scanner erster prototyp  

In the English notion of 'interface' not only two surfaces meet but also two faces. Two different bodies, worlds, normally separate entities, come together, turn towards one another, mesh, and by doing so generate something else. Interfaces are dramatic places. Places of difference between one thing and the other.

The interfaces which Agnes Meyer-Brandis develops on her research raft are artefacts of secret listening and voyeuristic watching. They are interfaces to worlds usually hidden or deliberately concealed from us: lovely subterranean coral reefs which according to the artist and head of the research institute do not only exist at the bottom of the sea or in special caves on the coast, but can be ubiquitous and migrate incessantly. As nomadic accumulations of coelenterates with calcium carbonate skeletons, they are able to spread and settle at all subterranean locations where there are large quantities of water. Such potential worlds require special protection and special care. As shadows of the visible terrestrial world they are incredibly more beautiful than tangible reality. Yet this is also why they are in constant danger. In their efforts to humanize the little which has not been humanized yet, inhabitants of the earth increasingly intervene – equipped with the language and instruments for the job – in the potential worlds around them, making them a part of their own reality, which means oppressing, subjugating, absorbing and even destroying them.
This is why the interfaces which Agnes Meyer-Brandis has developed have a special grace and are not intruders. They have a medial character. They are search devices for potential worlds, sensitive extensions for our sensory organs, without which the mundus subterraneus – that underground world which more than 350 years ago Athanasius Kircher was searching for in the triangle of volcanoes formed by Mount Etna, Stromboli and Mount Vesuvius – would remain inaccessible and so entirely unknown. Kircher went about this like an astronomer who has turned his gaze inwards. Kircher did not direct his gaze at the mysterious phenomena of planetary systems, stellar populations or galaxies, but at subterranean fires, eruptions and shifts. The stethoscopes and ear trumpets, screens and optical channels developed at the Institute for Reefology are thus to be seen as probes of a reversed astronomy, as fine mareonomic instruments.

The core-sample scanner for tracking down and exploring the lives of elves in these subterranean reefs, developed specifically for the Earth Core Laboratory in Linz, is a particularly beautiful example of a soft interface. It works by touch only on the user’s page, though without the objects under observation being touched themselves or feeling they might be assaulted; it is extremely reduced in scale, quite inconspicuous, and thus in sharp contrast with the lush worlds for whose discovery and exploration it serves as an instrument.

(Siegfried Zielinski)

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