AS ABOVE, SO BELOW
AS BELOW, SO ABOVE
An immersive audio-visual installation by Melanie King, Amy Cutler, and Sapphire Goss, which explores the micro and macro scales of nature.
Multi-channel projected installation (scaled for each venue), 2019.
Digital video, infinite loop.
This multi-faceted installation will inspire you to look up to the sky, while simultaneously directing your attention to the microcosms below your feet. Inspired by the deranged scales of super- funded nature documentary – which easily toggles between micro biotic life-forms and wide overviews of planetary survival – we collapse scales in our audio-visual display of the sky and sea.
This work draws together stationary and mobile scales of horizon, from shifting tidal zones and vintage landscapes, to constellations of light on water, and infrared film capturing living surfaces. The synth music describes a score for the looping of cinema in these “living pools”, simultaneously under, over, and at the surface level. The use of spheres is inspired by the history of nature film as not a “square genre”, to be watched passively in the black box of television or cinema (where our eyes have gone square), but as a circular genre, developed from the round eye of science. Early film and projection devices were related to the microscope, the magnifying glass, the probe, the telescope, and the circular loupe lens and fresnel lens. Meanwhile, astronomy and cinema are linked as a shared “science of light”, with humans sky-gazing for beacons and lanterns since time immemorial. We channelled this idea in creating a film of the nature of Margate entirely in cinematic portals and eclipses – not all necessarily harmonious, and some as fragile as a bubble.
Nature composes some of her loveliest poems for the microscope and the telescope.
Imagine seeing on more than one timescale. Why is this disturbing? Because you are already living on more than one timescale. Ecological awareness is disorienting precisely because of these multiple scales. (...) There is no one scale to rule them all.
may came home with a smooth round stone
as small as a world and as large as alone.
For whatever we lose (like a you or a me)
it’s always ourselves we find in the sea.
-e. e. cummings
We don’t live our lives against the backdrop of an unchanging cosmos, with cold and barren globes fixed in place. Our perspectives are always moving and reflected, and both film, and sky, can be seen as a photo-graph (a drawing of the travel of light, whether on light sensitive film or on the celestial sphere). Since the astronomical discovery that the universe is not fixed, but dynamic, and therefore transient, cosmic space has been used to mark, elegiacally, the reflections between our own passing and the world’s passing
For this installation our film-making in Margate was inspired by the idea of cosmic spaces, distortions, and scales, from the reflection in a drop of water making up a rockpool constellation, to the time scale of our entire species in long-travelled starlight – the incredibleness of the this-wordly in the other-worldly.
We must measure ourselves against the Universe.
Every time Moon goes around the Earth it also moves away a little, due to its tidal interactions with oceans. Moon, too, like all in a Transient Universe, never truly repeats itself.
The Moon’s presence is a signifier of an enormous absence. A reminder of all the other moons that we shall never see.
As a result, a viewer in the right position will see many small images of the sun. The glitter may be caused by natural movement of the water, or by the movement of birds or animals in the water. Even the ripple from a thrown rock will create a momentary glitter. The exact pattern seen depends on the viewer’s precise location. When the sun is really low above the horizon, the glitter breaks because of the waves, which could sometimes obstruct the sun and cast a shadow on the glitter. Caution should be exercised while observing the glitter.
Journal of the Optical Society
The surface glittered out of heart of light,
And they were behind us, reflected in the pool.
Then a cloud passed, and the pool was empty.