Transmission+Interference: DUST

‘APEIRON […] a shapeless, formless, limitless mass from which everything more specific emerges’ (Harman, G. 2018)

Some thoughts from transmission+interference: dust workshop at ISEA2019 Gwangju, South Korea… Thanks to Eric Patten, Nicky Assmann, Josh Gumiela, Andrew Brown, Pa Yeon Yang, Sagar Patel.

Sprinkling of dust: shake and distribute with vibration

Fans to shape, move, blow dust particles. Blow dust up and leave to fall back down with gravity. Fine, light particles that float in air.

Time: the gradual build up of dust over long periods of time. Where does it collect? How could we experience this?

Dust – moisture – dirt: particles slowly descending, floating in liquid.

Space dust / smart dust…

Domain Shifts

‘Domain shift’ – a phrase coined by Richard Sennett in ‘The Craftsman’ is useful to explain the the movement of skills and ideas within a workshop environment. Sennett uses it to explain how a tool designed for one purpose becomes used for another – a form of appropriation and certainly seems linked to the practices of making, breaking and hacking in the field of contemporary technological arts. The domain shift also enables the movement of knowledge to cross borders (Sennett describes geographical / political domains here) and I would think that the switch from one use to another is precisely how something shifts across borders. Different cultures re-shaping the tools experienced elsewhere to fit their needs. How does the border of the domain shift become experienced across the small, localised space of the workshop? Within these spaces objects and materials are bent and appropriated to alternative needs suggested by participants and materials themselves. The impact from the form of one object or thing being shifted in its domain to act differently knocks on to the neighbouring objects and things. This resonance throughout the workshop is made of domain shifts and as the workshop physically and mentally adjusts to accommodate appropriated materials.

Collective Agency

The workshop is an assemblage of different carriers of information and knowledge. If the ‘master’ of the workshop is removed from the hierarchy of the workshop, how do we access the starting point or identify the aims of the workshop? Can noise be an effective method to expose an area to follow in a workshop? The clash of information from each carrier in the workshop links or rejects or folds into each other to develop points of interest – peak areas where knowledge is enhanced and increased from the multiple inputs or troughs of knowledge where there are gaps, spaces of lack of knowledge. This is built from the participants and the materials in the workshop and forms a collective agency in the workshop. This would not exist without the combination of people, objects and information and through that, a workshop is then a great method for moving through areas of difficulty in learning and helping to find point of collective interest. Through Bennett’s Vibrant Materialism and Harman’s OOO we are aware of the agency in things but this is not just then between things. Things have agency with humans and vice versa – a collective agency realising the potential in all information carriers within the workshop space.

Workshop Flows

Territorial, deterritorialisation, reterritorialisation, striated space, displacement, planes… Deleuze and Guattari and workshop spaces. The movement of information across the workshop, the chaos, the organisation, the flows, the resonance, the dissonance. How are territories defined in workshops? How is knowledge territorialized within objects, materials and humans? What are the carriers of information across a workshop? Guattari’s Schizoanalytic Cartographies and D&G’s The Refrain. Influenced by Guattari’s diagrams, it would be interesting to draw out the flows of information across a workshop – the directions, the loops, the levels / layers, the nodes – the structure of a workshop. Specific to a workshop of noise where it is likely to involve less linear flows towards a final, realised product. The point of interest / knowledge would be embedded, knotted in the tangled structure with possible connections to all other areas of the workshop – rhizome-esque connections. Just as noise is nomadic across the tools of performance within the workshop – knowledge is too spread across the workshop at its own speed, creating its own paths and dealing with interferences throughout. Time to explore the space of the workshop – as striated or smooth – the plateau. Back to the original aims at the start of the research investigating the topology of workshop flows.

Collaboration – D.I.W.O?

D.I.Y, D.I.W.O, D.I.T – essential methodologies for considering when developing the workshops. How does D.I.W.O share space with collaboration? Is doing something with a group of others a collaboration or is it something else? With a focus on the importance of objects and materials what is the limit of ‘others’? When we engage with objects at a level of vibrancy then they are equally, if not more, as important to the mix of skills, ideas, techniques. The objects are as much part of the noise in the workshop than the ‘other’ participants. They disturb and create ruptures in the flow of knowledge by offering certain usage and challenge the users to re-think their use. These ruptures are developed through necessity of knowing how they should work – levels of knowledge are required in order to power a DC motor and we can learn about that object once we can use it. The error of attaching a power source the wrong way around delivers new knowledge about the way a DC motor functions. This can then be applied to further workshops but the initial error emerges through noise in the workshop. Are we then in collaboration with a DC motor, a battery, some wire and other workshop participants?


Workshops… how do we move away from the clinical and repetitive working methods of Fordist production lines? By clearly messing with order, how can we still learn and teach via workshops? How do we move away from the master of the workshop? Is it useful to move away from this position? Auctoritas – the Latin word for someone who inspires fear and awe and, therefore, submission. The original workshop owner (Medieval) would command this position – one of authority in order to control the workshop space and the workers within. A position of hierarchy, an established structure. How can we move to a workshop space of noise and chaos? Introduce a heterarchichal structure, flatten the approach to new knowledge. Hannah Arendt introduces the concept of natality as a point where acting together can produce the unexpected. Is there still a sense of community around workshops and participants as we shape the ground in which the work takes place to develop more noisy approaches and attempt to become more heterarchical? What are the political implications of the modern, noisy, chaotic workshop? Are there roots within the open source community? How is the knowledge disseminated? How is the knowledge archived / is it important to archive this knowledge? Is there a power in the ephemeral workshop (pop-up) that leaves no trace? Ephemeral / Ethereal Workshops.


‘[Hyperobjects] present us with viscous surfaces from which nothing can be forcibly peeled. There is no Away on this surface, no here and no there.’ [Timothy Morton, Hyperobjects, p. 31]

… we have everywhere? or are we left with nowhere? Exploring the wooden surface and structure of nails of the elastic band drone machine can the viscous nature of sound across this surface be creative / be performative?


Transduction of sound through materials is, through process, exploring the viscous nature of materiality. Sound sticks or travels across, speeds up or slows down, repels, repeats and folds because of the materials, the frequency and the interaction between them.

Is dust the expression of this viscosity? What is emergent from viscous sound materials?

‘Light itself is the viscous thing of all, since nothing can surpass its speed.’ [Timothy Morton, Hyperobjects, p. 32] How is the viscous nature of light changed by using light to transmit sound? Is sound then just as viscous as light. Connections to Deleuze discussing light within pleats of matter in The Fold.

Hyperobjects are viscous. Dust is a hyperobject. Dust is viscous. A viscous sound performance of dust and vibration – suggests low frequency extremes. Build a system of drone devices, viscous drone devices, or dusty viscous drones.


Emergence, interaction, expression, affect, potential, tendencies, capacities. What is happening when a vibration motor is attached to a power source and forces the movement of another physical property (elastic band or metal wire)? The motor can turn an unbalanced mass at a variable speed when attached to power and control (potentiometer, Arduino). This turning motion has the capacity to send waves across fields of nearby objects – the turning motion itself is a tendency of the vibration motor. The tendency is emergent from the motor due to the interaction of the parts that produce it as well as the addition of voltage. Addition? Are ‘addition’ and ‘subtraction’ emergent properties? Spin the motor fast enough or place it in an environment of extreme high temperature and other tendencies will emerge, flowing as liquid metal from the motor. The motor only has the potential to vibrate objects if other objects susceptible to those forces actually exist. Interaction and maybe intra-action at play in the objects inner workings.



The open circuits of the earth pre-date those closed metallic structures of wire, metals, resistors, capacitors and signal. [Parikka] Signal is, of course, naturally in and of the Earth and the approach of psychogeophysics embraces this earth signal (Earth Sound Earth Signal – Douglas Kahn) to open back up the connection between us and earth. This has been occurring in the field of sonic arts since mid-twentieth century – exploring materials and their sonic properties / acoustics as well as the wider fields of electromagnetism. The South West has a history of extracting the metals of the earth – the soil is electromagnetically rich with copper – ripe for earth circuit practices. Inspired by Martin Howse’s Earth Computing – the copper in the soil investigated through probing for potential sonic interference. Need to re-read Graham Harwood’s short text, along with Raqs Collective, ‘Aluminium’ [2008]. The earth has the signal and dirt (dust) and decay and life for developing next stages of practical work. Copper is essential for the creation of D.I.Y solar cells for light measurement and modulated signal reception – the earth measures. The work begins to move to acknowledge the anthropocene in a direct way. METALLURGY.

Read – Parikka, Kahn, Howse, Harwood, Morton, Bryant, Deleuze, Bennett

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