A Guide to FIBER #3 – by Katía Truijen

We know, we know – our festival programme is massive. So how to choose? We asked some of our friends to tell you which parts of the programme they are stoked about. Read the recommendations of Katía Truijen, researcher at Het Nieuwe Instituut.

Cutting up meteorites: an entry point to Prima Materia

FIBER Festival 2017 sheds light on our ongoing search for ‘prima materia’: the substance in alchemy that was said to connect everything in the cosmos. The festival program and the exhibition offers the audience the opportunity to enter a vast series of environments where contemporary ‘alchemical’ processes can be located: from the geological layer of satellites circling above our head, the London Metal Exchange and a mineral sciences laboratory to grains of sand as storage material.

Your visit to the exhibition could start on the level of a speculative forest. Terra0 by Paul Seidler, Paul Kolling and Max Hampshire is a ‘self owning augmented forest’ based on blockchain technology. The project presents a scenario whereby a piece of land, augmented through automated processes, utilitizes itself and accumulates capital, based on the calculated market value of the output of the land. In this scenario, the forest could eventually buy itself, and even buy more ground to expand.

From the augmented forest, you could continue your visit with Stones by the collective Quadrature: an alternative memory device made of granite, which is of one of the longest-lasting materials. This ‘deep time’ storage system will secure the data for tens of thousands of years. In their other work Satelliten, the collective zooms out to the level of lower earth orbit: satellite activities are translated to a live drawing of their trajectories on maps that slowly disappear under the black traces.

Back on earth, you can zoom in all the way to the atomic level in Where Shapes Come From by the collective Semiconductor. The film brings you to a mineral sciences laboratory at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History, where a scientist cuts up large meteorites and prepares mineral samples for scientific study.

The artists’ search for ‘prima materia’ offers an entry point to explore and rethink our position within these interconnected, sometimes speculative environments on different scales. The festival as a cosmos where human, material and algorithmic perception coexist, and where new relations may be formed.