Malcolm Goldstein investigates the materiality of the active layer using only vibration. (video - 14 min)

Active Layer is a term used in geomorphology to describe the conglomerate or zone of living or biological material that makes up the layer of earth, soil, air, water, etc. where life goes on and where life is enabled by other life. The living soil above the permafrost in the arctic was one of the zones first described by scientists with this term. In contemporary re-uses of Lovelock's Gaia model this does not mean that the earth, as a planet, is a living thing but that the milieu of living things is other living processes (spread out both in space and time - old living stuff makes the environment for new living stuff). You could conjecture that other forms of energy and materiality, not generated by what we call life, are also part of this active layer.

In this work I ask musician Malcolm Goldtein to use his practice of music as a way to investigate the Active Layer, or rather I conjecture with this work that that is exactly what his practice already does. It is technique of material, spatial and temporal exploration, rather than a form of subjective expression. I connect this to the depth-sounding lead-lines used by mariners (see 'No Bottom' on the main page). Soundings of many kinds.

The video is interleaved with excerpts from collaborator Sybille Müller's investigation of the sea, which embodies a simiar idea of gesture as experimental process.