• Video Still  |  This Storm is Called Progress

  • Video Still  |  This Storm is Called Progress


Grayson Cooke & Dugal McKinnon  |  This Storm is Called Progress

24 May - 25 June 2017

This Storm is Called Progress
is a collaboration between media artist Grayson Cooke and composer Dugal McKinnon. In this project, Cooke's footage of the Naracoorte Caves in South Australia is juxtaposed against time-lapse video of Landsat satellite images of Antarctic ice shelves, and acoustically framed by McKinnon's electronic score. In effect this project articulates the temporal and spatial disjunctions that underpin the Anthropocene, pitting the "deep time" of ancient geological formations against the anthropogenic time of the present, a technologically amplified time exemplified by the ceaseless monitoring of the earth by satellite.

The project is underpinned by two key concepts. Firstly, the title of the project invokes Walter Benjamin’s Angel of History, a concept that emerges in his “Theses on the Philosophy of History.” Benjamin’s critique is aimed squarely at the historical and technical thinking that sees history as the clean linear development of a progressive human society; instead, Benjamin’s Angel of History sees progress – human action – as nothing but a series of catastrophes.

Following from this perspective is the notion of the hyperobject. Ecological philosopher Timothy Morton uses the term “hyperobject” to describe anthropogenic phenomena – such as global warming, styrofoam, and radioactive plutonium – that are massively distributed in time and space, phenomena that exist across extra-human time-scales but which have serious implications for human and non-human existence. This project mobilizes representations of “deep time” and anthropogenic time in seeking to bring attention to the environmental crises that increasingly define our era.


This project has been produced with the support of the School of Arts and Social Sciences at Southern Cross University, and the New Zealand School of Music at Victoria University of Wellington. It has been generously supported by the Naracoorte Caves National Park and the State Government of South Australia. This project also makes use of Landsat images from the NASA/USGA MODIS image archive, made available by the National Snow and Ice Data Center in Boulder Colorado.

 Launch Event: Thursday 25 May  |  5.30pm - 7:30pm

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