ADA BookSprint – Readings & Links

Gathered here in the chronological order offered are the readings and links shared by email starting with;

Su Ballard

BookSprint info: I found this article from the booksprint website really helpful:

The conference was called The Geologic Imagination (I’ll bring the book with me), the discussion was around geology and the Anthropocene and the way that sound artists respond to the different modes of the Anthropocene (geological, sublime, technological, warfare, screens, climate change)
Doug Kahn’s ‘Earth Sound Earth Signal’ has a historical chapter on artists responding to and experiencing earthquakes, it also seeks to think sound together with energy and the environment.
Rebecca Solnit’s book is a journalistic examination of the different ways that people responded to catastrophe. It has some harrowing stories and some very familiar moments. Its very much about humans and societies and communities.
Nancy’s book is one of the first theoretical books to come out after Fukushima. It is a short (but extended) meditation on the meaning of equivalence, and argues that there is not such thing as an isolated natural disaster anymore. He says that everything is interconnected (this is the meaning of equivalence he uses) that there is not a natural disaster without a technological disaster, an economic disaster and a social disaster. It is very short and really helped me understand some of the work I’ve been doing on machines and nature.
This is a short frieze article on artist’s responses to Fukushima.
Some romantic history that begins with the Lisbon earthquake and wanders its way around (mostly) Roman ruins, with some deathly morose pondering along the way. It is filed under Travel/ Archaeology (although he really doesn’t like archaeologists as they strip away all the trees).

Tim Corballis:

The ADA reader! Remedial reading for me, since I’m coming a little from outside the digital arts community. Be gentle.

I just read Fredric Jameson in the latest New Left Review:
Jameson is a touchstone for me in terms of style and dialectic. Even though this is literary criticism, and of a book I haven’t read (tho I might one day) he gets to some great places in terms of what can be imagined aesthetically in a wrecked city (Stalingrad!).

Tung-Hui Hu, A Prehistory of the Cloud:
Stumbled on this, and was expecting yet another ‘material nature of the internet’ thingamy, but this is more interesting – doesn’t fetishise the wires and servers or the virtual spaces, but talks about the cultural genealogies of network technology. Not sure if it’s of any direct relevance but great background/perspective reading.

McKenzie Wark’s Molecular Red
I haven’t read his Hacker Manifesto, which should be more relevant I guess. But I’ve been interested in all the environmental humanities stuff lately – all the themes about living after the catastrophe (especially in Timothy Morton). The idea that everything is connected is also both a network and an environmental idea, though different in each case and I suspect truer in the latter (Tung-Hui does mention that it’s also the definition of paranoia…). Wark has great chapters especially on Bogdanov (I’m also passingly interested in Russian Futurism, Soviet science and Biocosmism) and Harraway/Barad etc. It also sent me off to read Platonov. There’s a chapter on Kim Stanley Robinson, whom I’ve also been reading lately.

Zita Joyce:
Novels + TV:

Novels: I’ve been reading novels about post-catastrophe cities and countries intermittently since the earthquake, including JG Ballard’s Drowned World, and Richard Jeffries’ After London. I’m still reading Riddley Walker, but that and After London have been big reference points for a number of artists and other discussion here, particularly in relation to nature taking over perviously built areas. (obviously there are a million post-catastrophe novels in the world, but I don’t even remember all of the things I read in the first year or so of quake-brain, so these are the ones that linger most or keep coming up as references)

China Mielville’s The City and the City is a really central novel for me being about Christchurch without at all being about Christchurch. I read it before the quakes, but afterwards it became a frame for thinking about the way Christchurch became 2 or 3 cities layered on top of each other – the past, remembered, city, the present destroyed city, and the future imagined city. The present and the past were the tangible layers, and the experience of post-quake Christchurch was, and maybe still is, an experience of living between what you can see and what you remember. In the novel people are not allowed to ‘see’ the other city intertwined with their own city, and that’s how it felt here for a while as well – but more a sense that I couldn’t let myself see the old city amongst the destroyed ‘real’ city.

TV / Documentary:
Treme, David Simon’s wonderful show on post-katrina New Orleans. The first season was particularly resonant here – the sounds of helicopters, the USAR markings on buildings, the plywood over windows, the way people wait for and celebrate businesses re-opening, and every conversation begins with ‘how much water did you take?’ for the flood level in New Orleans, like accounts of damage here, and the unfolding stories of where people were in the disaster. The scale of Katrina dwarfs Chch in human and built terms, but Treme felt like documentary from here.

Also of course When a City Falls, and Gerard Smyth’s TV series ‘From the Streets – originally made for CTV, and then reworked for TVOne for two series.

Then the recent documentary on transitional projects, the Art of Recovery, which is a feel good booster of the most high profile responses to the earthquakes and recovery, with some solid critique of the top-down planning process vs the people as well

Su has already mentioned Rebecca Solnit’s ‘A Paradise Built in Hell’ which was a key text here in the year or so after february – it was on high rotation in the public library and name checked several times in The Press around the time I was reading it. See also: Naomi Klein The Shock Doctrine which is too depressingly accurate here (i.e. school closures, continued assaults on local democracy, etc)

The Villa on the edge of the Empire: One Hundred ways to Read a City
Fiona Farrell’s account of the earthquakes and aftermath. I had to read it slowly because it made me so angry and sad all at the same time, so it captures much of the post-quake emotion of Christchurch, and includes really interesting comparisons with L’Aquila. At the Writers’ fest in september I went to a panel discussion on ‘Imaginary Cities’ including Fiona Farrell, Urban Designer Hugh Nicholson, and Novelists Anna Smaill and Hamish Clayton. It was too short to develop the theme very far, but demonstrated the deeply felt resonance of imagining cities in Christchurch now.

Once in a Lifetime, City building after Disaster in Christchurch
The definitive analysis of city-building and post-disaster urban recovery in christchurch, from many different perspectives.

Christchurch the Transitional City pt IV
Documentation of ‘transitional’ projects in the first two years after the sept quake, following a simple format that identifies the project, location, and key details about it. Some major and some very fleeting projects, this now feels like a really important historical document.

 Julian Priest

1. Earth Sound Earth Signal: Douglas Kahn

Earth Sound Earth Signal is a study of energies in aesthetics and the arts, from the birth of modern communications in the nineteenth century to the global transmissions of the present day. Douglas Kahn begins by evoking the Aeolian sphere music that Henry David Thoreau heard blowing along telegraph lines and the Aelectrosonic sounds of natural radio that Thomas Watson heard through the first telephone; he then traces the histories of science, media, music, and the arts to the 1960s and beyond. Earth Sound Earth Signal rethinks energy at a global scale, from brainwaves to outer space, through detailed discussions of musicians, artists and scientists such as Alvin Lucier, Edmond Dewan, Pauline Oliveros, John Cage, James Turrell, Robert Barry, Joyce Hinterding, and many others.

2. The Natural Contract: Michel Serres

Global environmental change, argues Michel Serres, has forced us to reconsider our relationship to nature. In this translation of his influential 1990 book Le Contrat Naturel, Serres calls for a natural contract to be negotiated between Earth and its inhabitants.

3. Damage Control: Art and Destruction Since 1950 : Kerry Brougher et al.

While destruction as a theme can be traced throughout art history, from the early atomic age it has remained a pervasive and compelling element of contemporary visual culture. Damage Control features the work of more than 40 international artists working in a range of media – painting, sculpture, photography, film, installation and performance – who have used destruction as a means of responding to their historical moment and as a strategy for inciting spectacle and catharsis, as a form of rebellion and protest, or as an essential part of re-creation and restoration.

4. LSM303 datasheet

I’ve been tinkering with accelerometers the last couple of weeks so just thought I’d put this in as a flag for technical implementations of sensor networks – I’d like to consider instrumentation in relation to the world.

5. Who Else Takes Part? Admitting the more-than-human into participatory art. : Simon Pope 2015

This publication is a companion to a number of artworks, (a list of which can be found towards the end of this book) which have been produced so as to conduct this research project through art. They embody and emphasize aspects of this thesis in various ways. The texts in this book take the form of correspondence with those people who took part in artworks over the course of this three year project, and who have been significant interlocutors in the thinking of this thesis. They are arranged thematically to address conventional aspects of research, such as methodological concerns, ethical considerations, and accounts of specific artworks discussed in relation to theoretical concepts.


Helen Moore

My reading/viewing lately has been eclectic, although it would be no surprise that there’s an ongoing thread that tends to follow up provocations that the Christchurch context throws up … and that often provide lens on our human relationship(s) with the natural and material worlds, and the tensions between citizen and government led ‘recovery’  … consequently my ‘list’ has many overlaps with texts that Zita shared …

Gerard’s films:

Christchurch: From the streets
When a city falls    (and during earthquake period)

A paradise built in hell. The extraordinary communities that arise in disaster. Rebecca Solnit. 2009. Penguin Books

More recently:
The Art of Recovery  Filmmaker : Peter Young

Articles such as:
Once in a Lifetime: City-Building after Disaster in Christchurch  – 55 written essays; 39 visual essays (Freerange Press, 2014)

The Press newspaper as an ongoing source of local information/voices re the impact of natural disaster intensified by human decision making eg;
Johnny Moore Once upon a time there was an earthquake in Christchurch ” can you imagine how boring corporate storytelling is?”[The Press October 15,2015]:

‘EVERYTHING IS GOING TO BE ALRIGHT’ [September 28, 2015]: British artist Martin Creed’s public artwork for Christchurch.–isnt-it

Vulnerability as resilience wears thin:                                           data provided by CDHB to the Ministry of Health about the need for more investment to deal with long term psychosocial problems caused by the earthquake has been ignored. So have the traumatic accounts of staff who work in Canterbury’s mental health services – politicians ignore clinicians’ warnings at their peril.]

Continuum (Journal of Media & cultural studies, 2015 issues) including themes of memory and interactive digital media

A recent  commentator role at a performing arts gathering in Northern Japan (place of the 3/11 triple disaster) , led me to delve further into themes under investigation there such as …  the body in crisis, pilgrimage, place, spirituality, the response of artists to catastrophe post World War ll (eg Hijikata Tatsumi, founder of Butoh dance), and following 3/11

… on return revisiting the following ;
Tohoku, through the eyes of Japanese photographers. [Japan Foundation]. The catalogue title for exhibition in Christchurch supported by New Zealand Japanese Embassy, the Japan Foundation and CPIT.

Reading that touches on themes of identities and place eg for example a shift in what ‘patriot’ might mean  in The power of place – Tim Flannery on Tim Winton’s ‘Island Home’ [The Monthly  – Australian Society, Politics and Culture – November 2015 pp 56-57] and


Tracey Benson
My list is a combination of books I would like to read and some that I have already started (that are on my kindle). Broadly speaking I am drawn to texts about place, storytelling and mapping cultural experience.


Rob Carter
I really like the video you posted, i’m often unsure how I relate to academia / science / art, so it was nice to see poets and creative writers represented . Many times my thinking is influenced by scientific processes / people. I’m lucky in that I can go ask my friendly local scientist about earthquakes for example.

This article describes how the electromagnetic waves are created in the atmosphere prior-to and during earthquake events. In a way this is a kind of earthquake radio, which is detectable from satellites.

Vicki Smith:  I also had many similar to Zita & Helen for this page but add a couple further here too…

Christchurch focus:

Gapfiller – creatively activating the gaps

Life in Vacant Spaces – as above

Ministry of Awesome‘s Canterbury Innovation Ecosystem Map

Te Putahi – People Building better Cities (Christchurch centre for Architecture and City-Building

… and an article by David Killick discussing the exhbition that was in Chrictchurch in August 2015

An Article by Will Harvie looking at Tranisitional then and now…

I have a copy of  Once in a lifetime and Christchurch the Transitional City.
I also have a copy of the Listener with the local writer Becky Macfie’s article about the CTV and accountability and a few other bits and pieces).


A Project Lyttleton walking festival (morning of 29th be part of the Global walking action ahead of the ICC Meeting in Paris)

The Otautahi Food Foraging Network (particularly initially from the Red Zone but also the greater Christchurch area)

Scape8 (biannual sculpture festival ) but with legacy projects around town

Sound Art Festival  Audacious – also check out Auricle Gallery

An open call from eFlux that might be of interest

My personal reading has been around my most recent art research foci navigation (ongoing), George Bolt, Barometers, hydraulic rams and ‘Local to Nelson’ lost features & Interactive fictions.

Rebecca Solnit  (mapping, memory and renaissance painting)

The Catch: Micheal Field (the beginnings unfolded in Christchurch)

An Ocean in Mind: Will Kyselka – celestial navigation alongside an analysis of how the mind captures and processes information