Undead Matter is an unfolding conversation about where life lies in the ever-turning matter of our universe, as it rhythmically resurfaces over millennia. This new podcast series, curated by Sophie J Williamson, traverses the slippery space between the organic and the inorganic, through conversations with artists, poets, dancers and musicians, as well cryomicrobiologists, shamen, paleontologists, mineralogists, and many others. A journey from remote Artic tundra where ancient creatures are emerging from the melting permafrost, to deep within the geological substrata of the ocean bed among the sludge of millennia-old microorganisms, outward to the celestial expanse of interstellar dust, full of life-giving potential; and back again.

Undead Matter #1

Emergent Interstellar Dust: Himali Singh Soin & Chandra Wickramasinghe
In this inaugural podcast, artist and poet Himali Singh Soin discusses cosmic ancestry and the biosphere of the galaxy with mathematician, astronomer, and astrobiologist Prof. Chandra Wickramasinghe. Drawing from Hindu and Buddhist mythology and philosophy, Soin and Wickramasinghe reconsider Western Judeo-Christian perspectives of the universe, exploring fundamental assumptions of the Big Bang as a moment of creation and the problem of how consciousness comes into being. Intertwined throughout their discussion, Soin reads from her vivid and thought-provoking text, Healing from Meteorites, written in collaboration with Alexis Rider.

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Undead Matter #2

Marking Silences: Kathryn Yusoff & Myung Mi Kim
In this podcast, geographer Kathryn Yusoff speaks with poet Myung Mi Kim about the potencies of past lives, traumas, histories, and possibilities that are held in the demarcated silences between rock strata and between words. They consider the multiple ‘broken worlds’ that precede our current perceptions of ecological crisis, and how descriptions of geologies have perpetuated colonial narratives, erasing the geotrauma imposed on peoples through colonial extraction and violence. Readings of Kim’s poetry and a sound work by artist Shamica Ruddock weave through the conversation.

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Undead Matter #3

Existing Between: Daisy Hildyard & Karen Lloyd
In this podcast, writer Daisy Hildyard speaks with marine microbiologist Karen Lloyd about 100-million-year-old microbes that breathe and excrete minerals. From the small town of Ny-Ålesund, Svalbard, Lloyd describes her explorations into the permafrost subsurface—from which she extracts living microbes that have not interacted with the surface for at least 10,000 years—and examines the possible importance of individual microbes within communities. Considering time as a malleable resource, they discuss the possibilities of differing perceptions of time, space, and motion on different lifespan scales: from human beings to 100-million-year-old microbes.

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