→ Four Aquatic Mirroring Devices

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Four Aquatic Mirroring Devices' was commissioned for Radio Amnion by the artist Jol Thoms. Part of multi-year sound art project for the waters of Earth, Radio Amnion commissions and relays new compositions by contemporary artists more than 2kms deep with/in the Pacific Ocean. During each full moon, far beyond human perception, the abyssal waters of Cascadia Basin resonate with the deep frequencies and voices of invited artists. All transmissions are relayed in the sea through a submerged neutrino telescope experiment’s calibration system and available here online only during the three days of each full moon.

I lower my fingers slowly into a broad glass container of water. I watch them slip sideways and my orientation changes. Light and water together create the condition by which my hand is both whole and part. The digits begin to look physically distinct from the rest of my hand, but the feeling of my hand persists.

‘Four Aquatic Mirroring Devices’ imagines this relation to water, across bodies, sound and light. Not only when observing through a glassy, external lens, but when fully submerged in water itself as an immersive lens.

Therefore, these four mirrors offer reflective and refractive ways to understand more-than-physical relationships within and among water, within and among parts that are whole, or wholes which appear to slide apart. To see drastic changes caused by small ripples at a distance and understand them as proximal and direct. Simple melodic material is transformed, sedimented, and refracted in four ways, creating four unique sound movements. Beyond melody, the mirrors also reflect and refract timings and rhythms that translate to visually repetitive structures, alongside their aural counterparts.

In the same way that the play of light underwater creates fuzzy and distorted views of physical relationships without unbinding them, I look to the intuition of the 1996 French science-fiction film ‘La Belle Verte’ in which water itself constitutes the basis for a quantum communicative matrix. In the film, watery bodies serve as communication interfaces, based on a hydrologic relation between all bodies of water, regardless of physical proximity. Bathtubs, oceans, and airplane sinks—all hydrologic nodes—are tied in common through a diffracted-yet-substantial matrix. A hydrologic internet—not substantially dissimilar from the fibre and silicon internet, requiring immense hydro-vascular systems to keep cool—therefore ties together disparate elements through an understanding of their essential relation.

One is submerged. One observes refraction but imagines their body tied in common to any other submerged and refracted body. Human bodies are, of course, not the only submerged material. Whole and part. A communicative matrix involving submersion also ties in common those elements with which we might prefer not to communicate, and yet they are tied in common, nonetheless. Whole and part.

Listening with headphones is highly recommended.