (and potential discomfort, even more so in their proximity to each other)?

The performance was preceded by a lecture given by marine biologist Eli Rinde, and situated in the inner space, with traces of the handling of kelp on the floor, and a setting which became a mixture of gallery-warehouse-conference space, and more withdrawn from the outside. With about 12 degrees temperature in space, it wasn’t the most comfortable to be there over longer time. People could grab a chair and find their place themselves, decide where to be in relation to a projection on the wall and a desk for the speaker with labtop on. The sometimes disruptive movement on the screen behind her continued, not unlike disruptions from pop-up windows when relating to a computerscreen. Eli was invited to talk about the ongoing mapping of forests along the Norwegian coast and how this could be a tool in relation to the task of interest management and preservation of biodiversity.

The talk was followed by a finissage with drinks and social mingling to possibly address questions arising from the talk, as long as the crowd outside, involved in its own social rituals, awaited the admission to the concert. The performance started, when it became more silent, after the crowd had disappeared into the concert hall.




long silence



not so much a practice in the sense of an art practice that’s ‘about’ something, about depicting something. It ‘s a series of practices or rituals or performances that allow transformations to take place66


cognition. four types of cognition.

embodied, embedded, extended, enacted.67


It is a note I kept from a lecture on artistic research, and understood as a list of decisive forms for cognition in this specific context. I tend to read it as thinking by doing.

It can count more or less as description of any kind of cognition taking place by involvement in material practice - independent of disciplinary context. It concerns as much the crew on trawlers, the operator of a landing station, or marine biologists.

In comparison - Spinoza’s three kinds of cognition: imagination, reason and intuition.


democracy of experience68


It should be everybody’s right to have access to what can be seen and can be heard, and to have the right to make seen and heard that wasn’t seen and heard before. Therefore, it is important that spaces exist which are common and public. Only what is seen and heard can be thought and talked about. If something is not wished to be talked about, it is the best to keep it out of sight or hearing.


instead of conviction a plurality of voices69


In reading and in voicing.

To share viewpoints in search of differences and commonalities, to get confirmed or contradicted one’s own position. To practice displacement, to become aware. How to know? How to practice not-knowing?  

A need for diplomatic ground, a lack of conviction, and a fear of moving into a wrong direction, or following the wrong voices - all this fosters a need for many voices. Many voices in their difference, more than in what they have in common.


Work is engagement with the world, in Marx’ sense of ‘work is human beings' metabolism with nature’. Whereas his materialism was based on a dualism of nature and culture, and a concept of passive matter, gaining value merely through being formed by man, is new materialism preoccupied with a blurring of this boundary to think of a sociomaterial world of humans and other-than-humans. ‘Work’ can be a placeholder for a variety of knowledge systems formed by sociomaterial engagement, in the sense of ‘experienced in metabolism with the world’.

The starting point is to bring differing voices, articulated through work, together in sites of conflict, listening without preconceptions, where I’m not able to take a stance. I enter with doubt, with no conviction.

Cognition brings with it an articulation of a plurality of voices, which are not discernible in their singularity any longer. Even though they might be tracible. But following the logic that subjectivation happens by interdependence in ecological systems, any doing and saying would necessarily become a plurality of voices. In the same manner as images in series are less inflected than a single one to form a manifestation.

To follow this thought in art could lead to collaboration - artistically or in encounter with other fields of expertise. To base the outcome of a long process of encounters on forms of representation is causing potential distortion or omission. To conceive of any coming together of a plurality of voices inside or outside an institutional frame as work, as described earlier (see also note 49 or 65), is an attempt to acknowledge presence of the many in a non-hierarchical manner and continued transformation.

It requires a practice of suspended judgement, experience in not-knowing-and-nevertheless-staying-well. A continued practice of staying with the trouble - to borrow some words from Donna Haraway.


non-hierarchical learning70


It is part of collective cognition and a space for the plurality of voices, without hierarchies of knowledge. An equal exchange on what can be known and what can be said, a generous sharing of knowledge, a mutual offer to get in touch with modes of knowing. It requires - again - a suspension of judgement and a willingness to unlearn.


the possibility of an intervention of the artistic proposition within the common reality71


It is something about expectations and the breaking with them. Expectations about the kind, mode, time and quality of an encounter - which becomes the place of that possible intervention. Any kind of question, which doesn’t fit into the frame of the normative or expected, has the potential to be or create an intervention, a disruption of thought. A disturbance, a surprise. A halt, a suspension. A pause. It has a potential to stick in minds, because it doesn’t fit. It has the potential to stick in annoying and in joyful ways. It has the potential to foster response. It might be a pro-vocation. In any case it has potential to transform the affected.

In times and cultures of effectivity one of the most disruptive interventions could be ‘thoughtful and protracted observation’. In a manual for permaculture by Bill Mollison (mentioned by Puig de la Bellacasa), this is described as method, when immersing in ecological cycles. It is suggested to be done in long periods before acting in any whatsoever way.

It is a practice of dispersed and focused attention in a concentrated manner. It is used to make difference appear. Or to put it differently: it looks for the particular. What looks like doing nothing is an intense involvement with reality.


slowing down engine


I’m almost at the end of my itinerary. I’m not so far from the ferry. I’m getting closer. That’s the end of the motorway.


>>> 2_004

diffracting a wall








waiting in the harbour


provisional territorialisation of questions and objects72


Territorialisation is ambiguous, similar to framing.

We imagine fences and signs set up, stating ‘No entry!’.

However, I suggest to play with it, as in a board game.

As long as it is provisional and not set forever, it can help to localize situated meaning. In the moment of territorialisation, you define to a certain degree the area in relation to which you put a question or an object. The territory provides a starting point. It helps to anchor the question and the object alike. So, you don’t need to begin completely from scratch. The territory it relates to temporarily establishes the object.

It requires care to not let a question become a quest.


Kelp is something different at the landing station, in the sea and in the laboratory of the marine biologist. The argument for bringing kelp into an art context is that the differences become interesting. And they can be looked at in this context in a way that is different from any other place. We can look, practice and discuss looking at the same time.

If the art context is thought of as a place of destabilisation then perhaps in two ways: by the plurality of possible voices, or by silence.

A plurality of possible voices representing different perspectives in an issue addressed. Silence of such might make a presence in space speak. Encountering both might work in two ways: they cancel out or enhance each other. It would be a moment of interference, possibly caused by the approach through different fields - unpredictable in its outcome.


structure of an event that can be entered bodily73


This is essential for all parts of Agential Matter, including the dealing with text, which becomes a body and is related to through the body.

Doing becomes body - and by that mind. It is a co-presence to bring each other into existence.

To enter an event bodily is the contrary of watching from the distance, or to reduce it by abstraction or mediating. But how close a proximity is necessary? How far can you stretch your mind?

Exercises of the Kelp Diagram Collective were about entering an event bodily, but also about the double experience in the displacement via technology. To describe some of the details, exercises included:

Walking into the sea and hanging out with kelp in the conditions that shape it. Adjusting to the rhythms of the rising and falling tide, being attentive to the wind and the incoming surge. Attentive to beings populating surfaces and hidden volumes. Blurring inside and outside.


Cutting a straight line from the entry point to an island further out, and following this line by boat. Displacing vision by a camera on lead, which searched its way through kelp to reach down to fifteen meters depth, while watched on a screen on the boat.


Walking for an hour in silence a meandering line from the same entry point along the coast, and further out, to reach a rock from where the horizon was wide open and incoming surge had grown in strength and volume.


Cutting from there another, imaginary, further reaching, line across the sea to stretch to and touch the Canadian coast, while sitting in a half circle around a computer screen. We crossed the Atlantic from rock to rock to meet one of the marine biologists ‘over there’, whom I had been with at fieldwork ‘over here’, to hear about her research as continuation and displacement of tasks from one coast to the other, to point out repetition, difference and relation. The sea between us divided and connected us. The narrative became a voice-over for the image we ourselves were part of.


At the same time, it pointed to a growing schizophrenic perspective which was already present in the situation of the boat, and which we force ourselves into by trying to see our situatedness in relation to an overall picture. And there is a parallel in the potential divide from other beings, which we try to find ways to overcome. Exercises we carried out can be seen as attempts to transform into a merge what appears as split.


Displacement happened anew when moving from the outer coast in the West, to Svolvær more eastward, in an attempt to carry over the experienced, which was accumulated by looking-at and listening-to and being-with, co-habitation and observation as mutual subjectification.

To support this, four texts had been suggested as a tuning into the situation encountered in Lofoten before arrival: A Philosophy of Attention (Bruno Karsenti 2016), Forms Effortless Efficacy (chapter five) from How Forests Think (Eduardo Kohn 2013), The Cosmic Garden (Emanuele Coccia 2018) and Arctic kelp forests: Diversity, resilience and future (Karen Filbee-Dexter et al. 2019, the marine biologist sitting and talking to us from the Canadian coast; the paper being one of the outcomes after the Kelpex-project), and additionally two articles addressing natural resources’ economic importance in Norway.

The Cosmic Garden was read together in the group, and performatively in the workshop space in Svolvær, as exercise to link current doing with experiences from the outer coast. (The same text was later used in Bergen for Relay.) Doings in space were disrupted to gather around a table. We read aloud, taking the reading ‘from each other’s mouth’ by taking over whenever wished. Everybody was provided with chalk, and asked to write in space words and sentences from the text which seemed important. We didn’t talk about what was read, but returned to our tasks, when finished.


On the wall of the studio in Bergen, developed a diagram throughout the last year of the project period, meant to make graspable connecting lines in the reading that constituted part of the work. When walking along the wall of the studio to draw these lines it became a thinking of another kind. Spatialized media become thoughtful.

Each time when starting a new notebook, I searched through the just finished one to extract what seemed important, to transfer the words to a piece of paper.

The collection of words on paper were placed on the wall the following day in relation to developing lines, to form clusters around and between keywords - matter object, (a) collective space diagram, the performative experiment, the (manifest (?)) image object and WORD.

The words on paper form the stack of notesy32, which form the basic structure of the text you currently read. Thoughts developing from each note are not necessarily linked directly to the original source any longer.


Sociologist Niklas Luhmann left after his death in 1998 not only a single box (Zettelkasten) but a whole archive of notes, which he had organized while collecting throughout forty years in an immensely intricate system. They contain quotes and remarks of various kinds, and are organised in a coding system that allows following bifurcations of references traversing the whole system. The coding system was intrinsic in the archive by a code written on each note, but there existed no external overview organising how to possibly enter the archive. The 90 000 notes were the root of all of his writing, and their number grew over several decades. They would constantly become re-linked with each other in a new thematic field of Luhmann’s writing. The archive was neatly organized but Luhmann still asserted the importance of no overview in its complexity, which opened up for chance encounters in the search. He wished to be surprised each time anew, when traversing it.

It was extremely important to give it a physical shape that allowed proximity in access. He had to be able to just turn and mobilize his office chair on wheels to roll along the drawers.

He made explicit that he was far from thinking alone all he wrote, but that this was a collective endeavour in conversation with the drawers (and the voices contained in them).


make heard as a discourse that which had merely been heard as noise74


Jacques Rancière talks about what is political, and he believes in democracy as an equal right for everybody to think, to experience, to be seen and to be heard. But in fact, many are heard not as speech but as noise, as something disturbing or not-well-articulated and therefore not listened to in its content. Territories, disciplines and categories are about who is qualified to speak. Who is listened to in conflicts about resources along the Norwegian coast? Who has a voice to speak? Who cares and who is concerned for and about what?

When thinking in sociomaterial collectives and with Bruno Latour’s background from science studies, the right to speak is extending to those who are other-than-human, too. Maria Puig de la Bellacasa is not sure if this is sufficient, so that all those who are concerned can be heard and seen.

When working with Agential Matter, it is on the one hand a question of bringing perspectives together who participate in the forests’ existence, in their doing. This doing remains to a high degree part of their respective disciplines.

On the other hand, there is a need to create a collective public space with kelp as participant so that kelp itself can be heard and seen.

Artistic strategies vary from images showing where kelp is to be found and handled, to kelp’s material presence in the arts space, to the presence of art where kelp is. This doesn’t seem enough. And what still is lacking are the voices of concerned local communities.



I think, I have to stop here...

starting the engine to pass the checkpoint


>>> 2_005


diffracting a wall











the unconditionality that transcends boundaries75


'The unconditional being in the middle of things' - that’s what the work started with, at least as idea. Deriving from a preoccupation with World of Matters, and the writing of Emily Eliza Scott on methods in artistic fieldwork. (see also note 39)

World of Matters was a long-term artistic research project, initiated by artist Ursula Biemann and involving a broad spectre of investigations into global entanglements of issues of natural resource extraction. The group would base most of its discussions on experiences and work in the field, and theorists related to concepts of new materialism. The project was shown in 2014 in Dortmund, Germany, and involved many video- and film works. Each work included unfolded its own complexity - many of them coined by the crossing and negotiating of boundaries between disciplinary fields, cultures and countries - while addressing capitalist and colonial power structures at the interface with matter. Both with more analytic-critical and poetically-assembling voices.

Scott used in her writing a quote from Saskia Sassen, which didn’t include the ‘unconditional’ to avoid blindness in the field. This was something I added later to further ponder its meaningy33.


The crossing of boundaries addressed at Black Mountain College has the aim to join a variety of approaches to reach out to something not-yet-known. To achieve this, it might be good not to set any preconditions, but rather to stay immersed in the messiness of the situation.


to position oneself as part of the audience76


It is the position of a voice-over in an essay film, which is addressed here, compared with the documentary and its more pedagogical voice. The essayistic voice is meandering in fragments, leaving gaps and giving space for the audience to fill in. The essay aims at something similar as diffraction: it is the patchwork or bringing together of pieces in the hope that something would appear in an in-between, the gaps or the joints.

To leave the gaps to an audience is like leaving the audience alone to think for herself.

Is it similar, or rather opposite, when placing a voice literally in the audience? The latter is a positioning of actors in Brecht’s pedagogical theatre or ‘Lehrstücke’ - an actor might sit beside of you, or actors on the stage would turn with a question directly to the audience or suggest you to come down on the stage and take part in decisions that have to be taken there. The first time I experienced its effect was with a work of Jérôme Bel in Glasgow in 2001(The Show Must Go On). When the curtain on stage went up, all we encountered behind the curtain was the other half of us, the audience. We encountered each other, and the talking started in the middle of us. The talking was done in such a manner, that they just could have been us. They talked among us, to us and from us in an at times uncanny way, because it seemed that something private of oneself was exposed. The actors were spread amongst us, relating most of the time to each other or something outside the space. There was no place to withdraw, we were aware our responsibility in what was going on - even if it only happened once, that all actors would turn on their seat simultanuously to ask the person behind something rather mundane to engage him in an informal conversation. The rest of the audience not addressed in that way was relieved and embarressed at the same time, about not being included in a general friendly murmur in the space. 


Common Notions starts from a similar position of engaging an audience in presencey34. To invite the audience onto the platform is an invitation to come close, because I would like to offer closeness to the (material)particularities of the thing - kelp - in question. I’m aware the potentially awkward of it, because the distance is less than what counts as comfortable under a northern cultural code. What I ask for is to look closely, to be able to feel this closeness in relation to the distance other parts create.

Common Notiony35 starts with the ‘I’ of me in the talking. It is an initial anchoring in space and situation, a confirmation of ‘we are here together’, in this room in relation to the sea out there - before I get on a journey of more abstract thoughts on knowledge systems.

Performing at the stage in the case of the Kelp Conference at LIAF, I felt the need to start while sitting in the audience, so that I could take their attention with me up there. It started with a voice hovering in space and being omnipresent, in the same manner as the voice-over in the video essay. There is a tipping point where this omnipresent voice might become besieging, too, but I would hope that the seductive and the awkward can exist in the same space.


A process of trying and learning creative action, with no predetermined outcome or purpose At the centre of a communal activity77


To set up situations for this in a collective can be the most productive, when there is no specific wish to produce. When there is no other purpose than learning and practicing how to share a space as well as possible, to make something appear - or not.

This thinking was one of the basic principles for Black Mountain College.

The college offered a curriculum, which didn’t address an art education, but a broad preparation for diverse professional directions. Art, science, education in the humanities and engagement in collective working tasks in the household, garden, fields or building, were woven together in a common study. As there was much focus on the process, had performative aspects a strong position - in collective performances as much as in investigations in matter.


strong wind


gesture works through bodily executed events78


The holding (up) of a kelp body in front of our eyes X. A gesture of facing the other, giving a ‘face’ to, and by that transforming what we see. Gesture becomes image becomes matter becomes being that explodes a boundary on eye level.

With all the ambiguity it might imply. (see also note 39)


An expansion of thought through action, a model of freedom, not a question of the conventional accumulation of knowledge And aesthetic fertilization but a search for what occurs between things.79


It addresses again the studying together through various disciplines (at Black Mountain College) - not the fulfilling of a specific purpose in a mutual service for each other (such as visualization of scientific findings or providing scientific equipment for artistic processes). It is rather concerning the sharing of a common space for thinking and doing together. With unconditionality that transcends (mental and physical) boundaries, without mutual expectations other than curiosity.

Each discipline comes with its own methods, gestures, materialities, tools and thinking patterns and represents a variety of worldviews and world makings. To enter a space for a common doing involves a search for a worlding in a new and different manner from what we know. However, in exactly this formulation already lies a certain problematic, because it produces an expectation and a projection towards a common future as ‘better’ and ‘innovative’, and close to thinking ‘progress’. A search for what occurs between things should go together with suspended judgement, if it wants to function as a model of freedom and openess.


Philosopher and sociologist of science and technology studies Bruno Latour has throughout several years investigated the arts’ potential in encounter with natural and social sciences. Coming from ethnological studies of scientific procedures at a laboratory, he provoked debates with representatives of natural sciences on what it is that constitutes scientific facts. He drew an image of something ‘constructed’ in specific doings rather than being found - with humans, instruments, substances, animals, papers, institutional frameworks and architecture involved. In the eyes of many it destabilized an image of natural sciences as absolute trustworthy and objective, and caused an outcry. The book We have never been modern can be regarded as a pondering about the gap between the social and material world that obviously occurred with the period of the Enlightenment, accompanied by first scientific experiments and political constitutions. Latour’s main endeavour could be described as a relentless attempt to close this gap, to reunite the material and social thinking, which is a necessary precondition enabling a different living-together on planet earth. His theoretical endeavours have been increasingly parallel with an engagement in the arts.

He has together with Peter Weibel curated a whole series of exhibitions throughout the years (Iconoclash 2002, Making Things Public 2005, Reset Modernity! 2016, and most recently Critical Zones 2020), all of them shown at ZKM (Zentrum für Kunst und Medientechnologie in Karlsruhe, Germany), which - together with his theoretical research - can be seen as a constant push for ‘inquiries into modes of existence’. He is strongly engaged in discussions with Donna Haraway and Isabelle Stengers in the development of his research, and is frequently mentioned as reference point in new materialist writing, and art projects engaged with issues of matter and politics or the social (such as World of Matter or Dark Ecology at the Norwegian-Russian border from 2013-16).


In 2004 Latour felt the need to address the question of criticality openly in a speech given (and subsequently published): Why has critique run out of steam? He questioned if the way criticality had been approached might have led to a lacking faith in scientific findings reporting on the effects of human (Western) life on the environment and climate. It was then that he promoted to move from the concept of ‘matters of fact’ to ‘matters of concern’ altogether, to shift the way we think about ‘truth’. By this he wants to highlight the coming-into-existence of ‘things’ by a whole range of other ‘things’ that participate in a coming-together or assembly.

As a consequence they would become political and have to be taken into account. They are issues that need to be dealt with in a collective effort to make things themselves speak. He promotes ‘a parliament of things’, and demands research in public to achieve this.


sound of cars driving off the arrived ferry


spaces of action, in which new forms of knowledge and aesthetic experiences can be tried, and performative processes and unexpected encounters take place80


ausübung von Freiheit81


at the core of a performative space,

which I would wish for the future


das experimentieren ist nicht durchgangsstadium, sondern der eigentliche ort, an dem ich mich aufhalte82


Visual artist and researcher Hannes Rickli, talks here about the position of the experiment in his work. The setting of experiments in natural sciences, material conditions of the set-up and observational apparatus, and the production of camera-based material as resulting data (and what appears in the margin of it), are at the core of his research. He describes it as a double reflection on media and objects in their spatial conditions, and a mutual acting on each other between human, animal and apparatus (in behavioural studies). Experiments are usually seen as what precedes the actual result - which is articles in the scientific context. Whilst for Rickli it’s their material- and media presence, which comes to the fore.

Experimental systems include human and other-than-humans alike and are described as the smallest possible unit to enable answering questions which cannot be articulated yet - they materialize questions (Hans-Jörg Rheinberger).

For Rickli experimenting is not merely a way of passage. It is the actual space where he situates himself. This constantly searching movement is essential for art - and philosophy - more generally, he says, referring to Lyotard (who had curated Les Immateriaux, mentioned in note 7). Whereas sciences aim at stabilizing the uncertain, point experiments in art rather towards the vague in the seemingly stabilized.


genuine experimental practice would have specific determinate aims, that’s how you open up things unto an unknown83


Mark Fisher asserted this in a conversation in 2010, and it contradicts what was lined up here several times before. He talked about a crisis in the experimental approach in the arts, which doesn’t have any criteria for the experiment’s success or failure. Without criteria experimentation can’t be fruitful.

I can agree that criteria should be discussed, but part of a discussion would be the role of an initial question in relation to a pre-decided framework. And how they relate to each other in their making-space for something to occur (in a not-intentional way).


improvisation as something rehearsed84


intuition coming from practice85


The last two are necessary for and supportive in practising the anarchive.


das wichtige ist die differenz86


For three years I had been driving more or less regularly out to the coast at lowest tide. Always to the same spot to look at the growth of algae in a narrow soundy36. In May 2018 much seemed to be ‘burned’ in the tidal zone after a period with high temperatures and much sun. Some nights it was freezing. Parts of the blades were transparent white, fell off and were swept away. The algae never reached the length and volume of the previous year.

In 2019 a species appeared which formed huge bodies I never had seen before, and in none of the places I had visited along the coast. They were not totally unlike the ones I was familiar with, but the stipes seemed strangely flat and formed undulating edges after some months. They took much of the space from others I knew.

With growing knowledge through a mixture of visits to fieldwork, a taxonomy course, reading of articles and books, conversations and observations, grew sensitivity for details, changes and differences. But I entered ‘sideways’, collected knowledge randomly, lacked the depth of understanding to explain to myself the unexpected. Regular visits caused as much familiarity from recognition as concern for being witness for something getting out of balance, or of consequences of my own actions, when discovering irregularities. Sometimes sensitivity grows out of proportion, and needs a re-alignment with an expert.


experiments as open-ended experiences, negotiated anew in each iteration87


Again: how much and what has to be predetermined to make space for the unknown to be perceived? and who can witness?


starting engine. driving onto the ferry


engine off  

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