Everything In Slices Part V / Martha McGuinn

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 is 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 gives 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.

Booking: This project is part of the Digital Dark Ages tour which is a ticketed event that can be booked in advance. You can book this as an individual ticket, or to experience as much of the festival as possible, you can book this event as part of a Festival Pass.

Parking: The car park is a graveled area parallel with the road and is free to cavern visitors. In addition, parking on the road is in marked parking bays only, which at the current time is free. There is reserved parking for disabled visitors.

Please note Digital Dark Ages can only be experienced through a cave tour and is not wheelchair accessible. For more information access across the festival weekend, please visit the Festival Access page.

Event info:

  • Fri 22nd — Sun 24th Sep 2017
    @Fri 1pm-5pm, Sat & Sun 10am-5pm
  • Treak Cliff

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