with Eduardo Navarro
commissioned by TBA21 Academy and
Thyssen Bornemisza Art Contemporary
for The St_age
Curated by Soledad Gutierrez and Markus Reyman
The Thyssen Bornemisza National Museum, Madrid
Oct 6, 2020 - Jan 17,2021
The City Museum of Ljubljana
Jan 26, 2021 - May 16, 2021
As If Radio, Glasgow, Nov 2021
During the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference
At The Andalusian Center for Contemporary Creation/
C3A Museum, 15/04/23 onwards...
Octo-durga is a multi-media collaborative meditation, which spends time speculating with/on a post big-bang underwater cephalopod dancer deity, hailing from Europa’s oceans (one of Jupiter’s moons). Octo-durga is devoted to making and undoing the self through poetry, gestures, drawings, sounds, and melting animations.
A dreamlike intertwining, between Eduardo Navarro’s drawings, Carlonia Fusilier’s animation/dance, and Bariya’s poems and sounds, learn from a state of being which they address as the diety - Octo durga.
Octo-Durga is a “journey of unearthing multi-dimensional oceanic sensory and para-sensory conversations”. It is a multimedia manifestation questioning the obsolete dualities of humanity and nature, of earth and mind, of technology and culture. Created together with Eduardo Navarro and the Indian artists BaRiya (Riya Raagini and Pratyush Pushkar), Octo-Durga invites us to dive into a state of mind that connects with an underwater world where tentacular and meditative visions speculate about newforms of living based on solidarity and communality - TBA-21
Poems around an Agendered Alien Cephalopod deity aka Octodurga
Octodurga’s backdrop is threaded together by a collection of poems by Bariya called, ‘Poems around an Agendered Alien Cephalopod diety, a.k.a Octodurga’. All the poems were transformed into sounds that oceans and oceanic creatures have shown to comprehend. A printed version of the collection was later sent to the coasts of the Arabian Sea to be immersed completely.
Philosophy of the sounds
The Dream -
Octo-Durga is a post big-bang underwater cephalopod dancer from the depths of one of Jupiter’s moon, from Europa’s oceans. A photo-sonic manifestation of an indigenous ancient-Indian goddess like Maha-Durga—one of the initiators of a primary multiverse—Octo-Durga is devoted to making and undoing the self through poetry, gestures, and sounds. Octo-durga hears Earth’s moon calling, whistling to hir, while hearing many others.
In one of her eternal (yearnings of all voids) and oceanic (prone to all-liquid hosting) meditations (ohm!), Octo-Durga spotted artist Eduardo Navarro on the streets of India (peeping towards the pacifist oceans) and saw the mighty arc he created from Argentina to the Indian coast, and appeared in a second (here stretched into two years) in the dream, which Eduardo then woke up from, and was materialized.
In another dream, a subtle whisper asked Eduardo to take Indian artists BaRiya (Riya Raagini and Pratyush Pushkar) onboard this journey of unearthing multi-dimensional oceanic sensory and para-sensory conversations.
Through BaRiya, Eduardo’s embodiment of Durga comes with her soundscapes and non-local poetics. Among doses of pithy salt for those who choose not to walk out of the oceans, Octo-Durga often sprinkles some in burrows elsewhere, those in which we find our micro-selves dreaming.
As the manifestation began, oceans gasped in anticipation as Eduardo was brought back to the home-beaches of Buenos Aires while monsoons from the Indian Ocean began reaching BaRiya.
They become suckers, naturally fit to be an extension of a radical goddess who brings with her baselines from the fumes of Europa’s ocean, stories from Titan and its percussive creatures, and a sincere attunement with coral reefs. They learn to feel empathy, elasticity, and love, with smell, touch and mindful neurons all at once. She speaks on behalf of the eternal oceanic bridges between worlds, hears, and brings humble almost edible visual-poetic-sonic gifts for her lovers.
The trio learn from a state of being which they address as the deity, and they actively meditate through the communication between oceanic entities.
Non Local : Of the three part audio-visual animation series, ‘Non-local’ begins in the oceans of Europa. The baselines are threaded by sampling plasma waves generated by Europa’s plumes(*a) and lunar whistles(*b) signal Octo-durga’s travels from Europa to Earth with Earth’s moon acting as a meditator. Sounds from planetary frequencies(#3), and the quantum oscillator(*c), help create space for post-human and non-human interactions. ‘Non-’local’ meditates in a rest/slowness of possible worlding.
The second part, ‘Cryptic Coloration’ slowly zooms out from a micro to a macro existence. With the help of cryptic poems and granular oceanic salinity, Octo-Durga lands on earth. To hir left (ear) is the Pacific ocean, and to the right (ear) - the Atlantic. A camouflaging time-lapse of shrimps, dugong, dolphins, sea lions, the Atlantic Croaker, and blue whale, welcome hir to Earth, and hir nine brains hear inter-dependently. Thousands of kilometres away a Bloop(*d) sends greetings! Many of the sounds from ‘Cryptic Coloration’ belong to such low frequencies, that they are often more felt than heard.
In the third part, ‘Cellular Suicide’, Octo-Durga swirls-disintegrates, cell by cell, microtone by microtone. Octo-durga dreams of temporal feelings free of observations,of hir inter-planetary oceanic memories - sounds from Ganymede, of hir tentacles like bridges across cosmic oceanity.
Live conversation | Octo-Durga: Eduardo Navarro and BaRiya (Pratyush Pushkar and Riya Raagini)
A two-part conversation with marine biologist Roger Hanlon and TBA21–Academy’s Markus Reymann around the possible connexions between art and science that can be made through octopus tentacles. Their words dance with Octo-Durga, the “post big-bang underwater cephalopod dancer from the depths of one of Jupiter’s moons, from Europa’s oceans” created by Eduardo Navarro and BaRiya. Sounds from the outer space that is the deepest oceans… our best intuition lives under the sea.
a - Jupiter’s moon Europa is thought to harbour a subsurface ocean of salty liquid water that could potentially support life. The investigation of detecting water molecules and water ions was conducted from Europa’s plumes from a flyby mission. The paper, ‘On the In-Situ Detectability of Europa’s Water Vapour Plumes from a Flyby Mission’(#1) , demonstrates the in-situ detection of water molecules and ions from low mass flux plumes.
b- Lunar whistles made public by Nasa heard by the crew of Apollo 10, in May 1969. As an engineer explained, these noises likely came from interference caused by radios close to each other in the lunar module and the command module(#2).
c - The Quantum Oscillator used, belongs to the Quantum Music project (#4), which is a MaxMSP based instrument, made with Quantum Acoustics in mind. Quantum Acoustics (#5) originates from the famous experiment with Bose-Einstein Condensate (BEC). BEC is the state of matter in which a phenomenon of the unification of a vast number of separate quantum systems occurs: quantum particles actually become One Quantum Entity, the so-called fifth state of the matter. BEC is capable of producing mechanical vibration in the human hearing range, creating the miracle of sound. This is the only point within the quantum physics’ wonder space that interacts so directly with our reality.
d- "The Bloop" is the given name of a mysterious underwater sound recorded in the 90s. Years later, NOAA scientists discovered that this sound emanated from an iceberg cracking and breaking away from an Antarctic glacier.
#1 - Hans L.F. Huybrighs, Yoshifumi Futaana, Stanislav Barabash, Martin Wieser, Peter Wurz, Norbert Krupp, Karl-Heinz Glassmeier, Bert Vermeersen, On the in-situ detectability of Europa's water vapour plumes from a flyby mission, Icarus, Volume 289,2017, Pages 270-280, ISSN 0019-1035, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.icarus.2016.10.026. (https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0019103516301968)
#2 NASA Releases Strange ‘music’ Heard by 1969 Astronauts . https://phys.org/news/2016-02-nasa-strange-music-heard-astronauts.html.
#3 - Cousto, Hans. Cosmic Octave: Table of Planets, Sounds, Colors and Meters. https://www.planetware.de/img/banner960.png.
#4 - ‘Quantum Music’. Beyond Quantum Music , http://quantummusic.org/. Accessed 27 Apr. 2023
#5 - Novkovic, Dragan, Marko Peljevic, and Mateja Malinovic. “Synthesis and Analysis of Sounds Developed from the Bose-Einstein Condensate: Theory and Experimental Results.” Muzikologija, no. 24 (2018): 95–109. https://doi.org/10.2298/muz1824095n
#6 - What is the bloop? “What Is the Bloop?,” n.d. https://oceanservice.noaa.gov/facts/bloop.html.
Other Readings -
Theodor Schwenk, Sensitive Chaos: The creation of flowing forms in water and air (Rudolf Steiner Press: UK, 1996)
Peter Godfrey Smith, Other Minds: The Octopus, the Sea, and the Deep Origins of Consciousness (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2016)