Impossible Matter


Mercury 20 Gallery, 2019

This exhibit is a quasi-fictional account of Impossible Matter in the form of paintings, sculpture, fabrics, prints, text and song.  Building on previous work that used mathematically generated images of plant growth algorithms to create parastichy anti facial recognition masks, the ability to camouflage ourselves as rocks is examined through the exotic spatially complex icosahedral quasicrystal.  The impossibility of its atomic arrangement in which all the available space is filled but never repeats revolutionizes the ability to manipulate matter for a science fiction like invisibility.  Fascinated by the visual beauty and infinite potential of perfectly ordered but not periodic patterning of quasicrystals or “impossible matter” a new epic is imagined. The star of this story is the 4.5 billion year old naturally formed extraterrestrial quasicrystal meteor Icosahedrite, found in the Kolya Mountains of Russia by scientist Paul J. Steinhardt documented in his book: The Second Kind of Impossible: The extraordinary quest for a new form of matter. In the post-truth Anthropocene all the species of our planet are in the cross hairs of climate change denial and the rise of AI. In response Poethig blends science and art to tease out the implications of the quasicrystal capacity to make us invisible to the authoritarian uses of technology by cloaking our bodies with the patterns, diffractions and wavelengths that make up the cosmos. In this epic instead of destroying the planet homo sapiens merge with plants, rocks and the extraterrestrial meteors of their geological layer. Playing with impossibility provides a new space of imagining an alternative to the Anthropocene, redirecting the light to create the camouflage of a miracle. Ceramic Space Rock Nuggets, Quasicrystal Camouflage Fashion Tubes, Forbidden Symmetry Sun Glasses, Human Diffraction paintings, the new Space Rock Diffractions song and the storyboard for QUASI the Extra-Terre-Strial Style Zine are assembled in this exhibit. In this unfolding epic Poethig explores nature, science, politics, the body, space and time.

SPACE ROCK DIFFRACTIONS  (lyrics by Johanna Poethig/Music by Chris Brown)
Come All and Ride on this Fantastic Voyage!
This is an invitation
From the interstellar winds
Set your human laundry to the side
And come on this 4.5 billion year old
Epic Ride

We are the Space Rocks of Meteor Velocity
Charging particles
of planetary body
Breaking it down
For Sands of Time

Out of paradox
Into Magnetic Storm
Burning through the Skin
of Heliosphere
Megavolts of combustion
Cooling in the muck and suck of clay
While polypropylene
Spool of Industry
Commodity Plastic of Earthling insanity

We are the Space Rocks of Meteor Velocity
Never repeating
Limitless possibility
Fiery Force Field of Terminal Shock
Breaking it down
For Sands of Time Jubilee!
The concrete Mardi Gras of Destiny
Ash Wednesday of Eternity.

This is a quasi
Fictional Account
of Impossible Matter
In the Age
Of Techno Imperialism
A Totalitarian State
Of Digital Swag
Promotional products of homo sapien plunder
Listen for the pulse before you go under

We are the Diffractions of Mineral Possibilities
On the magnetosphere of Static Cling
In the plasma of the solar wind
Slower than the speed of sound
Socio-political structures of the flesh
Let us influence your moldable matter
We are here to make a sensation!
This is an Extraterrestrial invitation.