Stone Speaks is a monumental, narrative augmented reality artwork inspired by conversations between artist Nancy Baker Cahill and Sophia the Robot. Commissioned by Borderless Capital to reimagine climate crises solutions, the artists exchanged thoughts about the accelerating climate crisis on our planet, and the adaptive potential of human-machine collaboration.
The work begins as a massive particle field composed of silicon and carbon elements that contracts into a molten core, and then swells into a vibrant planet. Slowly but perceptibly, the planet’s surface becomes monochromatic, desolate, and polluted. A dense sparkling of silicon and carbon particles reappears, covering the surface of the planet. As they shrink and ebb away, a new lush and healthy surface coats the globe, leaving viewers with a poetics of human-machine collaboration—what might be possible if they worked interdependently toward mutual survival and a robust restoration of the world’s natural ecosystems?
Stone Speaks acknowledges the ancient history and language of metallic elements as the DNA of computers, evinced by author James Bridle as being made “from stone, and the compressed relics of animals and plants… computers themselves are one of the words spoken by stones.” Baker Cahill’s work reflects another articulate language of stone: augmented reality, an ephemeral and immersive medium with minimal ecological impact. From the earth, for the earth, Stone Speaks re-imagines AI deployed with numerous carbon-based intelligences to creatively address the world’s most daunting climate challenges.
About the Artist
Nancy Baker Cahill is an award-winning interdisciplinary artist whose hybrid practice focuses on systemic power, consciousness, and the human body. She creates research-based immersive experiences, video installations, and conceptual blockchain projects rooted in the history of drawing. Her monumental augmented reality (AR) artworks extend and subvert the lineage of land art, often highlighting the climate crisis, civics, and a desire for more equitable futures. She is the Founder and Artistic Director of 4th Wall, a free, AR public art platform exploring site interventions, resistance, and inclusive creative expression.
Her geolocated AR installations have been exhibited globally and have earned her profiles in the New York Times, Frieze Magazine, and The Art Newspaper, among other publications, and she was included in ARTnews’ list of 2021 ‘Deciders’. Her work has been exhibited internationally at museums and galleries, and her solo exhibition ‘Slipstream: Table of Contents’ was recently acquired by LACMA. In 2023, she will have her first solo mid-career retrospective exhibition at the Georgia Museum of Art which will travel through 2025. Her immersive film SEEK will premiere as the first art experience at COSM in Los Angeles in 2024. In the fall of 2023, Baker Cahill will present CENTO, a new video and AR commission at The Whitney Museum of American Art, to be acquired into the collection.
Baker Cahill is an artist scholar alumnus of the Berggruen Institute, a 2021 resident at Oxy Arts’ ‘Encoding Futures’ focused on AR monuments, and a TEDx speaker. In 2021, she was awarded the Williams College Bicentennial Medal of Honor and received the C.O.L.A. Master Artist Fellowship. She is a 2022 LACMA Art and Tech Grant recipient and was the January 2023 Gazelli.O Resident Artist at Gazelli Art House in London.
Stone Speaks and its associated programming is sponsored by Perennial Properties.