Para-photo-mancy (earth), divination by photographic alchemy.
By taking an alchemic approach, employing experimentation, a little scientific knowledge, a lot of uncertainty and chance, Para-photo-mancy combines natural elements from around the Kilpisjärvi Biological Station (in sub-arctic Finland) into an experimental photochemical image-making process.
The method does not use light but the biochemical energy of organic matter to produce para-photographic images. Using a camera-less technique the images are not generated through light, but by an ‘alchemic energy’: a photo-material entanglement with the site that enfolds various organic matter, such as moss, lichen, fungi, mud and lake water into the image as its means of production.
Para-photo-mancy was produced during the Bioart Society's art and science field laboratory at the Kilpisjärvi Biological Station in Finland. The residency brought together artists, scientists, biohackers and ecologists to develop, test and evaluate specific interdisciplinary approaches related to the idea of “ecology of senses”. The works were made in collaboration with the plants and lake water at Kilpisjärvi and the members of
'Augury: Machines which look at birds', hosted by Martin Howse.
Also see: 'Photochemical Alchemy in Sub-Arctic Finland' published in CAA Art Journal Open.
Para-photo-mancy is based on a process first developed by artist and filmmaker Karel Doing who makes experimental films and expanded cinema.
Details concerning Karel Doing's method, which he calls 'phytogram,' can be found here.