Fathom





FATHOM, n.


THE LENGTH COVERED BY OUTSTRETCHED ARMS, INCLUDING THE HANDS - FROM THE TIP OF THE LONGEST FINGER...

DEPTHS. LITERAL AND FIGURATIVE...
A BREADTH OF COMPREHENSION...

A GRASP OF INTELLECT... AN INTIMATE MEASURE.



Position

This project, Fathom, draws from the oscillating flows of currents and the dynamics of sand ripples to create an experience by, for, and with Nature. 

Employing the open source AI text to image generator, S2ML, this experience has been crafted using raw footage drawn from the NSW coasts of Yamba (Bundjalung, Gumbaynggirr, and Yaegl Country) and Coffs Harbour (Gumbaynggirr Country). Capturing the shifting tides, these films operate as a way of understanding proximity from shore - the ebb and flow of the currents.

A fathom is a measurement of 1.8 metres or 6 feet, used when referring to the depth of water. The etymology of the word Fathom was ‘something which embraces’, (plural) ‘the outstretched arms’; hence, a unit of measurement based on the span of the outstretched arms, later standardized to six feet (Oxford Dictionary). This word for oceanic measurement emphasizes that fathoming as a way of understanding requires an intimate measure, gesturing toward a different way of understanding the currents to challenge the orientation of human identity as ‘outside’ Nature.

Process and Outcome 

This project employed techniques that offer a new space for biological augmentation across a wide number of domains.  Using images of intertidal patterning resembling hourglasses, zigzags, and tuning forks that occur between high and low tides, the images are extended using an AI image generator combined with language prompts of tidal terms.

In doing so, these seemingly random deviations or defects that occur in Nature and during this process of extension allow us to fathom the conditions in which a sandy seabed formed.  In this way, currents and the ripples act as repositories of knowledge that may offer solutions or experiences across multiple domains.


Research Team: Jo McCallum, Caroline Austin, 2022




24–09–2024