Soil Séance Sessions: Season 1 – Update from Michelle Atherton

Credit- Sylvia Faustenhammer ISAScience 2023 resized

The Soil Séance Sessions by Michelle Atherton has just completed its first season.

The Sessions invite individuals to spend time listening to the soil at a site of their choosing. To turn their auditory perception downwards, by using an acoustic device as a portal to the underworld. An offer to transduce, to turn one form of energy into another by way of wires, minerals (extracted) and vibratory matter.

Soils hold a mutable space, constantly shifting and changing over time. They have a genesis and a lifespan. Commentators agree that soils have no clear boundary.

Image credits: Image 1. Dr. Jana. Saltatory motion by myelinated neurons. 2016 Images 2 & 3. Soil Séance Seasons at the Sonic Ties: Rethinking Communities & Collectives ISA Science, MDW Vienna 2023

Images clockwise from top left: 1- Dr. Jana Saltatory motion by myelinated neurons 2016, 2 & 3 – Soil Séance Seasons ISA Science, 2023; 4 – Sylvia Faustenhammer Soil Séance Sessions ISAScience 2023.

To date the sessions have involved a diverse range of people and community groups across seven London Boroughs. Michelle was also selected to run the listening sessions as part of ISAScience Conference: Sonic Ties: Rethinking Communities & Collectives ISA Science, University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna, Austria.

This work forms part of the project Ecstatic Rot supported by the Arts Council England and Early Career Research and Innovation Fellowship 2022-23. The research investigating our relationships with transience, decomposition and re-composition as more-than-human activities. The work involves finding experimental ways to explore ephemera: the loss and flows of materialities, including cycles of transformation across species and substances. Alighting on those things and actions that challenge simplistic divisions between what might be identified as living and non-living.

Header image credit: Sylvia Faustenhammer – Soil Séance Sessions – ISAScience 2023.