The underground is no longer (or never was) the exclusive realm of technocrats or geophysics experts

Talk by Helen Pritchard @Borough Road Gallery, 17.00, 5th February 2020. All welcome.

The contemporary infrastructural complex of mining and measuring undergrounds depends on software tools for geological data handling, interpretation, and 3D-visualisation. Such tools power techno-colonial subsurface exploration with computational techniques and paradigms. In this talk I will present the collaborative work of the *underground division* on the volumetric renderings that figure the so-called earth. Through speculative storying, queer infrastructural analysis and art-based inquiries I will discuss how these volumetrics are made operative by geocomputation, where geocomputation refers to the computational processes that measure, quantify, historicize, visualize, predict, classify, model, and tell stories of spatial and temporal geologic processes. In particular I will discuss what affirmative forms of queering damage, responsibility-taking, or not, might be possible within these processes and practices of volumetric geocomputation. 

Image: Screenshot from Rock Repo, Underground Division, 2019. 

Helen’s work brings together the fields of computational aesthetics, more-than-human geographies, and queer trans*feminist technoscience. Her practice considers the impacts of computation/computational art on the figuration of environments and environmental justice–– for the development of inventive methodologies that propose otherwises. She is the co-editor of Data Browser 06: Executing Practices, published by Open Humanities Press (2018) and a special issue of Science, Technology and Human Values on Sensors and Sensing Practices” (2019). Helen is the head of Digital Arts Computing and a lecturer in Computational Art at Goldsmiths, University of London. Together with Femke Snelting and Jara Rocha, she activates the creative research group the *Underground Division*. 

https://www.gold.ac.uk/computing/people/pritchard-helen/ & http://www.helenpritchard.info/

References:

Elizabeth A Povinelli, “Can Rocks Die?: Life and Death inside the Carbon Imaginary.” In: Geontologies: A requiem to late liberalism. Duke University Press, 2016.
https://doi.org/10.1215/9780822373810-002

Kathryn Yusoff, “Epochal aesthetics: Affectual infrastructures of the anthropocene.” e-flux, 2017.
https://www.e-flux.com/architecture/accumulation/121847/epochal-aesthetics-affectual-infrastructures-of-the-anthropocene/

Helen Pritchard, Jara Rocha, and Femke Snelting, “We Have Always Been Geohackers.” In: Annike Haas, Maximilian Haas, Hanna Magauer, Dennis Pohl, eds. How to Relate: Knowledges, Arts, Practices. Munich: Wilhelm Fink Verlag., 2020 (In Press).
http://research.gold.ac.uk/id/eprint/28044