Inter-State — Experimenta

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Keith Armstrong



Inter-State embodies ‘re-futuring’ practices by integrating concepts of art, science and futural thinking through two related works: a large-scale backlit print depicting a re-imagined scientific periodic table of elements, and a scientifically-arcane microfiche viewer and headphone soundscape. Viewers can examine the imagery as a whole, or in forensic close up, by instigating slow scans across groups of ‘elements’ on the microfiche reader.

Inter-State re-conceptualises the ‘periodic table’ as a relational mesh of forms, contrasting its elemental reduction and tabular characteristics with Wu Xing’s circular, interrelated five phases and their ‘generating’ and ‘overcoming’ relationships. The table becomes a deeply related collection of codes, quotes, thoughts and pictorial impressions of non-linear processes and philosophies, inspired by Tony Fry’s deeply relational re-futuring theories. The 1970’s vintage reader draws attention to the ‘necessary obsolescence’ that permeates contemporary design thinking.

The soundtrack’s five passages are inspired by the Wu Xing’s ‘generative’ cycle of Wood-Fire-Earth-Metal-Water. Each involves the sonification of a group of elements from the original periodic table, using their atomic numbers to control an audio synthesis process that morphs into a ‘noisy sound cloud’, thereby controlling energies within a frequency band defined by the group’s atomic numbers.



This project has been assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body.

The Artist
Keith Armstrong

Keith Armstrong is an experimental artist profoundly motivated by issues of social and ecological justice.