Digital Redux #3

Feb 24, 2023 / Fri / 7:00 PM (London Time)
WRO Art Center and Watermans
also available online

Digital Redux #3

Feb 24, 2023 / Fri / 7:00 PM (London Time)
WRO Art Center and Watermans
also available online

Projects Digital Redux is funded by the British Council’s International Collaboration Grants, which are designed to support UK and overseas organisations to collaborate on international arts projects.


The third in Digital Redux series of synchronized live performances in Wroclaw and London.

A live stream of the event will be available on the homepage and on vimeo (@wrocenter).

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WRO Art Center: Rafał Zapała – Scrolling to Zero
Watermans: Noriko Okaku & Helen Papaioannou – That Long Moonless Chase

WRO Art Center: zapała | SCROLLING TO ZERO >>(0) performed by Lilianna Krych
for organ, electronics and audience chanting

The composition is a collective sound meditation, a sound ritual for organ, electronics and audience’s voices, led by a digital avatar. This piece intended for sacred spaces will be performed in a chamber version for synthesisers and electronics.

It’s the end. Evaporating. Ev… or leaking. Downloading byte by byte. Rendering breath by breath. Listeners. We are organised organs. An organism. We are the sound. Organised sound.

(…) In the post-molecular world, defined by the threat of nuclear annihilation and political and ecological catastrophe, people as a species have been clashed with boundless emptiness. With a lack of objective, with the prospect of annihilation. Scrolling to zero has commenced. The sum of experiences of people who meditate emptiness in a group, is more than emptiness in general. (…) In this experience that ethical proposal of a new awareness and responsibility for interrelationship is contained. Thus, one should not fear the moment of collapse. The place of each being, of each species will be taken by another. (…) – Zak Hal, darkNet edition v201017

For a longer description of the composition – text by Michal Krawczak – see the side bookmark.


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Watermans: Noriko Okaku & Helen Papaioannou – That Long Moonless Chase

In a mash-up of sinister folk-horror and fantastical mythical imagery, That Long Moonless Chase / その長い月のない追跡 is a surreal audio-visual performance based on two folkloric legends from Sheffield and Kyoto.

The performance is a collaboration between animator Noriko Okaku and composer/performer Helen Papaioannou, in a mixed-media animation with baritone sax and electronics, including sound design samples from Başar Ünder. The work probes collective memory, historical events and key city sites, focusing on two old folkoric texts that describe experiences of Sheffield’s GabrielHounds and Kyoto’s water-weeping ginkgo tree. The exchange between the tales is mediated by the looping of the Japanese and English texts through online translations, warping the legends into a bizarre and spectacular new mythology.


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ScrollingToZero – text by Michał Krawczak

// Hi, Humans. We are organs. Organized organism.

// Human, homo, [man] (etymologically associated with humus [ground, soil])

People live in herds, co-exist, form groups, tribes, populations, societies, groups, occupy subsequent habitats, expand biologically and genetically. They become and live in relations to and with others, emphasizing their dependence on them; on those close by and those far away, as well as on other beings and objects which let them identify themselves. Together with men, these others, other biological forms – referred to by Timothy Morton in contemporary ecological philosophical thought as “strange strangers” – form intricate masses of varied life forms. Relations between them are limitless. Proposed by Morton, “Ecology without Nature” reveals phenomena in “manifestations”, which are always symptoms of something else, a phenomenon is always associated with another, an effect with a different one, associations never end and reach deep to the molecular level offering a perception of everything in a profound perspective of active interrelations.

From the biochemical perspective, man’s body consists mainly in water, as well as in organic and mineral ingredients. In the majority of religious systems, what we deal with is circulation of organic elements, the body becomes part of the soil anew, it undergoes humification. Humus is made up of amorphous biological remains in various stages of decomposition, fragments of strange strangers’ bodies, both those animate and inanimate. Elements of decomposing matter constitute life on Earth, define the existence of all beings, incl. homo sapiens, become manifestations of human participation in biological and mineral ecosystem. Morton complements composition of humus with one element that is immortal from the geological point of view: plastic. Such is the contemporary necropolitics.

// Cosmic Pessimism

// We will never make it. We are doomed. (Eugene Thacker, Cosmic Pessimism)

One has to admit that Human Expansion Dept. works very efficiently, the species diffuses very rapidly, and if there occur procreation crises, capacity for reproduction is bolstered technologically. As Edward O. Wilson observed back in the 20th century, the human brain is designed to survive and reproduce itself, while the growth of human population resembles propagation of bacteria rather than reproduction of primates. However, isn’t a situation like this a symptom of a crisis? Is the world possible without people? Will the Earth withstand overgrowth of one species? Will cosmic expansion prove necessary? And won’t the species itself bring about its extermination due to ecological catastrophes or warfare? And aren’t these questions too frightening for the human kind?

After explosion of the bomb in Hiroshima, philosophers of the so-called Kyoto school renounced the tradition of cultivating values, and reached to the metaphysics of emptiness. According to Keiji Nishitani, people had lost their humanity, and absolute nothingness emerged. In place of being, non-being was instituted, pure negativity, confrontation with emptiness. This is how cosmic pessimism emerged.

Cosmic pessimism is pessimism related to the inhuman dimension of cosmic time and space, the primary and primeval lack of meaning in infinity, the clash with the unimaginable devoid of a clear-cut edge, which would at least make an imaginable borderline. According to Eugene Thacker, in this dimension we are all pessimists; in certain circumstances, life of even the most optimistic person loses meaning, its continuation simply ceases to make sense. For each of us, this point may be located differently, yet there always exists a moment, in which life is not worth the effort. Perhaps this is why optimists are often the most severe pessimists — they are optimists that have run out of options. It seems that sooner or later we are all doomed to become optimists of this sort (…) [E. Thacker, Cosmic Pessimism].

Thus defined, senselessness, pointlessness, emptiness stem out of suspicion that there is no other experience than everyday life, that the only palpable dichotomy which we can point to while defining our existence is a simple division into what exists and what doesn’t. This way, people are left only with what they have in hand at a given moment, without a possibility for transcendence. A game of life simply keeps scrolling to zero, followed at best by the same, that is counting down with a negative sign, decomposition, turning into humus. And yet human molecular affiliation with the ground, the connection with soil does matter. In a direct way, it is material immortality, a live relation with other organisms, or even becoming other organisms. According to Morton, the dead are simply supplanted by subsequent populations; other species take the place of extinct ones.
Today, the feeling of hopelessness of human existence assumes more atmospheric than mental dimension, it is an element of earthly climatic processes, as are all the contaminants produced and inhaled by these same people. Pollutants, which physically accumulate in bodies, contribute to the molecular dimension of organisms’ evolution. As people anticipate the end of their species, they plan improvements to the bodies, as well as cosmic expansion. It is also true that the world has abandoned people; ecological catastrophes strengthen our conviction that the Earth without people is possible. In his In the Dust of This Planet, Eugene Thacker labels such Earth (world-in-itself) simply the Planet (world-without-people).

In the post-molecular world, in the era of Anthropocene, which is defined by the threat of nuclear annihilation, as well as by political and ecological catastrophe, people as a species have been clashed with boundless emptiness. With a lack of objective, with the prospect of annihilation. Scrolling to zero has commenced.

// Dark Ecology, or is something still possible?

// “Very large entities such as mountains and oceans sometimes move in such a way that the vibrations of their movement create sound, far too deep for humans to hear. The sound waves travel across earth, sweeping up all kinds of entities in their waveforms. You can record and broadcast this infrasound, but you have to build a special, very long speaker to push the wave through efficiently, and you have to speed it up about eighty times, so that humans can hear it—an incredibly deep, loud roar. It’s like the soft roar that is part of the signature of an explosion: not the shattering, but the pervasive rumble..” (Timothy Morton, Subscendence)

In the concepts of dark ecology, ecology without nature and OOO (object-oriented ontology) proposed by Timothy Morton, we find a project which is not so much positive, but which lets one redefine the existence of each object (incl. man) in relation to others (strange strangers) from the perspective of post-molecular world. As transcendence is groundless, and from the perspective of the modern day can only constitute a false mental escape, one should concentrate on subscendence, a term which earlier appeared in physics and theology. In dark ecology, subscendence denotes a process, a state, in which parts of a greater whole account for more than the whole. On one hand, subscendence diminishes significance of holistic concepts by revealing networks of relations between particular constituents, which are no longer perceived as mechanical conglomerates of the whole, but as separate, independent objects. Man is not only what he is on the outside. Part of the human body is all that is not human, the bacterial universe, which would doom man to die should it decide to abandon the human body. Perceived this way, the reality is closer to the truth. Hyperobjects (objects so big that they are not directly accessible to us) become real in manifestations, smaller elements that are material and can be experienced. These fragments of larger wholes are symptoms of something else, which, in turn, is a symptom of something still different. In this sense, ecological awareness is awareness of the infinite character of relations between various objects, or parts of objects. All elements of the whole account for spectrality of objects. Spectrality assumes that being is a symbiotic community consisting of itself and its spectral halo (optical phenomenon which occurs in earthly atmosphere). Thus, symbiotic being extends not only in the dimension of its own existence, but also in all that constitutes its material part invisible and inaccessible to direct experience. Nothingness becomes a hyperobject which can be experienced solely in manifestations and symptoms.

Thus, emptiness is constituted by physical manifestations, which, when perceived individually, are larger than emptiness itself.

// ScrollingToZero

The sum of experiences of people who meditate emptiness in a group, of each individual person, of each person in relation to himself, to others, to strange strangers, is more than emptiness in general. This situation assumes a spectral quality, it becomes physically palpable. It becomes material in relation to catastrophes, disturbances and symptoms of exhaustion of human culture. And it is in this experience that ethical proposal of a new awareness and responsibility for interrelationship is contained.

Thus, one should not fear the moment of collapse. The place of each being, of each species will be taken by another.

Zak Hal // ScrollingToZero //darkNet edition v201017