Everything In Slices Part V \ Martha McGuinn (2017)

Martha McGuinn’s work looks at how digital archiving is used to store historical artefacts and what affect that has on how we relate to heritage objects. Everything In Slices Part V was a machine designed to reduce the process of petrification from thousands of years down to days, opening the possibility of this natural archiving technique becoming instantaneous in the future. By synthetically replicating the conditions needed for creating a fossil, the machine gave the user control over what can be preserved for the next thousands of years.

In 2016, a 5D chip can store the entire history of humankind for over 13.8 Billion years in a space that is smaller than a fingerprint. Vast amounts of data can be copied and stored in the smallest of spaces for long periods of time. In Everything In Slices Part V  the material of the object itself is preserved meaning that the actual thing, not only its impression, will be available to access for the distant future. 

The objects to be preserved are crushed under the immense pressure of a hydraulic ram driving down into the compression chamber. As this compression is taking place, a liquid concentrate of calcium sulphate, magnesium and silicon is fed through the chamber, gradually depositing minerals in any tiny space left open in the compression and solidifying into rock. The machine synthesises the natural physical processes of petrification, forcing the ancient and the contemporary to collide and turning petrification and long term preservation into something that can be controlled and mechanised.

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