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  • Leo

Earth prayers

… A desertshore demarcates scorched earth from its other. As a shoreline, it separates two differential geologic ecosystems - one showing signs of decay gradually regressing into desertion, and another long barren (“The wasteland grows…”). A desertshore is the liminal marginalia on the outskirts of hospitable and livable land, a geologic-commentario scoring land itself. Naturally commenting on regional planetary diminution of vitality and outgrowths of unfettered genesis, and instead illustrating a posthumous ecology as a world-in-remission. It breathes and exhales, riveted to an upper respiratory system, crawling along the arid drylands of earth. Desertification is the rate at which land becomes infertile through human leadened pastoralism, imminent climatological crisis or chance terrestrial yields. In the desert, all Things tend towards their inert state … here is where entropy is agnostic to scale. A desertshore indexes a future on the borderline - a premonition of things to come. But there is life posthumous to desertification in different variants and styles, methods of communication, world-building and world-regressing, mediums of earth prayers. Our Visitor surveys these scenes, zones, of a descending desertshore: (1.) The Sahel is a strange ecological anomaly - a 5500 kilometer strip of land horizontally crawling across Africa from the Atlantic Ocean to the Red Sea. It vertically separates the Sahara Desert from above and the savannahs and wastes below - the transitional borderline between distinct geologic zones. But, The Sahel is not remotely a mausoleum of landscape - instead, replete with heterogeneous lifeforms from arid shrubland, to steppes, to gradients of grassland. It is a premonition of a future earth to come, arrivant to an intra-species ecosystem where pastoralism is maligned by environmental degradation, yet still contains and sustains deserted forms of life… One marked by a planet agnostic and indifferent to human survival - a microcosmos of a future and posthumous earth. (2.) Around 1800 years prior and 2000 kilometers north, ascetic monks resign to the Scete desert, yet find zero consolation. In retreat from a civilization overwrought with sin & symptomatic of decadence, desert fathers and mothers depart to another grounded terrain. But desert hermeticism lacked solace in and of the desert. Instead it found ‘acedium’ (variants of lassitude, ennui and fatigue), the pursuit of noontide demons and an inhospitable torrent of sheer aridity. A zenith sun shines particularly bright in the desert by rendering a shadowless world laid bare. In the desert, they found all of the earth (its true self: a disoriented rock floating in space, hostile weather, seasonal affective disorders, scarcities in the plural and pure absence - or, all of earth includings its excess). In Ekhart’s equivocation: “god is a desert” or in Hildegard’s: “earth is mother of all.” Desert hermeticism prefigures a relation to the earth that is one of desertion - a posthumous spirituality exhumed in earth prayers. (3.) Bethlehem Steel, 1998. A colossal corrugated earthwork that extracts iron reservoirs deeply nested below tectonic sedimentation and yields ferruginous steel through alchemical and metallurgic exchange. Subterranean plots escape to the surface, pseudonymous materials install an uncanny industrial visual culture of faultlines and mineralogy … and false messiahs: steel production arrives to Northeast Pennsylvania for merely a hundred years, then exits with an untenable escape velocity. As one industry wanes, a visual culture in decline follows in its monochromatic wake. Dwelling at this site, long in nonproductive dormant remission, our Visitor collects shards of the past to aggregate a future relation to a deserted, fallen and posthumous image. Our Visitor exhales a redemptive sigh as fragments cultivate an image of another earth, ascendent from the ruins of its past. In the first moment, an image of pastoral degradation … in the next: An image submerged in stasis, balance and revival. At this scene of this sprawling furnace of production (a rotting and rusting acropolis), our visitor locates a ruinous relation to the posthumous future - that of earthly prayers of ‘planetary restoration.’


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