by Melissa Waite and the Luna City costume design team.
“Clothing helps tell the story of Luna City residents and is a visual display of their culture. Life in Luna City in the year 2175 is much different than life on Earth: Luna City, though abundant in certain ways, is still a desolate and difficult place to live, and its settlers have left the consumeristic mindset and become minimalists.” As these residents personalize a uniform suit with unique scarves and shawls, “these customizations tell their story and give them personality and dimension” within the future world of Luna City.
An exploratory storytelling soundscape curated by Shomit Barua. A multi-narrative sound installation: seven thematic speaker clusters are placed around the periphery of the main space, in niches, corners, and the ends of hallways. They are unobtrusive, registering more as a layer of whispers. The voices in each cluster talk about a time in Luna City history in first-person monologues; as they play, different perspectives of the events of that time emerge. “You the audience become both passive and active participants; passive as you listen to the monologues, and active as your own attention and movement curates your experience.”
Directed and produced by Shomit Barua
Nicole Audrey Spector
and many others
A dance performance by Miquella Young and Meredith Matsen. Choreographed by Meredith Matsen and Miquella Young; original score by Jess Matsen. A dance “that explores the first Buddhist principle of existence: impermanence, the natural tendency towards change. Two dancers represent contrasting experiences of this constant flux; they perform in a circle, delicately shaping patterns with fingers, toes, heels, elbows, and knees that suggest a mandala symbolizing the Bhavacakra, or Buddhist wheel of life or circle of existence. Dancers must first overcome the three inner circles of ignorance, attachment, and aversion.” The sound score follows a wave-like structure, flowing in and out of harmony and cacophony. In the conclusion, the dancers step outside their circle and stand in connection with the audience, before rejoining at the center of the circle, in peace. “At its heart, Anicca is about the interaction between humans and their environment.”
A collaborative space for artwork creation from found objects, by James Rickard, with Jean Rickard. “An interactive space for visitors and residents alike to sit and relax, talk with others, or participate in creating one of the artworks that have been emerging around Luna City. Make yourself at home and use the found components to manipulate the work and add your own personal touches.” Luna City is generally diligent about recycling items, but the materials here either represent an overload or “just seem to hold promise to be upcycled as art, in hopes of making our city a more beautiful place.”
A collaborative textile workspace and creation led by Megan Driving Hawk. Working with fabric and found materials in values of gray, black, blue and green, residents and visitors to Luna City create various textures and spaces that visually resemble the moon, earth, and areas of habitation. “This collaborative textile work has become a ritual for inhabitants of Luna City to recognize where we’ve been, where we are, how we’ve lived, and where we are going. It’s a history marker written by the people for the people to come after them.” This piece begins the festival in multiple pieces and in the end the fiber labor of the audience is connected together to express the collective views about the mining of Shackleton Crater and the current status of lunar ecological thinking.
In March 2018, Emerge transformed the state-of-the-art Galvin Playhouse on ASU’s Tempe campus into a rich, immersive experience grounded in space-science research and the inspirational vision of our Writer at Large, Kim Stanley Robinson. Visitors could see, hear, touch and play the future in our unfolding story of human habitation beyond Planet Earth.
Our immersive experience transported guests to an alternate world: Luna City, a bustling metropolis on the Moon in the year 2175. Luna City’s singular history and authentic reality is a synthesis of art and space science, a gateway into a complex vision of a human future lived in a place separate from yet intimately connected with our own.
The festival’s 2017 theme is Frankenstein, a 200-year old novel that still motivates us to think critically about our creative agency and scientific responsibility. This year EMERGE invites visitors into a house of wonder filled with speculative technologies, fortune tellers, music and film, and performative experiments that blur the boundaries between art and science. The festival revisits the past in order to reframe our sense of the present and inspire imagination of plausible futures, and asks what we can learn today by looking at emerging science and technology through the lens of art. Held concurrently with Night of the Open Door, during which ASU invites the public into its laboratories and studios, EMERGE focuses a critical eye on the future implications of research taking place on campus and around the world. Visit us at the University Club and the Piper Lawn February 25th, from 3-9PM for installations and performances designed for all ages.
Radio Healer is a Native American and Xicano led artist collective in Phoenix, Arizona. The collective is Edgar Cardenas, Randy Kemp, Ashya Flint, Mere Martinez, Rykelle Kemp, Cristóbal Martínez, Melissa S. Rex, Devin Armstrong-Best, and Raven Kemp. As a group, these hacker-artists create indigenous electronic tools, which they use with traditional indigenous tools to perform indigenous reimagined ceremony. Through their immersive environments, comprised of moving images, tools, regalia, performance, and sound, the collective bends media to position visual and sonic metaphors that make the familiar strange.
Radio Healer is particularly interested in the seemingly ordinary semiotic systems that, when observed, become irrational, inefficient, deceptive, and contradictory. These systems encode assumptions, ideologies in discourses, and dilemmas that concretize the cultural systems that shape notions of reality. Radio Healer’s goals are to disrupt these notions by creating environments that provide audiences with opportunities to engage in a heightened sense of criticality about the systems we create, maintain, and adapt. The collective strives to mediate complexity capable of catalyzing public discourse, and to demonstrate indigenous self-determination through an indigenous knowledge systems approach to design, and uses of hacked tools for hacking semiotic systems. Through these goals, Radio Healer performs inclusive re-imagined ceremonies during which the public is invited to reflect on human exigencies and dilemmas tied to obsolescence, acceleration, warfare, borders, hyper-surveillance, land use, cybernetics, market systems, historical amnesia, hi-velocity global multi-nodal networks, and the trans-mediated market valorization of human bodies.
Radio Healer performs indigenous re-imagined ceremony with electronic and acoustic instruments. To prepare for ceremony, the collective produces software and aesthetically symbolic electronic ceremonial tools that are designed to mediate the collective’s live performances of moving images, sound and dance. The collective applies indigenous intercultural knowledge systems such as Xicana/o rasquache, Lowrider chop shop, and Native American adaptive reuse traditions for the design, construction, and practice of ceremonial tools. These traditions demonstrate appropriations and adaptations of foreign cultural artifacts and materials, as well as the use of local materials to innovate functional and aesthetic musical instrument technologies that encode Radio Healer’s indigenous worldview. The following examples were constructed through hacking via circuit-bending, appropriation, salvaging, coding, recycling, adaptive reuse, and improvisation. As they mediate visual, sonic, and discursive complexity, these implements operationalize the collective’s indigenous sovereignty—they are the Radio Healer’s self-determined adaptations of materials and tools.
Photos by Edgar Cardenas, Courtesy of Radio Healer.
Electric Breath is a screening series that traces Frankensteinian themes in film history and contemporary video and animation. From monstrous avatars struggling to thrive in, or escape from, virtual worlds to animal-headed humans narrating a drowned city, the screening presents a forecast by turns satirical, dreamy and dystopian. Works byMarina Zurkow, Claudia Hart, Eva Davidova, Takashi Murata, Carla Gannis, Edison Studios and Hilary Harp and Suzie Silver explore the parables that haunt modernity’s ongoing encounter with the seductions of technology. An outdoor screening will take place on the lawn next to University Club and an indoor series will screen inside the building in the Sky Room. For further information please visit:https://electricbreathemergeblog.wordpress.com/
The Biodesign Challenge is an annual research program and national competition that offers art and design students the opportunity to envision future applications of biotechnology. On view will be two of the winning projects: Stabilimentum is a couture mask that filters air using live spiders and the electrostatic properties of their silk. Starter Culture Kit is a biomaterials starter kit designed to introduce makers to the expansive world of biomaterials, which include bioplastics, mycelium and silk proteins, which can be propagated and shared among makers. ASU’s students will be competing next year.
Mónica Butler, Rebecca Van Sciver, Jiwon Woo
Latin for support, Stabilimentum is a couture mask that filters air using live spiders and the electrostatic properties of their silk. Inspired by the symbiotic relationship between humans and the microbiome, the fashion accessory creates a symbiosis between human and arachnid.
Gage Branda, Sarah Whelton, Jake O’Hagan, Emma Whitlock
A biomaterials starter kit designed to introduce makers to the expansive world of biomaterials, the contents of the Starter Culture kit, which include bioplastics, mycelium and silk proteins, can be propagated and shared among makers.
Edibleskin imagines a future in which fashion becomes merely an extension of the body. From growing and consuming second-skins, to grown materials extending and altering the relationship with materials on the body, to swallowable pills that cause cellulose-material to form on the surface of skin, the work uses biotechnology and biomaterials to explore an alternative future where the relation between living and non-living, things and bodies, is expanded and blurred. These speculative future rituals of self-fashioning ultimately invite critical discussion of the ways in which we shape biotechnology in relation to everyday life.
With informational weather, Cloud Services inaugurates a new eco-epistemology, new apprehensions of the air that enter into compositions with social experiences. The project is an exploration of the interwoven layers of the infosphere, from the physical and material to the biological, and to cultural – the processes through which we disseminate knowledge, communicate meaning, define our values and beliefs, while, through entanglement of human and natural processes, we physically imprinting ourselves into the materiality of the earth.
In explicit integration of computation and environment, Cloud Services points to the fact that we already have the infosphere in our atmosphere and in our stomachs. Analogous to proposals in fields of synthetic biology, geo-engineering or artificial intelligence, the Cloud Services proposal pits the engineering mindset against our gut instincts suggesting what is in principle possible, but what sounds audacious. We present it as a scenario for developing a meaningful discussion around the ethical, social and governance issues raised by planetary-scale technology deployments and direction of research and innovation. It is also a reflection on the present, on materialities of data and on natural systems conceived as information systems.
Cloud Services founders see this technology as a response to the ecological crisis, leading to an emergence of new structures of power arising from countering the ideal of speed, access on demand, and operability. With the natural channels of the biosphere becoming the physical infrastructure for transmission and storage of data, access to knowledge is reorganized, and new sets of networked relationships develop. Information arrives when the weather arrives, making the weather, once again, not incidental but essential to our lives. We tune in to the flows of the atmosphere, to the exchanges between the land an the air, to the energy transfers of the planetary system.
Cloud Services is based on research into the role that microorganisms play in the atmospheric biome, and the interactions of this biome with the land, and the weather. A field test of Cloud Services technology was done in Finnish Lapland.
At the opening of the festival the cast of EMERGE will stage a tableau vivant or ‘living picture’ based on Joseph Wright of Derby’s 1768 painting An Experiment on a Bird in an Air Pump, with each of the artists and scholars taking the role of one of the figures depicted in this classic painting of science on public display. Historical painter Rupert Nesbit will spend the rest of the evening creating a new image, with Karolina Sobecka’s air pump experiment Cloud Services at the center: An Experiment on a Cloud in an Air Pump. The original painting holds central importance in the history and sociology of science as an image that represents key figures and ideas about how knowledge is produced through scientific experimentation. The men, women and children that watch and bear witness to the experiment embody social, gender and class roles that informed Mary Shelley in her fictionalization of trends present in the science of her day—trends that continue to structure science today. This theatrical performance and painting will explore new subject positions, forms of social authority, gender expression, and divisions between expert and audience that are emerging as modern distinctions between the arts, sciences and technology begin to blur in the 21st century.
This installation consists of a series of 3 autonomous helium filled blimps whose movements are determined by small swarms of houseflies. The flies are essentially the brain of each of the devices, determining how they interact and respond to the space and the other devices. Up to 50 houseflies live within chambers attached to each blimp unit. These chambers contain food, water and light needed to keep the flies alive and active. The chambers also contain sensors that detect the changing light patterns produced by the movements of the flies. In real-time the sensors send this information to an on board microcontroller which activates motors connected to propellers which move the devices based on the predilections of the flies. The floating, wandering blimps are separate but intersecting community vehicles. The flies exist in their own self-contained and self-sustaining worlds, collectively creating an amplified and exaggerated expression of group behavior.
Kombucha, tea fermented by a symbiosis between bacteria and yeast, was touted in antiquity as an elixir of life – a panacea for countless ills. Today, we know that the microbes contained within the solution are the same species that spoil wine, beer, and contaminate preserved foods. During the fermentation process, they produce a fleshy, skin-like mass called a biofilm that protects and encapsulates the community. Just as Victor Frankenstein’s patchwork creation emerged from discarded and decaying material, so too does kombucha produce a new form of cooperative life from microbes thought to be undesirable and even dangerous. And, just like the monster from Mary Shelley’s tale, the grotesque and repulsive sight of kombucha obscures a complex, sophisticated creature within.
Can the symbiotic community of yeast and bacteria in Kombucha can help to fight off pathogens that single species of microbes cannot? At ASU’s Cooperation and Conflict Lab, Kombucha is being studied as a model system for exploring microbial resource sharing and cooperation. Led by Dr. Athen Akipnis, the Cooperation and Conflict Lab examines diverse systems including human societies, cancer in multicellular bodies, the human microbiome, and cooperative multi-species communities such as kombucha to understand the fundamental principles that are shared across systems and to discover new strategies for addressing challenges. Their goal is to better understand how this fundamental tension has shaped the evolution of life and how the management of cooperation and conflict within us (and between us) can support human health and well-being.
Visitors to the exhibition will be able to view and discuss growing vats of kombucha and to observe the system at various stages of development. They will be also invited to participate in a citizen’s science project by swabbing their palms and placing them in both plain sweet tea and kombucha and then join us online to track the pathogen progression in both samples over time.