By Kate Stone

Headwaters is set in a psychological space as it is overtaken by physical manifestations of post-truth anxiety and paranoia. This anxiety takes the form of shifting architecture, cave-like geologic accumulations and quantum particles. Some superstitions hold that the devil hides in corners and thresholds. Here, the house makes more space for bad spirits in multiplying corners and stretching doorways. The rooms spring leaks and seeping water brings with it minerals that infiltrate the space and take over, creating a petrified house, a space both subterranean and subcutaneous – a covert lair, a bunker, a hollow Earth. The animation draws connections between the encroaching water and alien invasions, following the faulty logic of transitive laws and conspiracy theories. If water is a sign of life on other planets and humans are sixty percent water then are there aliens inside of us? If everything is made of particles, what is the difference between a conspiracy theorist and a rock? If water can carve valleys and eat away the earth, what can it do to our internal organs?

The audio combines sounds from outer space with personal recordings and an abstracted whispering voice. The voice takes a cue from the talking heads of right-wing platforms and their use of leading questions, shifting the burden of proof to the viewer. The suspension of disbelief required by their audience parallels that of an animation audience – an acceptance of unreality in a world where natural laws no longer apply and truth is irrelevant.

Kate Stone is a Brooklyn-based artist working across photography, sculpture, installation and animation. Invited by the HARMAA work group, Stone worked at the Red Villa of the Lauttasaari Manor from August to October 2022. The “Headwaters” animation was created during her residency.

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