Video essay about life’s origins, organic and inorganic life, the soul and the unconscious.
The Longue Durée meets Deep Time: Marina Roy’s Entangled Worlds
by Randy Lee Cutler (excerpt)
Stone Reading explores these [geological-biological-historical] themes in the form of a video easy. The work begins with a slow pan of small objects on a windowsill accompanied by a low-key voiceover that speaks to deep time. “It has been decided that humans are a geological force to be reckoned with. The Earth is dominated by human’s heavy presence on the planet, an accumulation of their superstructure’s ruins and waste. So many indelible marks left behind by the species.” As the narration unfolds we watch a pair of hands holding and turning over different mineral specimens and asked to consider the anthropogenic effects of human activity. The stones are a visualization of the deep time of the Earth signaling the literal depth of the temporal past and technological present. The collaged video is comprised of things that the artist shot from museum artifacts and bubbling water in a hot tub to medical illustrations of the human body and objects laying around her home. As she tells it these sequences have been catalogued in a haphazard fashion to be reconfigured later in relation to her written text which addresses geological time, the spectrality of the photographic medium, the search for the soul, as well as psychoanalysis and the unconscious. The effect is a visual improvisation on the speculative materiality of history. Here Roy brings an interest in technology to reflections on the imagination. “The mimetic machines such as cameras bring to life the spectrality of our fleeting world helping us to discover an optical unconsciousness made possible by our interfacing with technology, opening up new possibilities for exploring reality and envisioning a new reality.” The camera work echoes this entangled orientation with its mixing of fact, fiction, mimeticism, storytelling, and art. The geological time sense highlighted here further collapses scientific, philosophical and informal knowledge practices and in the process points to new architectures of time and matter. This archaeological dig across geographies and histories works in a tentacled, non-hierarchical and somatic way. Roy condenses and displaces looking while elucidating and transforming our felt sense of time. The diverse elements and mixed timescales put the emphasis on a diversity of languages and disciplinary interests that do not reproduce the illusions of linear coherence; Roy’s attentions are neither idealist nor concerned with civilizational progress. This punctuated way of seeing is a kind of emergent way of knowing that echoes the temporal imperatives of deep time.