Chronicle Of Mud is a 19:28 minute video that places human experience next to geologic timescales, and is sited in the Sprague River intertidal zone and salt marshes on the Phippsburg peninsula in Maine. Regarding the ways in which history is recorded in the landscapes we inhabit, as well as the ways in which seeing can be enlarged, viewers are invited to read a series of signs in a narrative in which the river becomes as much a character in this story as the human one. The work asks us to imagine the world long before us, when sea level was at an astounding 75 meters above the current level, and the possibility of a future world without us.
The audio text in Chronicle Of Mud is a hybrid essay written in fragments culled from many sources and amplified and enlarged by an original piece of poetic fiction woven within the fragments. The sources include an essay by Emma Sewall who lived in the area in the early 1900s, texts detailing the local geological history including work by geologist Beverly Johnson on the ecogeomorphology of the salt marshes, The Storyteller by Walter Benjamin, and a poem by Medbh McGuckian, The Appropriate Moment.
Produced with the support of Bates College Art Museum for Anthropocenic, Art About the Natural World in the Human Era
Thank you to the following individuals:
Dan Mills, Director, Bates Museum of Art
Laura Sewall, Bates Morse Mountain Conservation Area and Shortridge Center
Beverly Johnson, Bates Geology Department
Kelly Page, Maine Maritime Museum Research Library
Robert G. Marvinney, Ryan Gordon & Henry Berry, Maine Geological Society
Nichole Anest & Ashley Braunthal, Longmont Doherty Earth Observatory Core Repository
Abbie Sewall, glass negatives
Amelia Garretson-Persans, camera assistant
Steve Drown, audio mixing