Documenting the work / by Raewyn Turner

Humans, animals, soil, water, air, machines, buildings participate in the cycle of energy and breath emitting very fine particles and molecules into the atmosphere. 

Steep will necessitate venturing into unknown areas of research towards understanding how engineered nano particles disperse or aggregate in the environment, and how to visualise and express their morphology and movement. Do they glide like slugs, roll like balls, float like planets? 

Our first experiment is to make a film is about the implausible presence of gold particles in the atmosphere and their journey there.

We're approaching the project several ways through a series of investigations and experiments. We’re hoping to perceptualise the movement of the particles by working on a series of art experiments, then develop an installation art work using simple elements fused with electronics and video.

Video overture

Amongst the pneumatophores of the estuary, Zoe, 'life', daughter of Midas, carries her birthday cake to try to wash away the outcome of the curse of her father's wish. The washing in the mangroves ejects particles of gold into the water. The gold particles from the cake are eventually flushed through the mangroves out to sea, where the bubble bursting mechanisms on the ocean produce aerosols in the atmosphere.

Washing the cake. 


How and where do those gold particles disperse and accumulate? 

Steep explores the behaviour changing signals of particles in the atmosphere.  The approach is one of looking up, looking down and looking inwards for material, all the while paying attention to find  the relationship between human activity and the mirroring response of  the environment. 

By placing my focus on sensation it may be possible to gain a  somatic sensing of airborne particulates directly or in a cross-sensory way. If we wish to  increase our ability to perceive the information of unconscious chemical signals not just with the nose but with the gut, then  it may  be necessary to retrain our senses and to note the feelings and emotions that arise.

Our process will involve  gleaning evidence of invisible particles from the water and the atmosphere by reflection, sensory observation and focusing on where traces of them may be found in the environment by:

  • distilling and extracting essences from plants, people, insects, animals, buildings, trees, the sky, water and dust

  • time lapse video

  • aerial photography/satellite imaging

  • sound recording

  • microscopic photography

  • drawing

  • animation