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FoAM digest - Spring 02018

Posted by nik gaffney on Wed 16th May 2018

In this aperiodic newsletter we bring together current fragments from FoAM's various (and varied) outposts. Find out how we engage with our living environments and their multifarious inhabitants. Track us through arctic forests and botanic gardens, simulated courtrooms and repurposed armouries, in bright daylight and the darkest shadows. Read on to discover what we'll be up to in the coming months, and any possible confluences with your own journeys...

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We're delighted to announce that FoAM Kernow's Invisible Worlds programme with the Eden Project in the UK has recently launched with three intriguing residencies. Expect to see some disintegrating rocks, music-making critters and fermenting cultures. Aside from hosting the residencies, you'll find us at Eden's brand new citizen science zone where you can play several FoAM games, or join an AccessLab workshop on improving access to scientific information.

Further afield, Kernow's scientist in residence James Duffy is working on an open data map for Sonic Kayaks, while FoAM A'dam takes a speculative approach to environmental literacy for learning machines in Random Forests. You'll find several random foresters investigating the possibilities of algorithmic companions and interspecies informants in a series of field trips, including Ars Bioarctica in Finland and Dinacon in Thailand.

Similarly inspired by Karl Schroeder's Thalience, FoAM Earth designed the Dust & Shadow Soundwalk. In this speculative composition we experiment with (technologically mediated) attunement to an urban desert environment. You can experience the work as an ambient soundscape from the comfort of your own devices, or as a self-guided walk in Tempe, Arizona. If you're curious about the conceptual background, you may be interested in the recently published Dust & Shadow Reader #1.

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Panpsychic soundscapes have followed us from the Sonoran desert to the Adriatic Sea. FoAM Earth is currently composing Ephemeral Garden, an immersive sonic environment for the Croatian Pavilion at the Venice Architecture Biennale. It combines field recordings with generative sound to evoke a convivial ambience under a robotically fabricated Cloud Pergola, curated by the architect Bruno Juricic. Join us for the opening at the Venetian Arsenale on 26 May, or visit the exhibition between May and November 2018.

Elsewhere in Italy, in FoAM Nordica's Tuscan bee-friendly residence, Anna-Maria Orru is basking in the afterglow of a successfully completed PhD. She continues to explore embodied "poethics of urban-making" while writing about feminist approaches to growing food in the city. Later this year FoAM Nordica is planning an autumnal book-making workshop with Pist Protta editors from Copenhagen, looking back at the history of Italian anarchists during the 20th century.

Ephemeral Garden

From overlooked histories to preferred futures, FoAM Bxl and Maria Lucia Cruz Correia are reimagining a justice system where nature can take a stand against widespread ecocide. Keep your eyes on our events page for announcements about the premiere of The Voice of Nature - a combination of performance, ritual and court case - currently planned for spring 2019. In the meantime, FoAM Bxl and 't pASSt are exploring the role of art in the lives of people with autism spectrum disorders. In a series of workshops and events we guide the participants in photographic, performative and sculptural explorations of their relationships with people and surroundings.

Intrigued by other types of social relations, FoAM Kernow is designing new games looking at evolutionary tactics of non-human species, including viruses , wasps, butterflies and mongooses. One of our games, Project Nightjar, will be exhibited at the enthralling Life in the Dark exhibition at the Natural History Museum in London, from 13 July. In a very different museum, in Munich, a swarm of small robot weavers will be constructed at the Penelopean Lab of the Museum of Casts of Classical Statues. They are part of a new generation of our (Inca quipu-inspired) tangible weavecoding interfaces.

While the robots weave threads in Germany, at FoAM Bxl we continue to weave and unweave thoughts at our seasonal Research Gatherings. While the topics of discussion are dependent on those present, most recently we mused about uncanny plants, art and care, solidarity, deep work, environmental attunement, enjoyment and concern. Contact us if you'd like to join the next gathering on 16 June in Brussels, where you can discuss our research-in-progress and share your own interests, readings or experiments in an informal setting.

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We hope our paths will cross at one or more of these occasions in the near future. Until then, you can reach us through the FoAM website, on Flickr, Twitter, Medium and (less frequently) on Facebook.

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