Terminal Beach


‘Terminal Beach ’, Motion capture animation, 4:00 min, Installation view Untertage ’, Arte Abierto, Mexico City, Nov 2020 – May 2021

Terminal Beach’, Installation view ‘Real Feelings: Emotions and technology’, MU, Eindhoven, 2021

‘Terminal Beach ’, Installation view Untertage ’, Arte Abierto, Mexico City, 2021

‘ Terminal Beach, Installation view ‘Untertage’, Arte Abierto, Mexico City, Nov 2020 – May 2021

Installation view ‘ Under the Sun, Troika with Liz Deschenes and Rindon Johnson, Max Goelitz, 2 Mar – 14 Apr 2022, Photo: Dirk Tacke

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‘Terminal Beach’ (2020) shows a forlorn and depleted landscape with a single tree – the last tree on earth. A robotic arm covered in long black fur is rhythmically applying an axe to the trunk of the tree, which shudders with each impact. The scene takes place at the edge of time, at the precipice after which there will be no conscious or at least carbon-based entity marking a here and now.

The digitally animated robot, whose appearance is modelled on industrial Kuka machines used on assembly lines, was motion capture trained by the artists.

The film’s metaphor is blunt: we are destroying the world that sustains us and any acceleration of technological, capitalist, and industrial advancement is also an acceleration towards extinction.

Visual perspectives shift throughout the animation, from human eye-level, to drone view, to the robot’s own perspective, and lastly the POV of the tree, looking down towards Earth and just faintly sensing an irritant presence below.

The acoustic backdrop doubles the uncanny nature of the robotic primate arm by bearing a resemblance to bird sounds; in fact, what we hear is a geophony of Earth’s natural radio emissions – including signals generated by lightning strikes and geomagnetic storms driven by the Sun, captured as radio waves by the British Antarctic Survey.

Eva Wilson

Terminal Beach (2020)
motion capture animation, 4:00 min.
Sound in collaboration with Dr Nigel Meredith,
Space Weather scientist, British Antarctic Survey

Read more: ‘Real Feelings. Emotion and Technology’, curated by Sabine Himmelsbach, Ariane Koek, Angelique Spaninks.