Geologic City

[Image: Geologic City by Smudge Studio].

Tomorrow night at Studio-X NYC, we’ll be hosting a book launch for Geologic City, a new pamphlet by Elizabeth Ellsworth and Jamie Kruse of Smudge Studio and Friends of the Pleistocene.

Things kick off at 6pm, at 180 Varick Street, Suite 1610; here’s a map. At least for the time being, we unfortunately must ask that you RSVP, to studioxnyc [at] gmail [dot] com, but the event is otherwise free and open to the public, and copies of Geologic City will be for sale.

[Images: Spreads from Geologic City by Smudge Studio].

In the tradition of such books as Richard Fortey’s The Hidden Landscape—or his more recent magnum opus, EarthGeologic City looks at the geological understructure of the city of New York. In the authors’ own words, it “takes you to 20 sites where you can sense the geologic pulse of New York City.”

More than just a handbook for finding exposed outcrops of bedrock, however, the pamphlet explores the broader material economy through which the city is constructed and managed, from strategic gold reserves to scrapyards and cemetaries. As they write in the booklet’s introduction:

In 2010, we set out to create a field guide for New York City residents and visitors who want to sense for themselves the forces of deep time that course through the City and give it form, dynamism and material reality. We began to identify geologic materials that make up iconic pieces of New York architecture and infrastructure, trace them to their origins, and place them on the geologic time scale. But we soon realized that the materials and forces we were encountering were not things. They were lively actors.

Liz and Jamie will also be using the 16th-floor windows at Studio-X NYC as framing devices through which to point out and narrate regional sites of geologic influence on urban form and function.

[Images: Window and floor diagrams in place for tomorrow’s launch of Geologic City by Smudge Studio; photos by Nicola Twilley].

Presenting work alongside them tomorrow night will be sound artist Kevin Allen and Meg Studer, whose maps of the global road salt industry are worth exploring in detail (and will appear in a forthcoming post here on the blog shortly).

Hope to see some of you there tomorrow night! And congrats to Jamie and Liz for seeing the pamphlet through to completion.

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