Five Body Problems


Five Body Problems #1:  A speculative rare earth recovery model and the poetics of head bashing the steering wheel

A five body problem attempts to predict the motion of five orbiting bodies based on their mass and initial position. This class of problems are difficult to solve as they are sensitive to initial conditions and often have unstable solutions. This animation does not attempt to solve a five body problem, but borrows from related strange attractor models to create animation.

Susan Sontag wrote that a photograph “is also a trace, something directly stenciled off the real, like a footprint or a death mask.” In this way traces of the real are evident in 3D scans of objects and landscapes which I encounter. I make photogrammetry to share those traces and to trace my path through the landscape. 

The real lesson of the anthropocene is that humans can no longer entertain the narrative that their societies and technology are somehow separate from the natural world. They are all entangled and embedded within each other. 

I depict technological decay and disruption as it is not clear if a stable solution exists for human societies and the Earth System.



Five Body Problems #2: Lost and Found in the Wash

In the digital short film Five Body Problems #2, I use photogrammetry and 3D animation to explore themes of landscape, technology and anthropogenic change. The digital landscapes were recorded while exploring a derelict mining site in the Mojave desert. The animation references my activity at the site, which included producing a large relief mold of an exposed rock wall. The process, artifacts and technology used while at work in this site are intermingled within the 3D animation as they are mingled subconsciously in my memory.