Week 27. Science answers

Halfway point! We’ve been doing this project for half a year now, which is super exciting. If you missed last week, we asked each other questions that we’ll attempt to answer below.

I’ve become fascinated with the work of Ricardo Bloch, who creates artists’ books of lifescapes: photos that capture the minutiae of living spaces. I think this is also about reclaiming the beauty of decrepit things, trajectories toward happy shambles, how a building – a home – that’s falling apart – sediment, mineral, rust, mold – has so much to do with falling in love with a city, a past.

Your stuffed dog, inorganic and inhospitable to community, likely has no microbiome, or, if it does, it’s fleeting, a fragment of coalescence and communication and spark of life before being replaced by new microbes or simply disappearing with what I’m beginning to believe is the microbial motto – Live free or die. Respect.

Isn’t it better to believe that Billy is memories that once were you and dispersed? The idea that with inorganic objects – knick-knacks, souvenirs, heirlooms – we’ve surrounded ourselves with a host of friendly ghosts, flutterings, whispers of who we used to be, what was beloved and shed and transformed.

Link: Ricardo Bloch’s lifescape books.

Materials: Ink

We carry the geologic timescale in a drawer between belly button and breast.  Inside it the roar of ice breaking up on a river in northern Sweden, the steaming stink of hot springs in Iceland, the fear passed down and down again of tornados that took half a family in Chicago.

My drawer had the seven concrete hills of Providence cracked with wilderness only at the scale of weeds and ants. I was someone who had never eaten cake, only tasted the ingredients alone: flour, unsweetened chocolate, sugar, egg.  I knew chemistry, calculus, physics, but had never put them together and learned about Earth processes. 

I was eighteen and trying to open the drawer of love, to fall in love as a way of mooring myself in space. The boy was anemic and dull, he ran off with my friend. But an opening is an opening. I was looking out the window of an airplane from Rome to Brussels.   In flew the realization that all stories lead back to landscape.  Terroir not just flavor.

I am a magpie of landscapes, collecting and appropriating them from books, travelers, and even ancient times that don’t belong to me through ancestry or written story.

Materials: Sharpie, Micron, ideas from Salvador Dali

Note: I have been waiting my whole adulthood to be asked this question.


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