ORACLE MODEM

EXPERIMENTS IN RITUAL TECHNOLOGY \ conducted by Madeeha Lamoreaux
W, A, S, D = Move * SPACE = Jump * MOUSE = Look around

MADEEHA LAMOREAUX / CV / WORK / BLOG(S) + OTHER PROJECTS

I am a female, Muslim, artist currently based in Chicago, Illinois. In 2016, I received my MFA in Media, Art, Design, and Technology from the Frank Mohr Institute in the Netherlands and have exhibited both in the United States and the Netherlands.

Art is a ritual technology, a transducer of energy, cultivated to communicate intangibility.

We have developed technology to extend the body and enhance our abilities. While often considered cold and opposed to bodily experience, technology’s cryptic, magical aura has persisted. My intent is to ritualize technology, through art-making, in order to exaggerate the symbology of the black box—the space of unobserved mechanisms of technology. For me, my attempts to ritualize contemporary technology often expose the hidden mechanisms behind them.

My focus lies in unearthing the hidden systems that govern technology which is often perceived as magical. She positions technology and ritual as developing concurrently throughout history and believes that our interactions with technology are inherently ritualistic.

Read ART as RITUAL TECHNOLOGY

Blood Battery

My research into the scientific/technological mechanism of batteries revealed the simple equation of [ electrolytic {copper} + {aluminum} solution ] = energy. My simultaneous research of blood sacrifice as a means of generating and maintaining spiritual energy—as in the case of ancient Mayan civilization—led me to wonder whether blood might act as the electrolytic solution capacitating a flow of energy between the two metals. I then ritualized the process for myself by practicing blood letting with an Islamic cupping technique—hijama—(and the help of a nurse). The process of obtaining blood and “generating” energy from it, outside of the body, is for me a ritualistic activity.

At this stage, my research into the concept of the blood battery presents itself here as a mysterious object – looking like a homemade bomb, perhaps – with wires connected to black boxes and no apparent result. The digital voltmeter displays the current output of the battery—an unstable number, becoming increasingly unstable as the blood expires.

My hope is to continue to develop this object beyond its conceptual limitations and implement the technology into a ritualistic activity. Recently, researchers at Yale (led by Andre Taylor), Rensselaer Polytechnic, University of British Columbia and other institutions have developed similar bio-batteries for implementation within the body. My interest is not in the scientific application but in the artistic ritualistic realm. Particularly, performative and interactive applications of this technology.

atenism
My work atenism, 2016, makes use of operative prayer and the symbol of the sun barque, horizon, to create an animate sculpture. The piece consists of a glass globe, lasercut wood, iPod, programmed LED, Arduino, and amplifier. The interaction of warm and cold elements play out as follows: the light globe reacts to ambient sound in the space but mainly to an ancient, operative prayer (warm) that is read to it by a computer (cold). The light remains glowing, only as long as the prayer is still “heard” by the circuit. Here, an interaction through time is suggested. The relic of the hymn is revived by new technology. I discovered the hymn through the internet, recorded my computer reciting it and built a technological system to illustrate it’s purpose (keeping the sun alive).
Brainwave Tea Ceremony
(o)temae, 2016 is a ritual tea ceremony that makes use of a brainwave scanner to generate a tea recipe for the participants. The performance makes use of this (pseudoscientific) technology to ritual and poetic end--ulimately revealing the synonymous processes of biology and technology. The ceremony itself then becomes an introduction to a liminal state of awareness and presence.
Codex

This work draws from an earlier study of obsidian divination mirrors. According to archaeologists, the primary intended use of these mirrors was to predict, communicate with, and understand the communal natural world, rather than attempting to reach the supernatural. With Codex 6+ [kala], 2016 , I began my own process of symbol-making and cosmology development. The coded drawings developed from meditatively responding to reading, web-surfing, and daily moments of inspiration. The drawings utilize an irregular logic that I categorize as ritually technological. Three predominant levels of coded language exist on each panel: obfuscated grid-guided sentences, appropriated literary text.

Codex

The final presentation of my MFA thesis text took the form of a chatbot. The chat robot destroys the text in its process of analyzing and systematizing: it becomes an illegitimate interface. Interaction with the chat robot ritualizes the thesis text through programmed and then ritually accessed ideology, scrambled into poetic jargon.

Codex

Battery Weavings and Obtained | Retained [blood battery] resulted from taking apart an AA lithium battery and attempting to understand its basic components. In deconstructing a cheap, factory-produced item I stripped the technology to its minimal form of metal and electrolytes. I then re-cast the technology, using ritual symbolism, through weaving and ritual blood-letting. The battery weavings require saltwater to produce energy, my solution for this is to engage the user in a performative act of ritual hand-washing in order to charge the woven battery.

Drawings

With Codex 6+ [kala], 2016 , I began my own process of symbol-making and cosmology development. The coded drawings developed from meditatively responding to reading, web-surfing, and daily moments of inspiration. The drawings utilize an irregular logic that I categorize as ritually technological. Three predominant levels of coded language exist on each panel: obfuscated grid-guided sentences, appropriated literary text.