Semantica is a mixed-media digital installation and web application by Jemma Foster and Camilla French that explores interspecies communication and non-linear linguistics of human and more-than human communication in the post-anthropocene.
Our journey into transpecies linguistics begins with an exploration of the cross-pollination of human consciousness and plant neurobiology and dreaming as a medium for communication. Geometry is the universal codex of nature inherent in all things, from the unfurling of a rose bud to the orbit of Venus, the sub-atomic to the galactic. It is the creative formula that breathes life into existence and its energetic architecture reveals itself to us through form, pattern and number.
We look to move beyond the experience of the voyeur to actively be a part of a symbiotic, integrated, interspecies dialogue in order to co-create our shared future and find new divergent pathways and systems to carry through to the waking world.
The project consists of four short experimental films employing 3D animation, 360 video projection, AI and biodata. Each film navigates a primary element: ROOTS/Earth, XIBALBA/Water, FUEGO/Fire and POLLEN/Air, with the final element, Aether, represented as the installation.
Xibalba-Roots is the first two (Water and Earth) of five (Fire, Air, Aether) Xibalba looks at the intelligence of organic matter, panspermia and universal consciousness through the Mayan underworld and cenotes of Mexico. Roots takes us on a journey through Tikuna cosmologies in the Colombian Amazon and questions the biological and mysterious architectures of creation, our origins and our future.
XIBALBA is a short experimental film exploring the intelligence of organic matter, panspermia and the relationship between homo sapiens and the Other through Mayan myth and ritual and the underworld labyrinth Xibalba.
A microbial presence travels from the furthest reaches of our solar system, entering Earth’s atmosphere as the meteorite responsible for ending the dinosaur era. Whilst its arrival causes great destruction, it also heralds new life forms and a new level of consciousness that will transform and shape life on Earth, seeding the potential for human life. The cenotes (water-filled sinkholes) formed from limestone erosion, are representative of this cataclysmic event and the literal erosion of time. The cenotes were seen by Maya as portals to the underworld, Xibalba.
A Mayan girl performs a bloodletting ceremony, assisted by entheogens, to appease the water god and envisions a future where drought prevails on Earth. Her blood merges its own unique intelligence with the water, creating a quantum entanglement that binds the three characters. A futuristic presence, a sophisticated being that is part-organism-part-AI, searches for its microbial origins in order to seed new life and liberate a desiccated land.
The soundtrack is composed by Oli Bayston using a combination of entheogenic (psychoactive)plant frequencies, including psilocybin (magic mushrooms) and Banisteriopsis caapi (ayahuasca vine).
ROOTS is a short experimental film that explores Amazonian cosmologies, person-plant relations and ecopsychology via the Tikuna creation myth. The myth describes the Ceiba pentandra tree being felled by twins Yoi and Ipi to bring light and life to the world. They later create the first humans from the huito fruit (Genipa Americana)
Recordings of the Ceiba in the Amazon rainforest were taken using a device that measures biodata - electromagnetic fluctuations between the leaves of plants - and converts them into MIDI (Music Instrument Digital Interface) code. Sound designer Imka then analysed the recording as being in the tone of A minor. Using this scale, he added a compilation of real and virtual instruments to create the soundscape for the track, along with handmade automation for pressure, pitch slide, attack, release, sustain, along with other devices to control the notes being printed in real time.
This was then integrated with the audio recordings of Abel Santos, narrating the Tikuna myth of the Genipa Americana. Abel’s wish is for this track to preserve the knowledge of the elders and to encourage younger Tikuna to learn their ancestral language. The result is a new musical language that transcends species boundaries and honours shared person-plant origins. The animation is a 3D render created by Imka using plant-based extensions to convey a representation of the shared life force - known in Tikuna as du-ügü - of people and plants: huito fruit and human heart.
In 2016, scientists encoded the message 'Hello World' into the DNA of Nicotiana benthamiana.. By 2042 80% of global crops were used as plant-based data storage, leading to the corruption and collapse of plant life by the end of the decade. No plant has bloomed since.
In universal cosmologies, mythological power plants exist veiled from our third dimensional reality, waiting for human consciousness to ripen. One such seed entered into our atmosphere with the asteroid that landed in the Yucatan peninsula, ending the Mesozoic era.
It has remained dormant. Dreaming.
This is the last plant on Earth. The genetic blueprint of Veritas cosmica was discovered by religious archaeologists, and is now held in the Telesterion Initiation Hall of Eleusis, Greece 2100. It is guarded by the cult of Demeter and Persephone, goddesses of the grain and spring. Pilgrims are granted entry in pursuit of awakening the seed.
Semantica Productions is the XR film and research studio of Wild Alchemy Lab: www.semanticaproductions.com