2016
The Mineral Cabinet of Pietari Skytta, or Balancing the Stone
Titanik Gallery, Turku, Finland.

Curtis Tamm (*1987, USA) organizes environments of spatialized sound and cinema to invigorate the social body with communal experiences of sensory disorientation, and with a playful cosmology that re-envisions a geologic ancestry to the development of our sensory organs, these events (deemed public hearings), fracture then reassemble the evolutionary deep-time-line of animals and things, excavating impossible relationships between humans, animals and the so-called ‘inanimate’ objects that make up the world around us.

During his two-month residency in the Titanik workspace, Curtis befriends and lives amongst a rare collection of stones and minerals. Ranging from specimens of sulfur and chromium to copper and hematite, the artist presumes these objects as “sculptures which make themselves; astronomical hieroglyphs from another world (the world which is also our own)”. By investigating the geological gesture evident in each of the terrestrial object’s shape, smell, texture and taste, the artist develops a recombinant, object-oriented sound composition, from which to perform with and play improvisationally as visitors to spelunk his now made-public workspace. The composition is part of an ongoing project Tamm has been working on for the last three years, developing a sonic library of intensive audio-elements, which can be re-combined ad infinitum into an alphabet of stone.

"Every space is filled, every interstices occupied. Even metal has insinuated itself into the cells and channels from which life has long since disappeared. Compact and insensible matter has replaced the other kind in its last refuge, taking over its exact shapes, running in its finest channels, so that the first image is set down forever in the great album of the ages. The writer has disappeared, but each flourish—evidence of a different miracle—remains, an immortal signature."

“This sort of coincidence is not an illusion; it is a warning, a signal. It bears witness to the fact that the tissue of the universe is continuous, and that in the vast labyrinth of the world there is no point where apparently incompatible paths, from antipodes much farther apart than those of geography, may not intersect in some common stela, bearing the same symbols and commemorating unfathomable yet complementary pieties.”

“We have here a universe of scrolls, branches, pleura; from them flayed countenances emerge, muscles laid open in their cavities of bone. There are lopped-off breasts, the mutilation twisting the raspberry nipples aside; there are the bodies of frogs, crucified by the galvanic current, their limbs splayed out by the shock, their skin turned blue and flabby by the violence of the spasm." Roger Caillois, The Writing of the Stones


Thank you
Pietari Skyttä of the University of Turku, Department of Geology and Geography
Eero Linjama & Jukka Juvonen of the Arts Academie of Turku University
Jukka Pietila, Musical Director of Turun Tuomiokirkko (oldest cathedral in Finland)