not quite themselves
In summer 2021 I was living and working in the Untersberger marble quarry near Salzburg, Austria for one month as part of a residency. The quarry is still in operation, so large blocks of marble were mined and hauled away every day. After business hours I was able to wander around, touching and inspecting the marble blocks and walls.
I felt small and finite walking through massive stone that had developed over thousands of years, and was being sawn down in hours. I didn’t feel the need to sculpt the blocks; the block of white matter in-front of me felt far too valuable. Instead, I continued to go on my walks through the quarry, tracing cracks in the walls towering over me with the tips of my fingers, observing the enormous variety in structure, color tones and patterns. Walking on the marble chips and pebbles, I imagined myself stepping slowly on shiny marble floors. I was drawn between the marketability of the perfect, shiny satisfactory surfaces and the leftovers, the marble rubble, material riddled with cracks. I felt the need to fill and highlight the cracks, to draw attention to the part of the quarry that was not marketable. I choose a compostable mixture of powdered sugar and beetroot juice to rub and squish into the cracks.
At the end of the residency as part of the “open door” exhibition, the attentive observer could find my markings running like red veins through the flesh-colored rock while walking through the quarry.
In the animation „Superdistribution“, the appearance of a digital rock materiality is modeled while haptics dissolve into streams of data. The process of generating raw materials is digitally simulated here. A „fracturing tool“ calculates the work process in an endless loop, a cycle without any obvious human intervention. I worked with „open source“ rock textures and excerpts from the list of trade names of natural stones. Associative designations such as „Apricot“ or „Dark Coffee“ identify the natural material stone as a marketable lifestyle product, which is underlined by the visual effects of the digital medium.
The rocks range in size and form.
After business hours I wander through the quarry, touching and inspecting the marble blocks and walls.
I am drawn between the marketability of the perfect, shiny satisfactory surfaces and the leftovers, the marble rubble, material riddled with cracks.
Walking on the marble chips and p e b b l e s, I imagine myself stepping slowly on shiny marble floors.
I continue to go on my exploration tours, tracing cracks in the walls towering over me with the tips of my fingers, observing the enormous variety in structure, color tones and patterns.
Markings running like red veins through the flesh-colored rock.
I feel small and finite strolling through massive rock that had developed over thousands of years, and is being sawn down in hours.
The block of white matter in-front of me feels far to valuable.
The ro ck was split by frost or by legend.
I slip and hit my head on the edge.
No longer fully n a t u r a l.
No longer there but not quite here.
Domesticated nature, they are not quite themselves.
1In general usage a stone is a small rock. Geologists consider a rock to be a mineral aggregate existing in nature. Stones are the same material but altered by people.
2Stone walls are made from rocks. Stones are rocks altered by human hands and intention. A rock garden is made of stones trying to pass for nature.