Sedimenta is an independent, bi-annual journal and publishing platform based in Chicago and Pittsburgh. Unfolding through dispatches and collaborations, the ongoing project de-stratifies traditional disciplinary boundaries through conversations, essays, reviews, and, in the future, online exhibitions, artist talks, and more. Surfacing from a misreading of a word split between two lines, Sedimenta investigates artistic and scholarly practices belonging to the Earth and its metabolic, cultural processes.
We bring together works of art, literature, conversations, and essays on intersecting intellectual, artistic, and political currents and study the effects of contemporary disruptions from a historical lens. Transgressing disciplinary boundaries, we convene dispatches from the environmental humanities and sciences, studies in sustainable design and technology, and extinction and ecological studies. Sedimenta issues from this de-stratification.
Sedimenta came to me as a part of another word broken between two lines, in a paragraph outlining a hypothesis, between definitions, between human and geologic histories.
Sedimenta issue 0 is proof of concept for a unique digital bi-annual journal that houses three essays, three book and two exhibition reviews, a translated essay, and two interviews. The analytical essays, separately, engage with individual artistic practices that observe and critically intervene within the shifting conditions of the Anthropocene. The book reviews, separately, discover new and exploratory voices in this discourse. The interviews, separately, highlight the voices of these agents. Together, however, the essays, reviews, and interviews are not segregated into categories; rather, each of these as case studies in different forms, flow through the circumstances under which colonialism, capitalist economics, and petrol-imperialism occupy twenty-first century artistic practices. In addressing these broad, contemporary conditions, I convene case studies that seek the borders of artistic practice at the moment where the geologic meets the human.
Isabelle Hayeur ‘Écume Etang,’ 2015
This edition of Sedimenta explores artistic practices and what it means to belong to both geologic and human time scales in the south and southwest desert border regions in North America. Using this region as idiom, we explore planetarity and ontology of site in an essay tracing Lucy Lippard’s chosen hometown Galesto, New Mexico through Gayatri Charkavorty Spivak with Amy Elias and Christian Moraru. Through “conceptual entities” like High Desert Test Sites and the Center for Land Use Interpretation, we explore what it means, and to what scale, we belong to the earth. Following this line, we feature the work of Québequois artist Isabelle Hayeur and talk with her about her underworldly practice in the southern- and northern-most United States.
What does it mean to work the earth, to labor on it? Using J.B. Jackson as our guide, we discuss what it means to experience the landscape, and with the help of a scathing Yelp-like review left by Jean Baudrillard about America, this essay traces the literary landscape that helped produce the politically and arbitrarily outlined clump of dirt we call the United States of America. In an interview with Phoenix-based activist, educator, and artist Angela Ellsworth, we discuss the role of walking and its creation (formerly production) of space previously lived in by American Indians, following the words of the Museum of Walking’s patron saints Rebecca Solnit and Richard Long. If colonialism has commandeered historically settled lands, we explore how walking can unsettle this landscape. What if we were to expand what we mean by The West at all? In a review of the exhibition Unsettled at the Nevada Museum of Art and its corresponding conference on art and environment, we expand on William Fox and JoAnne Northrup’s Expanded West.
In our first Dispatch to the Border, we explore how Pittsburgh fits into these broader dialogues on the southern and western boarders, asking, how far can we stretch these boundaries? Finally, we present in English for the first time from Mexico City an essay from Museo Experimental El Eco’s Revista the essay Hegelian Dancers by Ericka Flórez in collaboration with Juan Francisco Maldonaldo, an essay that proposes we replace the word object with territory.