Over the years, the Isle of Portland has supplied the world’s stone. The off-white to light grey, specked limestone is synonymous with magnificent construction. We used Portland stone as far back as the Roman Empire. However, open quarrying has blighted some areas of Portland. It’s a small island and it became apparent that soon the open quarries would cover the entire area. Blasting the rock would throw up massive clouds of dust that would travel to residential neighbourhoods.
Creatives Garage Mining PLC found a solution to this. Rather than surface quarrying, we moved to mining Portland Stone. We shifted a bulk of our operations completely underground and were well on the way to having the largest amount of mining tunnels in the world. That was until the incident.
From the first time we started working on the site, there were… complications. Our mining crew reported hearing sounds of music, voices, and rhythmic drumming. The sound would travel up the tunnels echoing for minutes on end before suddenly cutting off. On other days the crew would hear music through the thick limestone walls. One would expect that all this would frighten the crew, but they took it in their stride, sometimes nodding along to the drums or humming to the tunes.
One day they cut a large block from one of the offshoot tunnels and light shone through the edges of the block. When the loading shovel removed the stone, it revealed an underground cave behind the block where the light came from. After radioing the office to report what had happened, 5 crew members worked up the courage and curiosity to go into the cave and find the light source.
Hanging in the air in front of them was a shimmering reflective window, the source of the light. They approached the phenomenon carefully, afraid of what it could do. However, one man stumbled forward and fell into it. The other men stepped back in a panic, but a few minutes later their colleague returned, his face a mask of pure joy.
As they tried to interrogate the clearly stunned man, a voice came through the window. It was Rafiki, an artificial intelligence ‘huemxn’ who welcomed them to the new world they had discovered. The window was a rip in reality and led to another world that we now call That Other Place. The area where the crew mined is the place where the barrier between the two worlds connects.
Mining operations have since shut down. Teams of scientists have been there over the past few months to understand That Other Place, but their minds are too analytical, they think in terms of numbers and figures and empirical results. If we are to learn from That Other Place, then we need people willing to explore it with open hearts and minds. That’s why we’ve invited you, our b-side audiences, to join us. Through this site you will journey with us and learn about That Other Place with Rafiki, the AI ‘huemxn’ who continues to assist us.
In That Other Place, an appreciation for wonderment and imagination fuels the fashion, food, and government. Radical love and hospitality fuel the huemxn’s interactions with the world and each other. That Other Place is a utopia.
This was a collaboration project between B-Side Festival and Creatives Garage