Collection: Sophronia Cook, Monitoring Active Volcanoes, July 15-October 10

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monitoring active volcanoes
sophronia cook




[scene 23]


a room of indiscernible function with walls made of an iridescent material, we hear peter falk’s columbo playing in the background. (peter falk was an angel).

on the floor we see an opened box, made of bumpy, silverish glass with a screen inside. on the screen an image comes into focus and we see submarine volcanic activity.

in one of the corners of the room an insane amount of succulents are piled together. the camera moves through it and we see dozens of ladybugs moving in and out of them.

in another corner is a collection of vessels from various time periods, arranged side by side and covered with a metallic mesh.

hanging on the walls we see objects of amorphous shapes. the light from outside coming through the window and reflecting on the wall makes them look as if they have movement.. as the camera zooms in, one can make shapes and textures trapped within transparent layers. they are definitely moving. the objects are indeed moving.

on a laptop sitting on a chair, we are able to read parts of a text as it scrolls on the screen: Monitoring-based forecasts are becoming much more reliable, but they remain imperfect. If scientists are fortunate, precursors to an eruption follow the same course as they followed before previous eruptions. Patterns often change, though, and wholly new behavior is observed. The best forecasts will be based on an integration of geologic history, realtime monitoring, and a deep understanding of the internal plumbing processes of the specific volcano.

suddenly the sounds of the columbo tv show are layered with the noise of a copy machine. in the middle of the room we see a machine where objects are being scanned on one side with flattened versions coming out of the other.

we hear steps and only see someone’s white shoes walking around the room.


[character-1 WHITE SHOES] [O.C.]


i had imagined this place a bit differently. but i guess it makes sense…

(camera pans to the objects hanging on the wall)

the idea that these containers could hold numerous iterations of these bits of information… they sent me here to look at them and report my in-person observations back to the others, in hopes to pinpoint what is going on. each time it’s as if something is telecasting different information in my head. everything embedded in these objects shifts about and i come out with a different reading.

there is also this weird presence i sense every time i step in the room. it is as if i shift into a different wavelength and my skin picks up the same type of feeling one gets when another body is close.

[character-2 BLUE SHOES] [O.C.]

yea it’s a very unsettling feeling. hard to say how it happened. the initial ideas of transformation and movement got more and more ambitious, so the best way to achieve them was to connect memories to the objects. both came out of the same source but the more they got worked on, the more they provided all these different outcomes that can only be experienced in the present timespace. it won’t translate on the recordings. we tried different types of cameras. it’s as if a layer of information gets dropped when reproduced away from human perception.

[character-1 WHITE SHOES] [O.C.]

objectively and through the notes i have taken, i know these (objects) are all different from one another but the more time i spend looking at them, they feel like different iterations of the same structure. like you have a “mother” and she is shedding pieces of herself that are the same at first but slowly morph. it only happens when i look at them irl, because when i watch the footage on my computer screen they are the same as from the first day i started documenting them.

[character-2 BLUE SHOES] [O.C.]

lately as i observe the objects, i have started to hear fragments of conversation. i believe the different pockets are communicating to the matrix as they rearrange. in their dialogue they are negotiating what particular narrative to adopt at that specific moment, and trying to make sure it all produces a storyline that draws me in but at the same time, as i witness this, some of the bits are straight out of thoughts and impressions i have had. it’s like i got invited to author a multi-narrative crafted by many but that somehow feels like my own.

character-1 and character-2 keep talking as the camera moves to the replicating machine and its sound mixes in with the conversation being had, the columbo episode still playing and the sound of a liquid being poured.


[scene 37]

from a corner we see the aegean sea advance through the room, splashing on the iridescent walls and slowly drowning everything..


Marcella Faustini

Sophronia Cook is an artist living and working in California. She holds a MFA/MA from San Francisco Art Institute and a  BFA from Hampshire College. Exhibitions include Spy Projects, Et Al Gallery, Embark Gallery, SomArts, The Diego Rivera Gallery, and Fort Mason Center For the Arts.