Have just returned from two international electronic literature conferences- MIX 2017 at BathSpa university in the UK, and ELO 2017 in Porto, Portugal. Brilliant and really stimulating fortnight hearing from and sharing with international theorists and practitioners. What a treat it was to meet the gracious and formidable theorist Johanna Drucker who mentioned, among many other things, the Getty Museum’s recent major exhibition on The Art of Alchemy, and her review of this exhibition in the LA Review of Books.
Drucker writes of the ‘pastness of the present’ and the ‘beautiful, wondrous’ richness of alchemical imagery and cosmology, drawing parallels with contemporary ‘allegories of quantum connections across space-time and of the genetic code twisted in a helix’. Brilliant to read such a thoughtful engagement with alchemy as both cosmology and protoscience. Link to the article and exhibition below.
The Entire Earthly, Natural, and Dark Man, 1723. From Johann Georg Gichtel, Theosophia Practica [Practical Theosophy] (Leiden, 1723), pl. before p. 25. 2611-134
Here are the login details for the Porto experiment for The Alchemists’s Guide to the City, which is based at the Mosteiro da Sao Bento da Victoria and ends up at the lookout at the end of the street.
Explore the city through the eyes of the alchemists, and discover the enigmas present in the world – and the ether – that surrounds us.
A few app screens…
As science upends our understanding of the cosmos through the discovery of dark energy and dark matter, the world becomes mysterious again. The Alchemist’s Guide to the City is a walked experience exploring alchemy as an engagement with the nature of the cosmos, and where the speculative notions of the medieval alchemist/philosophers are used as a filter for the contemporary world. Explore the city through the eyes of the alchemists, and discover the enigmas present in the world – and the ether – that surrounds us.
An experimental version of this project will be presented at ELO 2017 in Porto, Portugal, crafted for the Mosteiro de São Bento da Vitória and surrounding streets. The building- previously a Benedictine monastery- is located on the Rua de São Bento da Vitória.
Mostreiro de São Bento da Vitória – exterior
Mosteiro de São Bento da Vitória
Yes, I’ve been quiet. It’s been an intense year, but now making room for a new work which has been bubbling away in the background for some time. Researching dark energy, dark matter, and its relationship to ‘quintessence’.
As explorations in quantum physics speculate on the nature of dark energy and its mysterious role in the composition and expansion of the universe, scientists have revived the arcane alchemical term, ‘quintessence’ – medieval philosophy’s enigmatic ‘fifth element’ – to describe this hypothetical fifth dynamical component permeating the universe. This project begins to explore the intriguing intersections suggested by the renewed scientific use of the term.
The Alchemist’s Guide to the City is a locative narrative project in which the speculative ideas central to the theories of the medieval alchemist/philosophers – notably Bruno, Fludd & Ficino – are revisited and used as a filter for imaginatively experiencing the contemporary world. Delivered as a locative mobile phone experience, audiences use their smartphones to walk the city and explore the nature of reality through the proto-scientific, poetic and magically infused lens of the alchemists. Alchemy, cosmology and locative narrative. Coming in 2017.
For information on Notes for Walking locative narrative/ locative media app, please visit http://www.creativecultural.com/meganheyward/?page_id=667 and http://www.creativecultural.com/notesforwalking/
Notes for Walking, locative artwork, mobile app and installation.
For information on The Secret Language of Desire electronic literature app for iPads, please visit… https://secretlanguagedesire.com/
The next AR meetup is on again next Monday 6pm in Sydney at Deloitte’s in Grosvenor Place. These are casual networking events for people interested in latest dev in AR & VR, run by Scott OBrien. More details or to sign up here.
It’s been a busy couple of weeks as I’ve just travelled to Bergen, Norway for ELO 2015; a major conference and exhibition on Electronic Literature. Secret Language was exhibited as one of the curated electronic literature works, where projects were exhibited in several locations around Bergen, including the Bergen University Library from which these photos are taken. It was a great launch – every artist briefly spoke about their work; and then the conference attendees raced to interact and experience the projects and talk to the artists. It was jam packed, I only had a moment to grab a few photos in between speaking to people and showing the work. A wonderful experience to share the Secret Language of Desire with an international audience – thank you Copyright Agency Career Fund for your support in helping me to attend this important international conference and exhibition!!
Megan Heyward introduces The Secret Language of Desire at ELO artist talk in Bergen, Norway, Aug 5 2015.
Reading and triggering objects and sounds from Secret Language at ELO 2015
Reading and experiencing Secret Language of Desire at ELO 2015
Crowding around the iPad projects at ELO 2015 in Bergen, Norway.
Library Director at the exhibition opening of ELO 2015
Attendees at Bergen Uni library using elit projects