Ecotopian Archive

Rainstorms finally interrupted California’s fourth year of drought, and patterns of shriveled ears repeatedly form up and down the open pages of the classics. The water also revived the mosses, lichen and the colored molds festooning the volume tops. Mice and birds peck and poop. Something bigger left an albino dump on the entry carpet, an old car rug. Squirrels, moles— and what I call prairie dogs—dig and nibble and gnaw at the sprouting texts, changing the rhythm and meaning of every sentence; spitting scraps and dribbling phrases as they exit. Shiny black spiders and sepia ants drag their booty past slugs snailing their way across the pages. All leave intriguing, patterned marks and luminescent trails that criss and cross. They are nano Hansels and Gretels, leaving crumbs; clues, perhaps, and puzzling evidence. As visual objects these re-purposed books are (to me) a delight to behold. I no longer differentiate human markings from those of the others here. It appears that, after Earth’s cataclysm, books will be extraordinary things, unabashedly nostalgic relics.

Celeste Connor (aka Rrosa Seconda & Iris Ronnoc) is an artist, art critic, theorist, and founder of CUT UP Productions, an independent photo and video enterprise. Connor’s essays and reviews have appeared in many media including, Artweek, Women’s Studies Journal, The East Bay Voice (serving the GLBT art-interested communities),  and more recently ComPAct and Daily Serving. She is the author of  Democratic Visions (UC Press, 2001) and is an associate professor in the Visual Studies Program at California College of the Arts in San Francisco and Oakland, where she lives. The Ecotopian Archive is part of an ongoing project that began as her MFA thesis and continues to grow.

(Photos of the Archive by Alisa Golden)