Oddkin, Companion Species and String Figures

Today after a brief discussion of the Ocean of Noise podcast, we are looking at a few of the many media art/art projects with environmental themes, especially projects that involve companion species (oddkin) in some way, or resonate with Donna Haraway’s idea of string figures.

Please follow the links, watch the videos, click through the images. Treat this like a one hour twenty minute visit to art gallery, scroll down to see all the links, spend time with the things that interest you more, skim over the things that interest you least.

Oceans of Noise podcast

Episode 1 – notice the three part structure of the first episode

  • Intro beginning -> minute 3:25 Chris Watson introduces himself and the issues he will raise in the podcast
    • Segue ~3:25->~4:35 Collage of voices ~ minute
  • Part 1 ~ 4:35 -> ~12:50 scientific information about sound and hearing systems in air and in water, delivered in major interview with Lucille Chapuis
    • Segue to part 2, music, VO, whale sound
  • Part 2 ~13 -> ~23 interview with Asha deVoss,
    • story about her introduction to working with whales
    • story about blue whale poop -> oxygen
  • Part 3 ~23-> ~32:30 final interview with Chris Clark on whale’s mapping the ocean and their social networks
  • Outro ~32:30-> end summary “Man made noise pollution is having a significant impact on marine life” and next episode preview.

This structure is very similar to the three act structure of a play or movie. The structure helps keep people’s attention. The intro gives an overview and context. The voice collage perks interest. The hard science is in act one, when we are least tired. Part 2 rewards our attention to the more complicated science with engaging stories. Like a play or movie there is a climax – here the poop story towards the end of act 2. Part three wraps everything up and combines scientific information and story-telling.

Things to think about:

  • How can complicated scientific information be best encapsulated in media?
  • Can the cycle from whale poop to the oxygen you breathe be considered a string figure?

Episode 2 – introduces acoustic artists Jana Winderen. You can find more of her work if you search for her on You Tube, but below is a 5 minute excerpt

Episide 3 – introduces Markus Reymann and his organization TBA21-Academy, at minute 15 Reymann suggests the art space is crucial for imagining the future of the planet. What do you think?

Companion Species (Oddkin)

Chris Jordan, Midway
Chris Jordan, Midway

Haraway introduces the concept of oddkin, the need for us to make unusual connections with other species as we confront current environmental issues. Look through the projects below. Which of them fit the concept of oddkin, which don’t, why?

String figures

Haraway uses string figures as an idea or metaphor to think with. She writes, “Relays, string figures, passing patterns back and forth, giving and receiving patterns, holding the unasked for patterns in your hands …” p12

The projects below play with patterns, making patterns, and trying to make new patterns out of something unwanted.

Tomas Saraceno:

Orquesta de Instrumentos Reciclados de Cateura

Marina DeBris

Marina Debris, Trashion

Yao Lu – Landscapes