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  • Writer's pictureoutimaija hakala

Stone Story (Mycelium of Mind)

Updated: Jun 28, 2022

In Stone story I approach stones as thinking them trough a posthuman agency or as a vibrant matter. It is a sound installation – a mound of stones. White stones look real, but are artificial. Those are casted in plaster. Sound is based on field recordings of pings and slams by natural stones. Modular synth plays the sound samples in random patterns defined by module called Turing Machine. Soundscape is further layered with effects and granular synthesis.

Stones, even the youngest one of them, are older than us. Their history is much longer than humankind. If they were here before us, they might be here also after us. Philosopher Patricia Mac Cormack writes in her Ahuman manifesto (2020) that the death of the anthropocene opens up thousands of voices, trajectories, relations and necessary activism. It is exciting, but also a bit melancholic, to think of time after humankind. What matters is how we can still care for and in this world.

Maybe the posthuman subject truly lives only after the symbolic death of human subjects. It might seem utopic or difficult, but maybe after symbolic death we can try to relinquish ourselves from anthropocentric thinking and ideas of the primary status of human subjectivity. We are like other entities, maybe we just need to give more space to others and practice ways to learn to listen to them more carefully?

In this artwork called Stone story the central agents are not alive and sentient. I'm playing with the question does a stone have a posthuman body, or mind? Panpsychism is the inspiring thesis that all things have mind or a mind-like quality. If mind is seen as fundamental to the nature of existence and being, even rocks have mind. (Skrbina David, Panpsychism in the West, 2005). Stones are part of the world, but do not live like us. They are not heterotrophic in the direct way we are. Their being in a world is grounded in a more slower rhythm. Stones are pressed during thousands of years, the essence and life of a stone is just different.

Stone matter doesn't matter the same way as, for example, sentient non-human animals matter. I don't want require nullification of the ontological distinction between inert matter and living creatures. Questions about moral value and rights of sentient, living non-humans are essential to me. Moral concern is not alike needed or relevant with stones that cannot example suffer like animals do. My sound installation Stone story just fantasize the world by view of a stone.

Stones have been credited with symbolic meanings in a very wide variety of cultures.

For me stones somehow mark a home. I have been collecting stones since I was two year old. We were moving and I set stones from the yard in a box. It was heavy. Now I have been carrying more and more stones all over with me for about 35 years. I'm trying to figure out how my memories or subjectivity is connected with non-human aspects. And on the other hand inspired by MacCormack: what would the world look and sound like without humans -- in a situation when the natural world is full of nonhumans, those not included others, who cannot speak or cannot be heard enough in the anthropocene.

Asubject - portrait of a stone. (painted plaster, a big brother of smaller stones)


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