Kode 9 - Astro-Darien
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Astro-Darien is a 26-minute sonic fiction about the break-up of Britain, narrated by synthetic Scottish voices and framed as an eponymous video game. It is the second release on Hyperdub sub-label Flatlines; a dark green 10” in triple gatefold sleeve, with artwork by Kode9’s long-time collaborators Lawrence Lek and Optigram, presented as a limited edition of 500 copies. From a Caledonian heart of darkness to a supernova Scotia? The documentary fiction spirals between the role of the catastrophic Darien Scheme in the late 17th century in the founding of the UK, when Scotland failed to colonise part of present-day Panama, and the contemporary disintegration of the Union. In a somewhat wild extrapolation of the race to become the Scotland’s first vertical satellite launch station currently playing out between Sutherland Space Port and the Shetland Space Centre, independence is speculatively framed as an exercise of escapology, a jailbreak and exodus to an orbital space habitat, with all the risks and dangers that entails.
The loose plot follows a game designer from the fictional ‘Trancestar North’ company who, in attempting to lift the dark spell cast by Darien, models a counter-future by ingesting cosmism, the history of racial capitalism and the demise of Empire into T-Divine, the geopolitics simulator of the game engine. She follows the Brexit algorithm as it runs to its logical conclusion.Initially conceived as an audio essay for diffusion on François Bayle’s 50-speaker Acousmonium for INA-GRM in Paris in March 2020, but subsequently postponed by the pandemic, ‘Astro-Darien’ first surfaced as a three-screen A/V installation on the dance floor of Corsica Studios in June 2021, finally reaching the Acousmonium the following October. In July 2022, an instrumental rhythmic version entitled ‘Escapology’ was released on Hyperdub. A live A/V set relating to the ‘Astro-Darien’ game universe will debut at Unsound Festival in October 2022.
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