Michael Marder + Maxwell Sterling
In this iteration of 7.8Hz Meditations, we invite participants to come to terms with their bodies and the gravitational forces that govern corporeality. Settling into one’s body will provide a foundation for the experience of oneself as a living mass, of the weight that one is, rather than the weight that one has. It is on this unusual, but also very mundane, foundation that we will cultivate a sense of solidarity with other beings, whether animate or inanimate, with whom we share the qualities of having weight and extension, within the gravitational field of our planet. And, since our bodies are not separate from our minds, we will experiment with the transformation of our thinking into a heavy – indeed, ponderous – living artefact, a part of the biomass that we are.
"Experience each part of your upper body becoming a mass. You have neither a neck nor shoulders nor arms. There is only a living mass. You do not have weight; you are your weight. Massify yourself." — Michael Marder
Curated by Mariana Pestana
Three guided meditations, comprising a reading and a live concert created by contemporary thinkers and composers, use different methodologies — reorientation and positioning of the body, reason and imagination — in an attempt to lead us towards an awareness of ecological interdependence. Created in the wake of the emotional crisis caused by the social isolation during the global pandemic of 2020–21, this public programme functions like a philosophical expedition in the aftermath of the growing societal symptoms of disorientation, anxiety and doubt derived from the global environmental crisis, exploring modes of thinking, questioning and imagining about this and other possible realities.
The division of light between day and night caused by the rotation and translation of the Earth is perhaps the most literally cosmic experience we have access to on a daily basis. Created to accompany Carsten Höller’s DIA exhibition (maat, 05/10/2021–28/02/2022), the 7.8Hz Meditations programme is based on the 7.8 Hz frequency, a unit of measure that also converges celestial and terrestrial phenomena. 7.8 Hz is the Earth’s electromagnetic resonance, produced by discharges of energy such as lightning and thunder between the surface of the planet and the ionosphere. Interestingly, 7.8 Hz is also the frequency of the human brain when in a state of almost meditative relaxation, between consciousness and unconsciousness, and can be induced by exposure to light sequences (as in Carsten Höller’s work). Starting from this frequency, the programme offers the public a series of text and sound therapeutic compositions to reflect on terrestrial coexistence and explore other ways of seeing and thinking about the extreme present we currently live in.
The three meditations will be released on an LP coproduced by maat and the record label Holuzam in May 2022 for people to listen at home.
Michael Marder + Maxwell Sterling
Federico Campagna + Joana Gama e Luís Fernandes
Sofia Lemos + Ece Canli
Mariana Pestana works and lives in Lisbon. She is an architect, curator and researcher in the field of contemporary design and architecture. Her work materializes in cultural programmes that take the form of exhibitions, events, conferences, installations and publications. She is co-founder and director of The Decorators, an interdisciplinary studio that creates collaborative projects ranging from furniture to buildings in the aim of expanding notions of place, community and commensality (the practice of eating together). Mariana Pestana was the curator of the 5th Istanbul Design Biennial, titled Empathy Revisited: designs for more than one (2020–21), prior to which she curated several exhibitions including Eco-Visionaries, (maat, Lisbon, Matadero, Madrid, and The Royal Academy of Arts, London) and The Future Starts Here (V&A, 2018). She worked as a curator in the Department of Architecture, Design and Digital at the Victoria and Albert Museum (2015–19) Having lectured at Central Saint Martins (2011–14) and Chelsea College of Arts (2012–16), among other universities, and currently is an Invited Assistant Professor at Instituto Superior Técnico in Lisbon.
Michael Marder is IKERBASQUE (Basque Foundation for Science) Research Professor in the Department of Philosophy at the University of the Basque Country (UPV – EHU), in Vitoria-Gasteiz. His writings span the fields of ecological theory, phenomenology, and political thought. He is the author of numerous scientific articles and 18 monographs, including Plant-Thinking (2013); Phenomena-Critique-Logos (2014); The Philosopher’s Plant (2014); Dust (2016), Energy Dreams (2017), Heidegger (2018), Political Categories (2019), Pyropolitics (2015, 2020); Dump Philosophy (2020); Hegel's Energy (2021); and Green Mass (2021), among others.
Maxwell Sterling is a composer, producer, musician and artist. Originally from Manchester, he has formally studied jazz composition and double bass at Leeds College of Music, and film scoring at UCLA Extension. Maxwell’s debut record Hollywood Medieval (Death of Rave, 2016) was a cult success, a work which set out his fascination with the glitches between the traditions of acoustic and synthesised music. Laced With Rumor: Loud-Speaker of Truth (Ecstatic Recordings, 2020), originally commissioned by Nottingham Contemporary, was a piece inspired by the artworks of Moki Cherry. His most recent work, Turn of Phrase (AD93, 2021), is a body of work cleaved from time, taking inspiration from both Gregorian chants and hyper-modern digital processing and synthesis. Sterling’s musical style also extends to improvised jazz and orchestral music.