Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Day 222: Mineral intelligence

the spiral jetty, Robert Smithson

Last week I read a post on the BLDG BLOG about, "the geological nature of harddrives, how certain mineral arrangements of metal and ferromagnetism result in our technological ability to store memories, save information, and leave previous versions of the present behind." The author Geoff Manaugh, writes, "A harddrive, though, would be a geological object as much as a technical one; it is a content-rich, heavily processed re-configuration of the earth's surface." He includes a quote by William S. Burrough's novel, The Ticket that Exploded, which suggests that within the earth there exists, "a vast mineral consciousness near absolute zero thinking in slow formations of crystal."

Over the last couple of weeks I've been delving in to the world of geology, so this post stirred up some excitement. During the last couple of weeks the immense record of time and planetary event stored within the earth's surface have captivated my imagination (Nevada has a most incredible and rich geologic history, some of the most amazing "records" exist right there alongside the road).

While reading the comments on Geoff's post I found a link to an astounding article, "Our World May Be a Giant Hologram", written in the New Scientist on January 15th. This is where my comprehension departs from the content, but the article suggests that a group of German scientists may have "stumbled upon the fundamental limit of space-time - the point where space-time stops behaving like the smooth continuum Einstein described and instead dissolves into "grains".

This all made me think of Robert Smithson, one of the few artists I know that really spent time with geology, the grains, the strata, the elements, the entropy of it all. He made work about these processes -with and through them. I'm presently reading his collected writings and am in awe of his brillance and how much of it appears to be lost in the present moment. I am hoping that Geoff's post signals on a broader scale, a turning towards re-considering the geological materials that precede and exceed (and ultimately make us) humans as source of creative insight and contemporary exploration.

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