Conference Proceeding

Here is now and there the sound of the land: ground-breaking


Adderley WP & Young M (2008) Here is now and there the sound of the land: ground-breaking. In: Mutamorphosis: Challenging Arts Sciences, Prague, Czech Republic, 08.11.2007-10.11.2007. Prague: CIANT International Centre for Art and New Technologies.

Scientific and Sonic Perceptions of the African Sahel: Societies are often required to react to extreme events that arise through either anthropogenic or natural processes. Such extremity might be measured is in terms of its immediacy and intensity; it demands comprehension against understood norms. For example, our present-day debate on future climatic change is driven by scientific assertion, reinforced by evidence gathered from both instrument and indirect proxy measurements, whilst the varying societal responses are predicated by everyday cultural experiences. In contrast, places considered to offer experiences at the boundaries of or outside the everyday, e.g. hot and cold deserts, provide a different conception of extreme. In this conception, change and the rates of change typically lack context, validation and position within everyday norms. Consequently, it is within such surroundings that the greatest tension occurs between the perception of place and rates of change. While the methodologies of science and art practice are often respectively considered positivistic and non-rational, both are in fact able to investigate the extreme in this context. Whether or not such characterisations are legitimate, the obvious epistemological differences both illuminate and problematise our understanding. In this paper we describe a real-time generative installation commissioned from the authors by the UK Research Councils called Ground-breaking: Extreme Landscapes in Grains and Pixels that attempts to explore and test these differences. Further examples are available at

Sahel; Art-Science; Africa; Environmental Change; Public Understanding of Science; Soil science in archaeology; Geology Africa

Publication date31/10/2008
Related URLs
PublisherCIANT International Centre for Art and New Technologies
Publisher URL…ground-breaking/
Place of publicationPrague
ConferenceMutamorphosis: Challenging Arts Sciences
Conference locationPrague, Czech Republic