Post doc & research

2023 - 2024: Post Doc: The Ocean-Lands: Mud Within the Earth System, under Prof Katherine Richardson at ‘Queen Margrethe’s and Vigdís Finnbogadóttir´s Interdisciplinary Research Centre on Ocean, Climate, and Society’ (ROCS.ku.dk), Center for Marcoecology, Evolution and Climate (CMEC),  The Globe Institute.

2022 - 2024: Research project More Mud for Art Hub under Nordic Alliance of Artists’ Residencies on Climate Action (NAARCA) is a part of the Post Doc. It includs working with institutions in Iceland (Skaftfell), Sweden (Baltic Art Center & GRASS Fellow, GRASS Fellow Programme Uppsala University, Campus Gotland), Denmark (Art Hub), Svalbard (Artica), Greenland (Narsaq International Research Station), Scotland and Finland on research, production, exhibitions and seminars.



Brief project description

The Ocean-Lands: Mud Within the Earth System is an art practice-based research project, examining ‘mud-scapes’ and the social, political, and bio-chemical, effects of their motion.


For millennia, ‘static muds’ facilitated cultural exchanges across legal boundaries. Those once secure muds are now in motion. Glaciers and inland ice melt, as mudflats and swamps reclaim space from human occupation. Permafrost melts and

sinks, as elsewhere land slips, lakes recede and their beds collapse. Swelling muds slide toward the oceans, facilitating the increasingly garbled circulations of the Earth System.

The Ocean-Lands reflects on, and augments, work developing across other disciplines that are beginning to mark out a Venn diagram of intersecting concerns. At present, no single discipline spans the central intersection. The Ocean-Lands looks toward that future discipline, with the objective of contributing a new ethical-aesthetic public language capable of communicating the shifts occurring within the Earth System.

The project explores two, inter-related, questions: ‘The Social-Organisational Effects of the Ocean-Land Muds in Motion’ and ‘The Bio-Communicative Effects of the Ocean-Land Muds in Transition’. Each devolves into a series of interrelated

sub-questions, or tributaries, reflecting the transitional, circulatory, and uncertain, nature of the developing mud crisis.


These questions, will be explored, and expanded on, in a continuous, iterative, process between academic and creative works, drawing on fieldwork in Iceland, Greenland, Svalbard, Gotland and Denmark. Artistic outputs will take the form of four large-scale visual-cognitive maps, an installation, a book, and narrative-orientated documentary film, with immediate target groups in art and academia and, more widely at the different medias of the public sphere.


The Ocean-Lands: Mud Within the Earth System [Film in process]


Preface
Beneath our feet, landscapes are transforming. Muds are in motion. Aroundthe planet a new world is born, landscape is melting to ‘mud-scapes.

Human-time measures development through fragments of pottery – mudsgiven solid form and purpose by human hands. Every mud is a mixture ofsoils and the never-ending circulation of water within the ‘Earth System’.

Every mud mixes the political territories humans claim to hold and controlwith Earth’s systems humans scarcely understand, let alone control. In mud,the tiny scale of human histories mixes with the vast scale of the planet’sand that of the cosmos.

Within the developing Ocean-Lands - a littoral formed by the jurisdiction of nations and the infinite spaces of the ocean-commons and atmosphere –muds take on a new significance. Cultures that once measured themselvesby longevity of their stories and the stability of the institutions they built, arehumiliated; forced to admit they are merely the content of more powerfulsystems.

For millennia, ‘static muds’ facilitated culture, trade, and the exchange ofideas across legal boundaries. Those secure muds are now in motion.

Glaciers and inland ice melt as mud-flats and swamps reclaim space from human occupation. Permafrost melts and sinks, as elsewhere landslips. Lakes recede, their beds dry and collapse. Seas of stones left byretreating inland ice leave flowers of a pre-human past, rich in quicksilverand uranium. Swelling muds slide toward the oceans, to join the garbledcirculations of the Earth System.

Muds are a medium though which bacteria organise themselves. As Earth Systems bend and warp, their organisation changes.

Though no politician could admit it, such micro-organisms created theterritories they command. Primitive planktons two million years agofacilitated the creation of mountains by lubricating the movement of oneslab of rock upon another under the pressure of moving tectonic plates.

Human perspective compresses and distorts the ‘deep-time’ cycles ofplankton and mountain. Yet, human-time now forces planetary systems tospin to our arrhythmic patterns.

As the UN Environmental Program notes, humanity is edging toward a‘transformative collapse’.


2. Thinking the Ocean-Lands / 2.1 Gotland / 2.2 The Transformation of Chalk 2.3 Dead-Life

3. Mud in the Earth System / 3.1 Moving with the Muds in Greenland / 3.2 Time-Scale: The Biosphere and Geosphere – Establishing the Earth System State / 3.3 Time-Scale: The Environmental DNA – ‘A Second is Like Two Million Years’ / 3.4 The New Life: Atmosphere and Corpses / 3.5 The Slow and Fast Carbon Cycle / 3.6 Dust and Flow

3.7 Mud and Ocean - about the ‘Gletcsher Rock Flour in the Sea’ project (GRFOS-1, summer ekspedition, Kangerlussuaq, Greenland, 2023)

4. Moving Lands / 4.1 Muds of Iceland

4.2 Seepage in Svalbard

5. Epilogue



Podcast:

Testing Grounds, episode 4, Baltic Art Center Artists' Role in an Age of Climate Crisis, spring 2023 [Podcast]

with director of Baltic Art Center Helena Selder, Nomeda & Gerdiminas Urbonas and Rikke Luther

https://naarca.art/2023/04/28/testing-grounds-episode-4-baltic-art-center-artists-role-in-an-age-of-climate-crisis-now-available/


2020/2021/22: The New Mud is a research project in the cluster Digital Matters, Digital Materialities at the Institute for Art, Writing and Research, Royal Danish Art Academy for Fine Arts. Part of the research was done at the Narsaq International Research Station, Narsaq, Greenland, outputs was exhibited at Astrid Noacks Atelier, Copenhagen, Denmark.

Left: From the serie More Mud, 2021 Above: Missing Atmospheric Ice Crystal, 2021

2019: Lunar Concrete - Regolith Extraction in Outer Space and 3D printing on the Moon and in Mud on Earth is a one-year artistic development project at the Royale Danish Art Academy for Fine Arts. It is developed by Karen Harsbo (Ceramic Lab) and Rikke Luther (Institute for Art, Writing and Research) and is aiming at practically exploring and unfolding the notion of the material lunar regolith, through 3D print and earth minerals, in form of interdisciplinary artistic research.

 

3D printed Lunar-concrete are linked to Si-Fi, military, political, technological developments, the ‘New Industrial Space Industry’ and the historical background for concrete in space started with 40g of the lunar regolith in 1986.

Abstract

We are in oxygen low water. Its still battered by waves from the 2008-financial crisis. In our time, democracy is aggressively interrogated from many different perspectives, which in turn determine the contexts of artistic action and research. From one side, the concept of ‘Carbon Democracy’ maps democracy’s entwined relationship to the economies of material extraction, power, and the planetary fact of ‘climate collapse’ [Mitchell, Carbon Democracy]. From another, the concept of ‘Post-Democracy’ [Crouch] maps out the highs and lows of democratic agency. Here, the peaks of democratic engagement in the 20th century are being levelled down by an era of rising economic and political inequality – a process that occurs both within nation states and between the nation states of the ‘developed’, and ‘developing’, worlds. In parallel, the political power of democracy is increasingly decentralised and weakened, only for that power to be re-centralised in the private boardrooms of post-national corporations. And, while this process has occurred, our climate has been warming.

 

Space is full of stories. And there are many ‘spaces’. Those images of coherence by which we navigate our lives, are rooted in the perspectives of particular places, social relations, history and time [Massey, For Space].The spaces of landscape, housing and urban life, and the materials we extract to support that version of life, are crisscrossed with human power relations.

 

We look on a concrete building, and on its material surfaces and interior spaces, and we are met by the 20th century ‘extraction economy’ that gave us the concrete architectures of democracy. Or perhaps we see the environmental destruction concrete entailed. Or perhaps we see humankind’s deep space future, a late 21st concrete modernism built on the moon or passing asteroids, as envisaged by advocates of ‘The New Space Industrial Age’.

 

The confluence, and divergencies, of these stories of habitation have affected how we think of planetary space, environmental change, and emergent climate chaos. The technological possibility of 3D printing lunar concrete, holds out the possibility of stabilising, and then exporting, current modes of political economy into a space future, by envisaging the earth as merely a set of exhaustible economic assets. Outer space here takes on the dynamics of the earthly UN Global Commons – ‘free’ spaces that are largely beyond the democracy of nation states and the effective regulatory grasp of international law.

 

Technological and military organisation have long been extensions of the existing power of the monarch and state into new territories, material and human support for the search for private profit. Meanwhile, back at the planetary level, the progressive associations of concrete Modernism have run into the wall: progress is now encircled by increasingly ‘unseasonal’ weather patterns, and undermined by the daily media outpouring of post-democratic political sentiment. Concrete culture now echoes the mid 20th century observations of Karl Polanyi. But when capitalism faces off against democracy today, it chooses what Colin Crouch dubbed ‘post-democracy’, before stretching itself out across future space.

 

Stills from recorded material for the film Concrete: The Great Transformation, mainly recorded under Lunar Concrete, 2019:

EmmaKunzMine
1.AalborgPortlandLimestone
7.3DPrintConcrete
MineRhegolitPark
4.ESA3Dmudprint
6.ChinaharbourTrieste
12.TokyoCapsuleTower
13.JapanHashima
11.JapanConcreteMountain
Skærmbillede 2019-11-27 kl. 12.02.42
15.JapanTurtleDeadCorals
16.HiroshimaPeaceCenter
18.KyotoCongressCenter

  1. Aion A mine, (Emma Kunz), Sweitzerland, 2019
  2. Lime mining, Aalborg Portland, Aalborg, Denmark, 2017
  3. Sandmining in Roldskov, Denmark, 2020
  4. Rebuilding the harbour front, 2018
  5. Land Building, North Harbour, Copenhagen, Denmark, 2017

  6. 3D printing of concrete, Italy, 2019

  7. Simulit Rhegolith mining, Germany, 2019
  8. ESA´s 3D prinit, Holland, 2019

  9. On-line information movie about mining on the moon, 2019

10. Chinese harbour, Trieste, Italy, 2019

11. Oslo, Norway, 2017

12. Nagagin Capsule Tower (1979), Tokyo, Japan, 2019

13. Hashima, first undersea coal mining and higest dence place on the planet in the 1960´ties, Japan, 2019

14-15. More concrete, Japan, 2019

16. Sea turtle, Japan, 2019

17. Peace Center (1954), Hiroshima, Japan, 2019

18. Kyoto Congress Center, Japan, 2019

Map 8: Concrete: The Economy of Volcanos and Outer Space, print on tiles

IMG_5015
IMG_5013

Ceramic tests with simulatet rhegolith, 2019


Supported by The Novo Nordich Foundation (Post doc) and the Danish Ministry of Culture