Dust & Shadow Reader #1


A commonplace book about living in the desert. The Dust & Shadow Readers are self-published collections of writings, quotes and bibliographic wandering designed to accompany our experiments and to be shared in-situ and online. The first volume is a publication in the form of a commonplace book, and includes experiential and theoretical fragments from and about the deserts of Arizona.

Full text

Pulvis et umbra sumus. We are but dust and shadow. –Horace

Dust is everywhere because its source is everything. Its most remote origins in time and space are the Big Bang, collapsing stars, and the dark line across the center of the Milky Way, which, according to astronomer Donald Brownlee, “is a line of dirt perhaps 65,200 light­ years across, and 3.832 X 1017 miles long.” Here on earth, dust comes from everything under the sun: minerals, seeds, pollen, insects, molds, lichens, and even bacteria. Its sources also include bone, hair, hide, feather, skin, blood, and excrement. And things of human fabrication, too numerous to mention, also cover the earth and all the atmosphere with dust. –Joseph A. Amato, Dust

Humankind is flickering, displaced from itself, ecstatic, rippling and dappled with shadows. Shadows made not only by some other entity interacting with it, like the sun through the trees, but shadows that are an intrinsic part of the thing. –Tim Morton, Humankind


fieldnotes 1
awareness exercise
ways of listening
objects and cairns
designing bridges
walking exercises
fieldnotes 2

The chapters build an open-ended assemblage, not a logical machine; they gesture to the so-much-more out there. They tangle with and interrupt each other—mimicking the patchiness of the world I am trying to describe. Adding another thread, the photographs tell a story alongside the text but do not illustrate it directly. I use images to present the spirit of my argument rather than the scenes I discuss. —Anna Tsing, Mushroom at the end of the World

[L]et us take down one of those old notebooks which we have all, at one time or another, had a passion for beginning. Most of the pages are blank, it is true; but at the beginning we shall find a certain number very beautifully covered with a strikingly legible hand-writing. Here we have written down the names of great writers in their order of merit; here we have copied out fine passages from the classics; here are lists of books to be read; and here, most interesting of all, lists of books that have actually been read, as the reader testifies with some youthful vanity by a dash of red ink. —Virginia Woolf, Hours in a Library


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