Making the Geologic Now: Crash the Servers
12.03.2012, 4:30 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized


Tomorrow is the day! We’re unleashing our edited collection Making the Geologic Now: Responses to Material Conditions of Contemporary Life and the domain tomorrow evening. All are invited to join us at Studio-X NYC (180 Varick street, Suite 1610) at 7 p.m. You’ll have the chance to meet contributors, watch video screenings, enjoy drinks and conversation + hear from both Eileen Joy, director of punctum books, and Ed Keller, a punctum books advisory board member.

The fun will only build from there.  At 8:30 p.m. we’ll kick off a viral download and sharing party for the book’s open source PDF. We invite all present, both in person and virtually, to start downloading and social network sharing at that time. Our goal is to crash the servers!  Just before 9:00, two free copies of the printed book will be raffled off to those gathered at Studio-X.  Launch-goers who help to make The Geologic Now go viral will earn a free raffle ticket for the drawing. We invite you to share the link to our book’s page on punctum’s website for downloading the PDF (*please download direct from punctum rather than forwarding your own PDF in an email). During the launch, we also invite you to pre-order your copy of the printed book, shipping mid-December.

zuihitsu_6“Zuihitsu 6,” from Making the Geologic Now

We’re excited to share this collection for many reasons, several of which feel particularly significant and unique:


With Making the Geologic Now, the medium is the message, and the medium is a provocative hybridity of form and content.

The book will live on as a beautiful, thoughtfully designed book of full-color images (thank you designers Reg Beatty and Jamie Kruse). We hope it makes it onto everyone’s shelf and gift list.

The book will ALSO be available in two other distinct forms, both free.  One is an amazing interactive website (thank you web-designer and -master Alli Crandell) with full access to web versions of all articles in the book + a dynamic page for posting sightings of the “geologic now” in contemporary life, engaging in ongoing conversations about the book and related ideas, and following related trends/conversations on twitter.  The other is the digital PDF of the printed book, designed to range free. This file is intended to circulate rapidly and wildly through culture, just as growing cultural sensibilities about “the geologic” are now propagating.

We are deeply grateful to be working with punctum books, a self-described “para-academic publisher.” They have taken note, ahead of much of the publishing industry, that a flexibility of formats for sharing ideas— and making these ideas accessible— is most urgent, while continuing to value careful thought and creative print design. The content, the result of an open call and ushered into reality by volunteers, is a testament to how hybrid forms are particularly well suited to addressing complex, cross-disciplinary challenges posed by present conditions of life on Planet Earth.

zuihitsu_4“Zuihitsu 4,” from Making the Geologic Now


More than 40 contributors are included in Making the Geologic Now, and the approaches and styles of their contributions are extremely varied.  Contributors include practicing artists, designers, architects, historians, theorists, philosophers, educators, bloggers, journalists, poets, and engineers. Many of the contributors wear multiple hats and the hybrid practices they engage in to  “make the geologic now” are striking and varied.

Throughout the collection, we have dispersed 15 visual and textual provocations (designed by smudge studio) that have affinities with the adjacent essays. We call these interjections “zuihitsu,” after a Japanese term that loosely translates as: “a miscellaneous essay,” “literary jotting,” or “musing.” A kanji that is out of common usage for “zui” translates as: “at the mercy of (the waves).” The kanji currently in modern usage in Japan translates as: “follow.” Hitsu means “writing or painting brush.” Our zuihitsu include original photography and excerpted texts from our own work, our contributors, and various public sources. They provide an unfinished “through line”-a lively and unsettled terrain composed of concepts, images, sensations and waves of realization that “make the geologic now.”


Making the Geologic Now offers evidence that the hybrid practices of publishing and knowledge-making that created it might be prescient. Given the current state of the Northeast region post-Sandy, we have a renewed sense of urgency about distributing the book broadly and through channels that are seldom tapped by “legacy” academic publishers.  We hope that it can catalyze contexts in which contemporary material changes that have planetary consequences can be acknowledged, discussed and responded to in new and creative ways. As our cover image so directly claims, we are living at the edges of feasibility.  This project is an attempt to make something at the edge of  the unfolding geologic now.


We hope Making the Geologic Now can be experienced as an art book, pamphlet, broadside, textbook and more.  We invite you to download the book, share the links and let us know what you think.


Sincere thanks to all contributors. We look forward to seeing you tomorrow night!

Contributors include:  Matt Baker, Jarrod BeckStephen Becker, Brooke Belisle, Jane BennettDavid BenqueCanary Project (Susannah Sayler, Edward Morris), Center for Land Use InterpretationBrian DavisSeth Denizen, Anthony Easton, Elizabeth Ellsworth, Valeria Federighi, William L. FoxDavid GerstenBill GilbertOliver Goodhall, John Gordon, Ilana HalperinLisa HirmerRob HolmesKatie HoltenJane Hutton, Julia Kagan, Wade KavanaughOliver KellhammerElizabeth KolbertJanike Kampevold LarsenJamie KruseWilliam LamsonTim MalyGeoff ManaughDon McKay, Rachel McRae,Brett MilliganChristian MilNeilLaura MoriarityStephen NguyenErika OsborneTrevor PaglenAnne Reeve, Chris RoseVictoria SambunarisPaul Lloyd Sargent, Antonio Stoppani, Rachel SussmanShimpei TakedaChris TaylorRyan ThompsonEtienne TurpinNicola TwilleyBryan M. Wilson.

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