Open Systems Association

Nature as Practice Symposium

Joon Ian Wong // Fri Aug 01 2014

I started looking into gutta percha as an Interactive Media student at Goldsmiths in 2012. Graham Harwood was showing us the length of submarine telegraph cable that he keeps in the Interactive Media lab and he must have mentioned, casually, that it was coated in something called gutta percha. The oddness of the word piqued my interest, as did the fact that ‘gutta’ sounded very much like the Malay word for rubber, which is ‘getah’. Being Malaysian and a speaker of Malay, these connections started me off on an exploration of this particular tropical tree sap and its links to global technology networks.

Here’s a map and presentation I prepared on the topic for the symposium Nature as Practice which took place in August at the National University of Singapore Museum and the Singapore Botanical Gardens.