ZINE LAYERS. Xexexena.ru
ZINE LAYERS. Xexexena.ru
ZINE LAYERS. Xexexena.ru
ZINE LAYERS. Xexexena.ru
ZINE LAYERS. Xexexena.ru
ZINE LAYERS. Xexexena.ru
ZINE LAYERS. Xexexena.ru
ZINE LAYERS. Xexexena.ru
ZINE LAYERS. Xexexena.ru

Zine LAYERS — part of the Terra Nullis project — is a visual dialogue about methods in Earth sciences by Xena Poleshchuk, Earth scientist and artist, and Asya Kaplan, artist and curator.  Here you can see a video version of a zine that was already printed in Russian with overlays of translucent paper

Exploring this zine we suggest you to imagine an old geological report with diagrams drawn by hand on transparent paper and typed as a result of a field-work.  This work was inspired by our experience in natural sciences:  (Xena) has been studying past climate changes on Svalbard,  (Asya) has an education and field-work experience in soil sci This background is the basis for our collaborative artistic research,  which lead us to idea of this project about methods  which we use in natural sciences

As scientists, we are used to thinking about Earth sciences as the only representation of natural reality, and about the scientist as the only mediator of nature.  As artists we would like to question:

1 — the role of the observer and

2 — how methods of building scientific knowledge informs our image of reality

While trying to observe reality we simplify it by systematically dissecting the environment into filtered objects. 

The scientific approach raises the question — does singling out the object of study in this way enhance our knowledge?

If not, so _________________?

A retreating glacier illustrates two different ways of perceiving natural changes: on the one hand, its rapid melting become a signal of climate crisis; on the other hand, the melting glacier itself  can be seen as dynamic object and thus a valuable object of study

Time in the context of one glacier's lifespan could be perceived as a period  during which we observe its dissapearance.  Absense creates presense: a new form of life overtakes the territor In this case we no longer worry about climate change; we indifferent observe the emergence of new life

Legend to the image of glacier:

1 — Absence. Shows past contours of the glacier which were part of it when the glacier was mapped.

2 — Presence. Satellite imagery shows the position of the glacier at the present moment.

To get closer to the object we use different instruments. 

Changes to an observer's position lead to changes of observation scales:  we start from an aerial photo which allows us to stay on a higher level of generalization and then proceed to descriptional field practices  which include our subjective feelings — for example,  organoleptic methods in Earth sciences.  The proceeding scale supposes a maximum level of sterility — the researc dissects nature, cleanses it of excessive information,  and puts the processed image in the eye of an instrument.  Paradoxically, the process of cleansing results in the opposite: knowledge is soiled by the traces of our interpretations.

Legend: 1 — first level, ecosystem/complex of landscapes.  Approximation method: remote observation

2 — second level, part of ecosystem/unit of landscape. Approximation method: observation in situ

3 — third level, property/history of landscape Approximation method: microscope

Our knowledge of nature closes in upon itself, culminating in a reduced image of natural processes. The more we participate, the greater  the distance between nature and our image of it. By changing  our perspective and refusing distanced position outside  of studied system we could produce knowledge which is  closer to reality (or not?).

If not _____________ — how?

 *instead of simplification, observe the entropy of natural systems, recognizing oneself as part of it (?)

*stop seeking order in chaos, stasis in dynamism, human-like in non-human (?)

*instead of adjusting nature, embed ourself in it (?)

ZINE LAYERS. Xexexena.ru

I would like to thank:

ITMO University for giving us a support and a platform to present our zine; my friend Nastya Golubeva for filming it; my friends for supporting us by buying copies and partisipating in the event