performance presentation, noise_noise.theory event, London, 19.01.2012
3x cassettes/tape players, micro-furnace w. graphite crucible, malachite, copper, hydrochloric acid, cast iron mortar and pestle, steel plate, pyroelectric infrared sensor, red light
On Malachite, from Kitab al-Jamahir (Book of Precious Stones), al-Bīrūnī (Abū al-Rayḥān Muḥammad ibn Aḥmad al-Bīrūnī), 1020-1030
Al-Kindi says that a mine of malachite is found among those of copper in the caves of mountains of Kirman. When melted in a crucible, it gives copper. It is said that it is used by alchemists. If this is so, this explains why it is soft and greasy, and does not alter on heating. Al-Kindi says that, during the days of prosperity of Iran, large pieces of the mineral were found, and utensils used to be made from them. Whatever was in the mine gradually became depleted and nothing was left. One of its varieties is the Sigzi. It is rated less than the Kirmanian kind, and inferior to both is the kind which is associated with Arabia. One variety of it is found in a cave in the desert of Banu Salim. If put into oil, it becomes very green. Nasr writes:
It is a hard mineral stone comprising three kinds. The Marwani kind is found in the copper mines of the mountain of Kirman. It is variegated in colour and has veins having eyes and half moons. Rubbed with oil, it gives the glossiness of copper. The Khusraws of Persia had their dinner sets and saucers made from it. The mine is now totally exhausted and all that remains is like red putrid mud.
The second kind, which is more recent, comes out of a copper mine and is closer to the Marwani kind. The third kind comes from Arabia and is obtained from the way leading to Makka in Harra' Banu Salim. Its greenness becomes glossy with oil, and, if left in the oil for long periods, becomes darkish. It is soft when freshly mined, but keeps on gradually hardening. If placed in sesame oil, its glossiness is enhanced. It is rubbed with concentrated vinegar, placed in leaven and finally in ash.
Abu Bakr bin Muhammad Zakariya Razi writes: Malachite is Egyptian as well as Khurasani, but the Kirmanian kind is the best. This, lapis lazuli, turquoise, and haematite are the golden stones.
Probably he wrote this, as lapis lazuli has glossy eyes which are gold-like, otherwise he knows all too well that lapis lazuli bears relationship to copper, and, because of its coppery sheen, it looks more pleasing than gold.
About malachite and turquoise, he writes:
Both through the action of air become altered in their transparency and opacity and some people, for this reason, do not like them.
The author of the Kitab al-Nukhah writes about malachite that it is very green and has a tinge of rustiness. It has very slender black lines intersecting it and occasionally a mixture of redness is also found. Its one variety is peacock-like and the other is the muwashsha or printed.
The Kitab al-Mashahir says that dahnaj comprises green grains with which gems are rubbed. Dahnaj is its noun singular. It would have been nearer probability if it had been said by the author of the work that gems and counters are made from it. Sihar Bakht writes that dahnaj is hajar al-missan. He has elaborated in support of this statement by stating that missan-i-'aqic] is the green stone which is dahnaj. I fail to understand why he has said this, except that both stones share their green colours. This green colour looks pleasing in dahnaj and unpleasant in missan (whetstone).
Al-Kindi says he saw an old and broad malachite piece weighing nine rath. The Sijzi variety of malachite is found in weights of up to 20 rath and the kind found in the deserts of Arabia weighs up to 10 rath. The mineral which is taken out of Harra' Banu Salim weighs up to 2 rath and the Kirmanian kind is one-half of one-sixth of a rati.
Workers interview transcripts selected from: “You’ll Be Fired if You Refuse”- Labor Abuses in Zambia's Chinese State-owned Copper Mines, Human Rights Watch, November 3, 2011
There are more than 200 of us that work there and yet no water. There wasn’t even a toilet for a long time. Just in the last couple months they’ve installed two toilets. In the crusher plant, there is also no water, no toilet. The only place with domestic water is the SX facility…. For the rest of us, we suffer. We’re dealing with chemicals and dust all day, and we have nothing to drink.
We were deep underground, and it was hot. There’s no water for us down there. My partner was exhausted and opened some of the mining water to refresh, to cool down. And when the boss saw that, he beat him. He punched him and beat him with a tool that was in his hand. It was reported to the police, but the Chinese guy is still working, nothing has been done.
When we first started, the safety situation was very, very bad. They did not give us the required PPE. We worked with no equipment and were exposed to lots of problems. People were often burned from the acid…. The Mines Safety Department finally intervened after lots of complaints, and now we get leather suits, shoes for the smelter, leather gloves, and a face shield. It took lots of complaining. We were happy with the progress, but now we find ourselves again with PPE problems
I’ve been burned four times from acid splashes that come inside my clothes. The shield that we’re using is not good enough. It’s supposed to have a cloth that goes down completely to the chest, to not leave anywhere exposed; but this shield that they give us leaves our neck exposed. We’ve gone to management about this, but nothing has been done. They’ve just said that they’re giving us a shield, and we should be more careful. It’s similar with the suits and gloves. The leather starts developing holes from the acid burning through. For each PPE, there’s a timeframe. Even if the protective equipment is worn out, or has had a hole burned through, the Chinese will say no if we ask for a new one—they say that we can get a new one when time expires. I’ve had acid splash on my hand where there was a hole in my glove…. It’s happened to others who work with me.
I work in the copper tank house, where I’m exposed to a lot of fumes. Doctors I’ve spoken to say that it’s dangerous…. [The company] provides a [cotton cloth] mouth pad for us—not even a respirator like the ones other mines bring in from South Africa. It’s just a cloth pad like a doctor uses, and the timeframe is two months, which is no good. Working in there, with all the fumes, it gets damaged in a week. You can tell the difference, you start coughing. If you take a broken one to the safety officer, he doesn’t do his job. He says to wait two months and he’ll give you a new one…. For gumboots, it’s four months; for overalls, six months. No matter if they’re damaged because of work, you can’t get a new one. I’ve had chest problems a few times. I went to the hospital, and they did an X-ray; the doctor said I had these things stuck to my lungs. He gave me medicines, and it’s gotten better, but I can still feel pain sometimes. It’s even worse for others. For some of the people in my group, I see them coughing blood and other things…. I worry that it will happen to me next. The Chinese just don’t care. They don’t care about accidents. They prefer that the job gets done, they don’t care about accidents or health.
There’s been too much acid, too many fumes in the plant for so long. And many of us suffer damage to our chest as a result. We are given what the Chinese call respirators after two months, yet I tell you, after two weeks they are damaged. They don’t block out the fumes and dust anymore. A lot of people just stop using them as a result. Look at my teeth, they are damaged from the exposure to the acid. Look at my toenails, the same thing because the shoes break down and don’t give enough protection. We all suffer chest pains and cough…. They don’t give the safety attire at the agreed upon time, which itself is not good. They say that they are to give every six months, but it is more often a year…. And with other things, like the PVC gloves for holding materials with acid, they are supposed to give these twice a month, but they only give them once. They won’t replace them even if acid has partly gone through, has damaged them. Then you have to decide if it’s worth the protection to buy your own on the outside. This leads to some acid burns. If the equipment was right, it wouldn’t happen; if they’d replace broken PPE, it wouldn’t happen.
In the smelter, you must understand that people are directly involved with the copper. We work with hot metal, with chemicals. Because of the heat, we’re supposed to be given heat-resistant PPE. You should see the leather uniforms that people have to wear. People have been wearing them for a year, and they are totally worn out. Same with the leather gloves, they are totally worn out. And for shoes, they give us normal boots as opposed to heat-resistant ones. We have pushed on all of these problems, but the manager told me, “We can’t just give you everything.” … We wear gloves that last for one week before developing holes, yet they say the timeframe is for a month, sometimes more. So you’ll have a hole or a tear, and that’s where you get burned. People get burned by acid or oxygen. If they gave us proper PPE, these injuries would go down.
They don’t even give us gloves, though we handle the copper…. The SX plant is where the copper cathode being produced is located. There are lots of fumes there. When there is something to lift, they call in the casuals. Yet when we go into the SX plant, we don’t get PPE…. Casuals have no rights in general. If you try to get permission for anything, they say no. I wanted to go to my grandfather’s funeral, and they said that if I went maybe I’d be fired. The Chinese boss said this, “If you go, maybe I’ll fire you.” I needed to keep my job, so I didn’t go
I am developing ulcers and have had chest pain for a long time, as we are working in very bad conditions, horrible conditions. After a blast, it takes an hour for the dust, gases, and fumes to move out of the area. We’re supposed to wait to go in. But with the Chinese, they say, “Go, go, rush right away!” And if you don’t, they’ll terminate your contract. So we go straight into an area full of fumes and dust. And they don’t even give us respirators. We just receive mouth cloths, they say that respirators are too expensive…. The doctor said that these gases have caused my ulcers and chest pain…. The Chinese just don’t know safety. They only concentrate on production, production, we are nothing to them. I’ve seen people killed this way. Back in 2009, our mine captain, a Chinese guy, told one in my group to charge the end. The man said it was dangerous, said we shouldn’t go ahead because it wasn’t stable. The boss said that if he didn’t, he’d be dismissed. When the charge was set, rocks came down and crushed the guy’s leg. They failed to control the bleed, and he died…. I saw a similar thing happen back in 2006. That time, the rocks crushed the guy’s neck and he died instantly…. This stuff still happens, they still force us to work in unsafe places. And if you deny, if you refuse, they are going to dismiss you.
It’s difficult to handles these hours. We work 12 hours a day, five days, and 18 hours on the day of the change shift. It’s very tiring. During the week, we work from 6 to 6, either day shift or night shift. And then yesterday we worked from 6 p.m. until 12 [noon] today, an 18 hour shift; the group after us will work from 12 today until 6 [a.m.] tomorrow…. And we never get a break; they say it’s a continuous operation, so no break. They say the pipes would break because of the copper solution if we took a break. It’s very tough. If we eat, we have to while we work, or have a friend cover for a few minutes. There are times where you’re just so tired. And after transport to and from work, it’s 14 hours at least. My life is only my work here.
Jonathan Kemp, unpublished, 2011-2012
Immanuel Kant's philosophical strategy was to engineer the divide between the human and the non-human, by extruding the screaming Great Outdoors into a strait jacket as was necessary for the comfort of human thought.
As exit strategies from this anti-machine, that is, Kant's systematic distinction between things in themselves and things as they are for us, earth to human brain modalities executed by or with any weird apparatus are attempts to extemporize the Great Outdoors to the possibility of breakdown on the brain's inner horizon. That is, attempts to conceive of what the brain could do if all the noise and light and distortion of the earth came shuddering to us in an instant, as in the tumultuous horror of noise.
But as if Kant flapped around in the hall of mirrors, and as if outside the anthropocene began its fossilization through the effects of our universalizing abstractions reigning over their contingent sediments, all dulled and deposited through the mangle of practice in uncertain technés.
Then where entities are necessarily caricatured its now at the contemporary interface of our always just-in-time horizon that has been shock and awed by glimpses of the ever-present non-modality of these things.
Against these dystopic and nihilistic formations we are asked to revive the earth as in a forced network of things in some manifestation of a species independent framework; am I a bat? or at least in the reproduction of things that bear witness to other things; and as things that produce things from the perspective of things.
If this new geological history in our, that is the anthropocene's new fossilizations, should escape being part of a history of contingency, that is, an arbitary arrangement in part produced by the distorted and deformed elisions of a delirial species, then claims to the anteriority of the arche-fossil are in essence claims about the polity of a historically circumscribed species and its understanding of the present.
Thus the current absolution of these new geologies from the Great Outdoors is the absolution of its indissociability from a morass of acid bestial materiality, in favour of the cargo-culting from our maligned Kantian brains, in a moment of dorian gray unheimlichness, the should of a yet to be pampered Great Outdoors, suddenly seen sitting black and squat over all our inner horizons.
Operating in an economy of transduction, that is, of the conversion of the earths materials into energy, commodity and value, feedback appears as a regulatory mechanism in Capital's irrepressible need for consumption and growth. Feedback is the result of any circular causal relationship that takes place within a system, and negative feedback is where an action and its effects are fed back into the system in order to better adjust the systems performance. The game of 'animal, mineral, vegetable' is a regulated system where errors are interrogated to improve performance, and in this the information required to identify some thought-of object is at most twenty bits of information.
This game, along with Norbert Wiener's Cybernetics and Claude Shannon's Theory of Information were all in place by the end of the 1940's, presaging the installation everywhere of Capital's mis en scenes balanced on the ends of its tentacles of growth.
Cybernetics declared aim of understanding intelligent behaviour in systems is to be acheived by focussing on the “communication, control, and statistical mechanics, whether in the machine or in living tissue” and extended to encompass brains, “computing machines and the nervous system”, all then characterized as self regulating systems made up of scaled nodal networks. Quickly identifying that such regulation is most effected in the passing of information through the system, cybernetics fundamental notions were thus founded on those of information, feedback, entropy and environment.
Any future behaviours were to be adjusted by performance feedback through a maximum adaptability for self-regulation and self-reproduction. Materials are decoupled from anything other than being mechanistically nodal in the modelling and governance of spaceship earth and where recycling, really downcycling, is subsumed as a mantra crucial for sustaining the web of this life.
In the light of newer ecologies, where systems are now seen to be less holistic and ever changing through a series of sometimes blunt unpredictable events, nodal relations are never ever balanced in a steady state. So modelling now incorporates such dynamic positive feedback as a crucial part driving circuits of self organisation so that things like peer-to-peer prouction and crowd sourcing are adroitly recombined by Capital in the pathological conversion of that-which-is-decoupled into that-which-is-of-value.
This transcendental malaise, the transcendental domination of the material by Capital, with agency and growth as its biggest fictions, accelerates the renewal of profits by recycling through the abuse of resources, and driving the extension of non-production towards the final crystallization of culture and capital together, like the exhausted subjects succumbing to the crystalline forests of JG Ballard's The Crystal World.
Where Politics lags behind, still set in declensions of the universal, and all planes of inconsistency are registered by Capital in its mutating controls and connective assemblages, protesters and hackers are eminently coupled as they evoke a sense of 'doing of things before they make sense' – their short range bursts helpfully propagate a delirial Capital, anxious to harvest such free inputs for the circulation of its power.
And against Capital Noise is claimed as a successful contingency of non-explanation and non-transduction, as the refusal of Capital's control and couple functions.
Noise is declared as that which has just gone and that which has just come as though both are unknown and unclosed; it rightfully assumes itself as autonomously supplementary in its ontogenesis to the unfolding of any ecological phantasm, irreducible to the rubbing together of any of the many and various material bodies, rightfully stripped from the grubbing around with any of those dark materials; free from the visceral fossilization that the real mangling isomerisation of all crystallized invariants entropy escalates in undermining Capital's exhaustion of our futures.