Sedimentary Record

by J Mason
by J Mason

Robert Smithson’s ideas about ‘abstract geology’ fascinate me, and specifically the politics of geology. Smithson refused art as a historical narrative with which the values and morality of Man could be injected.1 What are the politics of the volcano or the landslide or the tsunami? Certainly, they aren’t inscribed into the practice of historical Man: they are actants coming in from elsewhere, from the outside, annihilating the simplicity of human vision. Smithson was obsessed with the Triassic, and something similar can be suggested per geological, deep-time: over and beyond the modernist art narrative of medium-specific progression stands the testimony of the sedimentary record.

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[1] This post was inspired by the text “Robert Smithson’s Abstract Geology,” by Etienne Turpin, found in the incredible resource Making the Geologic Now. (Indeed, yet another chapter of this resource inspired the name of this blog and has been a great influence on my artistic development).

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