For us humans, the flow and flush of waters sustain our own bodies, but also connect them to other bodies, to other worlds beyond our human selves. (Astrida Neimanis)



AXECIDYR proposes a science-fiction narrative, that interweaves fragments of the afrofuturist legend of the so-called Drexciya civilisation together with concerns around the possible consequences of deep-sea mining.

In my current research I have been exploring the power of mythology and its potential in re-activating and reinventing histories and geographical spaces. Although scientific progress has made major areas of planet Earth graspable to humankind, parts of our planet still remain entirely mysterious and unknown. The environment of the deep-sea in particular, likely where life on Earth has its origins, is yet an uncharted territory hosting uncanny life forms. These endless bodies of water, I believe, are pertinent places for the construction of contemporary myths – they are projection surfaces for imagination and socio-political criticism, opaque spaces of speculation and remembrance.

Drexciya is an electronic music duo from Detroit which I have become familiar with as I was coordinating the project UNDERCURRENTS from SFB42 – a research group of artists and physicists based in Munich. My fascination for sound and underwater environments led me to take a closer look at this anonymous band from the 1990s, particularly at the afrofuturistic nautical myth they developed in their album ‘The Quest’:



Could it be possible for humans to breath underwater? A foetus in its mothers womb is certainly alive in an aquatic environment.
During the greatest holocaust the world has ever known, pregnant America-bound African slaves were thrown overboard by the thousands during labour for being sick and disruptive cargo. Is it possible that they could have given birth at sea to babies that never needed air? (…)
Are Drexciyans water breathing, aquatically mutated descendants of those unfortunate victims of human greed? (…)
Do they walk among us? Are they more advanced than us and why do they make their strange music?
(Drexciya)




September 2020 to January 2021 - Munich DE Research- proposal on historical references/ visit to archives
- Collection of visual and sculptural references
- musical and visual designs
- Contact with possible performers/collaborators


February/March 2021 - Porto PT
- Production of sculptural works at ArtWorks (Ecosteel group)


March/April 2021 - Braga PT (?)
- First exhibition of sculpture work and video/sound drafts


March-September 2021 - Munich?
- collaborative writing process
- Producing a sound pieces
- Recording session with the performers
- further sculptural studies


Summer 2021 - first 1 week stay in the Azores PT
- Field research on the island of Sao Miguel
- Visits to local museums and archives
- Interviews
- Visit of possible film locations
- possible local shooting locations


Winter/Spring 2021/22 - Sao Miguel Island
- Trip with the team for the shooting in the Azores
- Organisation of the final presentation of the project


Spring 2022 - Munich DE/ Lisbon PT
- Post-Production
- Work on a small publication for the project


Summer 2022 - Island of Sao Miguel PT
- Presentation of the project at Walk&Talk Azores


Autumn 2022
- Presentation of the project somewhere else (maybe Munich)
The project AXECIDYR is a reformulation, an answer or a possible continuation of the underwater Drexciyan myth. It will narrate the encounter of humans with the mutant civilization, descendants of enslaved people, during an operation of extraction of ores and minerals in the deep-sea. Referring to nautical tales and legends, this story will reflect on the ecological impact of humans on the sea and their physical invasion of waters – where life once began and where it often ends. Holding onto concepts introduced by Astrida Neimanis, the project proposes to open questions around the ocean as decentralised memory, the human body holding and sustaining water, and the hydro-commons as a drift into new ways of ‘caring’.




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Bellow you will find the references, drafts and quotes, as well as the visual influences and first glass objects created.

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2 hours DJ-mixtape for the Radio programme of Walk&Talk 9.5 Art Festival in Azores






Images from the deployment of STRAW-B neutrino detector, that hosted the art intervention UNDERCURRENTS, coordinated by Diogo da Cruz as part of SFB42

An ocean research center of the University of Victoria, Ocean Networks Canada (ONC), is installing new infrastructure at its deepest node on its offshore observatory—Cascadia Basin, an abyssal plain 2,700 m below sea level—to test the location’s potential for a future large-scale neutrino observatory.

Neutrinos are one of the universe’s most essential ingredients and one of nature’s most abundant subatomic particles, produced by nuclear reactions from solar fusion, radioactive decay and exploding stars. The detector includes two 120-m long instrument moorings with photon-emitting and photo-detecting sensors, which will assess the transparency and darkness of the seawater for two years, burst of light to simulate photon reactions and assess the site’s suitability for neutrino detection.








Map of 52-Hertz’s migration patterns
It was a strange sound. The acoustic technicians thought they knew what it was, but then they realised they didn’t.

She couldn’t quite believe it. It was coming in at 52 hertz.

She told him, “I think this is a whale.”

It hardly seemed possible. For a blue whale, which is what this one seemed to be, a frequency of 52 hertz was basically off the charts. Blue whales usually came in somewhere between 15 and 20 - on the periphery of what the human ear can hear, an almost imperceptible rumble. But here it was, right in front of them, the audio signature of a creature moving through Pacific waters with a singularly high-pitched song.

The whale was an anomaly: his sound patterns were recognizable as those of a blue whale, but his frequency was unheard of. It was absolutely unprecedented. So they paid attention. They kept tracking him for years, every migration season, as he made his way south from Alaska to Mexico. His path wasn’t unusual, only his song—and the fact that they never detected any other whales around him. He always seemed to be alone.

So this whale was calling out high, and he was calling out to no one — or at least, no one seemed to be answering. The acoustic technicians would come to call him 52 Blue.






Lagoa do Negro is a small kettle-like ephemeral lake that was first referred to during the primordial period of human settlement on the island of Terceira, Azores Archipelago.

Legend suggests in the early settlement on the island there existed a noble family, who owned black slaves. The daughter of the Majorat at the time was obliged to participate in a marriage of convenience, in order to increase their landholdings and wealth. It was a loveless marriage and she began an illicit affair with one of her slaves. Eventually, they realized that the only way to fulfil their life was to escape their life together. But, her husband had ordered her handmaid to follow her, and having been relayed their encounters, he ordered the capture of the slave. After hearing hunting dogs, and knowing that it was not a hunting day, realized he was being hunted and escaped to the island interior. After a day and night of flight he was consigned to his fate, and began to cry. As the legend suggested, his tears multiplied, forming a small pond alongside a woodlot. With his pursuers quickly closing in on horseback, the desperate slave threw himself into the dark waters and drowned.
The Lost City Hydrothermal Field, often referred to simply as Lost City, is an area of marine alkaline hydrothermal vents located on the Atlantis Massif at the intersection between the Mid-Atlantic Ridge and the Atlantis Transform Fault, in the Atlantic Ocean. It is a long-lived site of active and inactive ultramafic-hosted serpentinization,[1] abiotically producing many simple molecules such as methane and hydrogen which are fundamental to microbial life. As such it has generated scientific interest as a prime location for investigating the origin of life on Earth and other planets similar to it

Portuguese news reported the discovery of a very large under water pyramid first discovered by Diocleciano Silva between the islands of São Miguel and Terceira in the Azores of Portugal. According to claims, the structure is said to be perfectly squared and oriented by the cardinal points. Current estimates obtained using GPS digital technology put the height at 60 meters with a base of 8000 square meters. The Portuguese Hydrographic Institute of the Navy currently has the job of analyzing the data to determine whether or not the structure is man-made. “The pyramid is perfectly shaped and apparently oriented by the cardinal points,” Silva told Diário Insular, the local newspaper.

The pyramid was found in an area of the mid-Atlantic that has been underwater for about 20,000 years. Considering this is around the time of the last ice age where glaciation was melting from its peak 2000 years prior, whatever civilization, human or not, that was around before the ice age, could be responsible for building the pyramid. While the Portuguese Navy still hasn’t determined the origins, many might question why this hasn’t been first reported on sooner than late 2012. Certainly the NOAA who studies volcanic activity in the area of the pyramid would have discovered the pyramid through sonar imaging and so forth since the area is heavily studied due to volcanic activity. Either the NOAA hasn’t yet come across it, they are hiding what they have found, or the pyramid doesn’t exist. The last theory does not seem to be likely given the authenticity of the find.

To further support the idea that this pyramid could have been built by different civilizations, archeologists from the Portuguese Association of Archaeological Research have recently discovered evidence on Pico island that suggests their belief that humans existed in the Azores region before the arrival of the Portuguese thousands of years ago. As of today, there is still no explanation for who created the rock art found on the islands. Was the pyramid built by whatever civilization existed prior to the Portuguese? Is it possibly not even man-made?

(a hoax that made it to Portuguese public television in 2013)










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here some formal references for the criation of sculptures

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DIATOMS





In 1703, an anonymous Englishman, known to history only as Mr. C, wrote to the Royal Society of London to report on a peculiar observation he’d made using only a simple microscope. He’d been looking at the roots of pond-weed, but as he looked closer, he found attached to the roots, “‘many pretty branches, composed of rectangular oblongs and exact squares.’” At first, he assumed these geometric attachments must be salt crystals. But the more he experimented and looked through his microscope, the more he realised there might be something amazing going on here. These tiny, beautiful shapes seemed kind of plant-like. Today, with the benefit of many, many more observations, and far superior equipment, we know that this 18th century letter is one of the earliest descriptions of a diatom, a photosynthetic, unicellular algae that can become so plentiful that oceanic blooms of these organisms, which we cannot see individually without a microscope, are nonetheless visible from space. But, we wouldn’t be talking about diatoms if we needed to be in space to observe them. You can find these tiny organisms just about anywhere that has water and light. Looking at them through a microscope, you might understand why microbe hunters are so fond of them. They have been called “the jewels of the sea”. Those beautiful outer shells are called frustules, and they set diatoms apart from every other living creature. Unlike the organic cell walls and membranes we associate with most cells, frustules are made out of inorganic silica, enclosing the cytoplasm of the diatom in, what is basically, glass. Silica shells take less energy to make and maintain compared to their organic counterparts, but they do come with a trade-off. Glass is…well, it’s glass.It’s hard to expand if you’re a unicellular organism trying to undergo asexual mitosis when your cell is inclosed in a rigid, inorganic material. Instead, when diatoms divide, the daughter cells take the old frustule and divide it between them, which means that the daughter cells are both going to be smaller than their parent, and they’re never going to grow any bigger. And as diatoms keep dividing, the daughter cells keep getting smaller and smaller. If this goes on forever, the diatom will get so small that it cannot survive. But diatoms that are starting to get too small can avoid that fate through sexual reproduction, which is kind of a refresh button that lets them construct a new frustule for a larger daughter cell.
(...)

It might be tempting to think of these cells just as little microscopic jewels, just something nice to look at, but they also have a huge impact on our world. Of all of the photosynthesis being done on Earth, around 1/5 is done by diatoms, which puts them on par with all rainforests on earth combined. And it means we owe a great deal to these microorganisms. And not just our oxygen, when they die, their silica frustules sink to the bottom of the water that they're in and accumulate into a soft, chalky rock that we know better diatomaceous earth. That key ingredient in beer and wine filtration, paint, and of course, cat litter. So, yes, these beautiful jewels that the unknown Mr. C spotted in 1703 don’t just provide us with every fifth breath we take, they also help make our cat litter more absorbent.
And also, they’re just really nice to look at.












Chironex fleckeri,

commonly known as the sea wasp, is a species of extremely venomous box jellyfish found in coastal waters from northern Australia and New Guinea to Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam.[1] It has been described as "the most lethal jellyfish in the world", with at least 63 known deaths in Australia from 1884 to 1996






Deep sea mining equipment


(looking like warfare equipment)