Eternal Return

STRP / SXSW / CPH:DOX

Toured at STRP Festival, has been exhibited at WELD, Göteborgs Konsthall, SXSW, CPH:DOX and is looking for touring opportunities in 2020 and 2021.

Eternal Return is a choreographed, mixed reality exhibition exploring the future of memory.

Audiences explore a memory archive containing replicas from Earth’s deep past through to its post-anthropocene future. These replicas manifest as hyper-connected physical objects, digital spaces and acoustic environments.

The experience is one-to-one and performer-guided. Experience of the virtual is complemented by the performer’s delicate touch and digital presence within the work.

Designed to appeal to visitors from outside the headset as well as within, the stage-set takes the form of a beautiful, fragmented exhibition, giving a skeletal impression of the hidden virtual space inside.

Eternal Return is a collaboration with Swedish artist duo Lundahl & Seitl.

Tour Info:

  • Eternal Return premiered at STRP Festival, Eindhoven, April 2019.
  • WELD, Stockholm, May 2019
  • Göteborgs Konsthall, Gothenburg, August 2019
  • SXSW Virtual Cinema, Austin, March 2020
  • CPH:DOX, Copenhaghen, March 2020
ScanLAB Projects | Eternal Return

The work is formed of three chapters Stromatolites, The Memor and The Fugue.

Stromatolites /

ScanLAB Projects | Eternal Return

Some of the first forms of life on Earth are recorded in rocks. In the installation, below the 3d-printed objects, is some of the oldest photosynthesizing life on earth: 3.5 billion years old Stromatolites (Greek for “layered rock”). Consisting of layers of single-celled cyanobacteria, forming microbial reefs, the stromatolite was a probability engine: an actualizer of life.

Before the stromatolites, air contained only one percent oxygen. Within the stromatolite there is a string of data: the first form of memory, the single-cell bacteria. This lifeform enables more advanced cells to form. A collaborative symbiotic community of cells, packed together and exposed to friction, were the first step towards consciousness.

This part of the installation is an encounter with a digital entity modelled after the Stromatolites. Tuning in with the visitors movement, without a word, this cluster of points asks the question: what is the actualizer of life in the digital realm?

ScanLAB Projects | Eternal Return

The Memor /

ScanLAB Projects | Eternal Return

The central part of Eternal Return is The Memor: a digital archive of buildings, landscapes, sounds, smells and even traces of people.

The state of a memory in The Memor is much like the human mind: a stable structure of a neural network as it is NOW, but every return to that memory changes it. Mirrored in The Memor are the ways in which traces of the earth’s past are recorded in rocks and fossils, as arrangements of minerals in stable structures that we examine in the present.

Without a witness to record each event, stars collide, neutrons merge, nebulae form. Likewise without a visitor, The Memor remains an archive of forms, sounds and scents in no particular order.

ScanLAB Projects | Eternal Return

The Fugue /

ScanLAB Projects | Eternal Return

Inside The Fugue, pianist Cassie Yukawa-McBurney performs J. S. Bach’s Fugue in A Minor BWV 543 written for the organ, arranged by Liszt for piano.

Fugue or Fugue State is the psychological term for when the brain does not find where memory is. For the pianist, the fugue played is like a process of remembering. For her audience, the electromagnetic waves of sound carry information to our senses. Remember - only the disturbance is travelling, not the air. The unbodied human consciousness became the disturbance travelling from the old world to the new.

ScanLAB Projects | Eternal Return

Eternal Return is accompanied by a science fiction novel, The Memor by Malin Zimm, which offers an expanded narrative of the exhibition.

E-book download link: Eternal Return The Memor

Eternal Return is a STRP co-production and collaboration with the artist duo Lundahl & Seitl

Eternal Return has been supported by:

ScanLAB Projects | Eternal Return

Eternal Return is open to touring requests. Please get in touch with Matt at studio@scanlabprojects.co.uk for more details.