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Tentacular Resonances at Generator Projects, Dundee

Louise Mackenzie uses sound and new media to explore our entangled relationship with lively materials.  For Tentacular Resonances, Mackenzie is taking over Generator for one week to develop an experimental new work that explores the material relationship between resonance and form. Using DIY technology, copper, blown glass, clay and local seawater, Mackenzie is constructing a network of lively vessels that will connect to a central ‘organ’. When approached, sensors in the peripheral vessels impart signals that resonate beneath the central organ. Although not scientifically calculated, this resonance is theoretically sufficient to allow DNA exchange amongst the micro-organisms naturally occurring in the seawater through a process known as horizontal gene transfer. The more that the peripheral vessels are stimulated, the more likely genetic information will be transferred between organisms, thus through cultural interaction, life may be transformed.


Resonant Vessels Workshop

Wednesday 29 August, 10:00 – 17:00


This one-day experimental workshop is aimed at anyone with an interest in sound and intuitive making practices - no previous experience is necessary.


Louise Mackenzie will lead a workshop exploring relationships between material and sound in the context of our cultural entanglement with the environment. The workshop is part of her ongoing research on finding ways to relate to unseen yet lively material, drawing from the writing of political theorist Jane Bennett, feminist science theorist Donna Haraway and evolutionary biologist, Lyn Margulis. The focus of the workshop is what Mackenzie describes as lively material: the smallest elements associated with life – DNA, viruses, single cells - not commonly considered alive, yet possessed of a capacity to act. Our connections to these smallest motes of life are present all around us, yet imperceptible. Through sound and performative action, Mackenzie attempts to focus our attention on these connections.


Water, a fluid that connects us all, teems with lively material. We will take a trip to the river to collect water and other locally sourced materials, which we will bring back to the gallery and use to generate soundscapes. 


In the gallery, we will use a variety of methods to develop sounds from the materials collected. Please bring with you a means to record sounds- your mobile phone will do. We will work with our voices and other recorded sounds we collect on our trip and we will use custom-built software to convert material into sound, including the Genophone: DNA-to-speech translation software designed and developed by Louise and Étienne de Crécy, image-to-sound conversion software, Photosounderand data-to-sound technology, Midi-Sprout. With the materials we have collected we will also make touch-sensitive objects that will enable us to relay our recordings to a central structure that will gently vibrate a vessel of water, potentially transforming the life within.


Tentacular Resonances – Gallery Takeover

Thursday 30 - Friday 31 August, 10:00 – 17:00


On Thursday, workshop participants are invited to return to the gallery to join in assembling and testing their resonant vessels as part of the wider tentacular network. The network will remain in the gallery, open to the public on Thursday and Friday, where visitors to the gallery can connect with the vessels, encouraging transformation of the lively material within the central structure. 


Tentacular Resonances - Performance

Friday 31 August, 16:00


The week will conclude with an improvised performance where Mackenzie invites you to join her in releasing a portion of water back to its source, symbolically committing to our inescapable cultural entanglement with the wider environment. 


Louise Mackenzie is a UK based artist working across new media, sound, video, performance and installation. Through process-based and performative practice, she considers the relationship between concept and material, manifesting in works that explore themes of production, waste, the posthuman and nonhuman.   Louise has a PhD from BxNU Institute of Contemporary Artand is a member of Northumbria University's fine art research group: The Cultural Negotiation of Science. Her work has been shown nationally and internationally, including Pomona College (California), Summerhall (Edinburgh), Photo España (Madrid), Basement 6 Collective (Shanghai), BALTIC39 (Newcastle) and Lumiere (Durham).

Tentacular Resonances is supported by The NewBridge Project, Newcastle and Generator, Dundee.

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