Gold Lines Are Mineral Veins | Ben Freeth


Gold Lines Are Mineral Veins 

// Overview

A multichannel installation featuring sonified & lumified data logs (including bio-data) from mine explorations (revisited Victorian lead and fluorite works), UV fluorite crystals, uranium ore, crude oil from Mining Institute archive materials. The work was coded in SuperCollider and created in collaboration with Sean Cotterill. It was presented on 18.10.14 at Occasion Festival, Mining Institute, Newcastle-upon-Tyne.

// Installation

The audio-visual installation was built to highlight the vast networks that humans have carved out underground, to explore the process of archivisation, and to examine oscillations between Deep Time and the Anthropocene. Responding to the Mining Institute (MI) archive and map library bio-data and environmental data logs were collected from visits to mine workings in the North East of England. These were then used to create sound and visuals directly from the data by inputting them into custom code written using SuperCollider. The resulting field of sound was composed of floating clouds of oscillators moving within a spherical eight channel sphere within the installation. The fluorescent elements of the minerals and ore flicker and pulsate under two frequencies of UV light, creating, complex harmonics and spatial placement directly visualising the data logs as light.

“The sonic effect is not unlike ambient music, but one not simply featuring melody, harmony, or synthetic drones, but a sort of mathematical expression of the planet’s inner data. Listening to the sound, one can’t help but imagine the Earth constantly sending out vibrations that scientists, musicians, and artists are only now transforming into music for the human ear. The fluorescent visuals, on the other hand, remind us of the luminescent qualities in Earth’s organic life and inorganic materials, which are artworks in and of themselves.”

// Abstract

Our research draws on the notion of a technologically reinvigorated ”archival impulse”. We report on our experiences developing a data driven multichannel sound art work responding to the Mining Institute (MI) archive. We look at the development of a new set of methods involving “Revisitation” and “Metrical Ritual” that use wearable data loggers to record bio, locative and environmental data. We explore how these methods can be used to rediscover lost and displaced information and make it physically present again through the use of sonification and lumification techniques developed with SuperCollider. These explorations take place through field research and the development of custom sonification software to make recovered information physical as part of a sound art work. Reflecting on our practice we survey and discuss the emerging thematics of our work: Revisitation, recovering lost detail, technologically augmented ritual, deep time, data as a medium and assemblage.We argue that the artwork is more than just the sum of its parts presented as the installation piece, rather it is the total assemblage and reassemblage of the human, the non-human actants, the relations, and the flows between them that form the whole of the project. This constitutes the artwork in and of itself.



Ben Freeth
µtopia and Culture Lab, Newcastle University

Ben Freeth is an artist, musician, researcher, and lecturer whose work is a neologic spasm on the precipice of conceptualisation… it is semi-hollow, a semi-empty container that is ready, awaiting received meaning. Semantic escape routes precipitate the future through collective modes of sensation and perception. He uses data (bio, locative, environmental, solar, body weather / space weather), data logging, networked technologies, sonification, prototype electronics and marine algae to create both installations and contemporary sonic rituals enabling connections and encounters with non-humans and darker more beautiful realities.
Freeth’s musical performances and installations, current and past include:BIO-VORTEX (Bio-Illuminating The Vortex)WRECK ONE, Orkney Is., Scotland // London Dive Chamber (Hyperbaric Chamber), Westminster, London, UKSTREAMS OF DEEP TIME, RIVERS OF THE ANTHROPOCENE, Northumberland, UKDUBIOUS ONTOLOGIES, Siccar Point, ScotlandGOLD LINES ARE MINERAL VEINS, Occasion Festival, Newcastle, UKCONSOLIDATOR, Betagrams (Thinking Digital Conference), Newbridge Gallery, UKMESHWORKS, Designing Interactive Systems 2014, Vancouver, CanadaPSYCHOHELIOPHYSICS // SUN TONGS, Piksel13, Bergen, NorwaySKULL KONTROL, Render11, Culture Lab, Newcastle University.
He also runs “Unpitch” an ongoing series of experimental music events at Culture Lab, Newcastle University.