Swamp Protocol: guest curated by Most Dismal Swamp

featuring works by David Atlas, Iain Ball, Lara Joy Evans, Samuel Capps, Holly Childs, Lea Collet and Marios Stamatis, core.pan, Porpentine Charity Heartscape, Marija Bozinovska Jones with MBJ Wetware, Will Kendrick, Rachel McRae, Benoit Ménard, Sarah Montet, Anni Nöps, Eva Papamargariti, Jakob Kudsk Steensen, Viktor Timofeev, Kyle Zeto Thorne

Opening Thursday 28 March 6-9pm
Exhibition runs until Saturday 13 April, open Tuesday - Saturday 12-6pm
Part of our 2019 programme home


image: Christopher MacInnes

image: Christopher MacInnes


Swamp Protocol is a protean compression of data by 18 artists working across digital media, installation, performance, machine learning, music, film and poetry. At arebyte Gallery, it is remixed and presented as a site-specific film installation including a spatial 8-channel sound work by producer and genre fluid DJ Anni Nöps.

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It is the first project by Most Dismal Swamp, an experimental art platform and record label simulating and exploring a contemporary ecology that has come to be defined by the hallucinatory entanglement of multiple logics, systems, temporalities, and realities: a mixed-reality paradigm; a pervasive, horizonless swampscape.

With the term ‘swampscape’, the histories, understandings and characteristics of wetlands are called upon to form a heuristic image to better comprehend the technical, ecological and experiential complexities of the present.

An essential characteristic that is key to swampscapes is their anomalous constitution ‘in a classificatory order predicated on a hard and fast distinction between land and water, time and space’. Simultaneously solid land and fluid water yet also neither, swampscapes embody a topology of muddy indistinction and taxonomic heresy. This is relevant for understanding a contemporary condition that has supplanted the teleology of modernity and the fragmentation of postmodernity with the entangled simultaneity of multiple, nested logics: a quantum ecology that superposes fact and fiction, nature and culture, technology and the occult, past and future, authentic and synthetic, work and play, science and mysticism, self and other, dry silicon and wet biology, online and offline, human and nonhuman.

While none of these pairings cancel the other out or even legitimise binary thinking, they rather mutate and constitute a superpositional explosion of complex new relations. These relations (and how they relate) must be parsed in order to navigate our multi-reality biome, the mixed-reality paradigm of swampscapes, with any agency. Most Dismal Swamp proposes that a revived image of the swamp can be used as a tool to achieve this task of making our present intelligible, and will continue to build upon this heuristic image throughout its future collaborative projects.

Swamp Protocol focuses on the endemic habits of orientation that characterise life in the swampscape: How does one, or indeed a community, engage with an environment of this nature (and vice versa)? What can be learned from the emergent rituals and tacit procedures necessary for navigating such a shared space? Is there a collective rationality emerging from the digitally altered states wrought by the swampscape? Some kind of Dank Enlightenment?

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A version of Swamp Protocol can be watched online at www.mostdismalswamp.com. And a digital release by Anni Nöps featuring music from Swamp Protocol, is also available via Most Dismal Swamp and across all major streaming platforms.

Further projects of Most Dismal Swamp include Whale Fall, an online presentation and gallery installation at Gossamer Fog, London, launching 29 March 2019; an ongoing series of Dismal Sessions hosted online, featuring audio-visual mixes by artists and musicians; and a launch party taking place in London on 29 March 2019 featuring music from Anni Nöps, Jennifer Walton, Exploited Body, City and more TBC, as well as live visuals by Laila blebleble, Joey Holder and more TBC.

Most Dismal Swamp is a mixed-reality biome, an art platform, a multi-scalar mystic fiction, a forecasting laboratory, a long tail, a transitional ecosystem, a party, a cognitive scaffold, a bad dataset, a curatorial MMORPG, a memeplex aggregator, a planetary weirding studio, and a record label.

It is a model for parsing, navigating, and elaborating a Dank Enlightenment: globally variable synaesthesia across multiple and simultaneous dimensions.