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The Bath Lane Alien-Alien

The Bath Lane Alien-Alien is a project which explores the developing communication and collaboration between humans and an ‘alien-alien’ fungus living within the materials of Bath Lane.

Following site observations of the city block at 145-173 Bath Street & 142-146 Bath Lane, a science fiction narrative was created, inspired by the photographs, clay imprints and sounds recorded during site visits. In creating composite images using the recorded material, ghostly appearances were seen within the images, taken to be communication attempts by an alien-alien (a radically non-human creature [Paglen 2013]) living within the materials of Bath Lane. The narrative explores the development of communication between the alien-alien and human visitors through the creation of a common alphabet, developed from features of the built environment of the city block within which the alien-alien lives. Communication tiles are created and installed on site, from which the alien-alien responds through harvestable growths. These growths are utilised by humans in the construction of a sculpture park within Bath Lane, making the site a tourist attraction. However, as human interest increases, it becomes unclear whether the human – alien-alien relationship is a symbiotic one, or whether this is another example of human exploitation of a non-human entity which we fail to fully understand or respect.

To fit the science fiction narrative, the project was presented through a fictional scientific report, documenting the discovery of the alien-alien and the development of the communication strategy and opening of a sculpture park. 

Paglen, T., 2013. Friends of Space, How Are You All? Have You Eaten Yet? Or, Why Talk to Aliens Even if We Can’t. Afterall: A Journal of Art, Context and Enquiry, Issue 32, pp. 8-19.

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