Stella Rahola The Silicon Dawn

Date: September 3, 2019 Category: Things

Source: Stella Rahola
Photography: Corey Bartle-Sanderson

The installation materials are: Carbon tiles -charcoal coated hexagonal industrial tiles-, Carbon crystals -fertiliser with charcoal- and Silicon sculptures -blown borosilicate glass, silver mirrored and gold fuming. From afar, the Silicon Dawn is an ultramodern, sci-fi-esque landscape in which the light, reflection and darkness of the elements delineate a rhythm of ups and downs. The towers are the result of craftsmanship and are all different from each other; while the tiles are industrially produced. The towers reflect light, thanks to a chemical league containing silver, it is the old craft technique of making mirrors. The tiles, instead, coated with carbon powder, a result of an opaque black and thus absorb all light. The Carbon (of the tiles) and the Silicon (glass of the towers) are indeed among the most similar elements on the periodic table.

These properties are crucial to the development of our carbon-based biological system. Many speculative arguments have been built on the idea that, somewhere else in the universe, its chemical cousin silicon could be an alternative basis for life. Several science fiction stories keep open the possibility that silicon-based life could arise on a planet that is too hot for carbon-based life. For now, silicon is already fundamental in our life for its role in technology and nano-technology, and for its use and potential developments in AI; for example, robots that can learn and ‘feel’. While drawing inspiration from sci-fi scenarios, ultramodern architecture and robotics, it inevitably anchors to its crafty physicality. In fact, the first connection in my work between the silicon and the carbon is in the material relationship of the borosilicate glass that when melted is shaped with carbon tools. Craftsmanship clearly put man at its centre, although used in a scenario that reminds of aliens stories and ‘living’ robots. The future time implicit in the scientific and fictional speculations is also contrasted by the link of craft to tradition and collective memory.












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