LondonRachel Pimm: Plates
You enter a shifting landscape. The tectonic plates are moving beneath you. What can you hear?
Plates is based on field work undertaken in Ethiopia and Northern Ireland by artist Rachel Pimm (b. 1984, Zimbabwe) with a soundtrack by Lori E. Allen (b. 1975, USA). For this commission, the artists create a visual and sonic topography with words, images and sounds that have been collected from an archive of self-similar images of biological, geological and physical matter. The space becomes an index of ‘plates’, representing materials located around volcanic landscapes such as the Giants Causeway (Northern Ireland) and the Afar Triangle (Ethiopia), geological sites where minerals, salts and lava boil to the crust making dynamic, continually fluctuating landscapes.
Pimm’s reading of landscape and its patterns renders visible a perpetual state of erosion and flux. Non-human agents such as plants, funghi, minerals as well as mathematical forces take a central position. Challenging patriarchal frameworks of scientific study and embedding queer sensibilities in the reading of ‘natural history’ Pimm questions how language and words define and control the environment.
Drawing on a year as Whitechapel Gallery Writer in Residence that unfolded through a series of live performances, readings and eatings – Disintegration, Tessellation and the forthcoming Aggregation – the artist reflects on the relationship between neo-colonialism and ecology and hierarchies of being, speaking-for and listening-to.
Rachel Pimm and Lori E. Allen, Disintegration (documentation), 2019. Courtesy of the artist