continent. maps a topology of unstable confluences and ranges across new thinking, traversing interstices and alternate directions in culture, theory, biopolitics and art.
Issue 4.2 / 2015
Letter from the Editors
Jamie Allen, Paul Boshears, Marin Abell
In the American vernacular of the 1990’s, people actually used to say that things “rocked.” “That rocks!” we’d say. The ‘we’ of our mostly 1990’s teenagehoods could never have imagined that 20-something years later, a rather strange un-ironic interest in the literal referent of a pretty stupid exuberant rejoinder would arise. And yet, here we are, and here we go.
The Copenhagen Invitation
Jamie Allen
The seeds of an issue, born of an invitation to an encounter in Copenhagen, explicated and described. Can the earth be more than just a metaphor?
Geophilia, or The Love of Stone
Jeffrey J. Cohen
Geophilia, the love of stone, is the invitation to begin thinking of time in terms of eon.  This is a logic of time that far surpasses the temporary lives of humans.  Geologic time teaches us humans about ruin and offers a dis-anthropocentric narrative to counter human supremacy. An excerpt from the forthcoming book Stone, An Ecology of the Inhuman (2015, University of Minnesota Press).
Pitch Drop
Jonathan Kemp
As viscous as pitch, there is an unstable lag in our systems of knowledge, our concrete world of objects and particles, of instances and identities. A crystallization of certainty based on the humanly observable – the source and departure for identity itself – is it not always based on a momentary insight into the rupture of some other substance?
Darwin's cicadas and lines of life
Anders Kølle
Two proto-Modernists, Charles Darwin and Édouard Manet are brought together to account for their affronts to the sensibilities of their day as art-scientists. The geologist of life and the impressionist were each purveyors of a critique subject to the brutish dismissal of those who would prefer both to keep both art and science out of life.
Mutating Media Ecologies
Jussi Parikka
A Decay ecology is a deep time analysis of the media that includes more than a technical apparatus in the analysis. Through the invitation of a new mode of thinking through artistic practice, we begin to think more critically concerning the mineral, biological and geologic components of digital apparatuses, presaging Parikka's book-lenght treatise on these topics, A Geology of Media from Minnesota Press (2015).
Returned to the Earth
Martin Howse
The most intimate place, the soil beneath our feet, though tamed in our distance, receives the records of our existence. The looping of human and geologic memory instils the baseness of the binary, the traces of the electromagnetic, with the desperation of contact. What kind of memories will be reverted to the earth?
Stack, Frame, Heap
Martin Howse, Jonathan Kemp
To arrange and increase – to be somewhere between the coming-to of material perception and the boundless, unformed as mud. Encounter – a cycle of geologic process with no beginning or end, no departure or destination. Particles that define the object form the identity, shaped through human presence. Existence is limit.
The Tenth Watch
University of Queensland
On the Internet there is a camera that is pointed at a rock. This rock is naturally occurring and is used for roofing, the patching of boat hulls, and for a particular geologic, poetic experiment that has made it something of a cultural phenomenon, and the kind of thing someone would want to point a camera at on the Internet.
The Sand Timer
Rosemary Lee
We live in an electronic stone age. Stone is uncritically considered the technology of ancient humans, but it has never really left us. Silica, tantalum, aluminium and gold are all earth encoded with our contemporary electronic and digital logics. Stone is and has always been a means of keeping time, whether it be a digital clock or an anthropocenic contribution to the fossil record.
Notes on Geophonography
Will Schrimshaw
A sonic geotrauma of both the skull and the earth. Schimshaw’s geophonographics call to mind Nietsche’s advice on the intersection of these two preponent orbs: “No longer to bury one’s head in the sand… but to bear it freely, an earthly head which creates a meaning for the earth.” (Zarathustra)
Ground Control: A Humbling Shift
Marin Abell
In the pursuit for inclusive communities of artistic practice and theory, any transformation must be approached with a geologic sensitivity – one that appreciates the local, the transient and the foundational. Collective and individual history can be explored through the sense of play that is found in aspects of the absurd, in a project of ceaseless experiment and collaboration.