ISACS17: Ben Freeth

Resonant Hermeneutics: Breaking the Silence of Silent Reliances Using “Wet Machines” Hybrid Musical Instruments To Explore, Experience and Understand Ex Vivo Human Skin Cultures.

Resonant Hermeneutics: Breaking the Silence of Silent Reliances Using “Wet Machines” Hybrid Musical Instruments To Explore, Experience and Understand Ex Vivo Human Skin Cultures.
Duration
34:10
Category
Lecture/Talk
Date
28.09.2017 to 30.09.2017
Description

Under the chairmanship of Morten Søndergaard and Peter Weibel the conference »ISACS17: Resonant Worlds – Curating Sound, Art & Science« takes place at the ZKM from 28–30 September, 2017. The conference addresses and debates the resonant worlds of sound, art, science and curation.

ISACS17 (re)investigates the  intersections of sound, art and science from the perspective of artistic / creative curation. The participants are asked to showcase, and reflect on, their own practices from the perspective of how and why choices are made in order to make things »work« – in the sense that it resonates in/with other people, contexts, culture, society, history, and »the world«. These are perhaps issues of (and effects from) embodied experiences, of language games, of existence.

Lecture

This paper articulates an approach to our musical interactions with technologies and data derived from biomedical science and inspired by object orientated philosophy to explore the resonant interior worlds of human skin and blood.
We describe a specific device developed to explore these interior worlds, a form of “Wet Machine”, defined by four main features. Firstly, an ex vitro growing environment for living human cell cultures. Secondly, an acoustic focusing flow-cell also used as a sound source. Thirdly, grouped DPSS laser arrays and sensors to measure resonance/defraction within the cell cultures. Fourthly, a custom built analog synthesiser with digital modulation to generate polyphonic sonifications and human rhythms. The cultures of human skin and blood were taken by biopsy from the artist ********* and Professor of Dermatology and Immunology, *********. The arrays of lasers induced resonance with and refraction of laser light from cell markers, a principle derived from laser cell flow cytometry. In this device, measurements of sameness were derived from resonance and difference from defraction to characterise cells. The resulting spectra were then explored in the frequency domain and converted to harmonics within the range of human hearing, generating both real time and retrospective sonifications of the constituent human cells comprising the cultures.
We describe how we developed several iterations of the device over a series of workshops and performances and how we have come to see this project as giving voice to “silent reliances” using resonance and refraction. Silent Reliances are a Latourian notion encompassing unseen, hidden, unknown and undetected processes that are essential for our existence. Notions of the hidden relate to Graham Harman’s concept of Object Orientated Philosophy. Specifically, where objects cannot be exhaustively explored or known through single or even multiple encounters. Using these techniques and in this mode we are able to further actualise parts of these ex vivo human skin cultures developing a Resonant Hermeneutics.