Stephen Cornford


 To Photograph A Rock   












This video, made during an Earth Art Fellowship at Bristol University, is constructed around a short text of theoretical reflections on the volcanological experiments that I observed during the Fellowship. Taking the imaging and visual analysis technologies used by the scientists as its basis, the video draws comparisons between the earth processes simulated in the labs and the technical processes involved in the manufacture of a digital camera: comparing the furnaces used to study magma with those used to bake semiconductors.

The work considers the continuous presence of silica and silicon throughout the scientists’ experiments, both as earth media - the silicates pyroxene and plagioclase in magma - and as technical media - the camera sensors and computer chips used to image these samples and analyse the results. Silicon is then both the subject of the experiment and the instrument used to study it, the substance through which both magma and data flow. Minerals processed into machines photograph molten minerals and compute their behaviour in changing states of temperature and pressure, writing out abstractions of their own minerality.



Four Million Tonnes per Annum

Spectral Index

Petrified Media

Dark Current Collages
Horizon of Fulfillment

To Photograph A Rock
Pixel Mining

RGB [Retinally Governed Behaviours]

Saturation Trails - Acid
- Laser
- X-Ray
Destruction of an Image Sensor

Constant Linear Velocity
Methodology for a Synaesthetic Screen

Digital Audio Film

Solipsism Cinema

Recorded (on) Delivery
Five Introverted Machines

Binatone Galaxy

In Search of a Concrete Music

Works for Turntable

Three Piece
Air Guitar
Extended Piano

Trespassing The Olympic Site
For Violin, Viola & Tape