Cluster 4 – The Fingerprint of a Stone

With the geological conditions of The Experimental Field as the point of departure for our joint research process, we took a deep dive into the bedrock beneath our feet. The samples, kindly lent to us by Naturhistoriska Riksmuseet, were taken from when the subway station, Universitetet, was created in the 1970s. The bedrock was then analysed with several different types of microscopes at Stockholm University to enable a view into layers of matter we normally can not access – an augmented view of reality.

The Fingerprint of a Stone

“Stockholm granite at Frescati, east-central Sweden was formed 1.83-1.79 billion years ago. Granite is the most common igneous rock found on the earth’s crust. The granite formed through a complex interaction between tectonic plates that are on average 100 km thick and as large as thousands of kilometres (103 m). Granite form domains, as large as hundreds of meters (100m). From a chunk of the big granite domain, different colours (grey, brown, and white) can be seen through the complex interaction between the three main constituent minerals: feldspar, mica, and quartz (centimetres; 10-2 m). At this level, it is hard to distinguish each mineral type. 

Stockholm granite at Frescati.

A little deeper down, a clear separation of the minerals can be seen. Three major colours, brown, black, and white-transparent are visible, corresponding to the three different constituent minerals: feldspar, mica, and quartz, respectively (millimetres; 10-3 m). 

Feldspar, mica, and quartz.

A little closer (now micrometres10-6 m; first-second images below), a glimpse of their crystal structures can be seen, although their unique colour can no longer be seen. Feldspar has rocky features while quartz has very sharp edges. Mica looks like plates or flakes to our eyes. Their crystal shapes are attributed to the arrangement of atoms that make up each type. Deeper down, in nanometer (10-9 m; third image below), crystal features are still visible but hard to distinguish.

Using a series of senses in the microscope, we can visualize the fingerprint unique to each type of material and even to each nanocrystal (see below). Each nanocrystal constitutes of atoms (now Å; 10-10 m) interacting together to form a sturdy network that forms the basis for immense granite sheets.

There is a delicate equilibrium and balance within each layer – large to small. Each of us is unique with our own fingerprints, glowing and illuminating the world like the Sun – just like each nanocrystal. We are individuals, yet connected to the world through ourselves, others, and nature; we are here in the present moment, thus coexisting with the past and the future. Failure to recognize this fact leads us to excessive consumption to fill the absolute void, leading to capitalism, the loss of individuality, and ultimately isolation. To quote Timothy Morton: “Several thousand years from now, nothing about you as an individual will matter. But what you did will have huge consequences. This is the paradox of the ecological age. And it is why action to change global warming must be massive and collective.”  – Jung James Cho

(Quote Timothy Morton, Being Ecological, 2018.)

Images by Olga Krüssenberg and Jung James Cho, 2021.