Geologic City: A Field Guide to the GeoArchitecture of New York

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9780983803409: Geologic City: A Field Guide to the GeoArchitecture of New York
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Geologic City: a Field Guide to the GeoArchitecture of New York takes you to 20 sites where you can sense the geologic pulse of New York City. With the field guide in hand, residents and visitors are able to interact with both unfamiliar and iconic New York architecture and infrastructure in unexpected ways: by sensing for themselves the forces and flows of geologic material that give form to the built environment of the City.
The City s architecture and infrastructure depends upon extractions of geologic materials that took millennia to form. Yet, we have virtually no cultural awareness of this reality. Some people argue that this is because humans are cognitively incapable of imagining deep time. We disagree. With this field guide, we offer a speculative tool that humans can use to project their imaginations into deep time as they move through the City. We believe that as works made in response to geologic time become more common, human capacities to design, imagine, and live in relation to deep time will expand.
Geologic City invites you to experience some of the ways we humans are assembling with the geologic to make the City and to imagine what the City's non-human geologic actors are making of us.

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About the Author:

smudge studio is a collaboration between Jamie Kruse and Elizabeth Ellsworth.
Our current project meets sites and moments where the geologic and the human converge. We creatively respond to the complex of forces we encounter there: the natural, built, historic, social, strategic and the imagined.
Jamie Kruse is an artist, designer and independent scholar. In 2006 she co-founded smudge, with Elizabeth Ellsworth, based in Red Hook, Brooklyn. She has received grants from the New York State Council for the Arts and the Brooklyn Arts Council for her work. Exhibitions include the Storefront for Art and Architecture, New York, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Incident Report, Hudson, NY. She has presented her work at Parsons School of Design, the Center for Land Use Interpretation Los Angeles, the Oslo School of Architecture and Design, Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum, Madrid and the California College of Arts. She has been granted residencies with the Center for Land Use Interpretation, Wendover, UT; Sundance Preserve; the Center for Art + Environment, Nevada Museum of Art; and the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council. She is the author of the Friends of the Pleistocene blog:
Elizabeth Ellsworth is Professor of Media Studies at the New School, New York. Her research and teaching focus on the design of mediated learning environments, media and social change, and documentary media forms. She is author of Places of Learning: Media, Architecture, Pedagogy (Routledge, 2004) and Teaching Positions: Difference, Pedagogy and the Power of Address (Teachers College Press, 1997). She translates results of her research and writing into media forms, exhibitions, and projects. Elizabeth earned her PhD in Communication Arts from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.


Geologic City is an invaluable field guide for detecting the geological understructure of the city of New York. More than just a handbook for finding exposed outcrops of bedrock, the project equips readers with the conceptual tools needed to explore the broader material economy through which the city is constructed and managed, from strategic gold reserves to scrapyards and cemeteries. In the authors' own words, it takes you to twenty sites where you can sense the geologic pulse of New York City. --Geoff Manaugh, author of BLDGBLOG and co-director of Columbia University's Studio-X NYC

Geologic City is very similar to what I try to do for college students as a teacher of Earth Sciences: connect their daily, urban lives with a geologic sense of place and time. I really enjoyed how the field guide pushes the definitions of geology terms in new directions. At first, it challenged my scientist's sensibilities (i.e. "that's not right"). But after reading more, I loved it! I look forward to mentioning the book in my classes. --Jessica Veenstra, Assistant Professor of Natural Sciences, Flagler College, St. Augustine, FL

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