Becoming Planetary

Image courtesy They Are Here
They Are Here, Becoming Planetary (2019)
Audio, 5 min
 
Commissioned as part of Towards the Planetary Commons, this new soundwork by collaborative practice They Are Here comprises field recordings sourced online. The original recordings could be loosely grouped as documents of extractive processes, domestic activities, meteorological activity and detections of radioactive or seismic processes. These include high speed drilling in an oilfield, an oxy-acetylene torch firing up, a tree chopped down, radiation counters and wind across tundra. The work is temporally structured around the Fibonacci Sequence. . . in which the next number is found by adding up the two numbers before it e.g. 0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13. . . A sequence that recurs in nature and can be observed in branching trees, the arrangement of a pine cone or leaves on a stem.
 
One starting point is the text, Becoming Planetary by Jennifer Gabrys; which references and builds upon the ‘planetary’ as articulated by Gayatri Spivak and Sylvia Wynter. Gabrys writes: “The planetary can be a different figure for undoing the totality of globes and globality. Rather than bringing the Earth into view as a total object, as is often discussed through the figure of Earthrise, the planetary remains that which cannot be fixed or settled. The planetary resists representation.” This work proposes the application of fractured, structured, sound as a means of resisting the technocratic imaginary of the ‘global’. 
 
Becoming Planetary forms part of Towards the Planetary Commons, on view at Arts Catalyst’s London Centre from 23 May – 3 August 2019.
 
They Are Here (f.2006)  is a collaborative practice steered by Helen Walker & Harun Morrison. They are currently based in London and on the River Lea. Their work can be read as a series of context specific games. The entry, invitation or participation can be as significant as the game's conditions and structure. Through these games, they seek to create ephemeral systems and temporary, micro-communities that offer an alternate means of engaging with a situation, history or ideology. They Are Here work across media and types of site, particularly civic spaces. Institutions they have developed or presented work include: CCA Glasgow, Grand Union, Konsthall C, Southbank Centre, South London Gallery, Studio Voltaire, STUK and Tate Modern.