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Exposure: Understanding Living in Extreme Environments
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This installation deploys materials and data from the forensic examination of soils, to explore human responses to environmental change. Soils record are investigated and revealed in different perspectives.

With reference to southern Greenland and a time-depth of over a thousand years, the installation manipulates images and data.

The work offers context and potential validation about change and the rate of change of the extreme environments of Greenland, evidenced through scientific analysis of landscapes and translated, in a process of critical evaluation, into audio-visual materials.


Soils are an essential source of, and sink for, materials used to sustain basic human existence by providing nutrients for plant growth and receiving material inputs as wastes or fertilizers. Soils subjected to such inputs may retain the imprint of these activities. This imprint, commonly microscopic, can show how societies managed their surrounding landscapes.

Soils can act as a record of past cultural activities; the examination of such cultural soils forms the major element of the installation.

Data obtained from the soil imaging is used as a source for generative audio and visual exploration: photomicrographs (and related contextual images) are processed and animated, and environmental sound recordings, in conjunction synthesized materials, are subject to real-time granular processing and dynamic filtering.


The installation seeks to convey the cultural imprints left by societal responses to change. By examining a context with a long-term cultural history, a narrative develops. Data from scientific analysis provide functions to the narrative, in that they are indices to both landscape and human conditions. These data may connote actions either anthropogenic or environmental.

The narrative emerges from the exploration of data, in which a sequence of actions is deduced from functional descriptions of physical objects, that are in turn offered for evaluation and exploration in sonic and visual forms.

P.Adderley & M.Young: last updated 7.iv.08