Preparing the Ground

Preparing the Ground is a workshop for artists and researchers interested in investigating material practices and divination via diagrams and stains led by artist Rubiane Maia.

Preparing the Ground
Zoe Scoglio diagram, artists image, Preparing the Ground, 2023. Photo courtesy of the artist

Preparing the Ground is an essential step before any planting or construction. This means paying special attention to the characteristics of the soil, understanding its composition and vitality. On the other hand, we also use this expression when we aim to create an environment conducive to putting plans, ideas, dreams and visions into practice.

“Diagrams have been a visualisation and gesturalization strategy that directs me towards other ontologies. Could it be said that we are rehearsing possibilities for a cosmic thought?” 

– Rubiane Maia

The workshop was an invitation to experience imagining future possibilities from an intuitive experience of creating diagrams. Starting from your own creative practice, your motivations and desires. Symbolically, it is an attempt to look at the ground, move the earth, plough the soil to open new perspectives. Rubiane shares her practice of making diagrams as a way to imagine new technologies connected to the earth.

“The diagram is conceived as an auto-poetic machine which not only gives it a functional and material consistency but requires it to deploy its diverse registers of alterity, freeing it from an identity locked into simple structural relations.”

– ​​Felix Guattari (1995)

To prepare for the workshop participants made three images from stains made by materials or substances that are currently important to their practice or that they might be curious to explore. The stains were made onto A4 sheets of paper or fabric and each one could be left to develop over time. Through the process, proposed by Rubiane in the workshop, we explored an experimental methodology of diagramming as a device for creative personal divination. The workshop was held online in January of 2023. A sample of participants work is available to view below.