Vardø coast (Norway) near the Steilneset Memorial
TURNING AT THE LIMITS OF THE WORLD | smudge studio | May 2014
MAKE A DELIBERATE INTENTION TO MEET FORCES THAT COMPOSE A LIMIT OF THE WORLD.
[Take this to be an obligation.]
BEFORE SETTING OUT, INVENT A PRACTICE FOR TURNING AT THE LIMITS OF THE WORLD.
[Once you arrive you will not be able to think abstractly or act directly.]
SET OUT FOR A GEOMORPHOLOGICAL EDGE.
[Do research. Find a geomorphological edge where human and nonhuman forces converge and delimit one another. Define the route, timing, mode, support, and affordances of travel. Each of these will prove to be highly consequential.]
[You will arrive for the first time only once. Feel the forces of this place for your own body/brain/mind (and not as represented in guidebooks, research, others' photos, habitual assumptions).]
RE-TUNE THE MEDIA. MAKE THEM ABLE TO SIGNAL WHAT THE FORCES OF EDGE-NESS DISCLOSE HERE.
[Choose or reinvent media on the spot—something capable of attuning to forces at play at this particular moment and edge. Use them to signal the "edge-ness" that is being delivered at this place by geomorphological materials and human and nonhuman events right now. Use the media to signal what is being disclosed here.]
LOCATE THE SITE-MOMENT OF GOING NO FURTHER.
[Collaborate with forces that are in the midst of making/remaking the limits of the world here. Sense how these forces indicate when and how they deliver limits here. Use the media and your body/brain/mind to sense when and why you will declare: "just enough" and turn.]
[Co-exist with the zero and the infinity that is your declared turning point, your human+nonhuman limit. Experience a long exposure. Like a photograph, let impressions accumulate via any means you choose.]
PERFORM THE TURN.
[This is not a defeat. Declaring "just enough" and turning at the limit is not (ever) "turning back." Rather, it is to inflect your own movement in response to addressing and being addressed by limits of this world. It is a heroic act to encounter and take in the limit of the zero—its "full stop." Your act of turning can be a ritual, it is most definitely a gesture of address to the strange stranger of the limit that is arriving here. Your turning is a highly consequential act. NOT to turn would have significant consequences. To turn has significant consequences. The only thing that you cannot do here is to live in this zero/infinity. The turning point is not liveable. It is an un-liveable state because it is always and only THE TRANSITION itself. The turning point is the trans-siting, the transit, the trans-formation. It is CHANGE ITSELF. You cannot inhabit or know the turning point. You can only pass through it. This passage is the work. It is the practice.]
RETURN A DIFFERENCE.
[It is a heroic act to encounter and take in this fact of the physical universe: to turn is to generate and live a difference. To turn is to acknowledge a limit and live by that limit—but with a generative difference. To turn at the limits is to generate potential and open the future. To turn is to perform the winding up and the letting go into difference and surprise. What is returned by this practice is a difference. A difference is the gift that your turning offers back to the world. It is a bow to the fact that the world is a continuously unfolding configuration and reconfiguration. A bow is a turn, it is a wave form. With this practice, you bow to the difference that the limits of the world make in yourself and in the world. The gesture of turning-bowing returns you to the interlocking material reality that is you+the limits of the world.]
Our “inhabitation project” spanned several locations. We sought out sites and times where forces of change are unfolding with particular intensity, palpability and exquisiteness. We inhabited built structures, landscapes, and events as "field stations" or "apertures" for observing, sensing, documenting, and creatively responding to volatile "forces of change" in play on a daily basis around us. We made observations about, and creative responses to, global forces of change as they reshaped daily live experiences and meanings.
We used the immediacy of new digital media to slow down, pay deep attention, move-with, and make-from-within edges and forces of change itself. We wagered that the lively alter-world that is in the midst of emerging right now will catch us and gesture back. Much of what we needed for this project was learned and invented along the way.
The results from our inhabitations put the projects' diverse sites into relation to one another. We offer dynamic images and stories of how unprecedented intensities, scales, and speeds of contemporary change are inflecting human daily life, imaginations, and acts of building and making. Our acts of inhabiting change allowed us to move-with some of these new directions and make something of the generative potentials they offer to designers, artists, and citizens. We attmped to create dynamic tracings of the arrival of new futures into widespread human + nonhuman cognizance.
Works that resulted from Inhabiting Change took the form of a series of linked multi-media dispatches, composed of a collaborative human + nonhuman voice with multiple and moving points of view.
Iceland: May 28-June 3
Oslo: June 4-8 (in collaboration with the Thief Hotel and AHO (Oslo School of Architecture and Design)
Tromsø: June 9-11 (in collaboration with small projects gallery)
Vardø/Kirkenes: June 12-15 (in collaboration with Pikene på Broen)
Tromsø: June 16-20 (in collaboration with small projects and Tromsø Academy of Landscape Studies and Tromsø Academy of Contemporary Art.)
Turning at the Limits of the World | 6.01.14
Pompeii Of the North: Heimaey | 6.05.14
Turning at the Limits of the Urban | Tjuholmen | 6.06.14
Practice as Passage | Steilneset Memorial Vardø | 6.13.14
Attuning to the Forces of Change | Inhabiting Change Workshop Tromsø | 6.20.14
70°N | There is no Darkness Here | 6.21.14
As guest researchers for the Future North project in the spring of 2014, smudge studio facilitated a multi-day workshop and resulting exhibition with students at the Tromsø Academy of Landscape and Territorial Studies, staged at the small projects gallery in Tromsø, during an inhabitation of the space June 17-19, 2014.
Additional collaborators in the Future North project include: the Institute of Urbanism and Landscape and the Institute of Design at AHO Oslo's Center for Design Research, with the Barents Institute as an external partner. Future North is financed by the Research Council of Norway’s SAMKUL program.