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Research / Practice Article

Vol. 17 No. 1 (2024): Drawing Anthropocene

What's the Matter? An Exploration of the Shared Space Between Drawing and Mining

18 January 2024


In this paper I consider the idea of an expanded drawing practice, in which marks made on paper and marks made through excavation in a landscape may both be considered forms of drawing. Site-visits to open-pit mining areas act as research locations for exploring a vocabulary of mark-making that links the drawings made in the studio with the marks made in the landscape through excavation. These excavation sites are locations where vastly different time frames are conflated: ancient geological time, the speeding up of economic time and the deceleration allowed by artistic time; and finally the panic time associated with an age of ecological crisis. The temporal dissonance of these sites may lead to a sense of landscape instability, a characteristic of this current era in which, according to Timothy Morton, a human-centered viewpoint is being disrupted due to the effects of climate change. In my drawing practice, I am attempting to envision mark-making no longer as an individual mark made on a surface, (a dominant mark acting on an “empty” landscape) but rather as a form of ecological co-creation, in which both surface and mark are completely interdependent, and in which a conscious deceleration may act as a counterweight to accelerated economic imperatives.