Readers
Volumetrics
9 essays
Compiled by Chantelle Mitchell & Jaxon Waterhouse

Focusing upon depths, atmospheres, flows and muddying, we present a series of texts that act as vessels
of volumetrics. These texts interrogate ecologic, geologic, and cartographic space; while internalizing and
unravelling intimate, affective, and traumatic currents. Following fluvial linkages between these texts, we
read through the framework of Ecological Gyre Theory, our ongoing research practice. EGT investigates
the renewal and recontextualization of all things as texts, encompassed within endless constellations of
assemblages in our rapidly changing world. Theoretically, EGT speaks to descension, acceleration, and
reworlding; a methodology to investigate, examine, and consider that which whorls, eddies, and flows in
our current context.

View all readers
T. J. Demos
To Save a World: Geoengineering, Conflictual Futurisms, and the Unthinkable
Originally published in October 2018

Even though Love is the Message offers an amazing account of generative ambivalence and creative survival, even while it also gives rise to encompassing hopefulness in collective moments of love, solidarity, ethical conviction, and collective justice-seeking, it simultaneously obliterates any consideration of extending or sustaining its world of horror, one of beyond-grotesque inequality, impoverishment, and violence that renders Black life and lives matterless by the state and its human apparatuses. Unlike The Breakthrough Institute, which proffers art and leisure as rewards, Jafa’s sci-fi reaches the realm of cosmopolitical magnitude without losing sight of vernacular instances of in/justice, of situated expressions that are future-oriented but historically informed, and which are dedicated to the reinvention of everyday life, art, culture, politics, mourning.

Timotheus Vermeulen
The New “Depthiness”
Originally published in January 2015

Just because it’s fake doesn’t mean I don’t feel it.

—Girls, Season 3, Episode 3

Brian Kuan Wood
We Are the Weather
Originally published in May 2013

Weather is the key paradox of our time. Weather that is nice is often weather that is wrong. The nice is occurring in the immediate and individual, and the wrong is occurring systemwide.
—Roni Horn in 2007

Chus Martínez
The Octopus in Love
Originally published in May 2014

The octopus is the only animal that has a portion of its brain (three quarters, to be exact) located in its (eight) arms. Without a central nervous system, every arm “thinks” as well as “senses” the surrounding world with total autonomy, and yet, each arm is part of the animal. For us, art is what allows us to imagine this form of decentralized perception. It enables us to sense the world in ways beyond language. Art is the octopus in love. It transforms of our way of conceiving the social as well as its institutions, and also transforms the hope we all have for the possibility of perceptive inventiveness.

Natasha Ginwala and Vivian Ziherl
Sensing Grounds: Mangroves, Unauthentic Belonging, Extra-Territoriality
Originally published in May 2013

When R.L. Stevenson undertook his first transatlantic voyage at the age of 25, journeying to reunite with his future wife in California, he wrote the essay “The Amateur Emigrant.” This writing became the first chapter of his collected works, Essays of Travel, published in 1905. On board the Devonia from London to New York in August of 1879, he opens with scenes from “The Second Cabin”:

Rachel O’Reilly
Dematerializations of the Land/Water Object
Originally published in April 2018

During normotic peaks of approval phases of settler-colony mining booms, “artist impressions” of mega-mine proposals are photoshopped up at unprecedented rates and scales. Weaponized images of dignified-looking but no longer collectively-bargaining laborers, exaggerated job figures, fetishized New Machines, and particularly pernicious laminations of corporate-sponsored settler household reproduction placehold new industry forms of extraction. The perversions of prospective accounting given for “environmental assets”—for example, soil and water—force a rereading of finance through colonial legacies that limit the imagination of mattering. Between the slave ship and the container ship, the story of Australia’s particular mercantile-era contribution to the arsenal of global capital, in making the concept of land fully fungible, generates extra-aesthetic analytics by being retold.

Brian Holmes
Driving the Golden Spike
Originally published in October 2017

Can a waste product marketed as a valuable fuel be treated proactively as both a clear and present danger and as a public monument? Such an approach is suggested by current philosophy and cultural critique. The materialist turn toward the “agency of things, “vibrant matter,” and “speculative realism” is driven by a need to come to grips with the suicidal overproduction that structures contemporary society. The handful of petcoke that you can pick up along the side of the river becomes the withdrawn index or impossible clue to the vast interlocking system of energy production and its consequences, on the scale of the planet earth and in the dimension of geological time.

Natasha Ginwala and Vivian Ziherl
The Negative Floats: Questions of Earth Inheritance
Originally published in October 2014

The theories of natural science that were nascent in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries may be re-excavated through the figure of the marine shell—encountered as a form of stone, and lodged mysteriously in the highest mountains of Lower Saxony. These stone shells (as well as eels), Voltaire said, “made new systems blossom.” A cacophony of eminent philosophical and scientific voices entered to contest the origins of these aberrational geotic forms, summarized in Anton Lazzaro Moro’s 1740 excursus Opinions On Marine-Mountainous Bodies (De’ crostacei e degli altri Marini corpi che si truovano su’ monti).

Oxana Timofeeva
The End of the World: From Apocalypse to the End of History and Back
Originally published in June 2014

Well, Prince, so Genoa and Lucca are now just family estates of the Buonapartes. But I warn you, if you don’t tell me that this means war, if you still try to defend the infamies and horrors perpetrated by that Antichrist—I really believe he is Antichrist—I will have nothing more to do with you and you are no longer my friend, no longer my “faithful slave,” as you call yourself!
—Leo Tolstoy, War and Peace

Readers Journal #94 Journal #61 Journal #45 Journal #55 Journal #45 Journal #90 Journal #85 Journal #58 Journal #56
Click to subscribe to e-flux and be the first to receive the latest news on international exhibitions and all e-flux related announcements
Subscribe
Subscribe to e-flux
Be the first to receive the latest news on international exhibitions and all e-flux related announcements.
Subscribe to architecture
Explore the most recent content from e-flux architecture and urbanism
Subscribe to e-flux programs
Keep up-to-date on all upcoming talks, screenings, and exhibitions at e-flux in New York