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Niamh Schmidtke

If we could communicate with the minerals around us, what voices would we hear? What would they speak about? And what relationships would rocks and minerals have with one another?


For this special double bill, co-founder Niamh Schmidtke is sharing their recent audio play, Pulling Blood from a Stone, across two episodes. We have invited guest Alberto Duman to co-present the first half of this 35 minute work. Act 1 and 2 follow pre-history, set 2 billion years ago, and in 500BC, where we are introduced to groups of minerals discussing what it means to be alive and the types of autonomy they have on the planet. Together we discuss the implications of speculating on mineral conversations, and what roles they’ve had in human history, namely in the production of cultural objects and as examples of wealth across time. We collectively imagine the roles communication has, and what ways we make contact with rocks, crystals and stones without speech. Touching on the politics of time, and how we might connect deep time and political time scales, as a way to live well during climate crises, this first episode begins our thoughts about the connections between non-human beings and the scientific valuations placed upon them. 


Pulling Blood from a Stone is part of the Earth Water Sky Environmental Sciences and Art Research, Commissioning and Production Programme curated by Ariane Koek and funded by Fondation Didier et Martine Primat to whom we give grateful thanks. 

Niamh Schmidtke (b.1997, Dublin) explores the political complications of ‘being green’ by cultivating conversations with the environment, through speculation, audio, ceramics and installations. They examine the relationship between listening and speaking, to consider the kinds of voices that deep time, the sea, or humans could have with one another. In 2023 they were the EARTH artist-in-residence at the Technological University of Berlin, with Science Gallery International, a research residency with the university’s mineral collection. Recent projects also include How to Harness the Wind (2023), a collection of 3D printed clay crystals mimicking those mined for wind turbine construction, funded by Arts Council Ireland, as part of the Hunt Museum’s, Night’s Candles are Burnt Out exhibition. Schmidtke is the SADP (formerly SAUL) artist in residence, researching local clays through workshops and lectures with students. They hold an MFA (Hons) from Goldsmiths, University of London (2021), and a Ba (Hons) from LSAD (2019).

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