top of page

Pulling Blood from a Stone (audio instalation)

Materials: Mixed media; cotton fabric dyed with red, black and ochre iron and copper oxide, 4 speakers, rugs and cushions.

Shown at: Berlin Science Gallery, TU Berlin 2024

Audio shown through Future Artefacts FM

'How can we further our understanding of minerals beyond their existence simply as objects of research and technology? Artist in residence, Niamh Schmidtke, dived deep into interdisciplinary dialogues trying to pull blood from rocks and stones. As a culmination of these encounters, she developed novel perspectives on the existence of rocks and minerals. They are explored in this art-science multimedia installation, which engages the visitors in a multisensory experience. The works are inspired by Niamh’s research with their science partner, geologist and custodian of the Mineral Collections at TU Berlin, Dr. Johannes Giebel.


Pulling Blood from a Stone, exhibition view, 2024, image credit Michael Setzpfandt

The exhibition is the third edition of the art and environmental sciences research residency program EARTH WATER SKY curated by Ariane Koek, funded by the Fondation Didier et Martine Primat, and produced by members of the Science Gallery Network.

This Science Gallery exhibition has three elements, which we invite you to explore through sight, listening and touch.

The heart of the exhibition features an audio play, which is a piece of speculative fiction and is an imagining of the conversations minerals might have with each other. It is an attempt to engage with rocks and minerals past the scientific definitions imposed onto them.

The audio play is contained in a sculptural structure made of materials, which are painted in strata with the pigments extracted from some of the minerals featured in the audio piece. This tent-like structure holds the listener as they eavesdrop on the fictional exchanges between minerals.

Outside the structure, there are mobile phones, hanging on cords coloured again by pigments and made out of wool. Listen to and view the two-minute voice notes on them made by the artist, who reflects on their journeys about different forms of climate anxiety and the ironies of a ‘green’ Europe when travelling by transport, which itself is part of extraction.

And finally, at the back of the exhibition is a film, which exposes via the history of Namibia and the extraction of minerals there by German geologists, how climate justice and colonialism are entwined with oppression, extraction and genocide in the service of capital and conquest.'

- Ariane Koek   -

Ariane Koek's full curatorial text is available to read online.

The entire Earth Water Sky Environmental Sciences and Art Research, Commissioning and Production Programme is wholly funded by Fondation Didier et Martine Primat to whom we give grateful thanks.

Pulling Blood from a Stone (audio installation), 

Installation views in Berlin Science Gallery

Image credit Nadine Schönfeld



Artist in Residence: Niamh Schmidtke

Curator: Ariane Koek

Scientific Partner: Dr. Johannes Giebel, Mineral Collections at TU Berlin

Production: Dr. Kerstin Wagner, Science Gallery at TU Berlin

Production Support: Dr. Michael Fowler, Annette Müller, Robert Niemann, TU Berlin

Sound Designer: John Trevaskis

Sound Actors (in chronological order): Deborah S. Phillips, Oğuzcan Özyurt, Claudia Wiedemer, Sydney LaFaire, Mary Katharine Tramontana, Marie Nadja Haller, Agata Guevara, Ana Suarez Kavalis, Felipe Valdez, Leonie Rodrian

Audio Contributions: Dr. Johannes Giebel, Nikolai Azariah, Dr. Malina Lauterbach, Dylan Kerr and Niamh Schmidtke

German Translator: Beatrice Zaidenberg

Rukwangali Translator and Speaker: Nasira Makanga

Dyeing Research: Material Futures Residency at Cove Park, December 2023

With thanks to Fares Schulz at the TU Berlin Computer Music and Sound Synthesis Team, Gabrielė Žemaityė at Kitmapper and Nina Davies.

Below: Pulling Blood from a Stone, exhibition view, 2024, image credit Michael Setzpfandt

bottom of page