• 00:10 Prof Chandra Wickramasinghe: We are essentially alien
  • 01:18 Life in the universe
  • 04:49 The galaxy is a single connected biosphere
  • 06:00 The pristine sky in Sri Lanka
  • 07:08 From the cave paintings to Paul Gauguin: reaching out for the stars
  • 09:06 Earth, an insignificant speck of dust
  • 09:47 An interscalar entanglement between the atomic and the cosmic
  • 11:49 Current ideas of cosmology favour a unique one-off origin of the entire universe, a story that fits very comfortably with the judeo-cristian creation
  • 13:32 An epistomological lesson: knowledge is rather messy and catastrophic
  • 14:17 Himali Singh Soin reading an excerpt from "Healing from Meteorites"
  • 15:07 What do we do with the problem of consciousness?
  • 16:14 Bacteries communicate
  • 18:15 Himali Singh Soin reading an excerpt from "Healing from Meteorites"
  • 19:21 Scientific and fantastic imagination
  • 21:09 Sci-fi and Sri Lanka
  • 22:16 We ourselves are aliens
  • 24:27 The Earth, an open system
  • 26:10 Mars
  • 27:51 Himali Singh Soin reading an excerpt from "Healing from Meteorites"
  • 28:45 Panspermia
  • 32:00 A modern version of colonialism: supresion of ideas
  • 32:57 The mathematics of infinity: an indian concept
  • 34:40 Himali Singh Soin reading an excerpt from "Healing from Meteorites"
15/06/2022 36' 8''
Himali Singh Soin

Curated by Sophie J Williamson

Undead Matter is an unfolding conversation about where life lies in the ever-turning matter of our universe, as it rhythmically resurfaces over millennia. This new series, by Sophie J Williamson, traverses the slippery space between the organic and the inorganic. The conversations travel from remote Artic tundra, where ancient creatures are emerging from the melting permafrost; to deep within the geological substrata of the ocean bed among the sludge of millennia-old microorganisms; outward to the celestial expanse of interstellar dust, full of life-giving potential; and back again.

In this inaugural episode, artist and poet, Himali Singh Soin discusses cosmic ancestry and the biosphere of the galaxy with mathematician, astronomer and astrobiologist, Prof Chandra Wickramasinghe. Sri Lankan-born, Wickramasinghe, grew up seeing a pristine view of the celestial expanse in the night skies above his home in Colombo. Now a leading expert on interstellar material and the origins of life, much of his work tests the edges of controversial hypotheses on the cosmos, in particular the theory of panspermia. Drawing from Hindu and Buddhist mythology and philosophy, Soin and Wickramasinghe reconsider the west’s Judeo-Christian perspectives of the universe, questioning fundamental assumptions of the Big Bang as a moment of creation and the problem of how consciousness comes into being. Intertwined throughout their discussion, Soin reads from her vivid and provoking text, written in collaboration with Alexis Rider, Healing from Meteorites.

Undead Matter, initiated and convened by curator Sophie J Williamson, is an ongoing collective project, materialising slowly and organically in exhibitions, events, podcasts, publishing and the intangible. The Undead Matter programme has emerged through intersecting collaborations with artists, poets, dancers and musicians, as well cryomicrobiologists, shamen, paleontologists, mineralogists, archaeoastronomers, woodworkers, quantum physicists, bondage masters, cryonics speculators and others encountered along the way. Each offers a perspective on our place within the infinite impermanence of life: past, present and possible.

This podcast was supported by the Centre for the GeoHumanities, Royal Holloway University of London and the European Research Council funded project, Think Deep (Grant no: 863944). Curated by Sophie J Williamson. Produced by Undead Matter. Sound by Either/Or Recordings
ResearchUndead MatterSophie J WilliamsonHimali Singh SoinProf Chandra Wickramasinghephilosophypoetry

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