A field trip, workshop and exhibition by Then Try This, run with Cornwall Neighbourhoods for Change, where we play with simple electronics to listen to the crystal structures of Cornish minerals. Our smartphones and computers work because of semiconducting minerals, we will dismantle the myths of AI and cyberspace and show how our digital world is fully grounded in materials such as galena, quartz, pyrite, chalcopyrite, cassiterite and gold.

In the time since the minerals in the rocks of Cornwall solidified from liquids and assembled themselves, the sun has travelled round the centre of the galaxy once, and the mountains they were part of have been weathered away. More recently, it is thought that the Phoenicians travelled from their homelands on the shores of the Mediterranean sea to trade with the Cornish for their cassiterite tin ore (which at the time could be scooped out of the Carnon river bed in vast quantities). The wealth accumulated from this period of extraction is still in living memory for many in Cornwall, but we have now become one of the most poor and unequal places in northern Europe. Meanwhile, in the last 25 years our society has gradually changed into one organised largely by computers and smartphones that combine the periodic fluctuations of quartz with the ordered and predictable regularity of silicon crystals.

About the Artist

Then Try This a non-profit research organisation based in Penryn, Cornwall which likes making complex subjects easier to access and understand. Whether that’s by designing a new piece of open-source research equipment, making a game to understand a complex scientific concept, or running workshops to help people work better together across boundaries. All our work is open source, and much of it is rooted in rural issues.

Dave Griffiths is a director of Then Try This which he runs with Amber Griffiths. He develops experimental open source music technology with Alex McLean (tangible musical livecoding interfaces based in textile and heritage cultures) and Aphex Twin (samplebrain and midimutant). He’s been interviewed live on BBC radio 6 music by Cerys Matthews and appeared on BBC TV news talking about Sonic Kayaks – remote sensing, citizen science and sound art for visually impaired people collaborating with sound artist Kaffe Matthews. He has performed internationally at festivals such as VIVO Mexico City, Mozilla Festival, Sonar Barcelona, STRP Eindhoven and The Secret Garden Party.

Events at Flamm

Organised Atoms Open Lab

21 October, 2023 @ 2:00 pm - 11:00 pm

Organised Atoms Open Lab

22 October, 2023 @ 11:00 am - 6:00 pm

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