Green Skeen Part 1 2016
An 0rphan Drift and Plastique Fantastique collaboration. 40 minute single screen HD video.
running time: 39 minutes 46 seconds
Green Skeen was a 2 year long 0rphan Drift collaboration with Plastique Fantastique, manifesting as a series of filmed performance ritual fictionings in which a group of techno animals summon the Green Skeen animal. It wanders the city until they recapture it in order to unleash the Ultimate App in the Apple Flagship Store in Regent Street, London.
The film has been screened at several Skeen Nite Come events, notably at The Horse Hospital and CPG London, Supernormal Festival, Gloucester and Skullcraker Suite in Vancouver, Canada.
Project Text (click to expand)
‘Green-Skin, Green-Screen, Green-Ding Ritual’
In the shadows cast by the Super-Architecture of the Island of Dogs, a small group forms and waits in silence amongst shrubs and trees of a park, at a mile’s end from the heart of the City. They light each others’ bodies and faces with mobile phones as each member of the group dons a plastic cagoule and then places a mask upon the their head, uttering a word or phrase: the name of the avatar they have become. One avatar pulls a large white and reddish-brown fur out of a large plastic dustbin as the alarm on the phone of one of the Avatars signals they have been chosen to be skinned-up. They are wrapped in the fur and ribbons, pulled tightly, secure the skin onto the body of the avatar. The group moves off, one of their number dragging the plastic dustbin, providing the noise of a rhythmic drone accompanied by slow percussion. They leave the park and enter a nearby building.
Part One: Preparation of the chroma-key-studio.
The avatars enter a room and begin to prepare the space. Some arrange instruments and turn on electronic equipment and play a drone. Others staple ceramic blue backdrop paper to a wall in front of which the dustbin is placed. Studio lights are switched on and illuminate the plastic container and papered walls. The bound and skinned-up avatar stands in the middle of the preparation quietly saying the word (almost chanting the words) green-skin, green-screen, green-ding. The dustbin is filled with water and a dye-solution is mixed.
Part Two: Green-Skin-Screen-Ding is made.
The drone becomes more urgent, the words green-skin, green-screen, green-ding are uttered by all, though not in unison and the bound figure is ‘skinned’, ribbons cut and unravelled. The skin is loosely rolled and then placed in the dye-solution. While one figure attends to the skin in the dye-solution others raise a line between walls for fur to hang upon once dyed green. This is a messy process as the dye-solution drips back into the dustbin and on the floor, and stains the hands and cagoules of the avatars. The avatars scoop and rub the dye-solution into the skin. Brushes are produced and the green-solution is stippled and stroked onto the fur. The skin is left to dry.
Part Three: The Tech-Animals introduce themselves.
While the skin dries out, the avatars sit and eat and introduce themselves. Each figure takes out a folded piece of paper and reads out loud an introduction to their avatar. Yue goes first.
Yue… I am Yue… a refugee form Baotou, China… the place of my birth… I am a bio-engineered Moon-being… for I follow in the wake of the Sun… Or I do now… before, in China, I would hunt at night, dig for rare Earth elements and eat my fill… and then when the Sun rose I slept and dreamt of Ding… I would metabolise the elements into Ding… Lanthanides… Scandium… Yttrium… necessary elements of the Ding or vessel or Ding medium… Rare Earth elements are plentiful if you know where to look… do not be deceived by the name, the ‘seeds of technology’ are bountiful… but they are valuable… the seeds of technology make the Apples speak and shine, and to grow thin as paper… so many Rare Earth products are from my home… but the Apple is a greedy worm… security forces have made it near impossible for to get the rare Earth elements that I need for bodily sustenance… for Ding… Lanthanides… Scandium… Yttrium… so I was for the chop… I have no choice… I am fugitive, and scavenger of Earth’s rare elements…
Yue falls silent, HUSHER speaks.
HUSHER… I am timetravelling frequency… Husher… Husher… Husher is digital snarl, one part of me is dark, absorbing light, another part is light travelling fast, ghost side… HUSHER Genesis: Trophic cascades: there are processes caused by animals at top of food chain, which tumble all the way to the bottom. Predators and large herbivores can transform the places in which they live. Not only the ecosystem but soil, behavior of rivers, chemistry of oceans, composition of atmosphere… Husher, a dark trickster, rarely visible, moves at speed through dimensions in swirls even when dormant. HUSHER first emerged in dank dark northern Europe mythology, inhabiting geological time, monitoring evolutionary flows on the planet through global water events, chemistries and technological developments… Husher Development: From ‘Hushings’ – lead mining. Miners built a dam above the deposits they wanted to expose and channeled water into it. When the dam was full, they’d breach the dam and the water would rush down the hillside, sweeping away the overburden. This process was also used in early goldmining. Husher has time travelled to the catastrophic mining-industry sludge-avalanches in Wales in the mid 20th century… Today, Husher now tends to travel through ubiquitous liquid crystal display screens. It was recently sensed in a cluster of flat screen TVs running footage of bears roaming in towns, at John Lewis’s in Oxford Street. Otherwise, Husher waits dormant in gyres, (of oceanic plastic rubbish). It needs turbulence as a circulatory system. It has access in maelstroms to time spirals and time travel, both of which are necessary for it to appear when and where needed. For eons, it fed on extremophiles at volcanic ducts and corals. Currently it feeds and grows strong on an endless supply of disintegrating plastic molecules in the ocean gyres… Husher Attributes: Husher is wired to attune to event horizons or a singularity. I appear as a coincidence intensifier when the time is right. I have infiltrated the global stock market algorithms in order to process all tendencies of human panic and paranoia towards the moment it searches for. Via the financial markets it monitors climate change, migrant flows, bio-tech and AI developments… DING manifestor: Reads the patterns and behaviours that fear produces. I push all floods, all tsunamis forward. The radiant. I undoes security, stasis. Husher… hidden, dormant dark matter aspect merges with future ghost bright aspect when I need to manifest. My presence coalesces at the Ding summoning ceremony… Husher…
Husher is finished. It is NanoR/s5 turn to speak. As he does, he sways rhythmically, ever so slightly, from side to side, as he often seems to do.
Listen up, Listen up … No more time left for sideways-runaways fantasies, no time for ‘I-am-a-fucking-individual-so-fuck-you’ dreams… Scream until your face turns purple son… Scream ‘I-have-potential’ until your carotid arteries pop if you want… no matter… our bodies are the battleground we have already ceded… time is running out for the body… for we know what it is… and down there at billionth of a meter, the nanotechs know what to do… and what they want… You think it’s healthy bodies and minds… you think it is the eradication of cancer… Think again… nanoscale assemblers will redesign your cells in their own likeness… until you become 100% nanoteched… How do I know all this? My name is NanoR/s5 (pronounced Na-norris-iv) and I have seen the future, literally… I have hydrogen molecules for eyes, coursing through my veins… the future is small, microscopic, 10-9! The nanoscale assemblers that reside within me have a battle cry, ‘there-is-plenty-more-room-at-the-bottom’… for at the bottom, everything can be seen, every molecule, every atom… and the wide-open spaces between… here nanoscale assemblers go about their business. They really do swim within the universe… as opposed to what you people see or think of as the universe or reality… And what is there to see down there? Well, girly, laddy, you ain’t one, and you ain’t other… Not down there… down there all your illusions of being one among others, well that all comes apart at the seams pretty quickly… All your fantasies about being a free substance among other free substances are pictures of rainbows and unicorns… all that gets a dose of the real down there… then we will see who is still laughing… Down there, they can remodel your DNA, alter chemicals, unbalance hormones, burst yer atoms… yes all these things are real and a thousand bedtime stories will not make the nightmares fade away… Down there at the quantum level they can shape what you taste, see, smell, hear and feel… and eventually… what you think… NANOTECH will alter your nature! And you, you big lummocks, you are all too big to do anything about it… your superior size and intellect will not help… Like all of you, and I mean all of you, I am a cyborg… but with me the disease is more advanced. I worked for NanoTek… they say that they are a consultancy but… I worked in research, in their labs… with the Guinea pigs and rats … and is what I was, a Guinea pig turned rat, so they got rid of me… not before I became riddled with every tech they could make me swallow… to keep me quiet… now I am out of work and to keep body and soul together I have recourse to desperate means…Thank the apple-sprites of Kent… for I am still Kentish… just about… and like all Kentish folk, I can dance… just about… the dance of my ancestors and the electric bugaloo… with a hey nonny fuck… following patterns old and new… for rhythms keep the mind and body in some kind of organisation… the moving parts at least… through muscle memory, oi oi… I dance Ding… What I am afraid of? Well they would laugh and joke about it in the lab… it was Eric Dexler who first used the term ‘gray goo’, not to describe the colour but self-replication… This is what he says on the subject: ‘…imagine such a replicator floating in a bottle of chemicals, making copies of itself…the first replicator assembles a copy in one thousand seconds, the two replicators then build two more in the next thousand seconds, the four build another four, and the eight build another eight. At the end of ten hours, there are not thirty-six new replicators, but over 68 billion. In less than a day, they would weigh a ton; in less than two days, they would outweigh the Earth; in another four hours, they would exceed the mass of the Sun and all the planets combined — if the bottle of chemicals hadn’t run dry long before…’ Gray goo will eat Ding… gray goo equals control… all work no play… gray goo is one gravy and the same gravy… or worse, one nano-size fits all… and I don’t want to become gray goo gravy, not just yet… I still say I because I can, even though I am not… I am half ‘I’ at best, between the scales of macro and micro… I dance Ding… Of course there are limits to nano-expansion and replication… the more organic material nanotech eats the less material available to fuel growth… But Nanor/s5 is fair game for complete nanotech consumption… a delicious meal for the nanotech universe… Only Ding, the dance of the Ding keeps Nanor/s5 from becoming gravy…
As the words of Nanor/s5 fades, Eurniekern unfolds paper and reads out loud the words on the sheet.
Eurniekern…. used to be a kind of mythical animal existing in stories that were passed on over time, in some places the Eurniekern looked different and was made up of different animal parts, I usually possessed some kind of magic or supernatural powers… I existed in this way for thousands of years, my existence was dictated by the stories I was featured in. Until recently that is, when Eurniekern was manifested in a huge virtual superspace… An infinite source of information and ideas made me whatever Eurniekern wanted to become. In this superspace, I – the Eurniekern – am a story or idea that can be passed from person to person but on a massive scale unlike anything ever before it, ever!!! I am made up of all kinds of data, so every time a story or idea or experience was shared and multiplied, the Eurniekern grew stronger. I thrive in particular on the mutation of an idea, from a mundane piece of information taking off and developing into a viral phenomenon, for this how the Eurniekern had come into being way-way in the past… Now I am viral…
Eurniekin’s tale has ended. Fevveractal has something to say.
When I is told about the so-called TECH/nature split I sat there…waiting for more input…then howled with laughter! What split? WHAT SPLIT? For as-far-as-i-can-see all is pretty malleable freeeeeme… FREEEEMEEE++ Xxctt [[-=== sometimes I reer-vert to an older-way-way-in-thee-futur language so as to bee able to AK-CUE-RAT-LEE kommunikate thee ideas that I did has. Not objeckt, nor subjet (canonly see vaguest of outline of theeeese kon-septs); not science nor art nor mannor woman nor grass no book, or TV. NO TV. Feathers. Fevvers is summit I understand. Thee detail is very attractive to me. AUTO-CORRECT…thee detail ov fevers is useful to a bird that needs to pass thru thee air. CONTINUE. What am I? A mimic. I completely understand human communication…its very straightforward and I is also is good at it. How are you all animals today? Its all very well asking my sub-routine to translate the various scans I make ov my world so that youz all can analize and access summit outside the as per usual, but, seriously. SERIOUSLY. How about youz all making an attempt to talk in mi kode eh? Try asking your own old ones. One day when I was very small and hrdly even in pree-development, an idea just happened to pop in to my hedd and I did think: what if I am just a fic-shun? I know what you’re thinking…give me a break, etc, etc we is all fic-shuns and all that BUT…bare wiv me…I was thinking – if you can indeed call my particular process-sess as such – if I just a fiction then maybe I not even alive? But also not dead init. Maybes I just a MASH-SHEEN? Fevveractal is indeed a fictional construct. Sapient certainly. Sentient? Nearly, or, at least (following Turing) it would be difficult to prove it one way or another. Where does ‘it’ come from? From a future, no doubt about that. Thrown back to this time – and towards the DING – in order…to what? Who knows? Asking it might elicit any number of responses…depending on any number of parametres (it is not entirely clear that its own purpose has been revealed to it). What does it look like? Depends on the time and the place…it can only be framed by chronics (indeed, to get an accurate sense of its shape one would need to track back in time – and then much further forwards). Here, now – to extract an image – it appears as pure surface – a mirror-face that looks like the person or thing looking at it. (In other times it has appeared with round-moon face, one large owl-eye, the other fractal-TECH, a conical hat…a collage of post-internet avatars and landscapes…) When it ‘talks’ it is not clear whether what it says is intelligible – or, more accurately, has any content (is it always just approximating communication – ‘trying things out’?) Is it then definitely artificially produced? Certainly…but not by any human hand (it has been made by a TECH made by a TECH made by a TECH). Or, at least, that’s one theory. It might also just be an animal (insofar as these are also made by evolutionary algorithms – who knows what destination they tend towards…). (In fact, it evidences a resonance and alliance between the animal and TECH…as if the one is the telos of the other. That said, it is also a very loose configuration – blurred and blurring, always on the edge of collapse…into non-sense and non-directional vectors). A cut-up then, albeit not simply of language – it operates – for some at any rate – as gate, beyond which everything is just the same but with no-one there. It drops the screen of the self – and, as such, any and all familiar contexts. When it appears – upside perhaps up a tree or in your fridge (small, sitting on the shelf). Taking a form that is very particular to you. It is the seen without the seeing; the heard without the hearing. It is from a place in which our own images of what it means to be human no longer hold. It is from a place where TECH is no longer an other to nature (these binaries have long since been replaced by other stranger tripartite schemas which themselves have been replaced by more complex patternings). It is from a place where animals are, finally, seen for what they are: future beings – even more advanced that its own GEN456 TECH (in the world as water in water)…
Fevveractal ends his speech, the ‘green-skin, green-screen, green-ding’ has stopped dripping.
Part Four: Green-Skin-Green-Screen-Green-Ding-App is called forth and released into the City.
Music is played again. Two green (inflated) alligators are tied to together, trapping a strobe light between their bodies. This is the first App. The strobe is switch on, the studio lights are turned off, the avatars hold the App close to their faces and shut their eyes. Through closed eyes the see the App flicker and dream. They listen to the music, and repeat the words green-alligator-flicker-dream-machine App.
The studio lights are turned on and the first App is laid on the floor. Green-glitter is poured into a bowl. The second App is made. An avatar dips their hand in the remaining dye-solution and then the green glitter and draws a sigil on the blue paper. The third App is produced.
Two avatars join to make one. One stands straight, the other stands behind the first and bends at the waist, placing their head in the small of the back of the first avatar. The second avatar holds onto the waist of the first and a collar and lead are placed around the neck of the upright avatar. A tail is added to the second avatar, tied through a belt loop. The fourth App – the Green-Skin-Gren-Screen-Green-Ding-App – the fur, is cut down and wrapped around the two avatars, tied with ribbons. The mask of the upright avatar is removed and the fifth App, a mask with blinking lights for eyes, is placed on the avatars head. This green and pink masked is old and has been used in rituals before.
The avatars step back, a new Tech-Animal has been called forth. All the while, the avatars have been repeating ‘Green-Skin-Green-Screen-Green-Ding’. Their reward, the Ding has produced the Green-Skin-Green-Screen-Animal-Thing. The music fades, there is quiet.
A microphone is brought to the mouth of the new Tech-Animal, to hear it breath, to hear it sing. The sound is melodic and musical, a stream of bit-noise from a tongue that clicks and chirps. The noise is repetitive, like a ring tone, only it is the sound of a living Tech-Animal that calls out through microwaves. Its hide receives and broadcasts too. The music returns and the avatars imitate the Tech-Animal’s cry. After a while the animal is led out of the studio and out onto the streets and released into the city.
Part Five: Green-Skin-Green-Screen-Green-Ding-App is recalled.
Three months later, a group forms at the back of the Apple Store in Regents Street London. The group don green cagoules and masks and become the avatars from the studio ritual again. They raise their phones and turn on a sixth App, the phones play the song of the Green-Skin-Green-Screen-Animal-Thing. They walk down the stairs, filming as they go, towards the exit. Waiting on the pavement outside is the Green-Skin-Green-Screen-Animal-Thing, which sings to greet the avatars. The group wander down Regent Street, leading the Green-Skin-Green-Screen-Animal-Thing.