The Black Ribbon project began as an extended conversation about the way in which we experience non-organic events that surround us, and how that understanding might affect attitudes towards such actions and the climate we find ourselves inhabiting and inhibiting.
Can a posthuman approach to land, sea, and air help to inform a better understanding of the environment? Can it help reframe an understanding of, and place within, the ongoing threat of irreversible climate change? Can such reframing help to effect positive action in the challenge to counter anthropogenic effects?
This project is a personal creative search for a posthuman understanding of the world, it is explored to discover and look beyond an egocentric perspective of existence.
Project development so far:
2020 – 2022
A series of photographic and video research elements given the working umbrella title ‘Sky Wire’. Explorations of visually and conceptually contrasting a large Short Wave Radio Antenna (a long straight wire hung in free space, used to transmit and receive radio waves) against the ever-changing backdrop of visual atmospheric phenomena we know as the sky. A natural tableau set against a simple yet brutalist human mark – a straight line; technology and the ether within the same composition, each affecting one another. A challenging relationship; the wire is moved by the wind, as barely perceptible rhythm or violently shifting in a storm. Clear sky divided by a static drawn line, or racing, thunderous clouds intruded by visual and physical interference from a moving, human made object. During the period of exploration, audio recordings of radio transmissions from distant countries were made at the same time as visual recording. Human messages of propaganda, culture, religion and human interest are received by the wire, messages intended to affect temporal spaces.
Radio is a well-established technology, it still surrounds and penetrates our being, every moment of existence from birth to death we inhabit a world of radio waves. It is a technology out of sight yet very much a part of global culture.
The relationship between the wire and the sky asks questions (to me) of humanism and posthumanism. My prior humanist principles challenged to observe and reflect upon other possibilities.
From video ‘Sky Wire’ © Richard Brooks 2020
Walking (from Project Notes, September 2022)
“I move through the landscape. I imagine systems of movement beyond my immediate senses, around me yet out of sight or sound. The wind flows over and around me as I negotiate the landform, as much a variable to the land as I am. It is no more or no less important to the landscape than I am. The wind’s agency to erode, to propagate, to change – is as important as mine.”
Images from research explorations © Richard Brooks 2022
Observing. Listening. Reconnecting. (from Project Research notes, September – November 2022)
Rosi Bradiotti Posthuman Knowledge
“To become posthuman means to affirm the potential of a radical change, a deep mutation of the ontological grounds of our existence. We become-with the world, coextensive with nature because we are constituted by it. We become world because we are part and parcel of the living cosmos, one knot in an open-ended network of interconnections and interdependencies.” (Braidotti, 2013, p. 36)
Observing. Connecting with non-human and non-organic elements. Discovering anew.
Images from Observation – photos by Richard Brooks © Richard Brooks 2022
Recording Non-Organic Agency in the Field
Seeking the Psithurisma. Object creation. Facilitating acts of non-organic activity for recording, audio and visual.
Test video © Richard Brooks 2022
Time, Site and Object
Time and place, object and non-object.
Photos © Richard Brooks 2022
Video still © Richard Brooks 2022