Soil by Sonya Patel Ellis, illustration by Lindsay Seers.
This is the EARTH issue: Our planet and the ground beneath our feet, our physical world, matter and form, flesh and bones, structure and stability, receptivity and creation.
Our descent into Earth begins with our creation from primeval chaos into form, as a lone electron spiralling through the zodiac along magnetic highways, hitchhiking on an intergalactic mycelium spaceship and as homesick astronauts dreaming of our blue planet, olfactory memories of cedar, moss and amber resin that take us deep into the soil, travelling along the mycorrhizal network into the cool, dark womb of Earth where we surrender to the alchemical process of death, resurrection and rebirth.
We emerge from our metamorphosis as eartheaters and earthworms, tunnelling through the rotting pedosphere to the surface we inhale the sweet smell of rain on dry soil, as seedlings we uncoil into the biosphere, a time capsule dug from the earth. We hear the wisdom of the trees and dance through the seasons to meet the rose and the plants that have seeded historic change. We converse in the fractal language of nature, explore plant agency and person-plant relationships, animal behaviour and interspecies communication, moving from the anthro(man)pocene to the chthul(earth)ucene.
Feeling our way into the geometry of Earth, we build our bodies into our designs. As humans, we taste and digest the earth element as nutrition, materialising our own formsinto structure, turning our sweat into crystals. We look at the act of making earth and the nature of physical form. We realign our gaze with the plurality of our senses, towards community and inclusion, with the Bantu concept of ‘I am therefore we are and we are therefore I am’.
At last, we see art as an alchemical process and ask how to effectively apply agency to our experience and reorient ourselves in an eco-centric landscape. As night falls on our voyage and with the stars as our witness, we return to our crucible and offer its liquid gold back to Earth, ready for a new dawn as apprentices to the wild. ― JF
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