Stone Reading

Stone Read­ing
video, 6’55”
2014

Video essay about life’s ori­gins, organ­ic and inor­gan­ic life, the soul and the uncon­scious.

vimeo video
Part 1
vimeo video
Part 2

 

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.