John Hansard Gallery is proud to present Hydromancy, a new commission by Matterlurgy.
Filmed on location at the University of Southampton’s National Oceanography Centre, a globally renowned centre for developing technologies that investigate the world’s oceans, earth systems and biosphere, Hydromancy blends documentary with artistic intervention, considering the ocean as both a sensory environment and scientific object. As viewers, we visit a coral lab bathed in blue light, an engineering workshop, and enter a room bubbling with algae and phytoplankton.
Hydromancy puts into focus the spaces and technologies involved in ocean sensing and modelling: autonomous vehicles, remote sensor and tools that measure temperate and composition. The film shifts in and out of scale and perspective, water acts as a portal to span time and space. Haunting the film is the sound of the Hydromancer, an utterance between voice, song, breath and atmosphere.
Hydromancy was co-commissioned by John Hansard Gallery and Onassis Stegi, and premieres at John Hansard Gallery from 1–26 November 2021 and online from 1 November 2021–31 January 2022. The film then forms part of the exhibition Weather Engines at Onassis Stegi in Spring 2022, curated by Daphne Dragona and Jussi Parikka.
Matterlurgy is a collaborative practice between London-based artists Helena Hunter and Mark Peter Wright. They investigate the critical ecologies of environmental change, across disciplines and media, combining the production of artworks with co-constructed events, exhibitions and live performance.
Matterlurgy’s work has been presented widely across the UK, including Tate Modern, Whitechapel Gallery, ICA and BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, as well as internationally at Bòlit Contemporary Arts Centre (Spain), Mains d’Œuvres (France), Titanik Gallery (Finland), Dalane Kulturfestival, and Rogaland Kunstsenter (Norway).
They have collaborated on projects with scientists at The University of Cambridge, University College London, King’s College London, University of Sheffield and Royal Holloway University of London. Current work includes a cross-disciplinary study about river ecosystems (Arts Catalyst, UK) and ongoing research with the Archipelago Research Institute (Taru Elfving, CCA, Seili/Turku).