DARK MATTER: Alchemical

A gold nugget shaped piece of rock on a silver rocky background
Wednesday, August 7, 2019 - 19:00 to 20:00
Science Gallery London, Theatre
FREE, booking essential


Alchemical is an evening of new video and sound performance around the alchemical elements by Lori E. Allen and Rachel Pimm featuring two new works in response to dark matter, thinking through the Periodic Table to global historical and material pasts and non-empirical sciences.

Video, live performance and sound, c. 25 minutes

S is a steam, a smoke, a hiss and a gurgle. A listen with rather than a speak for the minerals bubbling from the ground in salty acidic hydrothermal pools. Beginning at sulfur-yellow stained Dallol in the Danakil Depression, the lowest and hottest place on earth, there is an eruption of chemistry and astrobiology at the rift of 4 diverging tectonic plates where the mantle is at its most accessible and unstable. The land performs its own aliveness and toxicity, a cacophonous soundscape of productive materiality telling the geological story of the alchemical element of sulfur through the open mouths of volcanos, fumaroles, geysers and hyper saline thermal salt lakes.

Video, live performance and sound, c.25 minutes

Where S is a vitriolic eruption of life-giving activity and energy, Hg is a mirror, a gag reflex and regurgitation, an amalgamation, a material whose surface sheen itself cannot be seen. Instead it shows us another version of the world around us. Hg reverses the properties and sounds of S, desaturating it into a fluid conductive mirrored transmission. Where S is highly active, Hg is highly re-active, literally rewinding the magic of its sister work to look at the origins of materiality from another direction.

Please note, this performance contains nudity.

About the contributors

Lori E. Allen is a sound composer and video artist. Drawing from a background in archaeology, she interprets, audio-visual landscapes through a process of ‘reverse excavation’. Her source material are the bodiless objects generated between broadcast, reception, and thought, body and consciousness. She has performed at the Tate Modern South Tanks, the Chisenhale Gallery, CCA Glasgow, and released on The Tapeworm.

Rachel Pimm produces sculpture, video and performance that explores environments and their materialities, histories and politics often from the point of view of non-human agents such as plants or minerals. She is interested in the potential of surfaces and matter to transform. Previous work has been presented in London at Whitechapel Gallery, Chisenhale Gallery, the Royal Academy and Hales Gallery as well as widely in Europe and in the USA. Residencies include Hospitalfield, Scotland and Rabbit Island, MI, USA. She is the current Whitechapel Gallery writer in Residence and lectures in Fine Art at Camberwell College.

Allen and Pimm are based in London and have collaborated since 2015 on several bodies of work that produce sociopolitical analogies using ideas around historical technologies and the material world. They are currently working towards a larger project following the histories of Salt as a material.

This event is part of DARK MATTER: 95% of the Universe is Missing, a free exhibition and events programme at Science Gallery London imagining the unseen and questioning the invisible through art, physics and philosophy.

Find out about accessibility and visiting Science Gallery London.