Horologic Solum is a case study and exploration into media memory, its configurative logic, materiality, cultural functionality and the information that gets stored on it, distorted, decayed and reinterpreted. The piece is the first experiment in a series of works that interrogates archival media modes in thinking about communication technologies and how they may transform and translate across expansive stretches of space and time. Using the NASA Golden Record as an artifact of human civilization, the contents of the records are run through a “system of decay”, as meaning and memory dissolve. The installation consists of two tables each with a tape machine, a timer clock, and a cassette tape running system. As the tapes cycle through the installation, its materiality is eaten away, that process sonified as content is destroyed and silenced. The clock keeps steady count of the time elapsed until the media dies. Lived experiences and gained wisdoms distill into collective memory and culture, residue that we race to memorialize and archive before they are forgotten. The price of forgetting can be dangerous and even fatal at times. As the Golden Record fades away into the distance and away from our recollection, we ask: What is it that needs to be preserved and passed on?

There are 5 layers of time in the piece. 

  • The time of the original Golden Record for the voyager when it was first created in the 70s. It was a cultural snapshot of our own perception of human culture.

  • The time of the 20th anniversary reproduction of the Golden Record, as cultural repercussion of the original artifact. 

  • The time of the tape deck machine, or machine time, which is the innate time of the medium. Throughout the show we are recording as the count of loops run before the tape breaks.

  • The time of the performance, from the beginning of the playing of the recording to the moment that the tape breaks, which we are recording in seconds.

  • And finally, the time and space in which the audience exists in, the exhibition time, in which we recorded on the little packages that will be used to collect the remnants of the tapes at the end of the show.

This installation was created in collaboration with Benjamin Bacon. This piece was commissioned by the Shenzhen Science, Technology and Arts (STArts) Festival in 2020.

Installation view of piece. Shenzhen Science, Technology and Arts (STArts) Festival, 2020-2021.

Details of installation. Shenzhen Science, Technology and Arts (STArts) Festival, 2020-2021.

Shenzhen Science, Technology and Arts (STArts) Festival, 2020-2021 Official Exhibition Video.

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