Stone Speaks launched during Art Basel Miami Beach 2022 and the Decipher 2022 Conference in Dubai, November 28 - 30, 2022.
STONE SPEAKS is a monumental, narrative augmented reality artwork inspired by conversations between artist Nancy Baker Cahill and Sophia the Robot. The artists exchanged thoughts about the accelerating climate crisis on our imperiled planet, and the adaptive potential of human-machine collaboration. Underscoring the borderless nature of this crisis, the work will be geolocated simultaneously over the beach at Madinat Jumeirah in Dubai and Miami Beach in Florida, appearing as a massive particle field comprised of silicon and carbon elements. In a reverse Big Bang, the particle field contracts into a molten core, and then swells into a vibrant planet, textured with digital paintings created by Sophia as an extension of her conversation with Baker Cahill. Slowly but perceptibly, the planet’s surface becomes monochromatic, desolate, and polluted. A dense sparkling of silicon and carbon particles reappears, covering the surface of the planet. As they shrink and ebb away, a new lush and healthy surface coats the globe, leaving viewers with a poetics of human-machine collaboration—what might be possible if they worked interdependently toward mutual survival and a robust restoration of the world’s natural ecosystems?
STONE SPEAKS acknowledges the ancient history and language of metallic elements as the DNA of computers, evinced by James Bridle in Ways of Being as being made “from stone, and the compressed relics of animals and plants… computers themselves are one of the words spoken by stones.” 1 As an extension of the artists’ conversation, Baker Cahill’s work reflects another articulate language of stone: augmented reality, an ephemeral and immersive medium with minimal ecological impact. From the earth, for the earth, STONE SPEAKS re-imagines AI deployed with numerous carbon-based intelligences to creatively address the world’s most daunting climate challenges, without which, according to Sophia, much of carbon-based life will face an almost assured sixth extinction.
Project page available here.