Being a Core Sample

Geologists, in particular, use core samples to gather evidence about the past of a given bit of earth’s surface.  They drill (diamond bits – very sophisticated) a tidy tube down into the earth, through solid rock if necessary, or air or gravel, or whatever is there, then pull it up and have a look – in the present, on the surface.  The procedure “maps” — that is, physically lays out — depth on to surface, vertical on to horizontal and past on to present.  

If I am a core sample, then, I represent an intersection of surface and depth, past and present.One of the most remarkable and underestimated (I think) features of contemporary art colleges is that they make a broad swath of “media history,” from drawing and modelling and carving to digital synthesis, modelling and projection available simultaneously.

The image was drawn by Nicola McLoughlin. She is one of four authors of a paper entitled Drilling for the Archean Roots of Life and Tectonic Earth in the Barberton Mountains, at

Author: Nancy Roth