In/compatible Materials Intervention - Résumé by Martin Howse

in/compatible Material interventions with Martin Howse, Anthony Iles, Mattin, Jo
in/compatible Material interventions with Martin Howse, Anthony Iles, Mattin, Jonathan Kemp, Shu Lea Cheang

"Slightly after 18.00 on the first of February 2012, all above ground level materials embraced by the titles House of World Cultures (or HKW) and transmediale 2k+12 were shifted around one millimetre within a vertical direction or vector. This distinct, yet subtle elevation was measured by several instruments prepared within the basement vaults of the HKW, mirroring those embedded in an equally monumental concrete installation intended for the testing of a nearby proposed triumphal arch. The parallels between these two buildings, HKW and Schwerbelastungskörper (or heavy loading body), are appropriate, considering both potential collapse, location and the events of that day.


This collective work of levitation, was accomplished as a fitting conclusion for the in-compatible materials workshop initiated by Martin Howse, Anthony Iles, Mattin, Jonathan Kemp, Shu Lea Cheang, and Baruch Gottlieb, and taking place on the same day commencing at 12.00; the duration of the event measured by the fragrant slow stewing of Eisbein (pig's leg) soup and garlic cloves, the consumption of which enabled the work of levitation.


Levitation concluded a day's activities marked by attempts at escalation (the fork bomb, nulled currency), collapse (both intended and internal to the group), and exhaustion (of the process table by way of forking), of a certain load-bearing body which could be marked as protocol or as material, within the context of an event which set out to "insert itself in the cut between these compatible protocol(s) and an in-compatible/inverse divinatory materiality through the setup of a series of experimental situations ('the construction of situations'. Debord)."


In this instance, the experimental situation, discussed and moulded over many hours of collective IRC discussion, centred on the use of a fork bomb model (coded in Perl as "fork while fork") to be applied to the materials and collective protocols of the transmediale festival itself, with forkbombing implying an escalation (recursively creating new cloned process by way of the fork system call), and an exhaustion (saturating both local resources such as processor and memory, and filling up the process table, the alloted list of running processes), as indicated above. Complex relay message systems of requests (perhaps exploiting the R15N miscommunication network, as well as HKW public address system) were imagined and to some extent implemented. Escalation by way of the issuing of fake currency, the motivation of free beer submitted across necessarily viral social media, and forked discussion/distraction were attempted, becoming antagonistic and perhaps annoying in terms of their effects on local materials (audience, staff, interns as material).


Prolonged internal discussions on forkbomb efficacy and protocol, alongside alienation of local materials, created an experimental situation of islanding or siege; a military container within the cold war monument of the HKW. Movements away from the island became fraught with paranoid suspicion for many hours, as all attempts with external communication, marred by external suspicions, failed. Absolute immobility was suggested, by someone joining from outside the group, as a key strategy for forkbombing, or escalation. This lack of movement within the HKW and festival structure remained for any local interior observer at 18.00."


Text by Martin Howse
Photo credits:
© Fleur Augustinus / transmediale