2012,Orgasm,Breenspace,Sydney,2011 Awfully Wonderful,Science Fiction in Contemporary Art,Performance Space Sydney.The Black Ray: Cloudbuster Number Three: Orgone Energy Cloud Engineering Device, Starlight Driver: Cloudbuster Number Four: Orgone Energy Cloud Engineering Device 2011–12 - anodized aluminium, irrigation piping, water pump (240cm x 11cm x 28 cm)Electrostatic composition for Carbon Black Electrostatic composition for Carbon Black and Alizarine Yellow 2012 Carbon Black pigment, Alizarine Yellow pigment, polycarbonate, cedar (95 x 62 x 33 cm)
The Black Ray and Starlight Driver are functional working Cloudbusters, an invention of psychoanalyst Wilhelm Reich that appeared in the US in the 1950’s that are said to be able to manipulate and restore balance to the weather.
For us, in the context of an artwork they provide a conduit towards thinking and experiencing energy both real and imagined, sensation, atmosphere and an exploration of ways of thinking about the devices for working with energy and evidencing it and are emblematic of our interest in the esoteric and outsider physics. Science, like art, is characterized by formal procedure along with experimentation and curiosity. Our interest with Reich’s ideas is in this creative intersection and experimental method that is fundamentally part of art and science.
“Cosmic Orgone Engineering (CORE)” is the name of the practice that surrounded the use of these devices that are supposedly able to manipulate Orgone energy, a state of matter described by Reich. Reich proposed that orgone energy is attracted to itself and as such had the potential to be cumulative, this is very different to our general understanding and experience of energy which is dominated by our experience of commercial electrical energy which appears to dissipate, looking for equilibrium with the earth. The Cloudbusters function by using water vaporisers and metal pipes connected to running water to supposedly draw energy from the atmosphere. This is said to have the effect of either creating clouds or producing holes in clouds. Reich’s instructions for cloud busting are wonderful and frightening at the same time, embracing a holistic approach where the intentions of the experimenter will influence the outcome, something that seems similar to the question of the role of the observer in quantum physics.
Accompanying the two cloudbusters in the exhibition Orgasm at Breenspace are two free-standing framed objects, Electrostatic composition for Carbon Black and Electrostatic composition for Carbon Black and Alizarine Yellow. These works show patterns made by pigment sandwiched between polycarbonate that were blasted with electricity. One can see patterns formed, dendritic patterns that show the wavefront of the electromagnetic charge as it interacts with the carbon pigment. Carbon is a critical element to all life being the second-most common element in the human body and by mass the most abundant constituent of all the major molecules that organisms are formed from. As a result, living organisms are intimately involved in the carbon cycle. We are again interested to create an intimate relationship with carbon, in a time when carbon and energy seem to dominate our lives in an abstract way.