The Intimate Earthquake Archive

Tactile earthquake vests and compositions derived from seismic recordings. Interactive radio broadcast system. Sandstone earth core samples and wooden scaffolding.


Supported By

Augmented Instruments Laboratory - Centre for Digital Music - Queen Mary University London


Opening: 15 December. 19h. Van Abbemuseum Het Oog

The scale of anthropocentric modifications of the biosphere has made clear that any separation between nature and culture is impossible. In The Netherlands this the blurring of boundaries between nature and culture is omnipresent – efforts to cultivate, explore and exhaust the land has entered into Dutch cultural history and mentality. In the past 2 years I visited an amount of scientific collections for my research about man-made earthquakes in Groningen. I was surprised how much information and material was collected about the subsurface of this country. It made me wonder how this event – of man creating earthquakes – will enter into history. What kind of material mark will these events leave upon the future? How to archive the tensions arising when a ‘natural’ phenomenon such as earthquakes is created by culture?

In fall 2016 The Eye at the Van Abbemuseum is transformed into The Intimate Earthquake Archive. This is an interactive installation that allows participants to access and experience the man-made earthquakes recorded by KNMI in Groningen.

The installation consists of hanging capsules – each emitting an earthquake recorded in Groningen through a long-wave radio system created by Carsten Tonn-Petersen. The public is invited to put on wearable ‘tactile vests’ with inbuilt transducer speakers, developed by Marije Baalman, Jonathan Reus-Brodsky and Sissel Marie Tonn. These modules react to the transmitters in the installation, which allows the wearer to explore the subtle rumbles of the earthquakes on the body.

Category: Installation