CO-MODIFIED: Rocks on Vinyl comprises nine 6' x 3' banners displayed like convention signage. They are presented as a series of speculative geomedia landscapes that explore contemporary human entanglements and collaborations with the lithosphere, activities that are transforming the earth's surface and registering in its stratified depths. Animated by an affective, aesthetic appreciation of stone, these works invite reflection and discernment in a historical moment defined as the geologic now.1
The stories of earth and humans are written in stone, from tectonic plate movements and the rock record to Neolithic cave paintings and stone circles. These histories are becoming increasingly inextricably intertwined, as 'The Great Acceleration' has brought humans to a geologic juncture in their evolution (the Anthropocene). This 'geologic turn' entails an epistemic and ontologic shift from "deep ecology" to "dark ecology"2 or "inhuman ecology,"3 in which clear divisions between nature and culture or ecology and economy can no longer be drawn. The lithosphere is not a passive planetary crust on which humans act but a form of media, an agential archive with whose lively forces we communicate and interact in complex ways.4 Human-lithic engagements deepen and diversify as stone becomes philosophically more vibrant (lithic as lively matter), environmentally more vulnerable (fracking, mining), scientifically more vital (mineral evolution), and aesthetically more valued (viewing stones, art of 'the geologic').
"Rocks on Vinyl" makes a fitting contribution to an issue called Rock Records. This work was presented during the first meeting of GeoMedia Research Network,5 where a central topic was the meaning and viability of the term geomedia. As a verbal-visual, critical-creative intervention in this discussion, CO-MODIFIED seeks to theorize geomedia as a concept by offering a heterogeneous series of works of geomedia understood as a genre. [End Page 69]
Artist/curator Richard Turner is a Professor Emeritus at Chapman University, where he taught Asian art history and studio art. He lived in Vietnam from 1959–1961. He studied Chinese painting in Taiwan in 1963–1964 and Indian miniature painting in Rajasthan in 1967–1968. He has worked as a public artist for over three decades doing projects in the western United States, ranging from water treatment plants and light rail to memorials and sacred art. He has curated three exhibitions of viewing stones displayed alongside works of fine art. A selection of his studio work, public art and curatorial projects can be viewed on his website, turnerprojects.com.
Pierre Jardin is an internationally acclaimed rock-gardener and stoned-thinker based in Long Beach, California. His works of Outside Art include The Garden of Slow Time (2016, Loyola Marymount U. campus) and "Igneous Ligneous Inosculations," installations exhibited at the Statens Museum for Kunst, Copenhagen (2018). As Paul A. Harris, he is Professor of English at Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles, and co-editor of SubStance. His recent work includes collaborative readings and a coauthored story with David Mitchell (forthcoming in C21 Literature), and his current projects are "Stone is the New Green" and Viewing Stones: Contemporary Approaches to Display (co-authored with Thomas P. Elias and Richard Turner). He blogs at The Petriverse of Pierre Jardin.
1. See Making the Geologic Now: Responses to Material Conditions of Contemporary Life, edited by Elisabeth Ellsworth and Jamie Kruse (Punctum Books, 2012).
2. See Timothy Morton, Dark Ecology: For a Logic of Future Coexistence (Columbia University Press, 2016).
3. See Jeffrey Jerome Cohen, Stone: An Inhuman Ecology (University of Minnesota Press, 2015).
4. See Dana Luciano, "Speaking Substances: Rock" (LA Review of Books, April 16, 2016, lareviewofbooks.org/article/speaking-substances-rock/)
5. Held at Mediamatic Biotoop Gallery for Art and Technology, Amsterdam, June 14–16, 2017. GeoMedia Network (Patricia Pisters and A.J. Nocek, directors) is a collaboration between the Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis, University of Amsterdam, and the Laboratory for Critical Technics, Arizona State University.
* CO-MODIFIED may be accessed at http://substancejournal.sites.lmu.edu/home/supplements/rock-records